A-State trumpets compete in largest same-instrument competition in the world: addition

Written by: Jonathan Schaufler

Six A-State trumpet players have advanced to the quarterfinals in the National Trumpet Competition (NTC) which is the largest same instrument competition in the world.

These six trumpets were chosen for the small ensemble division and were selected out of hundreds of other ensembles and will now travel to the University of Delaware to compete. The students who have been chosen to advance are; Blake White of Tullahoma, Tennessee, Cody Daughertee of Poplar Bluff, Missouri, Jonathan Dunlap of Springdale, Grady Fields of Southside, Arkansas, Carlos Mejia of Springdale, and Becca Wertenberger of Bryant, Arkansas. 

The students were chosen via a blind audition, where Dr. Nairam Simoes, an assistant professor of music, chose the final six. 

The players are students in a class titled small ensemble- trumpet. They would practice their pieces in this class and while they are under the direction and supervision of Simoes, they are mostly student-led and conduct their own practices. 

“We plan our rehearsal times, except for when Dr. Simoes helps us and gives us coaching,” Mejia said. 

While Dr. Simoes may not assist all the time, he is still there to help and spoke highly of the group.

 “It’s really great to see them grow and develop their craft,” Simoes said. “They have not only developed the necessary skills of playing but also the ensemble playing, their leadership and their organization.” 

 The group began rehearsing in early September and met around three times a week until recently when they increased it to four. The ensemble has been preparing one piece to submit and perform and they have selected “Overture” from Yohan Strauss’s “Operetta Diefledermaus” arranged by A-State alumni Zachary Shearer. 

Planning for this event first began in the summer, starting with the commissioning of the selected pieces. As the school year went on, students reserved separate venues for coaching sessions, applied for NTC and recorded their submissions. This was overseen by a team consisting of Simoes, Sam Oliveri, a trumpet adjunct professor and the teaching assistant White. 

As full-time college students who are all music majors, the group has found it difficult to fit rehearsal time in-between their other required rehearsals and performances.

 “It was difficult to say the least,” Mejia said. “With weather and performances, we lost a few rehearsals.  But if we miss a day we always try and make it up.” 

Amidst weather and many other things, the group has prevailed and will leave for the University of Delaware on March 30 and return on April 3. There they will compete in the quarterfinals where they will compete against 39 other ensembles. Afterwards, they may advance to the semifinals and eventually the finals.

Trumpet Ensemble members headed to NTC are (from left) Carlos Mejia, Grady Fields, Rebecca Wertenberger, Blake White, Jonathan Dunlap and Cody Daughertee.

Categories: News

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