Casey Maday, principal trombone, joined wcfsymphony in 2011-2012. A recent transplant from the Chicago area, Casey has an active career as a performer and teacher and offers a great story about his start to instrumental music as well details of his professional life in the Midwest:
“I started playing flute in third grade, teaching myself on an aunt’s flute from high school, but then the first day of band I climbed on the bus with my flute and kids made fun of me. That ended my flute excursion! I switched to trombone because the band director said I had a good trombone sound after the first playing test.
“Now as a professional I perform regularly with Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony, Des Moines Symphony Orchestra, and Orchestra Iowa as well as sub with various orchestras throughout the Midwest. So a large portion of my week is spent preparing for next week’s work while rehearsing and performing other music in the evenings. I am still on the audition circuit, so when there are auditions I am working hard to learn the excerpts on the list, and if there are not any upcoming auditions I enjoy scheduling solo recital tours around the Midwest. Besides my performing I also maintain a small studio of trombone students in Des Moines and coach the Honors Brass Quintet and the Des Moines Youth Symphony Orchestra Brass section at the Des Moines Symphony Academy.
“As a player, I prepare for all my work by first listening to several recordings then working out any of the more difficult passages very slowly. After I feel comfortable with them I slowly move them up to tempo. I like to show up to the first rehearsal ready to perform the piece. I feel this gives the conductor time to shape the piece into the music that the composer intended without the nuisance of having to rehearse sections on the job. Experience definitely helps, but I try to be thoroughly prepared regardless of how well I think I know the piece, because you never know what might be thrown at you.
“wcfsymphony is the only orchestra where I currently play principal. It is very enjoyable and rewarding to set the style and lead my section. I also thoroughly enjoy sitting next to and working with Randy Grabowski – he is a great musician and overall great human being. Not your typical trumpet player!
“As a professional musician, I love being able to share something that I am passionate about with the world, and potentially being able to spark that passion in someone else. I also just love making music, there is nothing else I can imagine doing. But it is a profession that faces challenges – I think two of the biggest are that orchestras are losing funding and searching to maintain large audiences.
“One audience that was an especially memorable group was the Cedar Rapids students attending a Music in the Schools performance with the Orchestra Iowa brass quintet last year. Getting the kids to chant “Sackbut! Sackbut! Sackbut!” (the trombone ancestor from the Renaissance/Baroque eras) as they headed back to class would give any trombone player a special feeling!
“I live in Des Moines with my American bulldog Floyd and spend my free time bass fishing and brewing beer for Van Houzen Brewing in Newton, Iowa.”
We’re thrilled that Casey’s found a home in our trombone section, though we’ll have to look out for Van Houzen hidden in those water bottles back there!