James Gourlay was born in Scotland, where, at the age of ten, he was "volunteered" to play in his school brass band. Being the tallest in class, he was serendipitously given the tuba, an instrument he loves and continues to promote all over the world.
After much success as a solo champion, Gourlay entered the Royal College of Music but left after a short time to become the Principal Tuba of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra at the age of eighteen. He continued working at the BBC Symphony Orchestra for ten years, then performed for an additional ten years with the Orchestra of the Zurich Opera. Gourlay's career as a chamber musician and soloist continues to flourish. He has been a member of the Philip Jones and English Brass ensembles with which he has toured the world, and also continues to perform as a soloist extensively. He has recorded five solo CDs, the latest being British Tuba Concertos recorded for the Naxos label with the Royal Ballet Sinfonia, which has since received international critical acclaim.
Gourlay's early work within the Brass Band Movement forms a vital component of his creative output. After early success with the Brass Band Berneroberland, he became music director of the Williams Fairey Band with which he won the English Masters and British Open contents. Gourlay has also been the professional conductor of the Grimethorpe Colliery and the Etoiles, with which he has won the Swiss National Championships, the Swiss Open Championships, and second place at the European as well as at the World Brass Band Championships.
Gourlay's commitment to music education is a continuing passion. He has been Head of Wind and Percussion at the Royal Northern College of Music and Deputy Principal and Music Director at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. He holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Salford University, a Masters degree from Leeds University, a Fellowship of the Royal Northern College of Music, a Fellowship of the London College of Music, and is also a recipient of the Henry Iles Medal, presented by the Worshipful Company of Musicians for services to the Brass Band Movement. Currently, Gourlay is International Vice President of the International Tuba and Euphonium Association and Artistic Director of the River City Brass.
Cindy Geib has been with RCB nearly twenty-five years and has a seasoned grasp on her areas of responsibility. These responsibilities include budget/financial management, marketing, ticket sales, concert series production, contracted performances, and implementing concert sponsorship packages
Phil Parr has over thirty years of substantial experience in the health and human service and public education sectors. He has managed non-profit organizations, operated a management consultation business, and served in the cabinet of the Superintendent of Schools of the Pittsburgh school district. His career in the school system culminated with the position of Chief of Staff. At RCB, Phil oversees the strategic plan and manages development activities to bring in contributed revenue from foundations, corporations, and individuals.
Katie Urich manages RCB's website, social media content, advertising, video production, and education programming. Before coming to RCB, she held various positions in the education department of the Carnegie Museum of Art, taught digital technology workshops through the Sprout Fund, and interned at the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Katie has a Bachelor's degree in Arts Management and Media Arts from Chatham University.
Linda Reznik has over twenty-five years experience in arts management, and has worked with some of the world's most celebrated dance companies and music ensembles. As the founder and director of River City Artists Management, she facilitated touring engagements for her diverse roster of artists all over the United States. Her work in the field of touring continues with Pittsburgh's River City Brass.
Jeffrey Nicodemus, Principal Eb Soprano Cornet & Music Librarian
The Frederic B. Sargent Chair
Jeffrey Nicodemus joined the RCB in 1984. He played 2nd cornet, Repiano cornet and Flugelhorn until 1987, when he became the band's Principal Eb Soprano Trumpet player. He is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, where he studied Trumpet Performance under the guidance of the renowned Anthony L. Pasquarelli. He was a two time winner in the Pittsburgh Concert Society Solo Competition in 1987 and has performed with many organizations, including the McKeesport, Westmoreland and Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestras and the Civic Light Opera Orchestra. He maintains an active freelance performance schedule and a private teaching studio. He is a member of the faculty at Chatham University and Carnegie Mellon University and teaches full time in the Pine Richland School District.
Bernard Black, Principal Cornet & Personnel Manager
Bernard Black is RCB's Principal Solo Cornetist and Concertmaster. As an original member, Bernie has been the Band's most featured soloist both in concert and on recordings. A student of Anthony Pasquarelli, Black holds a BFA and MFA degree from Carnegie Mellon University and is a two time winner of the Pittsburgh Concert Society Solo Competition.
He's performed extensively as a soloist and clinician for twenty-five years and has recently served as Principal Trumpet at the Sunflower Chamber Music Festival in Topeka, Kansas.
Black is an instructor and performer for educational projects with the River City Brass Quintet in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Gateway to the Arts. He is a member of the award-winning Carnegie Brass Quintet and is on staff at the Carnegie Mellon University Music Extension Division.
When not performing with RCB, he is an Instrumental Music Coordinator, Director of Brass Studies, and Conductor of the Wind Ensemble at the Pittsburgh Public Schools' Creative and Performing Arts High School. His cornet of choice is Kanstul.
Josh Boudreau, Solo Cornet
Josh graduated from Harvard University with a degree in American History, which prepared him "perfectly" for his current position in River City Brass. Seriously though, Josh gained invaluable experience growing up playing summers with the American Wind Symphony under the baton of his father, Robert Auston Boudreau. Being aboard the Point Counterpoint II while surrounded by young professional musicians provided an incredibly strong musical foundation and introduced him to new and challenging repertoire. In addition to traveling with the group, Josh was responsible for piloting the 195-foot performing arts center on every conceivable waterway in the United States and many in Europe, as well.
Since those days, Josh performed as principal trumpet with many groups, including the Altoona, Westmoreland, and Butler Symphony Orchestras. He was also a member of the Pensacola, FL Symphony and the Perdido Brass Quintet in the 1990s. Recently, Josh has performed regularly with the Pittsburgh Opera as well as freelancing extensively in the Pittsburgh area. He is a member of several smaller ensembles including the Windsor and Keystone Brass Quintets as well as the Academy Chamber Orchestra of Pittsburgh. Josh maintains a private teaching studio with 15-20 young and inspiring trumpeters. Josh lives on a farm with his family in Mars, PA and is a supervisor for the Department of Human Services, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Shawn Wilson, Solo Cornet
Shawn Wilson officially joined River City Brass in 2015 as part of the solo cornet section. He is a graduate of Duquesne University with his B.A., M.M., and A.D. in classical trumpet performance. He keeps an active freelance schedule with organizations around Pittsburgh, including: the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, PSO Pops, Pittsburgh Opera, and CLO, as well as the Johnstown Symphony Orchestra, Canton Symphony Orchestra, Butler Symphony and Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra.
In October 2012, Shawn completed a two-week tour of Europe with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and can be heard on the PSO's latest recording of Mahler's Symphony No. 2 under the baton of Manfred Honeck.
On July 3, 2004 at Westminster College, Shawn was honored to play George Gershwin's "Summertime" as a soloist with River City Brass. Estimated attendance was over 14,000 people.
Shawn teaches privately, and is also professor of trumpet at West Liberty University.
Joseph Perrino joined the RCB in 1994 as a Second Cornetist and now plays as a Section Solo Cornetist. A student of Anthony Pasquarelli, he holds a BFA degree in Trumpet Performance and a Certification in Music Education from Carnegie Mellon University. An active freelance performer, Joseph works as a soloist, ensemble member and lead trumpet player with several groups throughout the region. He has appeared as a section player in many area big bands, most notably with Randy Purcell's Big Bad Band, the George Gee Orchestra, and the Johnny Murphy Orchestra. He has also performed with the orchestras of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus. Joseph maintains an extensive private trumpet studio in the Eastern Suburban area and is currently researching the needs of trumpet students with orthodontic problems. Joseph is also a music educator in the Riverview School District.
William Hughes, Repiano Cornet
William Hughes graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a Bachelors Degree in Music Performance. While at Carnegie Mellon, he studied with Mr. Anthony L. Pasquarelli and performed with the University's Wind Ensemble. In addition to his work as a freelance musician, Bill is a private trumpet teacher in the City of Pittsburgh.
Adam Leasure, First Cornet
Adam Leasure plays the cornet in the River City Brass. He received his B.S. in Music Education from Duquesne University and his M.M. in Music Performance (Trumpet) from Carnegie Mellon University. Adam also plays with the Wheeling Symphony, the Pittsburgh Opera Orchestra, and the American Wind Symphony. In addition, Adam is a teacher at Franklin Elementary School in Sewickley, PA.
Mark Custer, First Cornet
Mark Custer is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University where he studied trumpet with Anthony L. Pasquarelli. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Music Education and was Pennsylvania state certified in 1989. Mark has taught in several of the parochial schools in the Pittsburgh area at both the high school and junior high levels. He has also been teaching privately since 1989.
He joined River City Brass in 1989 as a cornet player. Mark also performs regularly with The Blues Orphans, a Pittsburgh based blues band, and appears on their recent CD release. He performs occasionally with the Latin band Guaracha. He is also in demand as a freelance player in all idioms. He can be heard as one of the soloists featured on "In the Mood" on RCB's Big Band Brass CD.
Stephen McGough, Second Cornet
Stephen McGough is a professional musician and teacher with a wide range of experience in both fields. He received his Bachelors and Masters degrees in trumpet performance as well as his Pennsylvania teaching certification from Carnegie Melon University, where he studied with renowned trumpet instructor, Anthony L. Pasquarelli. As a performer, he has toured the country, seeing 32 of the 50 states with River City Brass, and has performed in the Pittsburgh region with the Wheeling, Westmoreland, and McKeesport Symphonies as well as the Bach Choir of Pittsburgh.
Stephen has been a music educator in the Peters Township School District for eight years, and worked as the Music Director at North Catholic High School for one year prior to his tenure in Peters. Stephen has over a decade of experience as a private trumpet instructor and has taught students throughout the Pittsburgh region. Stephen is also a proud member of the anti-bullying, character-education-focused rock band, No Tune Left Behind, with three fellow teacher musicians from McMurray Elementary. NTLB has received national recognition and acclaim, most recently performing at the Character Education Partnership's national conference in Washington, D.C. Stephen is happily married to Julie McGough, another fine musician, and is father to two lovely daughters.
Drew Fennell, Principal Flugelhorn & RCYBB Conductor
Drew Fennell joined the River City Brass in 1998 as Assistant Principal Solo Cornet, and currently occupies the position of Principal Solo Flugelhorn. He solos very frequently with the ensemble, both as a flugelhorn/trumpet player and as a singer. He also worked as Associate Conductor of the ensemble for ten years (1999-2009), and has conducted the River City Youth Brass Band since 2005. In 2007, he joined the faculty at Grove City College (PA) as Adjunct Professor of Trumpet.
A 1994 graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, he studied with the inimitable Anthony Pasquarelli. Fennell performed extensively during this time, including several solo appearances with the Carnegie Mellon Philharmonic. After receiving his degree, he served as principal trumpet with the Butler, Altoona and Youngstown Symphonies, as well as a six-month appointment to the position of second trumpet with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Additionally, his solo playing has been heard locally and internationally in recital, and on International Public Radio.
In addition to playing, he has built a solid reputation as a fine composer and arranger. He has completed well over 100 projects for the River City Brass, a dozen of which appear on various RCB recordings. He also created arrangements for numerous other groups, such as the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra, the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Concert Chorale.
David Piecka, Principal Horn
The Richard P. & Dorothy P. Simmons Chair
David Piecka began his professional music career in the New Kensington area at the age of 17. He attended Carnegie Mellon University and obtained his Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree with University Honors in 1981. After college, David won the principal horn seat with the River City Brass - the position he still holds to this day. With RCB he has made many appearances as a soloist, clinician, and masterclass leader. David has an active musical career outside of River City Brass as well. He has performed with the Wheeling, Westmoreland, Johnstown, McKeesport, and Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestras. Currently, he is also a performer with the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera Orchestra and a member of the award-winning Carnegie Brass Quintet. He is also in demand as a musician for freelance, recording, and television work. Credits include: PBS "Best of 50's Doo Wop" and "Rock, Pop, and Doo Wop." He has performed for such celebrities as Lena Horne, Ray Charles, Shirley Jones, and the Moody Blues to name a few.
Outside of his career in music, David works at a local school district as an aide to special education students. He assists them as a job coach, tutor, and mentor. He also participates in the spring musicals with the pit orchestra and runs sectionals with the marching band. David makes his home in Lower Burrell, PA. His horn of choice is Reynolds.
Kenneth Russo, Horn
Kenneth Russo plays the French horn for River City Brass and is the National Service Director for HUB Parking Technologies. Russo received his B.F.A. in Music Performance at Carnegie Mellon University and later his Masters of Organizational Leadership at Geneva College.
Jason Allison, Horn
Jason Allison is a resident of Pittsburgh and is an active member of the local musical community. As a performer he has appeared with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the Pittsburgh Opera, the Pittsburgh Ballet and the River City Brass as well as numerous other local orchestras and chamber ensembles. Jason is also active throughout Ohio and West Virginia. He is a member of the Wheeling Symphony and appears regularly as an extra player with the West Virginia Symphony, the Akron Symphony, and the Youngstown Symphony.
As a music educator, Mr. Allison has worked as Brass Coordinator for the Trinity Area High School in Washington, PA and as a brass instructor for the Kiski Area High School in Vandergrift, PA.
He holds a BS in Music Education and a BA in Music Performance from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where he studied with Jack Scandrett of the Pittsburgh Opera Orchestra. He also received an MA in French Horn Performance from Duquesne University, where he studied with Bill Caballero and Zach Smith, both of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.
Algirdas Matonis, Euphonium
Originally from Lithuania, Algirdas Matonis started playing euphonium at the age of eight. In 2000 he entered his first ever competition which was ‘Juozas Pakalnis Woodwind, Brass and Percussion Solo Competition’ held in Lithuania. At only 9 years old Algirdas managed to win the 8 – 13 age group. This was the beginning of his active participation in various music events. Algirdas continued to enter and win solo competitions throughout his teenage years. 2009 was his last year as a teen competitor. He was offered to perform as a soloist with the Lithuanian Military Band at the ‘International Band and Orchestra Championships’ held in Lithuania where he received the best solo player award and performed at the prestigious ‘Siemens’ arena in front of over 5000 people at the Gala event.
In 2010 Algirdas Matonis decided that he wanted to pursue the life of a professional euphonium player. He entered the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester where he studied under the guidance of the legendary euphonium pioneer Steven Mead. In 2014 he got his Bachelor degree and was awarded with entry scholarship for his Master’s degree studies.
During his study years at the RNCM he kept actively performing as a soloist. Algirdas was invited to perform as a guest artist at the biggest low brass festival in the world, ITEC, in 2012 and 2014. In 2013 Algirdas won the ‘Fodens’ open solo competition in UK and received a Besson prize award. As a part of prize he was invited to perform as a guest soloist with the only full-time professional brass band in the world, the River City Brass Band in Pittsburgh. In 2014 Algirdas did a concert tour with the band, which led to a scholarship at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and a move to the U.S.A. a year later.
Since 2015 Algirdas has been living in Pittsburgh, where he started playing with River City Brass on regular basis as well as continuing his Master’s degree in music performance. At the moment Algirdas is an actively performing soloist with various solo recitals under his belt, having performed at venues in the United Kingdom, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Russia, Scotland, USA and Austria. Very recently he performed an opening recital in a well-recognized festival in Lithuania called “Sugrizimai”. His performance received positive reviews from music experts and critics through multiple music magazines and public media. Algirdas’ upcoming season schedule is looking extremely busy, filled with not only solo and brass band activities but also many innovative projects which will take place in the near future.
Koichiro Suzuki, Euphonium
Koichiro Suzuki joined the River City Brass in 2007. He is often featured as a soloist. In addition, Koichiro is a member of the River Bottom Quartet, which is comprised of the RCB euphonium and baritone section, and is also the founder and director of Cuidado Tango Band, which has performed around the United States both for listening audiences and tango performers.
Originally from Okinawa, Japan, Koichiro came to the United States in 1996 to march and perform with the Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps in Madison, Wisconsin. As a member of the Madison Scouts he won first place DCI Individual Solo Baritone Completition in 1997 and 1998.
In 2005, Koichiro received a BFA in euphonium performance from the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee and M.M. Performance from Duquesne University. His primary teachers included Alan Baer, Marty Erickson and Lance LaDuke. While at the University of Wisconsin - Milwauee, he soloed with the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee Symphony Band and received second place in the Milwaukee Civic Association Music Scholarships Competition in 2004.
Koichiro travels internationally, giving master classes and performing. He has performed in Italy, Brazil, Japan, Argentina, and Canada, as well as in multiple cities throughout the United States. In his spare time, he enjoys dancing tango, biking, and running. In 2014, Koichiro became Adams (NL) Euphonium performing artist 2014.
Ross Cohen, Baritone
Ross Cohen joined the River City Brass baritone section in 2007. Originally from Silver Spring, MD, Ross holds a BS in Music Education from Penn State University and an MM in Euphonium Performance from the University of Georgia. His primary teachers in school included Marty Erickson, Velvet Brown and Dave Zerkel.
In 2006, Ross performed the Horovitz Euphonium Concerto with the University of Georgia Wind Ensemble. While at UGA, he was also a member of the Graduate Tuba Quartet, which was a competing finalist at the International Tuba Euphonium Conference in Denver. Ross has teaching experience in the public schools of York, PA and Silver Spring, MD. He has worked at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts as an intern for the National Symphony Orchestra Education program, and as a resident advisor for their Summer Music Institute. He also spent many summers working at Tower Records in Rockville, MD.
Ross currently resides in Squirrel Hill, PA.
John Sebastian Vera, Principal Trombone
The Connie & Gary Brandenberger Chair
John Sebastian Vera, a native of Texas, became the Principal trombonist of the Pittsburgh Opera in 2010 and also joined the River City Brass as Principal Trombone in 2015. A dedicated chamber musician, he also was a founding member of the critically acclaimed Guidonian Hand Trombone Quartet in which he played from 2008-2014.
He began his studies with Jon Bohls in Texas and continued his education at Southern Methodist University, where he studied with John Kitzman of the Dallas Symphony. He then spent a year studying with Ed Zadrozny as a graduate assistant at the University of Akron, and finished his graduate work in New York City at the Mannes College of Music studying with David Finlayson and James Markey of the New York Philharmonic.
In addition to the Pittsburgh Opera, Mr. Vera has played with the symphonies of Dallas, Detroit, Pittsburgh, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, New York City Opera, Vermont, Charleston, Albany, Akron, Huntsville, Canton and Orquesta Sinaloa de las Artes in Mexico amongst others.
In 2009, John was honored to be asked to play alongside the New York Philharmonic trombone section as well as members of the Metropolitan Opera to record two pieces for James Markey's solo release, "On Base."
In 2011, he spent the summer in Haiti volunteer teaching and performing in the Orchestre Philharmonique Sainte Trinite as well as the Ecole de Musique Dessaix Baptiste, which became one of the more profound experiences of his life.
John is an Artist for Edwards instruments and resides in Pittsburgh. He is on the faculty at Youngstown State University, Usdan Center for the Creative and Performing Arts and is co-creator of the Third Coast Trombone Retreat, a summer seminar for aspiring college and high school trombonists. When he can get away from the trombone he most enjoys basketball, traveling and psychology.
Gabriel Colby, Trombone
Gabriel grew up in Avon, Connecticut surrounded by music. His parents John Colby and Beverly Rohlehr, and his sister Liza Colby are all accomplished musicians in their own right. Gabriel started his performance career in high school as a professional juggler in the duo 'The Big Hair Jugglers.' His passion for trombone came when he auditioned into principal chair of All-State Orchestra as a sophomore in high school.
Gabriel is classically trained and has a B.M. from Peabody Conservatory and a M.M. from Carnegie Mellon. Gabriel intially found his love for trombone through classical music, but he is very comfortable performing and freelancing in all styles. As a lead trombonist he has played for the ESPY Awards Orchestra in LA, the Nascar Awards Show in Las Vegas, and can be heard on the ESPN College Football theme. Gabriel now resides in Pittsburgh, where he plays trombone for River City Brass and Beauty Slap, a new barrier-bending genre of brass band, electronica, and funk.
Believe it or not, Gabriel does not play trombone 24 hours a day. He also loves: working out, cooking, scotch, and exploring Pittsburgh, the city he calls home.
Hakeem Bilal, Bass Trombone
Proudly hailing from Washington, D.C., trombonist Hakeem Bilal is an emerging artist. A highly sought-after musician, Mr. Bilal has performed throughout the world as a chamber, orchestral, and commercial trombonist, as well as a clinician, lecturer, and entrepreneurial coach. Mr. Bilal serves as trombone faculty at Youngstown State University's Dana School of Music in Youngstown, Ohio and is currently the Bass Trombonist of C Street Brass and the Trombonist/MC of Beauty Slap. Since 2013, Hakeem has served as the bass trombonist of the River City Brass. Mr. Bilal has soloed with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and has served as a regular substitute with the orchestra since 2014. In addition to soloing (and singing) in front of RCB, Hakeem has also performed and collaborated with various jazz and mainstream artists across North America and several collegiate ensembles. Hakeem feels very fortunate to have taken his trombone to many diverse venues across the globe including Doha, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
Mr. Bilal began his musical studies on trombone at the age of eight, however it wasn't until the age of fifteen when he began lessons with members of the National Symphony Orchestra and focused on bass trombone. With direct exposure to one of America's best orchestras at his doorstep, Mr. Bilal quickly discovered his passion for music making and began to craft his dream to become a successful artist.
Mr. Bilal holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the Peabody Conservatory at Johns Hopkins University and a Master of Music degree from Carnegie Mellon University. Mr. Bilal continued his studies in New York and North Texas before moving to Pittsburgh, crafting a diverse musical experience across many styles of music. While in New York, Mr. Bilal performed with legendary jazz and gospel legends including Bobbi Humphrey, Wycliffe Gordon, Richard Smallwood, Tye Tribbett, and Bobby Jones. During his studies, Hakeem was a student of Randall Campora of the Baltimore Symphony, Dr. Denson Paul Pollard of the Metropolitan Opera, Dr. David Begnoche of Texas Christian University, and Murray Crewe of the Pittsburgh Symphony.
Hakeem currently resides in Pittsburgh, PA and is proud to call Western Pennsylvania home. As a fan of slow cooking and an award winning mixologist behind the bar, Hakeem often enjoys barbeque and craft cocktails. In addition to his recordings with C Street Brass, Hakeem can be heard on the Naxos label with the Peabody Wind Ensemble, on iTunes, Amazon Mp3, and Spotify with electronic group 'Beauty Slap,' and on several recordings with the River City Brass.
Hakeem is an S.E. Shires Artist.
Samuel Buccigrossi, Principal Tuba
Sam Buccigrossi's tuba playing has been described as "astonishingly delicate and intricately detailed" (The Washington Post). He is a native of Pittsburgh and began playing the tuba at the age of 13. Sam holds a Bachelor of Music and a Certificate of Advanced Chamber Music Study from the Eastman School of Music and a Masters of Music Performance from the University of Maryland. His primary teachers include Don Harry, Toby Hanks, the Ying Quartet and the Guarneri Quartet.
Before becoming a member of the River City Brass in 2008, Sam performed extensively with the Prism Brass Quintet, Grand Prize winners of the 1999 University of Georgia Brass Quintet Competition of the Americas. The Prism Brass Quintet was also a finalist in the 2002 Concert Artists Guild Competition. Sam has also performed with the new music ensemble Alarm Will Sounds, the Washington Symphonic Brass, the Binghamton Philharmonic, and has been a featured soloist with the Eastman Wind Ensemble. As an educator, Mr. Buccigrossi has taught brass chamber music at the Boston University Tanglewood Institute in 2002 and 2004 and is currently the instructor of music theory and music technology at the Pittsburgh High School for the Creative and Performing Arts.
James Stillwagon, Tuba
James Stillwagon plays the tuba for River City Brass. He is a 1994 graduate of West Mifflin High School, where he participated as Principal Tuba at many PMEA festivals at the District, Region, and State levels in both the Band and Orchestra. He also was chosen as the principal tuba player to perform in the 1994 All Eastern Orchestra which encompassed 13 states. Jim served as the Principal Tuba with the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony for 6 years, Three Rivers Young Persons Orchestra for 4 years, and River City Youth Brass Band for 6 years. In 1994 Jim won the TRYPO concerto competition and performed the Vaughn Williams Tuba Concerto with the orchestra. He also won the Mt. Lebanon Keynotes Scholarship Competition against college students from Eastman and Julliard.
Jim received a full music scholarship to West Virginia University in 1994, where he studied privately with David McCollum. He graduated in 1998 with a B.S. in Music Education. During his tenure at WVU Jim sat as Principal Tuba with the WVU Wind Symphony and Symphony Orchestra. He was also the tuba section leader in the WVU marching band and pep band. While at West Virginia, Jim won the Young Artist competition in consecutive years. As a result, he performed the Vaughn Williams Tuba Concerto in 1997 and the Edward Gregson Tuba Concerto in 1998 with the WVU Symphony Orchestra.
As a professional, Jim has performed with the Johnstown Symphony, Western Maryland Symphony, Wheeling Symphony, Byham Opera Orchestra, Pittsburgh Pirate Bucco Band, Entertainers, Carnegie Brass, Bridge City Brass, and River City Brass. Jim has been a teacher in the Pine Richland School District for 8 years, where he teaches band to students in grades 4-12. Jim also served as the orchestra director for Pine Richland's high school musical for five years. His student orchestra has been nominated several times and won the Gene Kelly Award for best all-student orchestra.
John Urling, Tuba
A native of Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, John Urling's desire to play tuba on a serious level was realized while attending the National Music Camp in 1988. Upon returning from Michigan, he began to take the tuba even more seriously and began private study. John entered West Virginia University with a full tuition grant in tuba performance. While in college, he also performed with the Westhormen of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in 1989 and the Bluecoats of Canton, Ohio in 1990 and 1991. During his senior year at WVU, he was the winner of the young artist concerto competition. In 1994 he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Music.
John became a member of River City Brass in 1994. He currently resides in the northern suburbs of Pittsburgh with his family.
Brian Kiser, Tuba
Brian Kiser, an Illinois native, is the Assistant Professor of Tuba/Euphonium at Youngstown State University.
Kiser's orchestral experience includes performing with the Pittsburgh Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony and Malaysian Philharmonic orchestras.
Brian is also Solo Tubist with the Mr. Jack Daniel's Original Silver Cornet Band.
He currently resides in Boardman, Ohio.
Richard Parsons, Principal Percussion
The Bill & Mary Anne Springer Chair
Richard Parsons has been a member of the RCB percussion section since 1989 and has been principal since 1994. A native of Ohio, Parsons is a graduate of West Virginia University where he was a four year recipient of a Board of Regents Scholarship. While at WVU he studied percussion and music performance under Phil Faini.
An active freelance musician, Rick was a member of the Wheeling Symphony for 25 years and has performed across the United States and Canada with such varied groups as Jamboree USA Staff Band, Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus, the Ice Capades and Bob Hope.
Rick and his wife Peggy have three chidren, KiKi, Amy and Lucas as well as three grandsons: Charlie, Ricky and Danny.
Paul Evans, Percussion
Paul Evans, a native of Pittsburgh, graduated from Duquesne University where he earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Jazz Performance. While at Duquesne University he studied privately with Lenny Rogers and Don Liuzzi. After graduating in 1988, Paul went on to earn a Master of Music degree at Temple University. There, he received private instruction with Alan Able of the Philadelphia Orchestra.
Paul currently is section percussionist with the River City Brass. Paul maintains an active freelance schedule in the Pittsburgh area in addition to his duties as an artist lecturer in Percussion at Carnegie Mellon University. He often tours with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and serves as the percussion section coach with the Youth Brass Band.
Paul currently resides in the Pittsburgh area with his wife and four daughters.
Philip Webster, Percussion
Philip R. Webster is a percussionist who tours with the River City Brass. He has also performed with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the Maryland Symphony Orchestra, the Brevard Festival Orchestra and the Duquesne University Orchestra. He's studied with percussionist Andrew Ramer, timpanist Timothy Adams, and marimba artist She-e Wu. Philip recently received his Master of Music degree from Duquesne University; he received his Bachelor of Music degree from West Virginia University in Morgantown, WV.