PGH Mayor Names Sept. 5th "James Gourlay Day"

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PGH Mayor Names Sept. 5th "James Gourlay Day"

On August 27th, County Executive Rich Fitzgerald honored James Gourlay, and on September 5th it was the Mayor’s turn. Mayor William Peduto named September 5th “Dr. James Gourlay Day” in honor of Gourlay’s tenth anniversary season. The presentation was held in the mayor’s office and was attended by representatives from RCB’s board, staff, and musicians. Congratulations James!

Jim Ostrowski, Tom Nist, Lea Havas, James Gourlay, Dolores Nypaver, Algirdas Matonis, and Birutė Stundžiaitė

Jim Ostrowski, Tom Nist, Lea Havas, James Gourlay, Dolores Nypaver, Algirdas Matonis, and Birutė Stundžiaitė

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RCB Honors the Heroes of 9/11

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RCB Honors the Heroes of 9/11

On the 18thanniversary of the September 11th 2001 terror attacks, Pittsburgh’s River City Brass played a special memorial service to honor those who lost their lives when Flight 93 crashed into a field in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. The service took place at Flight 93 National Memorial and included a moment of silence, sounding the Bells of Remembrance, a reading of the passengers’ and crew members’ names, and the laying of a wreath at the Wall of Names.

 

River City Brass played before, during, and after the ceremony, which began at 9:45 AM. Music selections includedThe National Anthem, Hymn to the Fallen, America the Beautiful, and Going Home. The featured speakers at the event were Mitchell Zuckoff, author ofFall and Rise: The Story of 9/11 as well as Vice President Pence.

Check out a video of RCB at the event from the Star Beacon HERE.

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James Gourlay Honored by County Executive Rich Fitzgerald

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James Gourlay Honored by County Executive Rich Fitzgerald

Tuesday August 27th was a big day for River City Brass! Dr. James Gourlay was honored by County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, who presented him with a proclamation. The ceremony was attended by representatives of the musicians, board and staff of River City Brass. This proclamation was presented to James in honor of his 10th Anniversary Season.

A group shot of those in attendance.

A group shot of those in attendance.

James gave a short acceptance speech.

James gave a short acceptance speech.

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RCB kicks off its Celtic Connections III concerts!

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RCB kicks off its Celtic Connections III concerts!

The Celtic concerts have become one of RCBs most popular concert series, and you can see why! With special guests and familiar tunes (not to mention the kilts) audiences have made this March concert a family tradition.

Read all about this year’s Celtic Connections III concert here.

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River City Brass Ensemble touring to Bangladesh!

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River City Brass Ensemble touring to Bangladesh!

Musicians from Pittsburgh’s own River City Brass are traveling to Dhaka, Bangladesh next month. RCB’s Music Director/Conductor James Gourlay will travel with seven RCB musicians to Dhaka, Bangladesh to play a number of concerts –bringing a little bit of the Steel City to the other side of the world!

 

The trip, which goes from February 8-16, will include concerts at a gala for the American International School Dhaka, The U.S. and Brazilian embassies, and at various local schools. James will be documenting the trip via his Facebook page, and live-streaming some of the events. The programs will feature RCB favorites like “Eye of the Tiger,” “Anvil Chorus,” and “Jai Ho.”

RCB personnel traveling to Bangladesh:

James Gourlay

Hakeem Bilal

Gabriel Colby

John Sebastian Vera

Jeffrey Nicodemus

David Piecka

Josh Boudreau

Shawn Wilson

Philip Parr

About the American International School in Dhaka:https://www.aisdhaka.org

Promo for the gala in Dhaka, Bangladesh

Promo for the gala in Dhaka, Bangladesh

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James Gourlay named one of the "Top 30 Professionals of the Year"

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James Gourlay named one of the "Top 30 Professionals of the Year"

Musical America, one of the music industry’s leading publications, has named RCB Music Director/CEO, Dr. James Gourlay, one of the “Top 30 Professionals of the Year.”

As the announcement states:

“These are the heroes, sung and (heretofore) unsung, of the performing arts industry. What is striking about these individuals is their passion, creativity and dedication to making the arts thrive.

These are the folks who make the industry tick, brainstorm the new ideas, get the artists on stage, help build the audiences and train the artists of tomorrow.”

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves! Bravo James!

Read about it online here: https://www.musicalamerica.com/news/newsstory.cfm?archived=0&storyid=41648&categoryid=7

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James Gourlay to conduct TubaChristmas!

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James Gourlay to conduct TubaChristmas!

On Saturday, December 1st, RCB conductor James Gourlay will lead an all-tuba brass band in Christmas favorites. Tuba Christmas is an annual event that takes place in cities all over the world. Check out the Tuba Christmas website: tubachristmas.com

Saturday December 1st, 1:00PM

Market Square, Downtown Pittsburgh.

This is a FREE family-friendly event. Come feel the Christmas Vibrations!

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RCB selected as a grantee of Bloomberg Philanthropies' Arts Innovation and Management Program!

River City Brass will participate in a $43 Million Program

 

River City Brass has been selected as a grant-recipient by Bloomberg Philanthropies' Arts Innovation and Management program. This invitation-only program seeks to strengthen the organizational capacity and programming of small and mid-size cultural organizations within Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Denver, New Orleans, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C. Through the $43 million multi-year initiative, Bloomberg Philanthropies will provide unrestricted general operating support as well as arts management training in areas that include fundraising, strategic planning, marketing, and board development.

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Stephen McGough's daughter to sing with RCB

Cornet player Stephen McGough is often called upon to sing during RCB's concerts, but for our upcoming "Les Mis' N'at" performances, his daughter will get the call! Clara McGough is a seventh grader at Bethel Park, and was recently in Front Porch Theatricals' production of "Grey Gardens." Music is in Clara's blood –her mother is a renowned flutist.

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RCB named a "FAN FAVORITE" by the readers of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette!

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RCB named a "FAN FAVORITE" by the readers of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette!

In the past few months, the laurels have been piling up around the River City Brass! It started with the Chairman's Award from First Night, then came the Family Entertainment award from the readers of Trib Total Media, then Mayor Peduto named a day after our conductor, James Gourlay, and now we have been named a "Fan Favorite" by the readers of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Big thanks to everyone who cast a ballot! 

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Meet the Musician: John Sebastian Vera

 

John Sebastian Vera is the Principal Trombone of the Connie and Gary Brandenberger Chair.

How did you pick your instrument?

Accidentally. When I chose my instrument in 5th grade they had us write down 3 choices. I wrote saxophone first because that’s what the “cool” kids play (obviously), then trumpet, then I couldn’t think of a third one so I wrote down the first instrument name that came to my head: trombone. Thankfully I couldn’t make a sound on the saxophone and they had enough trumpet players already.

You have faculty teaching positions at Youngstown State University and Slippery Rock University. What is your favorite part of teaching?

Teaching has inspired me in ways I didn’t know was possible. My mother was a school teacher for 38 years so I don’t take the privilege lightly. Learning an instrument is learning life. Helping students grow mentally and spiritually in addition to getting better at their instrument is a profound and rewarding responsibility.  Having two private studios to practice and work in outside my house is pretty rad too.

You spent a summer in Haiti teaching and performing as a volunteer. What was your most memorable part of the experience?

That summer was one of the most moving experiences of my life. I learned what the power of learning an art can do for a society. It gave this culture an identity and vehicle to express themselves, it taught them how to learn and gave them confidence. For the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, I’ve never seen a more kind, loving, and community-oriented people. They don’t feel sorry for themselves and they probably did much more for me than I did for them. …Oh and being on a boat that almost sunk in the ocean and being stranded on an island for a night with nothing was pretty memorable too ;)

What do you like most about being a member of River City Brass?

This is one of the most unique ensembles in the country if not the world, and it’s in Pittsburgh. Rarely do musicians get an opportunity to play this music with this type of ensemble on such a frequent basis and high level. It’s an amazingly unique and beautiful sound. I’ve learned so much and it’s made me a better musician. The best part is being around this group of people who are always encouraging, quick to laugh, and don’t take themselves too seriously while playing at an extremely high level.

Non-musical hobbies?

If I could travel year round I probably would. I also really enjoy reading about psychology and social science. I’m an admitted addict of all Dallas sports teams. (I’m from there, don’t hate.) I’m really bad at cooking but great at picking restaurants if that counts!

Best spot in the 'Burgh?

Ahhh too hard. I’ll cheat: Food: Gaucho, Smoke, Tessaro’s and The Vandal. Cocktails: Tender, Butterjoint,and the Livermore. The Mattress Factory Museum is worth visiting many times a year as well as the National Aviary.

Early bird or night owl?

I love mornings. Clear mind, full of optimism.

First record ever bought?

I think this question is designed to be embarrassing. I believe it was the Offspring followed by that hot Hootie and the Blowfish album.

An interesting fact about you is…

I played a trashman in a movie once. I also have two uvulas. Don’t be scared.

What advice would you give to an aspiring musician?

Follow the passion. Never be afraid of failure, that’s how you learn. Focus on the “why” more than the “what”. How are you going to help make the world a better place?


 

John Sebastian Vera also teaches at Youngstown State University and Slippery Rock, plays with the Pittsburgh Opera, and runs the the Third Coast Trombone Retreat, an eight-day trombone intensive for high school, college, and amateur trombonists from all around the United States. 

Also, be sure to check out his Instagram: johnsebastianvera

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Meet the Board: Finance Professionals Part 2

In this edition of Meet the Board, we introduce our second set of board members who are professionals in the finance industry. Meet Phil Petraglia and Karen Bostick.

Phil Petraglia

Phil Petraglia

Philip Petraglia is Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse.

Tell us a little bit about your career in finance.

After graduation from Westminster College, I worked several years in public accounting doing audit and tax work with a focus on small and medium sized companies. From there, I worked for a specialty steel manufacturer, a zoo, and a software startup.  Presently I am CFO of the Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse where we work with life science entrepreneurs to assist with commercializing their technology.

What made you want to join the River City Brass Board of Directors?

Simply put, I love the sound of brass bands.  I have zero musical ability or knowledge but have great appreciation for the music of brass bands.  My wife and I have been subscribers for almost 20 years and I wanted to get involved and help.  I was thrilled when they invited me to join the Board.

Best spot in the ‘Burgh?

View from Mt. Washington overlooking the city.  My father grew up on Mt. Washington, my grandfather had a small bar and restaurant overlooking the City, and I spent many years as a kid visiting there.  No matter how many times I go up there, the view is still spectacular each and every time!

Favorite RCB concert series to date?

Even as a child, I’ve always been a little partial to Big Band music.  However, James has introduced a wide variety of music and I’ve come to enjoy and appreciate every genre played by the band.  For example, I had never heard “Pines of Rome” until the Band played it a couple years ago and now I’ll play it often on Y.

Karen Bostick with her son, Noah.

Karen Bostick with her son, Noah.

Karen Bostick is an Investment Advisor Representative at Cetera Advisor Networks, LLC.

Tell us a little bit about your career in finance.

My very first job upon graduating college was with Federated Investors, Pittsburgh’s hometown money manager.

It was the best entry into the investment world for me – excellent training, a strong focus on ethical business practices, with a vibrant and exciting company!

After many successful years providing products and services to Financial Advisors across the country, I made the change to the ‘other side of the desk’ and became an Advisor in 2001. I spent 13 years providing wealth management and retirement solutions to individual clients and businesses through a small community Bank in the Pittsburgh area. In 2014, I established my own independent company to serve a broader range of clients, all the while staying true to the original tenets of good business practices learned at Federated. I look forward to each workday – the challenges and the opportunities to help people in our community achieve financial security.

What made you want to join the River City Brass Board of Directors?

When my only son went off to college in 2014, I began seeking productive and interesting ways to fill my newly found free time. As a longtime follower of the RCB, I was thrilled when a current BOD member – my good friend Lisa Valletto – invited me to consider the opportunity. I’m a music lover and supporter of ‘all things Pittsburgh’, and promoting the RCB feels like an excellent (and fun) way to share my time and talents.

What are some hobbies you enjoy?

Travel. Food. Wine. My top three without a doubt.

Oh, and watching sports. Lots of sports! Pirates. Steelers. Penguins. Pittsburgh can’t be beat for following professional sports.

I’m most excited about Pittsburgh’s thriving dining scene. We are fortunate to have an amazing range of cuisine to enjoy, and the caliber of chefs that have been attracted to our city!

Whether U.S. or abroad, I enjoy the education and adventure of discovering new destinations.

Dream vacation?

It was Ireland last year – unforgettable!

Right now I would say Italy is at the top of my list. (Travel. Food. Wine.)
But in the short-term, I’ll be settling for a Kentucky Bourbon Trail tour this fall : ) 

 

Behind the Scenes in Westminster, White Mills, and Pittsburgh

We've had a busy few weeks here at River City Brass! Let's start with James Gourlay conducting the massed bands and choirs of the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo in the United Kingdom national anthem. Video by Nabbss.

Photo by Koichiro Suzuki

Photo by Koichiro Suzuki

RCB at the Wildflower Music Festival in White Mills, PA. Photo by Lea Havas

RCB at the Wildflower Music Festival in White Mills, PA. Photo by Lea Havas

Helen Montelone, James Gourlay, Sam Buccigrossi, Ken Russo, Koichiro Suzuki, and Lea Havas stop for lunch in Hawley, PA.

Helen Montelone, James Gourlay, Sam Buccigrossi, Ken Russo, Koichiro Suzuki, and Lea Havas stop for lunch in Hawley, PA.

A lovely morning at Bach, Beethoven, and Brunch! Photo by Lea Havas.

A lovely morning at Bach, Beethoven, and Brunch! Photo by Lea Havas.

Dominic Rupprecht redeemed his prize from our annual gala – a chance to conduct RCB!

Dominic Rupprecht redeemed his prize from our annual gala – a chance to conduct RCB!

Meet the Board: Legal Professionals

In this week’s edition of Meet the Board, we are featuring the members who work as legal professionals. Meet Caleb Wallace and Brandon Lester.

Caleb Wallace

Caleb Wallace is Assistant Counsel and Sr. Health Policy Analyst at UPMC Health Plan.

Tell us a little bit about your experience as a legal professional.

I actually started my career in IT, but always had a strong interest in public health and medicine.  While I was at Pitt Law, I also studied Health Policy and Management and helped draft a reference book for Pennsylvania’s judges about the role that courts play in public health, both on a day-to-day basis and in emergencies.  Just as I was finishing law school, Congress was finishing its work on the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare).  A couple years prior I had been an intern with UPMC Health Plan’s legal department, so when they needed someone to blend a legal position with policy analysis on the implementation of this massive new law, it was really a perfect fit for both of us.  I’ve now been at UPMC Health Plan for seven years and it has been an amazing opportunity to be a part of the organization’s rapid growth and expansion.  As the implementation phase of the ACA has started to slow down a little, I’ve actually found that my work as an attorney has started shifting back to technology and data, which is the area of healthcare that is probably the most rapidly evolving right now.

What made you want to become a member of the River City Brass Board of Directors?

James didn’t give me a choice!  Actually, I’ve always loved music – I played alto sax through high school and I was the President of my school’s concert band.  I was introduced to River City Brass by a long-time friend of the band, Scott Lammie, who happens to be the CFO here at UPMC Health Plan.  I also come from a family of teachers, so when I heard about the Saturday Music Program, I knew I wanted to be a part of all the great work RCB is doing.

An interesting fact about you is…

I own two Renault LeCars and in 2014 I was on the Ellen Show with my wife, Jessica.

What are some hobbies you enjoy?

Because my job involves so much research, writing, and analysis, I like almost anything that involves working with your hands.  A few years ago we bought a “fixer-upper” so most of my free time since then has been spent laying tile, replacing floors, or rewiring electrical outlets.  I like seeing the finished product of our work on the house, but I’m really a car guy at heart.  I try to spend a couple hours every Saturday morning in the garage working on one of my cars or motorcycles.  I also enjoy playing tennis and racquetball.


 

Brandon Lester

Brandon Lester is a Labor and Employment Associate Attorney at Jones Day.

Tell us a little bit about your career as a legal professional.

I went to law school at The Ohio State University, then started out working for a small firm in Columbus, Ohio.  After a year, I moved to a position as a law clerk (i.e., a staff attorney) for the Chief Justice of the Ohio Supreme Court, where I wrote opinions and advised on some of the most pressing legal issues facing the state.  I then took a fellowship in the Appeals Section of the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, where I wrote appellate briefs and did oral arguments in state and federal appeals courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court and the Ohio Supreme Court, on issues as varied as habeas corpus petitions for individuals facing the death penalty to insurance liquidation.  Currently, I practice labor and employment law at Jones Day, where I represent employers in all facets of those areas.  I also maintain a busy pro bono practice with Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, where I help low income artists in the area with legal issues.

What made you want to join the River City Brass Board of Directors?

As a brass musician myself (trombone), I appreciate just how impressively talented the Band is, and it is a thrill and an honor to help guide the Band to reach new audiences and grow in the community.

Best spot in the ‘Burgh?

Kayaking on the rivers around downtown — the views are tremendous!

Favorite place you’ve ever been?

It’s a tie between (1) Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, Colorado, which is a beautiful place to see a concert, thousands of feet above the sea level, surrounded by the beauty of the Rocky Mountains and (2) on the field at a WVU home football game, marching with the Mountaineer Marching Band in front of 60,000+ cheering fans!

Behind the Musician: Josh Boudreau

If you're as nebby as we are, you're going to enjoy this new video series. We're taking the cameras to our musicians' homes and hangouts to help you get to know them even more. First up is solo cornet Josh Boudreau. He was kind enough to introduce us to his daughter, Gabby, and his father, Robert, at the home where he grew up. Check it out!