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Minnesota Brass Drum and Bugle Corps to go Inactive in 2018

By | Drum & Bugle Corps | 7 Comments

The Minnesota Brass, Inc. leadership and its board of directors have decided not to field a competitive drum and bugle corps for the 2018 summer season. Despite the outstanding work of the artistic staff, marching members and the administrative team thus far this year, the corps has not been able to recruit a large enough base of brass members to field a summer program that meets the historically high performance standards audiences expect from Minnesota Brass.

The board has invited staff and existing members to explore the potential of creating a SoundSport ensemble that would perform at the DCI World Championships in Indianapolis on Saturday, August 11. An informational meeting regarding the potential SoundSport ensemble will be held on Saturday, April 28, from 9 to 11 a.m. at Northdale Middle School in Coon Rapids, Minn.

“The decision to withdraw from the 2018 competitive drum corps season was a very difficult one,” said Todd Tanji, Minnesota Brass executive director. “Unfortunately, the competitive drum corps activity has experienced a decline in members and audiences over the past several seasons, and we’re feeling the pressure in Minnesota as well.”

The corps elaborated on some of the reasons for the decision:

  • Minnesota Brass has had difficulty recruiting enough members for the brass section.
  • The Drum Corps Associates (DCA) competitive schedule is both a recruiting and strategic challenge that puts the organization at odds with high-school and college music programs, particularly over the Labor Day weekend when DCA holds its championship competition. This has limited the corps’ ability to create beneficial partnerships with music educators at the high-school and college levels.
  • Retention of multi-year veteran members has declined in recent years adding complications to our recruiting efforts
  • It is expensive for potential members to participate in the ensemble despite significant subsidies the organization uses to keep member dues far below the actual costs of running the drum corps.
  • It is increasingly challenging to recruit and retain talented, committed staff to lead all sections. We have been extremely fortunate to have stable, long-standing staff leadership in some aspects of the program, but other commitments of musical educators have become more prevalent in recent years.

Minnesota Brass Inc., a vibrant drum and bugle corps entity in Minnesota for more than 70 years, remains a healthy and viable performing-arts organization with stable finances and committed leadership. We anticipate no changes to our existing winter color guard and percussion ensembles. The board will be conducting a comprehensive review of the organization’s strategy in the coming months.

Minnesota Brass will continue to uphold its commitments to Drum Corps International as local partners for the 2018 summer events DCI Minnesota and March On! However, the organization will not sponsor the Sounds of Minnesota event this year.

For more information contact:

Eric Molho
Chair, Board of Directors
eric@mnbrass.org

Goodbye winter, hello Dayton

By | Indoor Drumline, MBI Winterguard | No Comments

Join Minnesota Brass on Sunday, April 8, as we present the winter finale featuring MBI Indoor Percussion and MBI Winter Guard as they present their 2018 programs prior to heading to Dayton, Ohio, for WGI championships.

Both the winter drumline and color guard are on incredible trajectories, poised to make an impact at WGI Finals. These are performances you simply need to experience. And if you haven’t seen them recently, you’ll be taken aback. Every performance unveils something new.

For a $5 donation, you will witness the best winter ensembles in Minnesota.  Your donation helps pay facility fees and support Minnesota Brass ensembles. Kids under 10 are admitted free.

Location: Brooklyn Center High School (main gym)
Date: Sunday, April 8
Time: 2-3 p.m.
Admission: $5 (kids under 10 free)

Get your daubers up — MBI bingo returns

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After a break of nearly six months, Minnesota Brass bingo returns to action on Saturday, April 7, at Stout’s Pub and Grill in Falcon Heights.

With the 2018 season well underway, MBI’s favorite fund-raising event is taking place at a new time and place. Stout’s is located at 1611 Larpenteur Ave W., just west of the intersection with Snelling Avenue and north of the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. We’re also moving the game to the first Saturday afternoon of each month, with games beginning at 3 and running till 5:30. Please arrive around 2:30 to purchase your packets.

Another change is coming with the introduction of cash prizes instead of the purses of the past. Again, the amount of an individual jackpot will be determined by the number of winners in each game, with the winners equally dividing each game’s bounty. The top prize for a single winner will be determined by the number of players.

In addition to bingo, MBI hosts a pull-tab machine at Stout’s. The machine is always available for play.

A long-time neighborhood institution, Stout’s offers a full bar offering a revolving selection of craft beers, your favorite cocktails and a menu featuring dinners, pizzas, sandwiches and appetizers.

MBI names Sam Khwice drum major for ’18

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Sam Khwice, who served two years as drum major for the Minnesota State University, Mankato “Marching Mavericks,” has been named drum major for Minnesota Brass for the 2018 season.

“I am thrilled to be a part of Minnesota Brass for the upcoming season,” Khwice, 24, who is new to the organization, said. “There were many qualified, outstanding candidates for the position, and I am honored to have been named drum major for the upcoming season.

“MBI is an organization I have wanted to be a part of for some time, but because of school and proximity, I couldn’t make it happen. I’m very excited to finally be a part of the group!”

Khwice of Chaska, Minn., grew up in nearby Victoria and played at and graduated from Chanhassen High School. He topped a field of 12 candidates who expressed interest in the position, according to Brent Turner, himself a former drum major of the corps who conducted the auditions. “Sam was chosen for his positive energy and dedication to MBI,” Turner added. “He is a leader in the true sense of the word: always prepared, comes to rehearsals early and stays late. He is going to be a great continuation of strong drum majors for MBI.”

Turner noted Khwice is a regular attendee at the annual Minnesota Music Educators Association conventions, and currently also assists the Eden Prairie (Minn.) Eagle Marching Band.

Khwice’s appointment was announced to the corps’ membership at the Feb. 24 weekend camp, where a looming winter storm curtailed attendance among brass players, while the guard and percussion sections were off preparing for winter competitions the same day. That didn’t keep a trio of brass rookies from showing up.

French-horn player Andrew Resch first encountered MBI at the Vikingland Marching Band Festival in Alexandria, Minn., at which the corps annually presents both a field performance and marches in the event’s huge parade.

Noah Koep first saw the corps perform at DCI Minnesota and, with the encouragement of his high-school band director – MBI alum Joe DeLisi – will be playing mellophone this summer.

And trumpeter Patrick Marrs, who is a Little League umpire and encountered Minnesota Brass at a performance in conjunction with Super Bowl LII held in Minneapolis earlier in the month, is also taking his band director’s encouragement onto the field.

All three expresses similar hopes for the coming season: to improve their playing chops, become better marchers and, universally, “have a great time this summer with some amazing people.”
Shouldn’t be too difficult to achieve that goal.

Free and Fun? You Betcha

By | Drum & Bugle Corps | No Comments

Thursday, February 15, at Brooklyn Center High School (Brooklyn Center High School, 6500 Humboldt Ave N, Brooklyn Center, MN 55430), Band Director, Michael Reed, and in partnership with Minnesota Brass, invites everyone to come out for FREE to hear Lulu’s Playground. Lulu’s Playground will be the first ensemble of various guest artists throughout the school year promoting the Free Access to Music Education Arts Learning Program established by Minnesota Brass last fall. The concert will begin at 3:15 pm in the auditorium.

Ah one . . . two . . . here we go!

This performance is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.  The grant, secured by Minnesota Brass, supports instrumental music education at Brooklyn Center High School.

Lulu’s Playground 
Lulu’s Playground consists of a unique instrumentation including trumpet, cello, accordion, and guitar. The band was started by four old friends who go back to their school days at Lawrence University Music Conservatory. They’ve played together in jazz groups, salsa bands, orchestras, improvisation classes, and hallway jam sessions, and now they’ve joined forces in a new city to bring you an old chemistry.

About the Artists:

Adam Meckler (Trumpet):
Adam Meckler is a trumpet player, composer, and educator living in Minneapolis, MN. He is an Edwards Instrument Co. Performing Artist and Clinician, and leads The Adam Meckler Orchestra (AMO), an 18 piece big band that plays his original compositions. The AMO’s debut album ‘When the Clouds Look Like This’ was listed among 2014’s Best Jazz Releases by iTunes. Adam holds faculty positions in trumpet and Jazz at McNally Smith College of Music, and MacPhail Center for Music. He tours and records with Youngblood Brass Band and Nooky Jones, and plays regularly with a host of bands around the Twin Cities including Lulu’s Playground, The Jana Nyberg Group, Jack Brass Band, The Graydon Peterson Quartet, and The Pete Whitman X-Tet. His latest release ‘Improvisations’, an improvised duets album with cellist Cory Grossman, is now available at www.adammeckler.com.

Steven Hobert (accordion):
Steven Hobert describes himself as a soul who plays, sings and dances while exploring life’s mysteries. His genre-blending piano, accordion and vocal music has been described as “delightful, innovative and viscerally inspiring” that “dazzles audiences with sincerity and playfulness to open up hearts and fire imaginations.” Based out of Minneapolis, he plays in Oudyano with renowned Syrian oud player Issam Rafea, tours as a soloist, leads the world beat-driven ensemble FireFlyForest, leads the Steven Hobert (jazz) Quartet and works as a free-lance producer, composer and instrumentalist for countless shows with vocalists & ensembles in jazz, classical, world music fusion, sacred music and American roots music.

Cory Grossman (Cello):
Cory Grossman, cellist/composer/teacher, has a degree in performance from Lawrence University and regularly plays with the Laurels String quartet. Cory has performed/recorded with artists such as Macklemore, Dan Wilson, Father John Misty, Belle and Sebastian, Jeremy Messersmith, and Haley Bonar.

Ben Abrahamson:
Ben Abrahamson is a dynamic and original voice on the acoustic guitar. His original compositions and fingerstyle approach blend the improvisation of jazz, and the dexterity of flamenco. His passion for flamenco guitar drove him to Taller de Músics School of Music in Barcelona, where he studied under Juan Ramón Caro. He has composed works for theMinneapolis Guitar Quartet, Zorongo Flamenco Dance Theatre, Mac Jazz big band, and Muhlenberg College Theatre and Dance Dept. Ben has shared the stage with mentors like Michael and Tony Hauser, Susana diPalma, La Conja, Chuscales, Pedro Cortes Jr., Joan Griffith, and Gary Lee Joyner. Ben performs regularly with groups such as Lulu’s Playground, the Tom Nordlund Quintet, Zorongo Flamenco, and the Ben Abrahamson Trio.