|Don Johnson started playing the baroque trumpet in 2004 after attending the Historic Brass Society Festival and hearing
several baroque trumpeters perform. He purchased a new Naumann trumpet and began to introduce his friends to the
baroque trumpet. They were all pleasantly surprised with the beautiful tone that the horn produced. It was not what they
expected to hear after playing and hearing modern trumpets. His friends were hooked and started to purchase baroque
trumpets. Don then decided to start a group of just baroque trumpeters anticipating church concerts and concert series.
The founding members where Don Johnson, his son Don Johnson III, Wayne Collier, and Joseph Van Fleet. Soon after
Dr. Michael Tunnell started to play on a regular basis with Don. Mike's students from the University of Louisville then
began to sit in on the practice sessions and more trumpeters wanted to join the group. In the spring of 2007 the
ensemble competed in the National Trumpet Competition in the Historic Ensemble Division and won the division. The
contestants were Don Johnson, Don Johnson III, Wayne Collier, Joseph Van Fleet on trumpet, and John Bryant playing
Kentucky Baroque Trumpets recreate the sound and styles of the baroque trumpet including signal calls, cavalry music,
dance music, duets, solo music, and trumpet with voice, which requires playing in different styles and tone colors. Our
concerts are designed to try and include all of these different styles of music. The ensemble tries to appeal to different
audiences. Some people want to hear music played completely authentic. This means a trumpet with no vent holes, or to
say it another way, with no finger holes.
Trumpets with no vent holes are more difficult to play in tune. Experimentation with vent holes did not happen until well
after 1750. All music written for trumpet before that time was played on trumpets with no holes. We play some of our
music with no holes to appeal to this authentic audience and also to demonstrate the difference between the vented and
Nearly all baroque concerts in North America that are played on reproduction period instruments, are played with
trumpets using vent holes. This is done to not only make it easier to play in tune for the performer, it is also to please
the modern audiences ear. The instruments you see today that are three or four hole designs are actually a 20th century
Our ensemble also tries to accommodate this audience. We understand this audience and do not believe everyone has to
be a purist in authenticity to enjoy baroque music. At the same time we highly respect the purist and also understand
their reasoning. There is enough room for all music lovers in this world.
Kentucky Baroque Trumpets also play modern instruments in concerts. Many people are unaware that many of the
pieces of music they have heard on television, on the radio, and in weddings, were actually written for trumpet during
the baroque era. But they are played today on modern instruments. The majority of these pieces are played on the
piccolo trumpet. We demonstrate the difference in the tone of a modern trumpet and piccolo trumpet compared to a
baroque trumpet. Next we explain to the audience how the valves work and why they were invented to help the
trumpeter not only play better in tune, but also to miss less notes. So we try to appeal to this modern audience as well.
It was mentioned on our home page that all of our trumpeters are picked not only upon their playing ability but also
upon their character. This is where we would like to touch upon the religious aspect of music. One question that we like
to ask the public is " What do the following people all have in common other than being a composer? J. S. Bach, Joseph
Haydn, Beethoven, Brahms, Sousa, and even Duke Ellington?" The answer is, they all claimed to have got their musical
inspirations from God. And there are more composers that say the same thing. They say that they learned their craft to
be able to write down what they heard from God. Beethoven said to Schuppanzigh, the concert master violinist, after
Schuppanzigh complained of the difficulty of the piece, "When I composed that passage, I was conscious of being
inspired by God Almighty. Do you think I can consider your puny little fiddle when He speaks to me?" There are
numerous quotes from composers that are similar.
And so we all thank God, our creator, for the wonderful baroque music he gave to us. Come hear our concerts and enjoy
this magnificent music. If you would like to support our efforts please email us. We would certainly like to have
individual and corporate sponsors.