If such progress continues, Stanley is confident that others will finally be able to appreciate the instrument that's been such a big part of his life. "I've spent over thirty years making beautiful sounds on the trombone, so it can be done," he points out. "When it's played well, it's a sound unlike any other in the world. It's a sound that, in many ways, is very close to the human voice, especially in the way that we change notes. The spectrum you can get in colors of sound is unlike any other instrument. I think that's why we play it."
In the meantime, Stanley supports the International Trombone Association's mission to spread the trombone gospel. "They do a lot for teaching the trombone and getting music written for it," he says. "And taking it to a level where people won't make jokes about it."
The 27th International Trombone Festival, through Saturday, May 30, College of Music, CU-Boulder, $12/$8 students and seniors per event. Call 492-5469 for information on shows open to the public.