Helen Read

What I Do in Real Life

Picture of Helen with horn

In real life, I am a serious avocational horn player. I play in a horn quartet, Vermont Horns, which meets regularly to work on horn ensemble repertoire, and occasionally performs for weddings and so forth. I'm a member of the Burlington Civic Symphony (which I co-founded in 2011), the Green Mountain Mahler Festival, the Milton Community Band, and the Citizens Concert Band. I also perform in pit orchestras for local community theatre productions, including such shows as The Wizard of Oz, The Sound of Music, Brigadoon, and the holiday opera Amahl and the Night Visitor.

HPR playing the Wagner tuba

Here I am playing the Wagner tuba, a wild and crazy instrument related to the horn.

In 2008, my horn quartet had the rare privilege of playing Wagner tubas for Bruckner's 7th Symphony with the Green Mountain Mahler Festival, on a set of instruments borrowed from the Boston Symphony Orchestra. For more about that amazing adventure, including audio and video clips, visit the Vermont Horns website.

Helen's picture

Other important demands on my time include snowshoeing, ice skating, hiking Vermont's Green Mountains, and helping family and friends with their computers and mobile devices.

picture of Helen on the skeleton sled

That's me on the sled, at a free clinic at Lake Placid in February, 2001, with my friend Juleigh Walker about to give me a push. (No, I did not take a running start!) Juleigh was one of the pioneers of women's skeleton sled in the U.S., and went to the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City as member of the U.S. National Skeleton Team.

One of the coolest outdoor activities I have ever tried is the skeleton sled, which is sort of like the luge, except that you go down the track on your belly, face first, with your nose just a few inches away from the ice. There are no brakes or steering mechanism on the sled; all you have to work with are gravity and body english.