Valgene “Val” Phillips was many issues to many individuals, and the next tributes had been kindly shared with me to rejoice his reminiscence with you:
Fred Tempas: I first met Val as a naïve 17-year-old Humboldt State freshman. Like many others, I used to be on the lookout for what it was that I’d be doing there. I had no main, only a imprecise sense of route and an curiosity in taking part in tuba within the faculty band. Val was the band director and we quickly linked, and I began taking classes from him. He was not a tuba participant however was a tremendous hornist and a very good brass instructor. I made progress and shortly he requested if I used to be taken with changing into a music main. That appeared like enjoyable to me, so I started the method my second yr. I used to be a part of a beautiful group of fellow college students, and we turned like household.
In these days, the coed to instructor ratio was low and college students and professors turned very shut. At the moment, Val additionally requested me to affix in a brass quintet made up of professors and college students. I found such pleasure! This was the most effective type of music making I may think about. In a single type or one other I performed quintets with Val for greater than 20 years. Chamber music continues to have a profound impact on my life.
I approached one other crossroads as an higher classman. Val inspired me to think about music schooling and instructing. He noticed in me what I didn’t know I had — a ardour and talent for instructing. I utilized for and bought a job instructing elementary college music in Arcata. Val was on the interview committee. Good luck? Completely.
Val was a creator. He noticed a necessity locally and put the answer collectively. Within the Seventies, there was a jazz program at School of the Redwoods, however not at HSU. The music division was very towards the thought of jazz, so Val organized a jazz ensemble that met within the evenings when no different school was there. Now, the jazz program at HSU is flourishing.
The Humboldt Brass Chamber Music Workshop, begun in 1974, is an intense, one-week occasion annually the place devoted beginner brass musicians (and a few professionals) spend all day, day by day taking part in in small teams. Chamber teams don’t have any conductor, so gamers study to guide and observe one another as a unit, trusting their eyes and ears. I participated within the workshop nearly from the start.
Right here was the place the place all of it got here collectively — my love of tuba, chamber music and instructing. Val’s talent at organizing and main the workshop turned a mannequin for me and lots of others. I moved from participant to employees to affiliate director to director. I adopted his mannequin (with a number of adjustments) for the 12 years I used to be director. I’m nonetheless a employees member because the workshop approaches 50 years.
Extra not too long ago, Val established the Chamber Gamers of the Redwoods, a nonprofit group that produces live performance packages for native chamber musicians. We simply celebrated our tenth yr as a corporation. This was a much-needed means for native musicians to carry out in public with out having to fret about venue, insurance coverage, promoting, and so forth. Once more, Val’s organizational talent, management and imaginative and prescient led to simply what was wanted to convey our native music group collectively.
For me, Val was a instructor, mentor, colleague and good friend. He and I had been companions on many initiatives for practically 50 years. He guided me in my skilled life and profession. I may at all times go to him for recommendation (and, sometimes, he to me!). His work with so many musicians in Humboldt County, from elementary college by means of faculty and adults, Eureka Symphony, All Seasons Orchestra and others will resonate for years to come back. Relaxation in Peace, pricey good friend.
Jill Petricca: Val was a good friend, colleague, fellow brass participant to my father, Richard Stroud. This implies my earliest reminiscences are as a baby. He laughed extra then, reserving quite a few smiles and sparkles for the younger of age. This good friend reworked into mentor, severe as I reached my teen years. Musician rosters everywhere in the area had Val on the high of the checklist as a hornist. I ponder means down deep about how he was nonetheless mentoring and guiding me in 2020/2021 and through a pandemic with the ensemble I work with. Might his journey proceed to a fuller pleasure.
Phil Kates: I first met Val within the fall of 1951 when he confirmed up within the music room at Salinas Union Excessive Faculty, appearing only a bit shy, saying he performed French horn and was there a spot for him within the college orchestra. In fact, there was.
And that was the beginning of what turned out to be a lifelong friendship, truly, a really shut friendship. We bought our music instructing credentials at San Jose State, taught in neighboring public college districts, had been co-founders of the Saratoga Woodwind Quintet, each bought professorships at HSU, led the Humboldt Chamber Music Workshop collectively, and the checklist goes on and on and on.
Early fall semester of 1972 at HSU, Val handed me a bit of music, clearly on manuscript paper, and stated that that is for me. On the entrance cowl is √441, on web page one of many music on the high it says, “for Phil.”
Properly, fall of 1972 was 21 years from after we first met, and he wrote a duet for oboe and horn to commemorate the event, truly dated Aug. 5, 1972. We carried out it later that fall.
As in all of his compositions, luckily he wrote fairly a number of, it’s inventive, creative, attention-grabbing, ahead wanting, interesting. I may write an entire ebook on all we had been by means of collectively, however √441 is unquestionably essentially the most touching for me.
My copy with all my humorous little marks in it’s sitting proper right here by my pc. it makes me smile and choke up on the similar time.
I retired early from HSU and moved out of the world, however we spoke on the telephone periodically, definitely not typically sufficient. He was a really proficient, extremely smart human being. Miss him vastly.
Craig Naylor: I’ve been lucky to have had many academics in my life who made me a greater musician, author, individual — and who (later in our lives) turned a good friend and mentor. Valgene Phillips, one in all my professors for my undergrad at HSU, was one.
When he handed away, it left a gap in my coronary heart. My life is best due to Val, and I really feel blessed that our lives crossed. Soar excessive, pricey good friend.
Susan Bicknell: We (the All Seasons Orchestra) are deeply saddened by the passing of our good good friend and musical director, Val Phillips. Val is well-known all through Humboldt as a conductor, a hornist and an amazing useful resource and wealth of information for anybody needing recommendation about all the elements of creating music.
He had a protracted profession as professor of music, division chair and dean at HSU, main its chamber music workshops. He additionally co-founded the Chamber Gamers of the Redwoods and had a longstanding curiosity in music as a vital factor of the group.
In his retirement, he coached people and ensembles giant and small. He inspired all of us to attempt to enhance our talent as musicians. He clearly beloved music, and he beloved the individuals who made music with him.
We had been lucky to have captured his curiosity for the final a number of years. He attended our rehearsals repeatedly and provided recommendation and steerage every time he suspected we had the persistence to hear. He helped us to enhance our general sense of being an orchestral ensemble. He gently coached and inspired us as we struck out on our personal to change into an unbiased nonprofit group. We’re grateful to have been his associates, and we are going to miss him.
Franklin Stover: I bought to know Val close to the tip of his time on the HSU music division, and extra intimately across the years I edited for the Humboldt Beacon, which resulted in December 2011. A chamber musician myself, for some time I used to be in a novel place to assist promote Val’s favourite pastime, the Chamber Gamers of the Redwoods by means of the paper.
We began getting collectively to debate upcoming live shows, and as I bought bolder, I began sharing my chamber and orchestral scores with him over espresso. All the time very form and gracious, Val confirmed real curiosity in what I used to be as much as, made insightful feedback and boosted my morale, which at all times wanted boosting.
Val was extremely thoughtful of others and was motivated to do good for the creative group. I preferred how Val was at all times considering up methods of creating the chamber music expertise extra accessible to the typical individual. His dedication to the Chamber Music Gamers of the Redwoods is a long-lasting testomony to his work on this space. I’ll miss Val Phillips vastly.
Ronite Gluck: Val Phillips is a reminder to all of us of how the optimistic results of 1 individual’s good deeds proceed to ripple out to the longer term in ways in which individual might by no means know.
I first met Val on an impromptu go to to the HSU Music Division when he was the division chair at a time once I was exploring the place to proceed my musical research. His encouraging follow-up letter to me was a giant a part of why I selected to come back to HSU, and I had the advantage of finding out horn with him whereas I used to be pursuing my levels in music efficiency and schooling.
He had carried out within the Bay Space and Humboldt most of the nice horn solo literature works, symphonic works and chamber music, and had a deep understanding of brass pedagogy, all of which he generously shared together with his college students. After he turned a full-time administrator and I started instructing horn at HSU, I knew I may depend on his help every time wanted.
I might be eternally grateful that he prolonged the summer season chamber music workshops to incorporate one solely for brass gamers (the Brass Chamber Music Workshop), a workshop I first attended in 1994 and nearly each summer season since. This occasion is a spotlight of the summer season for a lot of, and people return yr after yr, so all of us think about ourselves a part of an prolonged household that Val began. Think about, all of those friendships shaped with of us from everywhere in the nation and the world, due to the seed that he planted to start out this workshop.
Likewise, he started the Chamber Gamers of the Redwoods to encourage the sharing of chamber music year-round, and I’ve many fond reminiscences of making ready for, and collaborating in, these occasions.
I witnessed Val regularly supporting music in Humboldt by means of his attendance at live shows and performances. All the time with a sort phrase to the musicians — the kind of suggestions that was essentially the most priceless as a result of he understood music-making so intimately himself.
Val was terribly beneficiant together with his time, experience, assets and devices. I depend myself lucky to have recognized him, grown below his mentorship and to have been a part of his musical group. His reminiscence will reside on in our music-making!
Ken Biggs: The lack of musical colleagues is tough to bear; there isn’t any extra music to play with them. So, it hit me exhausting once I realized of the lack of one in all my academics, mentors and associates, Valgene “Val” Phillips. (His mom named him after Jean-Valjean of “Les Miserables,” her favourite ebook.)
He was my first trombone instructor. And once I graduated highschool and attended HSU, I continued my research there with Val the place he was a professor.
You can typically inform the place Val was by the scent of his pipe tobacco. He would sometimes sit on the steps exterior the music constructing and smoke, misplaced in thought. I’d generally be a part of him, typically asking questions on this or that, whereas at different instances having fun with the silence.
After commencement, I moved away from Humboldt, however typically heard about him from individuals who had been nonetheless there.
Others will keep in mind Val otherwise, relying on which aspect of life they interacted with him. Upon studying of Val’s demise, my good friend, Bodie Pfost, posted on Fb: “Val was one of many kindest, gentlest, warmest souls I ever met. I’ll miss him.” I already miss him.
Toni Skelton: Val Phillips was one in all my music schooling professors at HSU. Greater than that, he was a good friend and mentor, who took all of these roles critically and led by instance. His boundless curiosity embodied a worth for lifelong studying, which he delivered to the classroom and reminded us that music schooling doesn’t exist in a vacuum.
Val had a knack for locating the strengths in every of his college students and inspiring them, whereas devising methods to complement the areas that wanted some consideration. I keep in mind as soon as, in a secondary music strategies class, he found that our whole group was missing in a specific space of instrument pedagogy.
He scrapped two weeks’ value of his syllabus to reteach the fundamentals as a result of, in his phrases, “I can’t allow you to graduate with out figuring out some fundamental method, as a result of your diploma will say that you simply do, and future employers will count on it.”
One other time, throughout a lecture on skilled habits and demeanor, he made it a degree to deal with our particular person “quirks” that will not serve us nicely in job interviews. One in every of my associates (who went on to change into a college superintendent) realized that “professionals don’t start sentences with ‘like’ and finish with ‘.’”
Val labored to wash up my Midwestern drawl that I didn’t know I had. All of this was completed not with heavy criticism, however with heat, humor and real willpower to assist us succeed.
His personal public college instructing expertise, generously shared, offered the sensible examples that we novice academics wanted to listen to. The very best recommendation I ever obtained got here from Val: ‘The principal doesn’t run the varsity. Custodians and faculty secretaries do. Make associates with them and deal with them nicely.”
After commencement, Val was a touchstone for these of us who pursued careers in music schooling. Relatively than kick us out of the nest with a sink or swim angle, he tell us that he would at all times be there to reply questions, be a sounding board, present a actuality verify or simply catch up as associates.
In 2014, we requested Val if he would organize some Christmas music for our native Tuba Vacation Live performance, and he welcomed the prospect to enhance his abilities utilizing advanced music software program with a setting of “Good King Wenceslas.” The next yr, he agreed so as to add one other association to our efficiency, and we’ve used his setting of “Silent Evening” yearly since.
Val’s passing leaves such a gap in my coronary heart, and I do know I’m not alone. I’m grateful for having recognized him, and can miss the random, welcome messages from him that I’ve treasured through the years.
Nonetheless, when the Tuba Vacation viewers joins in singing “Silent Evening” with the tubas and euphoniums, he might be with us for a couple of minutes, but once more.
Man and Judy Aronoff: (Man had the pleasure of figuring out Val as a retired colleague from HSU and Judy as her ever-patient and inspiring French horn mentor.) Valgene Phillips, proud “Sooner” from Northwestern Oklahoma, got here to California together with his household within the late Nineteen Thirties. Graduating from faculty and securing a instructing job within the postwar period, Val got here to HSU in 1967, instructing music for over 37 years, and served because the dean for undergraduate research earlier than retiring in 2005.
Val additionally labored with quite a few musical retailers, the Eureka Symphony, Chamber Music and All Seasons Orchestra (mentoring quite a few individuals alongside the way in which). His experience and quiet, unassuming method made all that knew him snug.
Particularly pleasurable had been the lunches we had with him on the Café Marina in Eureka. In truth, he was the final individual we noticed within the flesh earlier than the pandemic separated us all. Val reminisced about his life expertise as we had been within the technique of gathering data for a set of oral histories of HSU school and employees alumni.
We had been very a lot desirous to resume our lunch conferences and decide up the place we left off, however sadly, this isn’t to be. He might be fondly remembered by us, and the so many lives he touched.
Terri Miller: I bought to know Val and his household as a participant within the HSU Chamber Music Workshop. Once in a while, Val would get out his French horn and play with us. He was in an ensemble of some horns that was stunning. He advised me that “heaven” was attending to be a part of 210 French horns taking part in collectively. Play on, my good friend.
Elizabeth Morrison: I met Val Phillips the primary time I attended the Humboldt Chamber Music Workshop in July 1986. The workshop modified the course of my life, because it did the lives of many people. Chamber music grew from an curiosity to an obsession. At dwelling, I performed, studied and wrote about it. I married a violinist. We confirmed up for the workshop each summer season. In 1993, we moved to Humboldt County. I owe a lot, not least the happiest of marriages, to Val and the workshop.
Val was the workshop director, and his character was near the middle of our expertise. He and the superb employees did all the pieces potential to make the workshop our favourite week of the yr. Past the numerous organizational felicities and the quirky traditions, Val delivered to the function a top quality that gave the workshop, for me, a type of magic. That’s, he listened.
To understand Val’s feat of listening, you could know that every workshop day ends with a live performance on stage in Fulkerson Corridor, the place the contributors play a choice of the music they’ve labored on that day. Nevertheless, this isn’t a live performance as we normally use the phrase. We solely obtain our music task at 9 a.m. and should scramble to study it in just some hours. We’re beginner musicians, and none of us, frankly, is Yo-Yo Ma. It’s, slightly, a collection of fraught, adrenaline-fueled performances to which we convey no matter talent and perception we will summon, together with our hope to not crash and burn too badly on stage. The live performance is lengthy, and with 20 to 25 teams every day and even with a five-minute restrict on every efficiency, it may be grueling. At any given second, a lot of the viewers is both dozing, fidgeting, gossiping or surreptitiously checking their telephone. However not Val. Day-after-day, normally for the entire, seemingly infinite live performance, Val would sit quietly on the stage, so shut and so absorbed within the music that it nearly felt like he was taking part in it with us.
I hardly dare consider what number of instances Val had heard the exact same items, largely probably with the identical errors. However in his listening, he absolutely embodied Arthur Miller’s commandment that “consideration should be paid.” Val gave his full consideration to each one in all us on the precise moments after we wanted it most, when, taking part in our determined hearts out, we had been as uncovered we’d ever be in our lives.
This was his reward, and that is what we repaid with our gratitude and our devotion. His passing leaves an infinite gap in all our hearts. I’m afraid nobody will ever hearken to us that means once more. All we will do now could be attempt to study from his instance and provides our full consideration to one another the way in which Val gave his to us. In that means we will maintain him with us eternally.