The Troy Street Observer

Apr 30, 1974: Premiere of “God’s Trombones”

Photo of Phil Wilson and Carl Fontana
Phil Wilson and Carl Fontana. Photo Phil Wilson.

In April 1974, trombone players of all musical persuasions gathered for the second Boston Sackbut Week, the brainchild of local stalwarts Tom Everett, Phil Wilson, and Tom Plsek. One of the Big Deals of 1974 was the April 30 debut of “God’s Trombones,” a work composed by Richard Allen and performed as part of the annual Berklee Spring Concert.

The Berklee Performance Center did not open until 1976, so for this concert the college rented the New England Life Hall on Clarendon Street, a space that was closed in 2005.

“God’s Trombones” featured the Berklee Jazz Trombone Ensemble and Wilson’s Thursday Night Dues Band, plus guest soloist Carl Fontana. “God’s Trombones” was written with Fontana in mind, and he plays the voice of God throughout the work. Fontana in 1974 was making a very good living in Las Vegas, and jetting to occasional jazz jobs across the country.

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