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Jens Lindemann, guest conductor, with Ben Hay and Steve Leisring perform 'Song of Hope' with the Southeast Kansas Symphony at the Bicknel Center on Oct. 30. Clarissa Worley

Midwest Trumpet Festival returns to PSU 

Jens Lindemann, guest conductor, with Ben Hay and Steve Leisring perform ‘Song of Hope’ with the Southeast Kansas Symphony at the Bicknel Center on Oct. 30. Clarissa Worley

Brock Willard managing editor 

After a COVID-induced hiatus, the Midwest Trumpet Festival, organized by PSU professor of trumpet Todd Hastings, returned to the campus of Pittsburg State University. 

The festival, taking place from Sunday, Oct. 30 to Monday, Oct. 31, featured a number of musical events from full ensemble concerts to student and faculty recitals, to workshops with guest artists to masterclasses in which students could participate. The festival was also held in conjunction with the opening night of the Southeast Kansas Symphony at Pittsburg State’s season and featured a guest artist, Jens Lindemann, an internationally recognized trumpet player. The festival also featured trumpet students and faculty from across the country who traveled to Pittsburg State University. 

“I don’t know if life changing is too big a word, but this is all really a thrill and a half,” Hastings said. “I went to all these big schools for my education, and we didn’t have anything like this… Sure, I got to go to the symphony, but I certainly didn’t get to meet, have dinner with, talk to these big-name artists. The students here have an incredible opportunity with the Trumpet Festival.” 

Hastings began the Trumpet Festival after urging from a former student. 

“This all began with a student I had, Will Koehler, who’s got his doctorate in trumpet now. I said to him during a lesson, ‘You know we should do a trumpet day sometime,’ and he just wouldn’t let it go. Every other week, he’d come into his lesson and say, ‘Hey, when we doing trumpet day?’ And eventually, I did it to keep Will quiet. I started by hiring friends of mine that were kind of famous in the trumpet world and they also just got to come see me..,” Hastings said. 

Hastings initially did on-the-ground style fundraising every Friday to support the Trumpet Festival but went in a different direction for fundraising after some time. 

“Because I got to hire my friends, I didn’t have to raise a lot of money, but after about four years, I ran out of friends in high places, and I went out knocking on business doors every Friday trying to raise money and that’s when I decided to start an endowment so that I wouldn’t have to spend my Fridays fundraising..,” Hastings said, 

Currently, the endowment fund for the Midwest Trumpet Festival sits at approximately 40,000 dollars. Hastings’ goal is to increase that fund to 100,000 dollars. 

“We’ve got 40,000 which is good, but we’re only allowed to spend the interest, not the principal on the fund. On a good year, we get a ten percent return, and on a bad year, we get about four percent back. We also have sponsors like Ernie-Williamson Music this year that help us out,” Hastings said. 

This is the 12th Midwest Trumpet Festival but a first collaboration with the Southeast Kansas Symphony at Pittsburg State University. 

“This year we were able to get Jens (Lindemann) because we collaborated with the Symphony. They helped finance some of the artists for sure. It was a great collaboration,” Hastings said. 

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