BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – “I have been playing this instrument a long time. It’s kind of an extension of me,” Trombonist Tim Smith told News 4 during a break from a recent Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra rehearsal at Kleinhans Music Hall. He has loved the instrument ever since he started playing it in elementary school. Not just the sound it makes, but the way he identifies with others who play with it.
“Sometimes I think instruments find people with the right personalities. Trombonists are very fraternal. We’re usually pranksters. Jokesters, we like to laugh a lot.”
Smith followed his passion to earn degrees Ithaca College and Northwestern University, and now sits second chair in the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra’s trombone section. He may laugh a lot with his section mates, but he takes his job seriously. Smith had to beat out musicians from all over the world to earn it.
“There were 117 people who showed up to audition for this chair that I hold now,” he explained. “So it’s super competitive, and if I don’t go all in, I will never know later on if I could have made it or not.”
Tim is now in his seventh season with the orchestra, and he has found that once you do make it in, it’s all about understanding the role you are there to play.
“My job especially as the second player is to support what’s going on around me,” he said. “Support what the first player is doing, sometimes accompany the trumpets, or blend with the horns, cellos. So it’s very much a constantly changing teamwork environment.”
The BPO rehearses twice a day at Kleinhans, once in the morning once at night. Tim usually practices up to six hours a day at home.
“We’re all expected to show up knowing the music because rehearsals are really used to synchronize everybody and get the large product really polished.”
A product that the entire orchestra, and the region, can be proud of.
“We offer something for everyone,” Smith said of the group. “We’re really involved in the community. It’s really rewarding. Makes me feel like I am doing something that matters.”