Hello! My name is David Humbertson and I am currently a freelance trombonist and educator in Nashville, TN. I was born in Bellingham, MA and raised in Cumberland, MD. I started playing music in first grade when my family inherited my great grandmother’s piano. I was fascinated by the sounds it made and enjoyed playing it even without any knowledge of music. I eventually started to take lessons from a local piano teacher near home. In fourth grade, I decided I wanted to play music with other people - so I joined band! I was told to pick three instruments I wanted to play after they were demonstrated to me and I chose Percussion, Trumpet, and Trombone. When I handed my list into my teacher, he looked at it and said “We have enough percussionists - you’re going to play trombone.” I’ll admit, my younger self was pretty upset because I randomly chose the trombone. However, after playing it I started to love the sound of the instrument. Eventually, there did come a point where I became very frustrated with it in middle school, and my mother asked if I would want to take private lessons. I jumped on it because I loved my private piano lessons, so I figured trombone lessons had to be even more fun! That’s when I started studying with my first teacher, Brian Plitnik. He taught strong fundamentals and helped me truly love playing many different styles of music. No lesson was just classical or jazz or marching band. This is where I credit my love for being a musician who can play anything.
By my senior year of high school, I had decided that I wanted to pursue music education and was accepted to attend Alderson Broaddus University. While at AB, I studied under D. Timothy DeWitt and Dr. Val Huffman. I was also a member of the inaugural year of the Alderson Broaddus Battler Band, the Symphonic Winds, the University Chorale, the brass choir, trombone quartet, brass quintet, and played roles in the musicals and operas performed on campus. During my time at Alderson Broaddus, I grew as a musician and learned how to convey emotion through my music. I began developing a love for musical storytelling during my undergrad when I joined the Blue Knights Drum and Bugle Corps in Denver, CO. I marched with the group from 2014 to 2016 and performed shows that changed my life forever. I learned how music with a story behind it can affect the listener and help them process things in their life. In 2014 our show was titled That One Second… and was centered around what we experience the second before we die. After one show, an audience member came up to us and shared that her husband had recently passed away, and that our show had helped her to accept it and feel his presence with her. It was a truly beautiful moment that I hold close to me even today, and it inspired me to play music that moves people. After these experiences, I graduated from Alderson Broaddus with not just a degree in Music Education, but degrees in Music Performance and Musical Arts. That’s right - I was a triple major! I guess I just like to stay busy.
After graduating from AB, I moved to Winchester, VA to attend Shenandoah Conservatory at Shenandoah University and work towards a masters in Music Performance. I studied under Matt Niess, retired lead trombonist of the Army Blues. While at SU, I took my next step as a musician and cracked down on my technique and started working on the audition circuit. I also performed in many different ensembles at SU including the Wind Ensemble, Orchestra, Trombone Choir, and Pit Orchestras. During this time, I also experienced my first real performances as a professional musician. I played with a variety of groups, including the Luminous Brass Quintet, Saturday Morning Brass Project, Loudoun Symphony Orchestra, and the Valley Bones trombone quartet. I also got to have a dream performance with the Mid Atlantic Trombone Collective on the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage and the American Trombone Workshop where I not only played the lead parts for the group but was also a featured soloist!
After graduating from SU in 2019 with my masters, I started a strange year. I was full time as a second trombonist with the Loudoun Symphony Orchestra and trombonist with the Shenandoah Summer Music Theater 2019 season while also starting my first year as a DMA student at SU. I was struggling with my identity as a musician and was unsure of what I really wanted to do with my career. I started to prioritize what made me feel happy and eventually came to the decision that I had to leave school. I decided to do freelance work so I could play a large variety of music. I realized that I love playing all music and that playing one genre was suffocating for me, so I decided to move to Nashville once the school year finished… but the world had other ideas. The COVID-19 pandemic hit, all my performances were canceled, and school moved online. My move was delayed, but I did eventually make it to Nashville in August of 2020. Since moving to Nashville, I've had the pleasure of playing in a large variety of settings. From playing movie scores with the Nashville Reading Orchestra, Mahler's Second Symphony with the Gateway Chamber Orchestra, and many church services; to playing jazz with the Music City Big Band, classic songs for weddings, and regularly subbing with the General Jackson Show Band for my healthy dose of country. I have loved every minute playing music in this city. My newest venture, though, has been joining the Edward's Southeast team, where I will be helping to fit fellow trombonists with a custom horn from the best instrument creator in the world: Edward's Instruments. I'm very much looking forward to seeing where my journey leads over the next few years!