Ally House has been actively involved with music since elementary school where she chose to play trombone in the band. In Medford, at that time, all elementary school students choose either orchestra or band for an elective. Ally remembers, “I took one look at the kids in the orchestra and chose band.”
However, she played in the high school orchestra and jazz band in addition to the concert band. She began to play bass trombone her junior year, and informally started learning tuba that same year. She also taught herself to play French Horn the summer after high school. In high school she was also active in sports and she lettered in volleyball, basketball, and track.
Southern Oregon College was her college choice. Max McKee called her before registration to find out why she hadn’t signed up for band. Because of his call, she did sign up and enjoyed playing in his bands. She had many memorable musical moments in college, including having Alfred Reed, famous band composer, come to direct world premieres of two of his pieces. As in high school, she was active in sport as well as music, lettering in field hockey and softball.
Graduating with a degree in criminology during the recession of 1981, she had lots of odd jobs, but didn’t get hired in her field until she moved to Eugene in 1984 and was hired by the Lane County Sheriff Department in 1985. She spent 28 years working for Lane County as a full-time deputy, and now works part-time. From 1988 to 2007 she was very busy at work and umpiring softball, so she didn’t play at all.
In 2007, after some major life challenges, Ally decided she wanted to get back into music. She bought a euphonium made in India that she now calls her “instrument shaped object”. Pacific Winds Music Staff suggested she try the New Horizon’s Band. When Sherry Cossey, the director, found out she played the tuba, she was encouraged to switch to tuba again. She bought her first tuba from a college student and a sousaphone from Jim Newell. She has had several instruments throughout her life, and has donated several instruments to Creswell Schools.
Ally currently plays in the Oregon Tuba Ensemble, the One More Time Marching Band, Springfield Community Concert Band, and the First Christian Church Bell Choir. She looks forward to her partner’s retirement when they might “sell their home, put everything in storage, get a motor home and drive around the country on their motor cycles.” The big question is, “how will she fit her tuba in the motor home?”
Tuneful Tales is a monthly series that features stories about Eugene area music makers and shakers. Stay tuned as we bring you another memorable and musical tale!