The UMass Trumpet Ensemble goes to the National Trumpet Competition!

For the University of Massachusetts, the National Trumpet Competition began long before the ensemble semi-final round on March 15th. It actually began months earlier, with Professor Jeffrey Holmes composing a piece of music set for seven trumpets. This piece was written specifically for the UMass Trumpet Ensemble, and was meant to feature the strengths of its members. The piece, which came to be titled “Seven’s Realm” is a unique combination of jazz harmonies, improvisation, body percussion, singing, fanfares, and technical flourishes that demands the most precise execution by its performers.

The trip itself began early on Thursday, March 15th. Most of the ensemble participated in a Wind Ensemble concert the night before, so our only option was to leave early on the day of the semi-final round of the competition. The UMass trumpet ensemble was set to go on stage at 4:40pm, so the entire group left from the UMass Fine Arts Center at 3:00am, to leave plenty of time for the 8+ hour trip. We didn’t know it at the time, but it turned out to be a very good idea to give ourselves this extra time. This is because as our two-car caravan was about two hours from Fairfax, VA, our travels literally came to a screeching halt. On the highway, a semi-truck had left a large scrap of metal right in the middle of the road. Our second car was not able to dodge it in time and drove right over top of it, tearing up the bottom of the car, causing it to spill gasoline, oil, and transmission fluid. Thankfully, nobody was hurt, and we managed to get towed from the highway, and got a replacement rental car, costing us only some of the extra time we had set aside. We eventually arrived at our hotel in Fairfax, and after a brief rest in our rooms, we made our way to the competition. The ensemble put on a very strong showing of “Seven’s Realm”, and the piece and performance were very well received by the audience of several hundred members. For most people, this would all be more than enough excitement for one day, but not for the UMass Trumpet Ensemble. That night, several of us were on our way back to the hotel from a local Wegmans grocery store, when the power suddenly went out in the area, and a transformer nearby was exploding. As we drove past, we discovered an SUV flipped on its top, up against a broken power pole. And to top it all off, the scene was catching fire! Our local jazz trumpeter, Micah Maurio sprang into action, pulling the driver (who was still in the flipped SUV) to safety. Needless to say, everyone got some well-deserved sleep that night.

The next day was Friday, and while there was nobody from our group competing that day, there were still plenty of things going on. Scott Nichols had a rehearsal with his accompanist to prepare for the Graduate Solo division semi-final round. There were also two recitals that day. The first was the Army Blues, which was featuring Doc Severinson and Rex Richardson as soloists. The Blues Band opened the show that afternoon and they did not disappoint. Rex Richardson was up first and played some incredible solos with the band. Not only was Rex phenomenal, but Doc Severinson was livelier than ever. You would not have been able to tell that he was 84 by the way he played the horn, and by the purple leather pants he was wearing. That night there was also a recital by a group called Rhythm and Brass. The performance featured some very versatile musicians who all had some tricks up their sleeves. It isn’t very often you find a brass group where your horn player doubles on the keyboard, and your quintet is actually a sextet, with your sixth member playing the drum set. This was coupled with a tuba player that often could be mistaken for a smoking electric bass player.

Saturday was another big day for our group. In the morning, Scott Nichols competed in the Graduate Solo division, playing the second movement to Jim Stephenson’s Trumpet Concerto. Immediately following this, Micah Maurio began preparations for the Jazz Solo division. He had to run over to the Marriot, where the jazz division is held, and had his rehearsal with the rhythm section that morning. That same afternoon Micah put on a remarkable display of musicianship in the Jazz semi-final round, including a rendition of Moment’s Notice, where he used multiphonics to harmonize with himself. That afternoon also saw a recital featuring some of the world’s most renowned trumpet soloists, including Jose Sibaja, Terry Everson, James Thompson, Jens Lindemann, and Allen Vizzutti. The recital contained both familiar literature (the Boehme concerto played by Jose Sibaja, and Slavische Fantasie played by James Thompson) and new works. The Krzywicki Sonata for Trumpet and Piano was commissioned by Terry Everson, and featured every single mute that he owned! The Hare Piece Variations (World Premiere by Jens Lindemann, with the composer Derek Stoll on piano) was based on a theme from a Looney Tunes cartoon, which was played prior to the start of the piece as a kind of introduction (and also featured a cameo appearance by Jose Sibaja!). To round out the recital, Allen Vizzutti performed what most people would call ‘The Hardest Piece Ever Written’, his very own Carnival of Venus. It was definitely an event not to be missed!

Sunday saw the conclusion to a long, eventful, fun, and inspirational trip. Not only had the UMass trumpet ensemble had the opportunity to showcase the talent of UMass faculty, like Jeffrey Holmes, the composer of “Seven’s Realm”, and to showcase the talent of the trumpet studio, but we had the chance to be immersed in a world of amazing music and musicians. We had gotten to see performances by world-class soloists and ensembles, by other students from across the country, and we had the opportunity to make music with each other. It can be said, without a doubt, that everyone in from the UMass Trumpet Ensemble is now a better musician in some way, for having gotten to have this experience.


The UMass Trumpet Ensemble would like to thank everyone for their generous support! Whether it was a donation to help fund the trip to the National Trumpet Competition, or it was moral support, everything is greatly appreciated. This valuable experience would not have been possible without everybody’s help, so thank you!


The link to the ensemble’s entrance video can be found below.

Seven’s Realm – Jeffrey Wayne Holmes – UMass Trumpet Ensemble


UMass Trumpet Day!

October 1st, 2011: The First Annual UMass Trumpet Day!

October 1st, 2011 was the date of the first UMass Trumpet Day.? This event was hosted by the newly established Pioneer Valley Trumpet Guild based in the UMASS trumpet studio (open to all trumpeters in the Pioneer Valley who have an active ITG membership) and funded with the generous support of Shires and Yamaha Trumpets. The day began with a recital by UMASS Professor of Trumpet, Eric Berlin and Professor of Piano, Nadine Shank, in a recital of Eric?s favorite pieces. The UMASS Trumpet Studio started it all off with Professor Jeffrey Holmes?s Herald Emeritus Fanfare, followed by a multi-movement work by American composer Robert Russell Bennet, entitled Rose Variations, originally scored for cornet and band.? Each movement was composed to represent a different rose, and highlights Bennett?s flair for musical comedy. A third piece on the program was Joseph Turrin?s Two Portraits, which Turrin wrote to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the International Trumpet Guild ? obviously very appropriate and significant for this event!? This was followed by a Robert Bradshaw piece, which Professor Berlin commissioned, entitled Notes For Buddy.? This multi-movement work was composed for Eric, in loving memory of his late, beloved lab/retriever companion of 14 years, named Buddy.? Next on the program was Nightsongs by Richard Peaslee, followed by the final selection, Portrait of a Trumpet, composed by the great Sammy Nestico.? The common theme with the pieces on this recital ? other than that each brilliant work is among Eric?s favorites ? is that they were all composed by American composers. Following Professor Berlin?s recital, there were many events throughout the day, including a clinic by Professor Holmes about Big Band style, a district solo clinic with professor Berlin ? assisted by members of the studio performing the senior district solos from across the state (Steve Felix, John Mange, Dan Fleury and Allison Cockshaw). The main draw for everyone was, however, the guest artist for the day, Vince DiMartino. We were blessed to have with us a man who is known around the world for his outstanding musicianship, versatility, virtuosity, and pedagogical prowess.? He gave a clinic on practicing in which spoke about some wonderful ideas and musical food for thought from which we all can benefit. The main event was the evening concert, which featured Vince.? It was started with a performance of Professor Jeffrey Holmes? Suite For Four Trumpets and Rhythm Section, followed by a few small group tunes, highlighting various UMass jazz students with Vince and our faculty rhythm section.? The second half of the concert featured Vince as a guest artist with the UMASS Jazz Ensemble 1, our top big band. Among the most exciting experiences during my time here at UMASS was performing in this evening concert, and having the opportunity to solo next to and trade improvised solos with the great Vinny DiMartino.? He has been a long-time influence and jazz hero of mine, so to stand next to him and perform the music I love was quite literally a dream come true!? The tune one which we traded was Professor Holmes? arrangement of Byouba? which he wrote to feature the finalists of the 2007 International Trumpet Guild Carmine Caruso Jazz Competition. There were about 100 trumpeters (or trumpet enthusiasts) in attendance, traveling to the Valley from a grand total of 6 different states! – by Micah Maurio, MM — Jazz Composition and Arranging


Charlie Schlueter visit

Schlueter and Studio
Charles Schlueter imposing his wisdom on the UMass trumpet studio


For the majority of the students returning to UMass, it was a normal first week back into the Spring semester. For the UMass trumpet studio, however, it was a completely different story: with professor Eric Berlin playing with Gustavo Dudamel and the LA Philharmonic that week, the trumpet studio was excited to have the first studio class of the semester headed by the great Charlie Schlueter.

To the whole of the trumpet world, the name “Charlie Schlueter” needs no introduction. The esteemed student of former principal trumpet William Vacchiano held the principal trumpet position of the Boston Symphony Orchestra for 25 years, has released 4 solo albums, and started his own non-profit organization in 2001. He was also the teacher of our very own Eric Berlin back at the New England Conservatory!

For the Schlueter studio class, we had 3 of our own studio members performing for Schlueter. First up was Scott Nichols (Graduate Student) performing the Fasch Concerto, a 3-movt. work for piccolo trumpet. Next was Dan Fleury (Senior) playing the Jean-Francaix Sonatine for Trumpet and Piano, a rhythmically complex French work for the trumpet. To round off the end of the class, Mike Valerio (Freshman) performed the 3rd movt. of the Sonata for Trumpet and Piano by Eric Ewazen. All 3 performers did an excellent job representing our studio for the retired Boston Symphony trumpeter.

Schlueter’s vast experience with orchestras and the audition circuit in general allowed great insight into one of the biggest demons we face in our career: anxiety. He talked about the 2 types of anxiety: acute and chronic. Acute anxiety comes based on a situation, like when you come close to crashing your car or when someone runs right at you, while chronic anxiety are the little fears that come with however we grew up from past experiences. Schlueter proclaimed that in an audition setting, the majority of anxiety felt is chronic rather than acute, so the best thing to do is to make sure you take big breaths before you audition and not worry about what happened in the past. He reminded us that ‘no one is perfect’ and ‘whether a note sounds good or bad, it’s already gone’, so it’s best to just forget about it and keep moving on.

His knowledge about music and expression was also at a world-class level, which is paramount to being a great musician; it’s about as important as technical virtuosity. Schlueter was quick to dispel the notion of ‘terrace dynamics’ in baroque music, stating that musicians back then were competent enough to express themselves without writing crescendos and decrescendos everywhere. He also touched on the concept of note groupings, which better clarifies the arrival point of a group of notes, almost as if creating a collection of mini-phrases within a run of fast notes to better express the pulse in a technical piece. Schlueter suggested checking out the book “Note Grouping” by James Morgan Zimmerman for more information on the subject.

In further enhancing our abilities to perform in an expressive manner, Schlueter also talked about the 3 different types of dynamics. There is decibel dynamics, which deal with volume based on dynamic markings. There is acoustical dynamics, which is volume based on range (the higher the note is, the easier it’s heard). Finally, there is intensity dynamics, which is based on how much intensity we put into the sound through use of our air and vibrato, our rhythm and our articulation.

Even with all of this knowledge that he shared among the trumpet studio, his best quote still holds true: “Never lose sight of the fact that you’re making music.” If you want more information on what Charles Schlueter spoke about, feel free to track down a member of the UMass trumpet studio for more details.

Center City Brass Quintet visits UMass!

The Center City Brass Quintet visited UMass Amherst on Friday, December 3. Featuring Anthony DiLorenzo and Geoffrey Hardcastle, trumpet, Richard King, horn, Ko-Ichiro Yamamoto, trombone, and Craig Knox, tuba, the Center City Brass Quintet offered private lessons and coachings to UMass students all afternoon. The day culminated with a brief concert performed by Center City, followed by a masterclass featuring four UMass undergraduate and graduate brass quintets.

Anthony DiLorenzo poses for a photo with Ann Dorgan (UMass class of 2012) and her father, Steve Dorgan, a music educator in DiLorenzo’s hometown of Stoughton, MA.




Alex Lee-Clark

Year of Graduation: 2010

Degree: Master of Music in Jazz Composition and Arranging.

What are you currently doing? I am currently the director of bands at Galvin Middle School in Canton, MA. I’m also an active freelance player in Boston and throughout New England. Currently, I’m a co-leader and writer/arranger of the B3 Big Band in Boston, a 16 piece big band that features an organ trio as the rhythm section, playing hard swinging and funk music. I also recently recorded an album with the Beantown Swing Orchestra featuring John Stevens on vocals, which will be released just before Christmas.

What experiences from UMASS shaped your professional life? I could not have asked for better mentors than Eric and Jeff Holmes. Their breadth of knowledge about the trumpet in every style of music has helped hear music in a more complete and detail oriented way.

Exciting News & Accomplishments!

Greetings from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst! We, The Pioneer Valley Trumpets: A Collegiate Chapter of the International Guild, also known as the University of Massachusetts, Amherst Trumpet Studio, would like to introduce ourselves as a new International Trumpet Guild College Chapter and to share with you the very exciting events and accomplishments that have recently occurred within our studio.

First and foremost we are very proud to announce that along with becoming an International Trumpet Guild Collegiate Chapter, our gradual project of becoming an official UMass Amherst Registered Student Organization is complete! With the mission “to foster music education through trumpet performance, to provide a welcoming environment, which encourages musical growth and development, and to secure financial, logistical, and promotional support from the University of Massachusetts – Amherst,” the trumpet studio members have dedicated themselves to maintain the organization, as well as facilitate specific goals pertaining to the growth of the studio. Becoming an RSO on campus not only recognizes leadership in the music department, but also supports the high number of possible special events to benefit the brass department. A huge thank you to Steve Felix (Undergraduate ’12), as he led organization of logistics in order to make this happen!

Another very exciting project that is on its way to completion is the recording of a new CD featuring performances and compositions by UMass Amherst faculty. In December, UMass Amherst Wind Ensemble under James Patrick Miller recorded three pieces with three incredible guest artists. The first was James Stephenson’s Duo Fantastique, in which was commissioned by Eric Berlin and composed for Eric Berlin and Charlie Schlueter for the opening concert of the International Trumpet Guild 2007 Conference. Featured, of which were the intended soloists, were Eric Berlin and Charlie Schlueter. The second was Stephen Paulus’ Concerto for Two Trumpets, in which was originally composed for Doc Severinson and Manny Laureano. Eric Berlin commissioned the wind ensemble version for the opening concert of the International Trumpet Guild 2007 Conference. This featured Eric Berlin and Richard Kelly as the trumpet soloists. Lastly was Evan Hause’s Concerto for Trumpet, commissioned by Albany Symphony for Eric Berlin in 2001. The wind ensemble version for this piece was also commissioned by Eric Berlin in 2004 and was performed at The International Trumpet Guild 2004 Conference with the Denver Wind Ensemble. In addition, the entire UMass Amherst trumpet studio performed a composition by Jeffrey W. Holmes, UMass Amherst African-American Jazz Studies Director, titled Herald Emeritus Fanfare, written in loving memory of Walter Chesnut. Another piece that is in the works for Spring 2013 is one for Eric Berlin titled New Concerto for Trumpet and Wind Ensemble, composer Jeffrey Holmes.

During Charlie Schlueter and James Stephenson’s stay, the two guest artists gave two incredible master classes concerning trumpet performance and composition. Five members of the trumpet studio were given the opportunity to play for Charlie, in which each performance was examined and critiqued. In James Stephenson’s master class, James talked about his transformation from trumpet performer to full time self-employed composer, composition influences, his writing procedure, and other such topics. Both of these guest artists also worked with a brass quintet, The Brassless Chaps, critiquing and examining the analysis and performance of a piece. If you would like to know more about Charlie and/or James, check out two special interviews, one with Charlie Schlueter and the other with James Stephenson, soon to be featured on this website. A very warm thank-you to Charlie and James for sharing their time and knowledge!

In addition to these special guests the trumpet studio was also visited by Jim Becker of Osman Brass, INC., Terry Everson; Boston University Trumpet Professor and Performing Artist, Richard Kelly, and the Atlantic Brass Quintet. Jim Becker arrived with a few special treats along with a vast amount of information. The studio was given the opportunity to play three brand new Schilke horns: S32HD, S22CHD, and the P5-4. Mr. Becker also gave a short presentation on trumpet maintenance and optional trumpet alterations that improves the instrument’s sound and performance. Also, Jim described the steps of diagnosis on a variety of trumpet “ailments” that he executes at Osmun Brass. He then checked out student’s horns to look for quick fixes and advice pertaining to specific issues. Such master class was very much appreciated, as Mr. Becker is one of the best in his area of expertise. Furthermore, Terry Everson gave two breadth-taking recitals accompanied by Shiela Kibbe as the “Art of Sonata” series. The first of which included repertoire exemplifying the evolution of the trumpet sonata and the second included early contributions of the trumpet sonata originating from France, Czechoslovakia, and England. Also, another highly acclaimed performer, who has worked with numerous orchestral ensembles, Broadway Shows, studio work, etc., worked and performed with the UMass Amherst Wind Ensemble. Lastly, the Atlantic Brass Quintet paid us a special visit on February 10. They first presented a master-class, working with six UMass Amherst student brass quintets. That evening the quintet also gave a wonderful performance of interesting and fun repertoire!

There have been numerous student achievements this year! Three current studio members were accepted as Semi-Finalists for the National Trumpet Competition: Steve Felix has been listed as an Undergraduate Semi-Finalist, Nate Wilson has been listed as a Graduate Semi-Finalist, and Micah Maurio, a first year Jazz Composition graduate student, has been listed as a Semi-Finalist in the Jazz category. Steve Felix placed second place in the Undergraduate Division and Micah Maurio placed third in the Jazz Division. John Mange (Undergrad ’12) and Adam Mejaour (Undergrad ’14) received ITG scholarships, which attended the Minneapolis ITG Conference along with other members of the studio. Last year we also had three studio members attend the International Trumpet Guild Conference in Sydney, Australia on scholarship.