Minnesota Brass Inc. (MBI) has recently reaffirmed its commitment to a safe environment for all members and staff. MBI has since established a Conduct Review Committee (CRC) to review any and all allegations of inappropriate behavior. The CRC has an Open Door policy and is the watchdog for violations of MBI policy, The CRC has already begun review and investigations of various allegations of inappropriate behavior. In addition, the CRC has prepared an update that specifically addresses issues involved with reporting, whether anonymous or named, and now offers a new, confidential online reporting form. Because submitting a report can often be difficult, the CRC wants to reassure those contemplating making a report that they have a voice and a safe haven for reporting violations of MBI policy. Please feel free to review the CRC update and see the confidential online reporting form here.
Minnesota Brass has announced it is considering fielding a SoundSport (SoundSport.com) team for 2018.
SoundSport, a program of Drum Corps International (DCI), is designed to provide unique performance opportunities for instrumental music ensembles of all types, in a dynamic environment. The goal is to assist in the creation of—and provide performance opportunities to—local, low-cost and entertaining instrumental ensembles.
“We know many alumni and 2018 members are saddened by the decision not to field a competitive drum corps in 2018,” said Todd Tanji, executive director. “While SoundSport is not directly comparable to drum corps, it does provide for many great opportunities to perform together and create more flexible opportunities for potential members of all ages.” The Minnesota Brass SoundSport team would have a reduced rehearsal schedule and dues structure as compared to the traditional drum corps commitment. It is anticipated that such a unit would perform as part of the DCI World Championships in Indianapolis, Ind., on Saturday, Aug. 11, creating more opportunities for those who participate in fall marching bands to join.
An informational meeting for interested parties—including current members and alumni—will be held at 9 a.m. on Saturday, April 28, at Northdale Middle School in Coon Rapids. Potential members in all sections (brass, percussion, color guard and support staff) are invited to attend. Those interested in being a part of SoundSport but unable to attend Saturday should send an email to email@example.com.
A final announcement regarding the potential SoundSport ensemble will be made by June 1.
More information about SoundSport is available online.
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:
Chair, Board of Directors
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 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 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.
And we’re off! Minnesota Brass headed “Between the Lines” on Feb. 11 as some 50 prospective performers – both rookies and returning vets – showed up at Brooklyn Center High School for auditions and the first rehearsals of the 2018 season.
The day’s events included introductions, a first glance at the new music, an early marching workout and a presentation of the MBI Winter Guard’s 2018 program, “Oh, the Places You’ll REALLY go!”
“It’s a great turnout,” said Eric Molho, former corps director and current board chairman, said. “There’s some real positive energy here, and I think people are excited for 2018. All of the new staff members are energetic and enthusiastic. I think we’re off to a strong start.”
Among the veteran performers returning for 2018 is trumpeter Jon Karels, who first joined MBI in 2014. A Mankato resident, Karels, 20, is majoring in music education at Minnesota State University Mankato. He marched with the Bluecoats in 2017, and is hoping to hone his skills this summer for a successful audition with the Blue Devils in 2019. After the 2017 DCI tour wrapped, he filled a hole for Minnesota Brass for the DCA weekend.
“I knew they needed players and remembered how much fun it was,” he said. “It was also a chance to reconnect with people I’d known for a couple of years and just have fun.”
As to expectations for this season, he said, “For me, I’ll be able to dial in on my technique playing and marching, and to be a self-critic for next year’s auditions (with the Blue Devils). As for the corps, it’s a chance to see new faces and be part of a pretty neat experience.”
The audition process for both horns and drums continues in the week ahead and there is still time for potential members to join the organization. Horn auditions resume at Brooklyn Center High School on Saturday, February 24 at 9 a.m. Percussion auditions continue at Brooklyn Center High school on Wednesday, February 28 at 6 p.m.
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story included quotes from an additional prospective member. That individual has determined they won’t be able to march in 2018 and we have removed that portion of this story.