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MBI Winds Launch Delayed

By | Winds | No Comments

With the new changes in leadership at Minnesota Brass, the corps has decided to focus their efforts on the summer program and delay the launch of MBI Winds.

We are aware of the impact this decision has on the growing community of performers who wish to participate. We look forward to launching this ensemble into a growing WGI winds community both locally and nationally. Minnesota Brass is committed to providing an expanded opportunity for new members to perform in this inclusive new activity. Minnesota Brass wishes the best to all of the WGI winds units competing this season as this exciting new platform grows into its own.

Meanwhile there are amazing performance opportunities to participate as the MBI Winter Guard and MBI Indoor Percussion, as well as with the nationally renown, award winning summer drum and bugle corps program. We look forward to announcing the news of these great programs in the coming months. Thank you for your support.

MBI Indoor Percussion 2017

By | Indoor Drumline | No Comments

Minnesota’s only Independent World Class percussion ensemble is proud to kick off their 10th year of existence for the 2017 season with an auditions & clinic event.

Join us Sunday, October 30th at Totino Grace High School from 9am-5pm for a day of instruction from the top educators in our area. While there is an audition component for those interested in joining the 2017 cast, this event is open to anyone looking to improve their skills or simply learn what MBI is all about.

Instruments will be provided. It is recommended that battery members bring their own sticks and practice pad. Please wear rehearsal appropriate attire. Lunch will not be provided, however there are numerous restaurants nearby.

Entry fee: $25

For those interested in auditioning for a spot in the 2017 cast, call-backs will be held the following Sunday, November 6 from 9am-5pm (location TBD). Those offered a spot will be expected to attend regularly scheduled rehearsals beginning Sunday, November 13th. Please see the full season calendar for complete rehearsal and show schedule.

Please prepare the audition packet for your instrument to the best of your ability. To receive your packet as well as additional 2017 season information please RSVP at mnbrass.org/drumline

MBI Announces New Leadership Team

By | Drum & Bugle Corps | No Comments

Minnesota Brass (MBI), the premiere drum and bugle corps in the Midwest and former world champion, is pleased to announce the creation of a new leadership team as it embarks on its 71st season in 2017.

Based in St. Paul, Minn., the new management structure will comprise an Executive Committee made up of three longtime members of the organization and a split directorship divided between strategic and tactical responsibilities.

The new executive committee will consist of former corps director Gavin Burnham, longtime financial officer Dave Whitaker and board chairman Todd Tanji. All are former performing members with the corps and share longstanding experience with the activity in administrative capacities. The day-to-day operations will be handled by new corps directors Justin Foell and Katy Bensen, both also former performing members.

The new officers include:

burnham

Gavin Burnham – Executive Director, President and CEO (gavin@mnbrass.org)

Burnham has been involved with Minnesota Brass since 1985, as a marching member from 1985 to 1989. He also served as financial officer and assistant corps director from 1988 to 1994, and corps director from 1995 to 2002. Since 2003, Burnham has served as president and Chief Executive Officer of the organization.

 

 

 

whitaker

David Whitaker – Chief Financial Officer (dave@mnbrass.org)

Whitaker has been involved with MBI since 1990, as a marching member for six years and also serving as a visual tech and administrator. He joined the Board of Directors in 1992 and served until 2001 when we was elected board chairman, a position he held until 2007.

 

 

 

tanji

Todd Tanji – Chair, Board of Directors (ttanji@mnbrass.org)

Tanji has served on the Board of Directors since 2009 and as board chairman since 2012. He was a performing member from 1978 to 1980, and served as brass caption head in 1984. He has been artistic director of Minne-Brass, a small ensemble that performs under the MBI umbrella, since 2005. Tanji also performed with the world champion Blue Devils Drum and Bugle Corps of Concorde, Calif., from 1981 to 1982, and has served on the BD Performing Arts Board of Directors/Advisory Board since 2003.

 

 

 

foell

Justin Foell – Corps Director (justin@mnbrass.org)

Foell will manage the educational and volunteer staffs of Minnesota Brass. He was a marching member of world champion Rockford, Ill., Phantom Regiment Drum and Bugle Corps from 1995 to 1998. He performed in the Minnesota Brass horn line in 1999 and 2012, and served on the brass staff from 2013 to 2016. He also currently serves as webmaster for the organization. He is an alumnus of the Irondale High School Marching Knights of New Brighton, Minn.

 

 

 

bensen

Katy Bensen – Managing Director (katy@mnbrass.org)

Bensen will manage corps operations and member relations for MBI. She performed with the Minnesota Brass horn line in 1989 and 1992 and with Phantom Regiment in 1990 and 1991. She has served on the MBI visual staff since 2013 and has been the corps’ managing director since 2014, also providing member support for the corps’ winter ensembles. She currently teaches music in the White Bear Lake School District in suburban St. Paul, and teaches private lessons, summer band and high-school marching band.

 

 

 

Minnesota Brass is a 100-plus member drum and bugle corps based in St. Paul, Minn., that provides performance opportunities for adults age 17 and up. It also hosts a winter color guard, winter drum line and Minne-Brass, a small ensemble that performs throughout the year in parades and at corporate and private events.

 

MBI Winter Guard 2017

By | MBI Winterguard | No Comments

Minnesota’s premier independent winter guard, MBI is officially kicking-off the 2017 season with an auditions & clinic event.

Join us Sunday, October 30th from 9am-2pm at the White Bear Lake Armory in White Bear Lake, MN for a day filled with choreography and skills taught by some of the top instructors in the area. This event is open to anyone interested in auditioning for a spot with the 2017 cast as well as those looking to gain new experience.

Equipment will be provided. Please wear rehearsal appropriate attire and bring a lunch or snack.

Entry fee: $25

MBI Winter Guard is an extension of the Minnesota Brass Drum Corps and competes in the Independent A Class of the North Star Circuit & Winter Guard International. They are a 3 time WGI World Championships Finalist and have earned numerous accolades both locally, regionally and nationally.

MBIWG provides its members with a structured and educational program focused on training, development & growth as well as:

  • Affordable dues
  • School/work/life balanced schedule
  • A consistent and competitively successful experience

MBI Winter Guard is the right choice for those age 22 and under looking to advance their color guard skills and perform amongst the very best.

For those interested in auditioning for a spot with the 2017 cast, call-backs will be held the following Sunday, November 6 from 9am-2pm at the White Bear Lake armory. Those offered a spot are expected to attend regularly scheduled Sunday rehearsals beginning Nov 13.

For more information, please RSVP at mnbrass.org/winterguard

A Dream 13 Years in the Making

By | Drum & Bugle Corps | No Comments

Who says “13” can’t be a lucky number? That’s exactly how many years it took for MBI euphonium player Elkin Navarro to realize his dream of marching in a drum and bugle corps in the United States.

Navarro, 31, is a long-time band director from Bucaramanga, Colombia, located some 250 miles north of the capital city of Bogotá … and nearly 3,000 miles south of St. Paul. The city of around half a million hosts a large clothing industry as well as a growing technological research effort specializing in energy, gas, oil, asphalt, leather and agro-industrial development tools, among other concerns. Located in the Colombian Andes, it is also a popular destination for tourists.

After some 15 years of teaching band, Elkin said he thought he’d better get on with trying to fulfill his drum corps dream. Looking for online videos of U.S. marching bands in the pre-YouTube days was a daunting effort, but he eventually stumbled upon videos of DCI corps. And watching videos of the Cavaliers only fueled his desire to participate. His first visit to the United States came two years ago when he played mellophone with the Medellin Gran Banda on a Sound Sport tour. That was his first experience playing a horn in an ensemble, he says; previously he’d played timbales with Latin orchestras in his hometown.

Suspecting in April it was too late into the season to get a marching spot with a DCA corps, Elkin wrote to several corps seeking a volunteer position, “and Colts director Vicki (Schaffer MacFarlane) was the first to answer with the beautiful YES!” he recalled. While with the Colts, from June 13 through July 29, Elkin was part of the props crew. “Vicki talked to one of the MBI staff members about my situation, and here I am! Just a month before DCA finals – I still can’t believe it!”

Back home in Colombia, Elkin receives support from brother Christian and sister Nathalia, his parents (Fernando and Mildred), and his “beautiful and wonderful” daughter Mariana, who celebrated her sixth birthday on July 29, the same day he left the Colts in Atlanta for the Twin Cities. “That wasn’t easy,” he says.

Even though he’s getting to play for only part of this season with MBI, Elkin says he wouldn’t dismiss an opportunity to spend an entire summer with the corps.

So how might he parlay his drum corps experience when he gets back home?

“I think that I should help instructor friends, members and marching bands in my city when I go back to my country,” he said. “Being with Colts and Minnesota Brass has given me a lot of information and a wonderful experience that I would love to help people [have] who want to live the same adventure.”