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Back Alley Brass Band starts off the Midwest Trumpet Festival at the Bicknell Sunday, Oct. 6. Back Alley Band is from Kansas City, Missouri. Logan Wiley

Midwest Trumpet Festival hosts world class trumpet players

The Midwest Trumpet Festival happens every year in October and brings together some of the world’s best and brightest in the world of brass. 

The Bicknell Family Center for the Arts hosted the 11th Annual Midwest Trumpet Festival on Sunday, Oct. 6 and Monday, Oct. 7. The festival featured educational workshops as well as performances by professionals. The festival kicked off with a performance by New Orleans-style brass band Back Alley Brass Band, based out of Kansas City, and featuring alumni of the PSU music department Thomas Lawlor, Justin Crossman, and Daniel McDill. Back Alley Brass Band was followed by performances by renowned trumpet players and teachers Lonnie McFadden, Vince and Gabriel DiMartino, and Rex Richardson. At 7:30p.m. on Oct. 6, the Bicknell stage was host to the Crossroads Jazz Orchestra, a local jazz ensemble directed by PSU professor of trumpet and organizer of the festival Todd Hastings and made up of many PSU alumni. On Monday, Oct. 7, the festival continued with a recital given by students with works for both solo trumpet and trumpet ensemble, and a faculty recital featuring guest artists. These recitals also included a premiere of a new work, “Ripples,” by Pittsburg-based composer Barbara York. 

Hastings said he started the festival as a way to connect his students with master musicians that he himself has fostered connections with. 

“It’s a gathering of professional and student trumpet players just to come together and have comradery..,” Hastings said. “It’s really something for everyone… You don’t have to be a trumpet player to come out and enjoy this (the festival) and these sessions.” 

Hastings invites trumpet players from across the country to play and participate in the festival and those that are also teachers bring their students to participate as well. Students and teachers come from as far as Wisconsin and Florida to be a part of the Midwest Trumpet Festival. Last year, Hastings had the Los Angeles-based trumpet player Wayne Bergeron, known for playing in many film scores, including “The Incredibles.” This year the guest artists included Vince DiMartino, Hastings’ former teacher, Rex Richardson, trumpet soloist in both classical and jazz settings, and Lonnie McFadden, Kansas City-based trumpet player who also sings and tap dances as part of performances. 

“We got to hang out with Doc’s (Hastings’ nickname from his students) old teacher who gets to play all over the world, as well as his colleagues from when he was in college,” said Erica Baldwin, sophomore in music education and trumpet player. 

Baldwin got to participate by going to various workshops given by guest artists of the festival, including one centered on keeping musicians safe and healthy. 

“One that I got to sit in on was on the health for the performer and I thought that would be good for me, vocally and instrumentally,” Baldwin said. “…We talked about posture and how to take care of yourself. I learned a lot about how posture affects me and affects your everyday life…” 

Hastings also encouraged interested parties to donate to the endowment fund dedicated to festival to help support future Midwest Trumpet Festivals and that any donations are tax deductible. 

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