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Houston trumpet player plays in symphony's master series

Camille Doty

By Camille Doty
Oct. 14, 2011 at 5:14 a.m.
Updated Oct. 15, 2011 at 5:15 a.m.

Mark Hughes, who plays the principal trumpet at the Houston Symphony Orchestra, practiced with hgh school students on Friday. His concert, The Music of Dance will take place Saturday.

Mark Hughes didn't get the lead trumpet position in junior high school. But after his humbling defeat, he made a vow to himself to not be in second place.

Years later, he became the principal trumpet with the Houston Symphony Orchestra.

Friday morning he wanted to help aspiring musicians to fulfill their dreams. He learned from his college professor to help others.

"We know how to play the trumpet and know how to teach, it is our responsibility to share with others," Hughes said.

Trumpet players from Victoria East and West High Schools listened to Hughes the day before in his own concert.

The Victoria Symphony invited Hughes to be a part of the Master Series and encouraged him and other artists to reach out to the community.

Debbie Durham, the symphony's education coordinator, said it's important for students to see the standards of a professional musician.

One of the symphony's goals is to inspire, inform and engage the students, she said.

"Music is not a highbrow thing. It's relevant to children and students of all ages," she said.

It's been almost 30 years since Hughes sat in the classroom as a student. Now the student has become the master.

Hughes was inspired by the late Vincent Cichowicz, his professor who was a a member of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's trumpet section. He retired from the orchestra early to teach at Northwestern University.

Hughes, who's originally from Jonesboro, Ga., taught students about proper breathing and technique.

Playing the trumpet with them, he emphasized the importance of developing good habits.

Hughes advised the students that mastering an instrument takes a long-term commitment.

"It's going to take many, many hours of hard work," he said. "But the benefit can be very rewarding."

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