Staples of your Orchestra: Dean Glace

  • Friday, November 1, 2013

Michael Quirk/Journal Scene Dean Glace displays one of his five trumpets outside Single Smile Cafe in Summerville.

Summerville Community Orchestra trumpet player Dean Glace has owned 10-15 trumpets in his lifetime.

Little things about each instrument would prompt him to make the swap, things that don’t bother him anymore. He now owns five and appreciates the small changes in sound each weathered instrument supplies.

Glace is also one of just two members left of the constant turnover his beloved orchestra experiences.

“It’s amazing how many people have played (with the SCO),” he said. “It makes me want to practice more and make sure my sound is the way it should be. When we bring in others you work even harder.”

Glace would know what it is like to have to step up his practice regimen. That is what he had to do six years ago when he suffered a heart attack.

“Going forward I’m just hoping I can continue playing. After (the heart attack) I couldn’t play for a month and it was hard,” he said.

What made his transition back easier was CSO flautist Jenny Bekker, his oldest daughter.

“I enjoy playing with her,” he said. “It’s a lot of fun and she’ll give me criticism which is fine because she’s a good musician.”

He and his wife Mary have another daughter, Laura, that teaches English in Thailand. Family is an important piece of Glace’s life and has been since he was a child growing up in Pilot Mountain, N.C.

“My twin brother and I would go outside on the porch and play our trumpets. People could hear us all the way down the mountain and at school the next day they’d say ‘Y’all sounded good last night,’” he said with a long laugh.

A 7-year-old Glace picked up the trumpet after his father, a pianist and violinist, purchased one at a pawnshop. The twins and their father learned the instrument together.

Their school started the band when he was in the third grade and he continued playing in concert and marching band in high school in nearby Elkin, N.C.

He then enrolled at North Carolina State University where he played symphonic, marching, brass, orchestra and big band at the school.

He alternately spent time in the Navy for four years before earning his bachelor of science in electrical engineering.

After graduating he worked with radio transmitters in Rochester, N.Y., avionics in Florida and space and naval warfare in Virginia. Glace, his wife and two daughters moved down to Summerville in 1996.

“Right when I moved here I talked to (CSO violinist) Allen Hendricks and began playing at the Singing Christmas Tree and I’ve done that for 17 years,” he said. “Then I overheard (Summerville) was starting an orchestra so I attended the meeting and we’ve come all this way now.”

In addition to playing in the Singing Christmas Tree and SCO, he continues to perform at weddings, brass quintets, the College of Charleston orchestra and serves as the music librarian for the SCO.

“It’s something that I did back at NC State that they asked me to do here,” he said. “I copy music, put folders together, make sure they have all the parts and I do about 7,000 copies per season.”

Glace retired from his job in 2006 and has continued to perform music and serve as the librarian since then.

He maintains his practice schedule and recanted the phrase “The only way to get to Carnegie Hall is the practice, practice, practice.” The 67-year-old has a motivation for his musical career going forward.

“As long as I can keep playing, I’m going to play.”

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