‘Trumpets, Weird and Wonderful’ Opens at the Morris Museum Oct. 7

Andy Taylor, Uncle Sam, B-flat Trumpet, 1996. Photo courtesy of the National Music Museum

From The Morris Museum:

The Morris Museum in partnership with the National Music Museum (Vermillion, South Dakota) presents the exhibit Trumpets, Weird and Wonderful: Treasures from the National Music Museum — 44 fascinating instruments from five continents, on view at the Morris Museum from October 7, 2018 to March 17, 2019.

Dating from the late 17th to the late 20th centuries, the instruments are on loan from the National Music Museum’s Joe R. and Joella F. Utley Collection of Brass Instruments, and most of them have never been on public exhibit. 

“Trumpets, Weird, and Wonderful” celebrates the rich audible and visual variety of musical instruments in which sound is generated by buzzing the lips, sometimes called brasswinds. Broadly defined, trumpets come in many different forms and sizes and can be made of many different materials: animal horn, bone, conch, wood, and metals. Horns and trumpets have been in use as signaling instruments since prehistoric times. They play a role in ceremony and religion in many cultures. For centuries they have had a leading function in the military and the hunt. They are not only musical instruments but also objects of artistic expression, often with hidden meaning.

“This is an exhibit for us all,” says Cleveland Johnson, Executive Director of the Morris Museum. “If a bugle playing ‘taps’ has you tearing up at a veteran’s funeral, you’ll discover amazing new dimensions to that simple, dignified instrument. If the call of the shofar holds religious meaning for you, you’ll discover how brasswind instruments contribute to ritual ceremonies around the world. If you’ve ever marched in a band or heard a great jazz trumpeter, you’ll discover the engineering history that led to our modern trumpet. Maybe you just love Ricola cough drops and have never seen an ‘alphorn’ close up.”

Video stations throughout the galleries allow the instruments to be experienced in performance, many in their original context and country of use. A special kid’s station traces the history of trumpet playing back to early human civilization. Many of the instruments are beautifully ornate. The exhibit allows the visitor to discover almost-hidden symbols, ranging from expressions of power to religious belief.

Guest curator Dr. Sabine Klaus, Curator of Brass at the National Music Museum states, “The question that guided me in preparing this exhibition was how do form and decoration inform us about an instrument’s function and use, and ultimately its sound?” 

Five highly decorative trumpets by Andy Taylor in Norwich, England, which were commissioned by the collector Joe R. Utley and especially created for the Utley Collection, celebrate the trumpet as art.

Serpent Trumpet

The exhibition is shown in two galleries at the Morris Museum and organized in nine themes:

• Found in Nature: Horns and Trumpets made of Organic Materials
• The Meaning of Décor: The Trumpet in Ceremony and Ritual
• Fit for a King or a Queen: Trumpets and Horns for the European Elite
• Strange Curves and Clever Keys for More Notes
• Liberations: Break-through Technology
• Where does the Echo Come From?
• Trumpets Big and Small
• The Trumpet in Jazz
• Cool Looks and Crazy Shapes: The Trumpet as Art

Coinciding with the opening of the Morris Museum’s exhibit, the National Music Museum (NMM) will be temporarily closing to the public as it prepares for architectural expansion and renovation, reopening by 2021. Patricia Bornhofen, NMM Manager of Communications says, “While the NMM is closed for metamorphosis, we will be partnering with other institutions to display some of our extraordinary collections. We’re pleased to share these treasures with visitors to the Morris Museum.” The NMM, located on the campus of the University of South Dakota, in Vermillion, South Dakota, is home to some of the most historic instruments in the world.

Exhibition Opening

The exhibition Trumpets, Weird, and Wonderful: Treasures from the National Music Museum opens to the public on Sunday, October 7 from 12:00PM – 5:00PM and will be on view through Sunday, March 17, 2019. 

Admission is free for Museum members and $10 for Non-Members.

To become a Member, and attend the Museum year-round for free, visit morrismuseum.org/museum-membership, email membership@morrismuseum.org, or call 973.971.3721.

Morris Museum Gala

The Morris Museum will hold its annual gala on the evening of Saturday, October 6, 2018 entitled Morris Museum Gala: Boisterous, Beautiful, Brass. This year’s festive event celebrates the Museum’s new partnerships with other national museums. It will also offer guests a preview of exhibition, Trumpets, Weird, and Wonderful: Treasures from the National Music Museum and a private viewing of Things Come Apart, on loan from the Smithsonian Institution.

The Gala will begin with cocktails at 6:00PM with the opening of Trumpets, Weird, and Wonderful: Treasures from the National Music Museum and viewing of Things Come Apart followed by a musical performance with a surprise guest at 7:00PM. Dinner will follow at 8:00PM, catered by Laurence Craig Catering in the Museum’s Main Gallery, with dancing featuring the Stock Market Swing Orchestra. Morris Museum Trustee Molly Borst and Joen Ferrari are the event’s Co-Chairs. 

Tickets for the Gala begin at $350, with tables beginning at $2,500. Dress is black tie optional. Ticket information may be obtained at morrismuseum.org/special-events or 973.971.3705. 

Related Programming

Vacation Day Workshops with Touch the Music: November 8-9, 2018
Claudia Lemmerz of Touch the Music will host hands-on workshops about trumpets and other brass instruments at 10:30 and 11:30 am. This program is for children ages 5-10. Register at morrismuseum.org/special-programs-families

The Brass Project Christmas: Tuesday, December 18, 7:30PM
A program of traditional holiday favorites and winter season pops performed by The Brass Project, a spirited, smile-inducing sextet of leading players from Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute of Music. Tickets: Museum Members: $30, Non-Members: $40, Seniors: $35, Students with valid ID: $20, Groups of 10 or more: $33.https://morrismuseum.org/special-performances/

Tea and Treasures: STEM and the Art of the Trumpet: Wednesday, December 19, 2:00PM
Dr. Cleveland Johnson, Executive Director of the Morris Museum, and Professor Emeritus of Music of DePauw University, offers a perspective on the sounds of the trumpet which are rooted in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). Tickets: Museum Members: $10 andr Non-Members: $12. Call the Box office to purchase tickets – 973.971.3706.
Hanover Wind Symphony – February 10, 2019
And the Trumpets Shall Sound! – a program featuring the Trumpet section of the Hanover Wind Symphony and a guest soloist. Under the direction of Matthew J. Paterno and Associate Music Director, Kurt Zimmerman, this Wind Symphony, now in its 34th season, is made up exclusively of woodwind, brass and percussion instruments. Tickets: Museum Members: $20,  Seniors: $20,  Non-Members: $25 and Students with a valid ID: $15.  https://morrismuseum.org/community-performances/

The Brass Project Pops – Sunday, March 3, 2019, 2:00PM
This youthful, popular sextet returns with a survey of hits, including jazz favorites, marches, film music, and original works composed specifically for The Brass Project. Tickets: Museum Members: $30, Non-Members: $40, Seniors: $35, Students with valid ID: $20, Groups of 10 or more: $33. https://morrismuseum.org/special-performances/