Millersville Students Attend Rodney Mack Phialdelphia Big Brass Seminar

A seminar held this summer gave college and high school brass students the opportunity to work with world renowned musicians.

Six students from Millersville’s music department studied at the Rodney Mack Philadelphia Big Brass Seminar this past summer from June 1st to June 6th at the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. These students are trumpet payers John Maurer, Devin Doherty, Dan Stauffer, french horn player Tommy Rieger, trombone player Nate Petley, and tuba player Dan Meeker.

This included members of the Rodney Mack Philadelphia Big Brass, and trumpeter and jazz musician Wynton Marsalis.

Five of the students selected to go are members of “The Celestial Brass,” a multi genre brass quintet that was formed back in September 2008.

Millersville faculty member, Matthew K. Brown coaches the group and was also on faculty at the Curtis Seminar.

This experience not only gave them the ability to learn outside the realm of Millersville’s music department, but also gave them a better perspective as musicians.

“My favorite experience was being able to play in a group with total strangers and still be united with the single goal of creating great music,” trumpet player Doherty said.

The opportunity to work with some of modern jazz’s biggest names was monumental for these students. It gave them the chance to be taught by their major inspirations.

“The host of the seminar, Rodney Mack, was a great influence to me personally, since he plays the trumpet like myself. Wynton Marsalis actually came to Curtis one afternoon to work briefly with each quintet. The fact that I was able to even meet, let alone receive feedback from arguably one of the greatest trumpet players alive was a once in a lifetime opportunity,” Doherty continued.

This seminar was a growing experience for these musicians, after which they were able to take what they learned back to Millersville and apply it there.

Trumpet player Dan Stauffer said, “Being able to study with great teachers and clinicians was an absolute privilege.”

The Celestial Jazz quintet was one of five quintets to attend. They are still active in the area and can be found on Facebook.