Over 25 years later, Brass Quintet still going strong

By Elise McArdle

 

The faculty Brass Quintet, founded over 25 years ago by Frank Hanson, was Whitewater’s first faculty brass ensemble.

In addition to Hanson, the head of the music department on trumpet, the quintet is comprised of Linda Kimball on French horn, Jeff Wolbach on trumpet, Michael Dugan on trombone, and John Tuinstra on tuba. All the quintet members are music professors at Whitewater.

Trombone professor Michael Dugan came to Whitewater in 2007 and joined the ensemble upon his arrival.

“One of the things that attracted me to this job was the fact that there was a faculty brass quintet,” Dugan said. “It’s a great performing outlet for the faculty. Just to get together for two, three hours a week and play.”

Because all the members of the quintet are professors, it can be difficult to find time to rehearse, Dugan said.

“We try to keep that Tuesday rehearsal sacred,” Dugan said. “That’s our time. Trying to make up lost time is basically impossible.”

Dugan teaches trombone classes, a jazz history class, and directs a jazz ensemble. He said playing in the quintet can be a happy distraction for the professors and give them time to relax and focus on the music.

“There’s constant communication going on, and that’s one of the great perks, one of the things that makes it really fun,” Dugan said. “It’s fun to play your instrument with other great musicians. Those Tuesday mornings are something we all look forward to every week.”

The upcoming performance repertoire is going to be a diverse compilation of pieces the musicians chose.

It will feature a string quartet by German composer Mendelssohn that has been adapted for brass and expanded to five parts.

“The highlight will be that string quartet,” Dugan said. “The trumpet players will tell you it’s challenging for them…they’re not making it sound hard, but it is, and it’s fun.”

The ensemble will also perform a piece by Handel, and a classic brass quintet arrangement by Victor Ewald.

“In the stuff that we’re playing, there’s a lot of variety. Some old stuff, some new stuff, and I’ll say… borrowed,” Dugan said. “Lots of different ways to expand your musical horizons.”

Dugan said he hopes the ensemble’s appreciation for the pieces they chose will be apparent at the concert.

“It’s stuff that we like to play, and hopefully that will come out in the performance,” Dugan said.

Freshman band member Melanie Sorman said she thinks it would be interesting to see the music professors play in a performance.

“I’d probably go see them perform at least once,” Sorman said. “It would be cool to see the faculty ensemble since they’re experienced musicians.”

As a clarinet player, Sorman isn’t required to see the brass ensemble, but she said she thinks it would be a good experience for all music students.

“I think it should be mandatory for band classes to see at least one,” Sorman said. “[The music department] is a close knit community, since it’s a smaller school, everyone knows each other and their professors.”

The performance will take place at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 19, in Light Recital Hall.

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