Glenn, a native of Berwick, PA, began his music training at age nine. After high school, he attended the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, then joined the Marine Band in Washington, DC as trombone soloist. In 1956, he started a nine year stay with the New Orleans Symphony, which presented the opportunity to play jazz with Al Hirt and Pete Fountain. During that time, he also spent six seasons with the Santa Fe Opera Orchestra. He joined the Chicago Symphony in 1965, and while there, was also active in commercial studio work. In 1968, Glenn moved to the Philadelphia Orchestra as principal trombonist. In addition to teaching private students, Glenn served as Instructor of Trombone and Brass Ensemble at the Curtis Institute. Glenn retired from the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1995 and from the Curtis Institute of Music in 1998, but he continues to coach and play in many jazz groups including his own Raz-Jaz Dixie Band.
A tribute to Mr. Dodson
As you know, we lost a great mentor, teacher, and friend, Glenn Dodson, the former Principal Trombonist with the Philadelphia Orchestra. I know Glenn enjoyed getting together on our free time in the early 1980's to rehearse Barbershop Quartets. Roger Blackburn, a member of the Philadelphia Orchestra trumpet section and avid Barbershopper explains below how this all happened. It was the greatest joy to work with Glenn. I learned so much from this man, but also working with him in this group and seeing him smile and laugh, was one of the best things...
The Philharmonic Flavor, recorded here in 1983 at a Chicago suburban (American Legion Post) barbershop afterglow, was formed on a Philadelphia Orchestra mid-Pennsylvania tour in January of 1982. The photo was taken at the group 's first public performance at the Cherry Hill NJ Pine Baron Chapter' s afterglow on February 20, 1982. The group performed for almost three years at various fund-raising activities for the Philadelphia Orchestra and also made a smashing appearance in 1983 at the Barbershop Quartet Internati onal Convent ion in Pittsburgh before Joe Alessi left the orchestra to become principal trombone of the Montreal Symphony. Charles Vernon left shortly thereafter to become the bass trombonist for the Chicago Symphony. The group reformed for a shorter period with two other tromboni sts, John I1ika and Phil McClell and with similar types of programs. The repertoire consisted of barbershop quartet arrangements along with Four Freshmen vocal materi al. The quartet then played customized brass arrangements (mostly by Roger Blackburn, the founder of the group) of ragtime-era music. This live recording represents the impact the quartet had on fans of barbershop music.
LISTEN TO THE PHILHARMONIC FLAVOR NOW! Live somewhere in the suburbs of Chicago, 1983
From the desk of Roger Blackburn
About the Philharmonic Flavor
1 Formed in Harrisburg in1982 on a Trans-Mid-Pennsylvania Philadelphia Orchestra Tour (State College, Harrisburg, and Millersville) - Glenn Dodson, Charlie Vernon, Joe Alessi and I sang barbershop harmony at first, and later progressed into the jazz harmonies of the Four Freshmen Played our public debut in Cherry Hill, NJ for their annual barbershop show.
2 practiced and built our repertoire on "company time" (during Haydn, Mozart Symphonies and other classical works without trombones).
3 Most Memorable performances were at the Pittsburgh Barbershop International Convention in July of '82, WFLN Radjothons for the benefit for the Philadelphia Orchestra, Wiley Post Airport Snow Removal Convention in Allentown, PA, Featured OUartet on Cherry Hill Pine Barons Show in 1983, Christmas Party at the Curtis in 1983, Opening Day at SPAC (Flag Day) 1984, and onstage at the Academy of Music for the Volunteer Committee Annual Luncheon.
4 Early on it was Glenn's enthusiasm for singing that established a permanency for the group and as he was our spokesperson, it was his bubbly, effervescent personality that won our favor with the audiences.
5 Glenn not only encouraged me but he taught me to play the soprano trombone. He joked with me that as far as he was concerned, the instrument's name was an oxymoron! He preferred to call it a slide trumpet!
6 I want to thank Phil McClelland and Blair Bollinger for making it possible for Joe and me to recreate some of the sounds of the Philharmonic Flavor.