I am Dr. Patricia Backhaus (Dr. Pat, Dr. B, Cornet Pat). I live in southeastern Wisconsin where I grew up. My parents had a very eclectic approach to music, so I grew up hearing the Milwaukee Symphony, outdoor band concerts, German band music at the Bavarian Inn (now the Bavarian Brewhouse), various forms of jazz, singing in choir at church and (thanks to my dad) Spike Jones.
In the second grade I went to my first school band concert to hear my brother play. There was a girl sitting first chair trumpet and I knew that is where I wanted to be. Two years later my parents took me to register for lessons and I announced to the nice man signing us up that I wanted to play the trumpet. He politely informed my parents that all beginners started on cornet. I told him again that I wanted a trumpet, but the parental units prevailed and I was signed up for cornet. At that young age I wanted nothing to do with the cornet, so it’s rather ironic that I became totally fascinated with this instrument while in Graduate School at the University of Minnesota. I still play primarily trumpet. Lots of different trumpets! But I grew to love the cornet.
My BA is from Carroll University and my Master’s of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees are from the University of Minnesota. The DMA degree requirements included four credits outside of my major field. All my degrees are in trumpet performance, so I decided to ask one of my favorite teachers if I could do an independent study on uses of cornet solos in trumpet pedagogy.
He was a music education professor so I figured I had it made. After filling out the proper paperwork (there’s always paperwork) I set about gathering a representative collection of golden age cornet solos (1890-1920). I thought I had done so with about two-dozen in hand (ignorance is bliss) I began to search for biographical information on the composers. I found nothing. Not. One. Thing. I was in trouble. These were the years before the Internet. I looked at all of the standard reference books. Nothing. Then I tried walking around the reference shelves looking for anything promising. I found a book entitled Berger Band Encyclopedia by Kenneth Berger. It was a huge help.
Then I found John Philip Sousa: American Phenomenon by Paul Bierley. It had an index! Any researcher will tell you that a book is only as good as its index. And there was a bonus. Paul’s address was in the back of the book. I sent off a letter with several questions regarding cornet players. His reply came back: “Well Pat. You sure stumped this old coot!” How could we not become friends?
The books and things that you will see on this website are the result of my decades of research. If you enjoy Victorian age cornet solos and band music, I think you will enjoy my writing. Strike Up the Band!