Gardner-Webb Professor Shares Stage with Top Names in Music Industry

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Trumpeter Tim Hudson Gives Students Unique Insights from his Experiences

Professor Tim HudsonBOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—An Elvis Presley concert in 1976 introduced the trumpet to Tim Hudson, Gardner-Webb University Assistant Professor of Music. “The King” appeared on stage to a majestic trumpet fanfare. “That was the coolest thing I had ever heard,” Hudson recalled. “I was still interested in Elvis, but I wanted to hear more of the trumpets.”

A seventh-grader, he kept talking about the experience, so his mother suggested he sign up to play the trumpet in the band. Since picking up the instrument, Hudson has studied under talented horn players and traveled worldwide playing with orchestras, ensembles and artists like Ray Charles, Tony Bennett, Josh Groban and others. A native of Reidsville, N.C., he lives in Greensboro, N.C., and teaches full time at Gardner-Webb while playing an average of 250 performances each year.

Hudson likes the variety of his schedule, which includes touring with The Rodney Marsalis Philadelphia Big Brass and the group he founded 20 years ago, Carolina Brass. Marsalis is first cousin to jazz great and Grammy winner, Wynton Marsalis, and the group tours worldwide. Carolina Brass performs a variety of music from contemporary to classical and also presents educational programs. Two other members of the group also teach at Gardner-Webb. Carolina Brass has made five recordings and were recently featured on a PBS special.

Gardner-Webb is the ninth college where Hudson has taught and is his favorite. “I feel like this is where I am supposed to be,” Hudson observed. “I’m fortunate that I can go play and teach. I wouldn’t want to play without teaching and wouldn’t want to teach without playing. It is very important to me as a performing artist to pass on what I have been fortunate enough to learn and to understand. To be able to pass that knowledge on to my students is just equally rewarding as playing on the world’s greatest stages. To see my students go on and do well is just fantastic.”

photo of Tim HudsonDuring class, he shares details about recent performances. “I will be on tour for a few days and come home to Gardner-Webb, and I will say, ‘Well, I was just playing with Tony Bennett. This is the third time I’ve played with him and he is just the nicest guy.’” Hudson offered. “We will talk a little bit about how that worked out. I will give them some information about the artists I played with and who they are as people and the dynamics of the rehearsal versus the concert. I give them interesting information, and sometimes I go into great detail about certain conductors I’ve worked with in the past or that I’m working with now.”

He also speaks honestly with students about the downside of traveling. “Everyone thinks it’s glitz and glamour, but you are flying around, living out of a suitcase and dealing with cancellations and delays,” Hudson explained. “I always tell people that I get paid for the traveling, but I play and teach for free.”

Although he travels a lot, his students have his cell phone number and know he can be reached by a text or phone call. “Every student—I am so very proud of them,” Hudson asserted. “Gardner-Webb is an incredible place.”

Want to hear Tim Hudson with Rodney Marsalis & the Philadelphia Big Brass? The musicians will be in concert March 21, 8 p.m., at Don Gibson Theatre in Shelby, N.C., Tickets: $29. Call The Don Gibson Theatre to purchase tickets: 704-487-8114.

To listen to the complete interview with Tim Hudson, click below.