Brass quintet featured at SMC band concert

Published 6:41 pm Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Southwestern Michigan College Department of Visual and Performing Arts presents its annual spring band concert on Friday, April 1, at 7:30 p.m. in the theater of the Dale A. Lyons Building on the Dowagiac campus.

Admission is free. Performing will be the SMC Symphonic Band and Brass Band. Special guest artists will be the North American Brass Company.

North American Brass Company (NABC) is a professional brass quintet specializing in innovative performance and teaching programs.

NABC engages the audience by combining music and fun.

They have performed at Krasl Art Center and The Box Factory in St. Joseph, Hill Auditorium in Ann Arbor and across the Midwest.

Members include Jay Crouch and Charles Steck on trumpet, Bill Browne on horn, Gary Cooper on trombone and Roger Lewis on tuba.

Crouch is a retired public school music teacher (31 years). He has performed with Southwest Symphony, Elkhart Symphony and St. Joseph Municipal Band. He currently works for B&S USA in Elkhart and teaches private trumpet at SMC. Crouch also performs with the Ed Bagatini “New” Swing Orchestra and with Black River Jazz.

Steck teaches at LaPorte High School and is the trumpet instructor at Valparaiso University. He is the principal trumpet of both the LaPorte and Elkhart Symphonies. Steck also performs with St. Joseph Municipal Band and the Tom Milo Big Band.

Browne teaches band and orchestra at Culver Academies. Prior to teaching at Culver, Bill played with the U.S. Marine Band, also known as “The President’s Own,” in Washington D.C. He is active as a soloist, performer, guest conductor, teacher and adjudicator for area and regional music groups and organizations.

Cooper is the “artist in residence” at St Joseph High School. He maintains a large studio of private students and performs with the Whiting and Southwest Symphonies and St. Joseph Municipal Band. Cooper is also a talented vocalist.

Lewis is the low brass specialist for the Miraphone Co. He plays with the Elkhart and Whiting Symphonies and is the “first call” sub for many other groups. He also teaches at Goshen College and SMC.

Along with Cooper, Lewis is a founding member of NABC, which will be giving a clinic at SMC from 4 to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, March 30.

The clinic is open to the public at no cost and also takes place in the theater of the Lyons Building.