Tower Music is a free community event, open to the public.

Tower Music is cherished tradition at the Bach Festival that began in 1936 with the Heralding Trombones, led for 25 years by Monterey grocer Chandler Stewart and then his son Gordon Stewart. Chandler had been a friend of Festival founders Dene Denny and Hazel Watrous – all were Bach fans. The trombone quartet opened every Festival in the early days.

In addition to playing from the balcony window of the Sunset Auditorium, they also played from the bell tower at the Carmel Mission, thus earning the name, “Tower Music.” Performing and “sounding the alarm” from towers and balconies is a centuries-old tradition, dating to the Middle Ages, utilizing ancient trumpets, trombones, horns, and drums. The Stewart family continued to perform Tower Music well into the 60s with the next generation of Stewart offspring until the brass section of the orchestra was asked to carry on the tradition in the 1970s, as it does today.

Tower Music honors a tradition reaching back to antiquity when various brass instruments were used to call or signal attention to events and situations: for better (the arrival of royalty, weddings, pageants, hunts and jousts) or for worse (invading or marauding armies and other serious and life-threatening actions).

The entire brass section of the Festival Orchestra now participates in Tower Music performances and it is still a beloved tradition. Please join us for Tower Music before the Main Concerts. We love hearing from you, speaking with you, and renewing acquaintances and friendships that began and endure with this great Festival!

— Suzanne Mudge, Tower Music Director

Tower Music Personnel:

Leonard Ott, Dominic Favia, and Greg Smith, Trumpets
Alex Camphouse, French horn
Bruce Chrisp, Alto & Tenor Trombone, Tenor Sackbut
Suzanne Mudge, Tenor Trombone, Tenor Sackbut
Wayne Solomon, Bass Trombone, Bass Sackbut
Kevin Neuhoff, Percussion