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 News in the World of Horn

The man who plays French horn with his toes

To learn more about this amazing young musician go to the  BBC News "Ouch Blog"  By Emma Tracey

BBC News

30 July 2014 Last updated at 13:06 BST


Felix Klieser was born with no arms, so uses his feet to do most things. This includes everyday things such as eating and dressing, but also to play the French horn, which he does professionally.

The German musician is just 23, but has already toured with Sting, is working on a second album and has a diary full of concert bookings up to December 2015.

Klieser recently became an ambassador for the One-Handed Musical Instrument Trust (OHMI), which helps fund the development of adapted or specially designed instruments for musicians with one hand and other limb differences.

Video courtesy of Berlin Classics

Music Professor Running 100 Miles To Raise Scholarship Money For French Horn Students


FEBRUARY 19, 2014

WINCHESTER, Va. – When you think about a college student earning a scholarship, maybe you think about a great athlete or an academic superstar. The man you are about to meet is raising scholarship money for something else. It is something he loves and he is putting in the work to prove it.  Joseph Lovinsky can’t afford to be out of breath. Playing French horn warms his heart. Long-distance running clears his head.  “I decided if I’m going to do a hundred miles, if I’m going to put myself through all that, I should do it for a cause, and of course, the first cause I thought of was my students,” he said.


Lovinsky is a music professor at Shenandoah University in Winchester, Va. He knows that for his students, money is tight.   “I know they’re getting scholarship money that the school is able to give them, but they could use a little boost,” Lovinsky said.  And Lovinsky knows. His parents were Haitian immigrants. He was raised in a tough neighborhood in Miami. And as a kid, he told his teacher he wanted to play the trumpet.  “We went to the store to find out how much a trumpet costs and when we found out, my dad said, ‘Go play whatever he gives you for free,’” said Lovinsky.

His French horn earned him a scholarship to prestigious Julliard. He paid his living expenses working as a security guard, but it wasn’t enough.  “During those times, I had very short bouts with — it took me a long time to finally say this word — but homelessness,” he said. “I called it everything else. That’s what it was. I was sleeping in the park.”

After graduation, he auditioned and spent 20 years playing in the United States Army Band.  “I’ve literally performed thousands of funerals at Arlington National Cemetery,” Lovinsky said. “Some of those were the most meaningful performances I’ve ever done in my life. Playing in Carnegie Hall or anything like that couldn’t compare to playing for [and] seeing the families and reading the letters that they send back of thanks.”

Retired Master Sgt. Joseph Lovinsky has been teaching French horn at Shenandoah University for two years. These days, some know him as “100 Mile Joe.”


In March, he will run 100 miles in about 30 hours. The goal is to raise $5,000 in scholarship money. His only demand: it must go to a student who plays French horn.  It is all covered in snow right now, but Lovinsky will be doing a good bit of this run right here on the track at Shenandoah. He will also be taking a jaunt through downtown Winchester. They are hoping a lot of people in the community will come out to support him.  “It’s tough,” he laughed. “It’s as tough as I expected it to be. I’ve never trained this much before.”


He has already completed six ultramarathons. That is 50 miles. When it gets tough, thoughts of his students will push him forward.  “I think I’m as ready as I’ve ever been,” he said.


If you want to help Lovinsky raise scholarship money, go to


— By Beth Parker, Fox 5 DC

Music major in marching band despite disability


Auburns Student News Source

By Corey Williams | Campus Editor | 08/25/15 10:39am

Tripp Gulledge wasn’t always blind.  He started losing his vision at 6 weeks old when his retinas detached. “They were able to save a little bit of vision in my right eye, and I kind of got by with that until I was 14 years old,” Gulledge, freshman in music said. “That’s when my retina started to detach again.”  Doctors were able to reattach his right retina, but they had to remove the lens.  “Until I get that back, I won’t have any sight,” Gulledge said.  Gulledge hasn’t let his disability hold him back. He discovered he had a talent for French horn when he was in middle school. He was drum major at Murphy High School and is now a member of the Auburn University Marching Band.

Gulledge said most of his energy is devoted to marching band.

“We work way faster [than in high school], and there’s a lot more expected of you,” Gulledge said. “Physically, it’s a lot more demanding.”  Gulledge is currently learning to read braille music. However, he said he learns most of the music by ear.

"It's very different, and it's kind of been a slow process," Gulledge said. "What’s actually worked the quickest is when I listen to the person immediately to my left or to my right. In marching band we do so many reps of the same thing, and a lot of people say ‘Oh my God, we’re doing it again.’ But it works out well for me because I get so many chances to hear it."  Navigating the field has been a challenge, according to Gulledge, but he’s getting the hang of it.  Gulledge is currently shadowing another French horn player, Alex King, freshman in biosystems engineering. He holds King's shoulder during practice and memorizes his steps. 


King said Gulledge has incredible talent.  "Being blind and doing something that requires you to move around on a field, in form with everybody else, is quite a task to do," King said. "What Tripp has been able to do every day is quite incredible to watch, honestly."  Corey Spurlin, marching band director, said Gulledge inspires him every day.  “It’s amazing what he’s been able to accomplish without having the benefit of sight,” Spurlin said. “In an activity like ours, that’s certainly a big challenge. We really value his membership, and he’s done an incredible job.” When Gulledge isn’t at band practice, he’s studying to be a music teacher.  He gets to his classes with his cane and the help of his yellow Labrador Retriever, Dakota. Gulledge only adopted Dakota in June, but the two have already formed a strong bond. “Dakota is super cute,” Gulledge said. “Part of it is me becoming friendly with the campus myself, and the other part is getting him patterned to what my routes will be. He begins to anticipate where we’re going.” Gulledge said Dakota went through a rigorous training process before he received his guide dog certification.  He went to a general obedience trainer for about a year. After that, he went to four months of formal guide dog training where he learned to work with a harness, find crosswalks and get around obstacles.  "He's a great dog and he's very obedient," Gulledge said. 


Gulledge said he knew Auburn was right for him the second time he toured campus. “I started to observe that ‘family’ atmosphere everyone talks about,” Gulledge said. “I recognized that sense of pride and tradition.” Gulledge has only been a student for a few days, but he said he has loved his Auburn experience so far. “My professors are really, really good at what they do,”  Gulledge said. “I want to teach when I get older, and I’ve seen a lot of people being the kind of teachers I want to be.”

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