On Monday morning, trumpeter Vince DiMartino and organist Schuyler Robinson started the week on stage at Centenary United Methodist Church, rehearsing for their concert Friday night.
The duo had already worked through their rendition of Modeste Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition and a breathtaking version of George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue, but DiMartino hadn't even broached the idea of taking a break.
"This is like going out on Wednesday night bowling," DiMartino said, after being persuaded to give his lips and lungs a rest.
The musicians, some of the most prominent local practitioners of their respective instruments, are prepping for a prelude to a prestigious event. The concert they give at Centenary will be the same program they — along with DiMartino's trumpeter son Gabriel — will present in July in Sydney, Australia, as part of the International Trumpet Guild Conference. The duo will present the same show in Tasmania on that trip.
It's a prestigious event for the musicians, even one of the status of DiMartino, who is a two-time past president of the guild.
But DiMartino and Robinson hardly view the local concert as a mere warm-up.
The Lexington concert is "as special as when we do it in Australia," DiMartino said. "For me, the event I am doing is the event. I always tell my students there's no such thing as practicing. If you just think of it as practice, then you won't be ready to play at a performance level when the performance comes around."
For DiMartino and Robinson, rehearsal has moved well beyond the notes.
"We were practicing how we want this to feel," DiMartino said.
These concerts renew an association of more than 20 years between DiMartino, a Centre College trumpet professor, and Robinson, a University of Kentucky organ professor.
DiMartino says it also will be something of a swan song for him when it comes to big, full-length concerts.
"Trumpet isn't like violin, piano or other instruments people seem to be able to play forever," said DiMartino, 61. "As you get older, you find things like the breath control required to play some of these major programs isn't what it once was.
"I will still perform and give little recitals, and I want to concentrate on recording."
He says he finds inspiration in Robinson's recent CD, A Kentucky Organ Tour. He listened to it on a recent drive to Atlanta.
"I thought, 'Wow,'" he said. "It was amazing all these organs that are in Kentucky and how magnificently he played them."
The pair said trumpet and organ are an ideal pairing, because they are both wind-based instruments but have their own distinct voices.
"It's like adding a whole other division to the organ," Robinson said, "and you might say the same thing of the trumpet."
DiMartino also is inspired by playing with Gabriel, a trumpet professor at Syracuse University who, by many accounts, looks and sounds just like his dad.
"When the two of them are playing and changing off, I can't tell the difference," Robinson says.
DiMartino says, "When I am in the audience listening to him play, it's really strange. It's like I'm playing, but I'm not really playing."