Gunnison Music Camp

During the later parts of the summers from 1961 to 1963, Jacobs traveled to Gunnison, Colorado where Western State College had a summer music camp. Many members of the Chicago Symphony including Edward Kleinhammer and oboist Ray Still were on the faculty of Gunnison.

jacobs bellDuring those summers, Jacobs was joined in the tuba section by Bill Bell. According to Arnold Jacobs, “Bill Bell was a most unusual man. He was generous to a fault as he would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it. He was a fine musician and it was a joy to sit on stage and to play with him. I am glad I had the opportunity to play with Bell.”

During the summer of 1963 they were joined by Harvey Phillips. “Harvey Phillips, Bill Bell and I were very advanced players. I have some records from Gunnison and you will hear some fine tuba playing from the three of us. Working with three tubas was so much fun. I guess we were a band director’s dream team.”

Harvey Phillips recalls that summer. “Like many musician colleagues, I have spent most summer months away from home base by teaching at one or more summer festivals and/or music camps. These summer positions are very important. They allow us to have renewed contact with old friends and to experience other colleagues who teach at a variety of schools around the country. Sharing pedagogical concepts, discussing different teaching experiences, and hearing others perform, inspires our continued growing as teachers and performers. Without a doubt, the most fulfilling and enjoyable summer I have ever image408experienced was the summer of 1963 at the Gunnison Music Camp in Gunnison, Colorado. Dr. Robert Hawkins directed the camp and conducted the Director’s Band made up of faculty members (the listing of which read like a who’s who of musicians). The tuba faculty that summer was William Bell, Arnold Jacobs and myself. I shall never forget what it was like to play in that tuba section, nor will I ever forget the relaxing dinners and impromptu parties which followed rehearsals and performances. As the youngest member of the section, I observed and listened. Never have I witnessed greater mutual respect and genuine comradeship than that displayed by William Bell and Arnold Jacobs for each other. The Director’s Band did a lot of recording that summer, including the last concert which featured our tuba section in a unison (except for the last chord!) performance of Paganini’s Perpetual Motion.”

About Harvey Phillips, Jacobs says, “I first met Harvey Phillips many years ago when he came backstage following a performance with Fritz Reiner conducting the Chicago Symphony at Carnegie Hall. This was the start of our long friendship. Once, Harvey told me that he had decided to pursue a career as a solo tubist—unheard of in those days, as the solo literature for the tuba was almost nonexistent. Due to Harvey’s time and energy encouraging new works for the tuba, the students of today have a great deal of material to choose from. He has led the way in making the tuba accepted as a solo instrument by setting high standards for performance.”

Many recordings were made of the Gunnison band but were not commercially available. Jacobs performed as a soloist on a recording of Richard Strauss’ First Horn Concerto. Jacobs and Bell recorded several duets and Bell, Jacobs and Phillips recorded Paganini’s Perpetual Motion played in unison by all three.

Paganini – Moto Perpetuo

Soloists – Bill Bell, Arnold Jacobs, Harvey Phillips

Liszt – Les Preludes

Gunnison Music Camp Director’s Band – 1963

Tuba Section – Bill Bell, Arnold Jacobs, Harvey Phillips