Local music students learn the art of small upper band ensembles | Education

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Dallas Brass players Brain Neal (left) and DJ Barraclough (right) show students in the 7th and 8th grade bands at Scottsbluff High School and Bluffs Middle School the different types of trumpets they play. The small ensemble held a clinic and rehearsal with the band’s students on September 16.


NICOLE HELDT/Star-Herald


The music and laughter came from the Scottsbluff High School Auditorium on Friday, September 16, during a clinic and rehearsal by a nationally acclaimed ensemble.

The seven-member Dallas Brass spent the afternoon with students from the Bluffs Middle School sixth and seventh grade band and the Scottsbluff High School band.

“We had them here in 2009, and that was because Mike Koch had bonded with them,” said Scottsbluff High School group principal Frank Ibero. “This year, it happened that (Dallas Brass) was touring Nebraska, so they reached out to us.”

Dallas Brass was founded in 1983 by Michael Levine. The group entertained students with tips for becoming better musicians and more during the afternoon clinic.

“They are wonderful showmen, and they just put on a show, entertaining the students here today,” Ibero said.

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The ensemble also introduced themselves and their musical journeys. The students responded to the stories with laughter and plenty of questions for the traveling musicians.







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Bluffs Middle School band students who were part of a small volunteer ensemble, Drew Kaufman playing tuba and Jonah Flammang playing trombone, perform for Dallas Brass artistic director Michael Levine at a clinic Sept. 16.


NICOLE HELDT/Star-Herald


Dallas Brass trumpet player DJ Barraclough shared that he bought his first trombone after finding a $170 roll on a beach in Hawaii. He encouraged students to find inspiration and use it in the music room.

“Look for that inspiration, set specific goals, and take yourself charged and excited to the workout room,” Barraclough said. “You get more out of it if you’re inspired, so there you go.”

During the clinic, Levine worked with a small group from middle school and another from high school. Bluffs Middle School group principal Michael Koch said his group was made up of volunteers who put in extra time to practice before the school day started.

After the groups with mixed instruments played a simple song, Levine asked the studying audience for feedback and reiterated the importance of listening to the other parts of a small ensemble.

“We’re always listening to each other, matching each other,” Levine said. “Usually when we play we focus on our role and wait for our manager to tell us what to do differently. But again, here we take on that responsibility.







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Dallas Brass ensemble member Juan Berrious demonstrates the soothing sound of an alto horn in the auditorium of Scottsbluff High School on September 16. Dallas Brass held a clinic and rehearsals with students from Scottsbluff High School and Bluffs Middle School 7th and 8th grade bands.


NICOLE HELDT/Star-Herald


In addition to the afternoon clinic, the student groups rehearsed with the ensemble for the Friday evening concert. The Dallas Brass concert series, American Musical Journey, is designed to enrich and entertain the whole family. School bands and the Scottsbluff High School Choir each had the opportunity to perform with the renowned ensemble.

The members of Dallas Brass are: Levine, Founder and Artistic Director; Barraclough, trumpet; Brian Neal, trumpet; Juan Berrios, horn; John Wasson, trombone; Paul Carlson, tuba; and Craig Hill, percussion.







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Adalynn Branon (left) plays her flute while Dallas Brass artistic director Michael Levine (right) asks other players to match Branon’s volume. The group of student volunteers from the Bluffs Middle School band performed a simple song to illustrate the importance of listening while playing in a small ensemble at a Dallas Brass clinic on September 16.


NICOLE HELDT, Star-Herald


“When you play in a small ensemble, you become a much more complete musician,” Levine said. “Plus, you can take your small group out into the community. The idea of ​​going up to them and playing is, to me, one of the greatest things you can do.

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