In concert: Larry Krueger
To some, Larry Krueger might seem like an eclectic guy.
He’s an avid gardener, cook and woodworker. He was a research chemist before retiring in 2006.
He’s the father of two and grandfather of one. And he’s played a trombone with the Summerville Community Orchestra since 2009.
But to Krueger it’s not random: “I guess they all fall into the realm of working with your hands. You’re making something. When you finish a project, whether it’s harvesting tomatoes or learning a piece for the orchestra, there’s really a good sense of accomplishment.”
Krueger started playing the trombone as a child, but stopped when he went off to college because of the time commitment. But 14 years, several graduate degrees and one two-year stint in Germany later, Krueger moved to the Lowcountry for work and started playing what he affectionately calls his “horn” again through his church.
It was Bethany United Methodist Church that brought him to the orchestra, as that’s where Krueger met Ray Goins, one of the orchestra’s trombonists, who convinced Krueger to join in.
“I love it [playing with the orchestra]. I love music in general,” he said. “It’s just a great group of people, and Alex [Agrest, the conductor] has done a great job in leading it. It’s been a great experience.”
He practices playing his recording horn – the same one he’s had since high school – three to four times a week and said he has never had an interest in learning to play another instrument.
“I can’t really pinpoint what I like about it… I like to be a part of the group, and music has always been a part of my life.”
He said he hopes one day to learn how to double-tongue and triple-tongue his trombone, a technique Krueger said would be a “big improvement” to his playing.
He’s also wishing for a new valve trombone to replace his current instrument.
When asked about his favorite performances with the orchestra, Krueger referenced a show last year that featured several big band era composers, such as Glen Miller, which heavily feature horns.
He toots out “Little Brown Jug” on the trombone in happy reminiscence of the concert and the earthy, metallic sound of his instrument fills the room.
Krueger said aspiring musicians should choose their instrument the way he did: “Try to pick an instrument you feel mostly attracted to. Go for the one that attracts you to it because you’ll enjoy playing it the most.”
Practice, he said, is also another key component of learning and maintaining the skill. “You’ve got to stay with it, but if you love it you will never leave it.”