UNA Pressroom

Una Brass Quintet Honored At Master Class

Apr. 04, 2016

Michelle Eubanks, UNA, at media@una.edu, 256.765.4392 or 256.606.2033

By Carole Maynard, UNA Department of Music

FLORENCE, Ala. - In the world of professional music, the brass quintet is one of the most established of all instrumental chamber groupings, and several internationally renowned professional brass quintets tour and record in the U.S. and around the world. Chief among these groups is the original professional brass quintet, the Canadian Brass.

Local audiences recently had an opportunity to attend a Canadian Brass (CB) performance when they appeared in concert with the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra (HSO) on March 12. As part of the concert weekend, the HSO scheduled a master class for brass students and teachers on March 11 in the concert hall. The UNA Brass Quintet was honored to be one of two collegiate quintets selected to perform for the members of the CB during the master class.

"This was a tremendous honor for our quintet, as well as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our students to perform for these legendary musicians and have face-to-face interaction with them," said Dr. David McCullough, chair of the UNA Department of Music and faculty leader for the UNA Brass Quintet.

The UNA Brass Quintet, comprised of two trumpets, a horn, a trombone and a tuba, studies and performs the chamber music repertoire. Members of the quintet, who are all music majors, are Jonathan Farley and Devin Underwood (trumpet), Emily Clay (horn), Ben Thompson (trombone) and Daniel Ritch (tuba).

The importance of the event was evident to the student performers.

"It seemed almost surreal, standing there playing a CB arrangement for the CB members themselves all in the HSO concert hall," said Jonathan Farley, lead trumpet for UNA. "It was something I would have never thought I would be able to do-fantastic experience!"

The master class was well attended by brass players, students, teachers and enthusiasts from Huntsville and throughout the area.

"It was gratifying to learn that the reputation of UNA as a strong music school is very secure," said McCullough. "At one point during the master class, one of the CB members seemed particularly impressed with our students' playing and asked one of the students what school he was from. Our student politely answered 'UNA.' Not understanding the initials of the school, the CB members asked again. At that point, virtually the entire audience responded loudly and enthusiastically-'North Alabama!'

"As happens so often," McCullough continued, "performances like this not only function as great learning experiences for our students, but they also serve to further establish brand excellence for our music department and for the university as a whole."

To find out more about the UNA Brass Quintet and the UNA Department of Music, visit una.edu/music or call (256)765-4375.