They’ve got brass
Midwest Trumpet Festival highlighted by big band
Marcus Clem | editor in chief
“A one, a two, a one-two-three-four!”
All Todd Hastings, professor of music, had to do was wave his hands and the Sharon K. Dean Recital Hall exploded with the jazzy sound of the Crowder Jazz Orchestra.
“It was such a thrill,” said Rebecca Luebber, a member of the audience from Joplin, Mo. “I think all the people here are eating it up. There are few other places where you can be exposed to such a wide variety of style and masterful talent.”
The orchestra’s evening concert on Sunday, Oct. 13, was the grand event of the fifth annual Midwest Trumpet Festival.
The recital hall was filled near to capacity for the main concert by the orchestra from Crowder College in Neosho, Mo.
With support from Hastings as director and guest musicians from institutions throughout the nation, the orchestra’s traditional setup of artists rocked the campus of Pittsburg State with classic and contemporary jazz tunes.
The orchestra’s set list included zany pieces such as “Creepy Crawlies” and “Freckle Face,” hit music in the form of Stevie Wonder’s “Isn’t She Lovely,” the moody “Healing Hymn,” and the grand finale, “Go Daddy-O!”
“The grand finale tonight was just completely nuts,” said Sam Ortiz, a member of the audience and freshman in music education. “Definitely the height of the performance.”
The festival featured a high-energy showcase of big-band brass music as well as a performance by Joe Burgstaller, an internationally renowned trumpet soloist, on the evening of Monday, Oct. 14.
The two-day event included several sessions for students of Pitt State’s trumpet studio and for those around the region on the mastery of trumpet and brass orchestral music.
The festival’s main goal, beyond showcasing the unique talents of all the artists and promoting the department of music’s trumpet studio, was to help Pitt State students and guests from around the region come together and learn.
“We don’t get a lot of opportunities to come together for one event,” said Connor Logan, sophomore in music education. “It’s an invaluable chance for us to network with each other and perform together.
“You hear a lot of the same stuff from the same people at events like these, but sometimes someone else’s interpretation of that music makes it ‘click’ for you like it didn’t before.”
Wyatt Smith also says he recognizes the educational value of the event.
“For music students, it’s all about seeing how different performers interact,” he said. “For music education majors like me, that’s very valuable.”
Soloists anchor show
While Hastings served as the lead trumpet soloist for most of the main concert, several masters of the art from around the country stepped in Hastings’ place or played with him to provide each piece’s backing sound.
David Cooper, associate professor of trumpet at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, says he hopes his work left an impression, but that he himself still learns from programs like these.
“My hope is that they’ll hear something I did and go, ‘Wow, how did he do that? I want to learn how?’” he said. “I want them not just to do that, but go out and find their own voice.”
Tito Carillo, associate professor of jazz trumpet at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, says he thinks the same way.
“It was great just to hear everyone’s personality and vision in their music, to have the opportunity to share my own,” he said.