Between 1970 and the early 1980s, Hughes worked primarily as a trombonist performing with several ensembles including the Tactical Air Command Band (Langley Air Force Base, Va.), the Louisville Orchestra
, the Kentucky Opera Association
, the New Louisville Brass Quintet, where he was director if the N.L.B.Q.'s annual composition contest, and the Annapolis Brass Quintet
The Annapolis Brass Quintet was a full-time, touring brass ensemble. While with the ABQ, Hughes toured extensively in the United States, Canada, and Europe, appearing on approximately 200 concerts each year. Performances included the Musica Viva series in Munich, Germany, for which the A.B.Q. received the Munich Critics' Award for its performance of Elliott Carter's Brass Quintet, and recording sessions with several European radio stations including RIAS in Berlin, Suisse Romande in Lausanne, Switzerland, and Bavarian Radio in Munich. With the Bavarian Radio Orchestra, the Annapolis Brass Quintet recorded American composer Douglas Allanbrook's Symphony No. 5 for Brass Quintet and Orchestra
, a work composed for the ensemble. Hughes made two recordings with ABQ: Encounter
, an album of 20th-century brass quintets, and a recording of a concerto for brass quintet and orchestra, Symphonies
, composed for the ABQ by American composer Lawrence Moss.
After leaving ABQ, Hughes was tenor trombonist the Monumental Brass Quintet
in the Baltimore-Washington, D.C., area, and principal trombonist with the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra
. With the orchestra he performed his own orchestration of Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov's Concerto for Trombone
, a work composed originally for wind ensemble. In addition, in 1988 he toured Leningrad and the western part of the former Soviet Union with a wind ensemble from Tønsberg, Norway. In 1989 he toured Denmark, Germany, and the Netherlands with a wind ensemble from Larvik, Norway. He taught at the Vestfold Music Summer School in Norway from 1977-2001.