New Musical ensemble to make fist public appearance on campus

New Musical ensemble to make fist public appearance on campus

New Musical ensemble to make fist public appearance on campus

Mark Schuster

A new brass ensemble is bringing together players from all walks of life for the common goal of making music.

The Route 66 Brass Ensemble will perform its first concert at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Taylor Performing Arts Center. The ensemble is unique in that it is comprised of Missouri Southern students, and faculty from Southern and other institutions with select high school students.

Rusty Raymond, director of bands for Southern and a six-year veteran teacher in the Southern Music Department, said starting the group was something he had been interested in doing for a long time.

“My associate, Dr. Macomber, and I had wanted to start a community band on campus for many years,” Raymond said. “I proposed it three separate times, and was turned down each time. We decided that maybe if we started smaller, we could get approval for it, which we did. This is the first step towards establishing a community band.”

Raymond said the ensemble provides benefits for both Southern students and the community in general.

“The ensemble allows performance opportunities for Southern students who are not able to schedule into our band classes that are offered,” Raymond said.

“It is also a wonderful community relations tool that allows us to make contacts throughout the area. It is also a great recruiting device, because it brings upper-level high school students to our campus.”

Dr. Jeffrey Macomber, assistant professor of music, said the ensemble provides the players with a sense of camaraderie, and the concert will provide something for everyone.

“It is a varied program, featuring works by Handel and Brahms, as well as more contemporary artists like Henry Mancini,” he said. “There is something for everyone.”

Aside from bringing in top talent from around the area, the ensemble will also feature several musicians from Southern.

These are Josh Zimmer, percussion; Damon Graue, percussion; Erica DeMoss, percussion; Donald Sparks, tuba; Anna Johnson, tuba; Miranda Tyler, horn; Tom Smith, horn; Nick Gilmore, horn; Paul Whetstone, trombone; Michael Thompson, trumpet; and professor Rusty Raymond, trumpet.

Raymond said the group is open to everyone and interested people are welcome to sit in during rehearsals.

“The first thing I would say is give it a try, because you never know what you’re capable of until you try it,” he said. “I know there are lots of students on campus who have let their instruments sit in a closet since high school who wish they still had a chance to play, and that’s what this ensemble is all about. We have musicians ranging in age from 16 to 70, so there’s a place for everyone. If you think you might be interested, just go for it.”