The Troy Street Observer

Apr 29, 1974: A Week in Praise of the Sackbut

Drawing of man playing sackbut
Pre-Berklee Sackbut Player

The second annual Boston Sackbut Week, the celebration of all things trombone, commenced on April 29, 1974 with a concert featuring Carl Fontana with the Harvard Jazz Band.

“Sackbut” is a word with a fascinating etymology, but all we need now is the quick definition: the Renaissance-age forerunner of the trombone.

The idea of dedicating an entire week to the trombone, Renaissance or otherwise, originated in 1973 with two of the sackbut’s local stalwarts, Tom Everett, the then-president of the International Trombone Association, and the director of the Harvard Jazz Band (he retired in 2013), and Phil Wilson, at Berklee in 1973 but named chairman of the jazz studies program at the New England Conservatory of Music in 1974. Boston Mayor Kevin White issued a proclamation in honor of Sackbut Week that first year.

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