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School of Brass

The RCB School of Brass, a new two-semester extracurricular program, was designed by River City Brass in partnership with the Penn Hills School District and Duquesne University.

 

The RCB School of Brass programs Mini Kids and Jr. Brass Band will take place on Saturdays, located at Penn Hills High School (Band Room).  Address: 309 Collins Drive, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15235.

River City Youth Brass Band Grades 7-12 will take place on Saturdays, located at Duquesne University, Mary Pappert School of Music.

 

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The River City Youth Brass Band, founded in 1986, has offered brass and percussion players from Western Pennsylvania, grades 7 through 12, valuable musicianship by playing quality music at a very high level. Between forty and sixty of Western Pennsylvania's most talented young brass and percussion players have participated in the River City Youth Brass Band program each semester, and well over one thousand musicians have come through the program in its thirty-one year history. Listen to some of the RCYBB's recordings here.

The exciting new effort of the RCB School of Brass affirms River City Brass' commitment to its educational mission by offering three sessions: Mini Kids, Junior Brass Band, and Youth Brass Band


THE MINI KIDS SESSION WILL ENGAGE STUDENTS IN GRADES K - 3

9:00 AM - 10:00 AM

LESSON CONTENT

Musical Early Learning:

·  Music movement and keyboard skills

·  Singing, music theory, and playing recorders

Introduction to mini-brass:

·  cornet/trumpet      ·  alto horns      ·  baritone

One annual public concert

THE JUNIOR BRASS BAND SESSION WILL SERVE STUDENTS IN GRADES 4 - 7

10:00 AM - 12:00 PM

LESSON CONTENT

Musical Junior Learning:

·         Music theory and group instrumental lessons for cornet/trumpet, horn, low brass and percussion.

·         Full ensemble rehearsals

·         Instrument required (See below for rental information)

Two public concerts per semester


THE RIVER CITY YOUTH BRASS BAND SESSION WILL PROVIDE ADVANCED

INSTRUCTION TO STUDENTS IN GRADES 7 - 12

Held at duquesne university, Mary Pappert School of Music

9:00 AM - 12:00 PM

LESSON CONTENT

Musical Advanced Learning:

·         Group instrumental lessons for cornet/trumpet, horn, low brass, and percussion

·         Sectional rehearsals

·         Full ensemble rehearsals

·         Instrument required (See below for rental information)

Two public concerts per semester

Students in the Mini Kids and Junior Brass sessions may advance to the next level before the culminating grade if their skill set justifies promotion.


Register Today for Classes Beginning September 2019

Tuition is waived for students enrolled in the Penn Hills School District.


FOR INFORMATION ON INSTRUMENT RENTALS, PLEASE VISIT:

 

Western PA Center For The Arts-Verona
300 James Street Verona PA
724-822-4461

or

 

RCB School of Brass Timeline and Calendar

learn from professional musicians

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JAMES GOURLAY, ARTISTIC & GENERAL DIRECTOR

412.434.7222 x210 | [email protected]

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.

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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.

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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.

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SAMANTHA CROACH, CORNET

Samantha Croach plays cornet with the River City Brass.  She graduated in 2012 from Slippery Rock University, where she received a bachelor's degree in Music Education.  She went on to continue her studies at Carnegie Mellon University, earning a Master of Trumpet Performance as a recipient of the School of Music Fellowship.  She studied with Mr. Neal Berntsen of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.  In addition, Samantha is currently an elementary music teacher in the Ambridge Area School District.  In her spare time, she enjoys skiing, crocheting, and spending time with her husband, Brian.

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MICHAEL DINGFELDER, EUPHONIUM

Michael Dingfelder, joined River City Brass in July of 2017.

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Brian Crouch, Cornet

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Albert Lerini, Percussion