Photo courtesy of the University of Montevallo
Dr. Joseph Ardovino, commonly known as Dr. Joe, rhythmically tapped his fist for a brief moment and with just a look at accompanist Dr. Laurie Middaugh, began the wild frenzy of his first selection on his trumpet.
LeBaron Recital Hall in the Davis music building echoed with the lively sounds of the first selection, Tomaso Albinoni’s “Concerto in Bb Major.”
The precision built from 37 years of being a musician was evident in the performance, though the director of the University Wind Ensemble played with a sense of effortlessness.
Throughout the Sept. 23 performance, the selections featured a variety of both trumpet and accompanist instruments – Ardovino displayed proficiency on the piccolo trumpet, the coronet, the C-trumpet and the flugelhorn, while Middaugh performed on the piano and the organ.
During the piece “Let the Bright Seraphim,” Dr. Melanie Williams also joined with a soprano vocal part to match the high trumpet line. For many in the crowd, a highlight of the evening was when Ardovino paid tribute to the eternal Louis Armstrong by singing selections such as “What a Wonderful World” and “Hello Dolly” in his best Armstrong voice, which is highly uncanny hearing it emerge from Ardovino’s usually smooth, even tone.
For these pieces, he brought out various other faculty and students, including his wife Dr. Lori Ardovino on clarinet, Eric Stein on bass guitar, Ethan Miller on the drum set, Thad Walker on tenor saxophone and Alec Lee on trombone to create a live jazz band sound
Lee later disclosed that he loves getting to work with Ardovino, stating that “Dr. Joe is one of the best musicians in Alabama, and it is a complete honor to be able to share a stage with him.”
Ardovino’s music is played with care and obvious enjoyment, which is especially seen through the pieces with heavy jazz influence and warm moving lines. When discussing the selection of which pieces to play, Ardovino said, “I pick music that I myself would like to listen to.” Judging by the appreciative smiles and laughter in the audience, the room agreed with the song choices.
Junior Kristen Robbins summed up the thoughts of many when she stated that the performance was just as she expected – “Dr. Joe delivered a recital that was a delightful blend of classical and popular tunes. It was excellent, and I’m looking forward to his next performance.”
Ardovino discussed his rhythm of preparation that he has developed over the years – his regimen includes playing through the full recital twice a day to build up endurance and familiarity with the horns. The technical difficulty increases a great deal when a performer switches between instruments, because they must instantly adapt to a different technique to play the horn. However, when asked what he thinks about when he performs, Ardovino said “Once you get past the knowing about the instrument, you just express yourself musically and forget about all that, and I personally just focus on the message I want to convey.”