Brass Bands and Conducting Competitions


On June 8th, 2019, I was honored to participate in the international conducting competition hosted by the National Association of Brass Band Conductors in the U.K.! Eccles Town Hall near Manchester, England to be precise.

I was lucky enough to work with the amazing members of the Rainford Band and the Eccles Borough Band throughout the process of the competition which was judged by Mark Heron and Paul Hindmarsh.

The other competitors and musicians were all of the highest level and the experience was humbling, awe-inspiring, and wonderful. There were contestants from all over the world: Britain, Norway, Italy, France, and I was happy to be representing the United States. Having never had the chance to work with a traditional Brass Band before, I was just excited to be there!

Imagine my shock when I won! It was truly the experience of a lifetime. I absolutely LOVED having the opportunity to participate and can’t thank the organizers enough for creating such a wonderful experience. Biggest thank you’s to Russell Gray, James Holt, and Mareika Gray.

Here are a couple of articles that came out about the competition:

Brass Band World

4 Bars Rest

Best of all, the opportunity has resulted in me coming back to San Jose and joining up with the Silver Creek Brass Band as a conductor for this brand new ensemble! We’re hoping to build this group into the first California-based competing brass band and we’re planning to participate in the 2020 NABBA competition in Fort Wayne, IN.

Do you know the way?

It’s been a while since my last update, but so much has happened!

I’ve been appointed the Acting Assistant Director of Bands / Director of Athletic Bands at San José State University, moved to San José, CA, settled in with my new colleagues and tried to fill the extremely large shoes left by my predecessor, the inimitable Scott Pierson.

I’m lucky to be working with an amazing and diverse group of students, faculty, and staff and couldn’t be happier with the direction of the bands here at SJSU. An especially big couple of THANK YOUs go out to Dr. David Vickerman and Dr. Diana Hollinger. Without their help, guidance, and support this transition would have been much tougher. I’m very lucky to have a colleagues like them!

Please look for us on social media, @sjsubands and follow some of the amazing things we’re doing to help take this band blazing into the 21st century.

#sjsubands #5j5 #spartanup #sjsuspartans


Another year at Frost


As I begin another year here at the Frost School of Music in sunny Miami, FL I thought I’d post some of the upcoming projects I’m looking forward to.

Our first performance of the year is an outside concert in Homestead with our Symphonic Winds on Sept. 9th. Dean Moore has selected a patriotic and Americana inspired set including Carmen Dragon’s America, the Beautiful, Sousa’s Stars & Stripes Forever and he’s offered me the opportunity to get on the podium to conduct Henry Fillmore’s Miami March.

For our first Wind Ensemble concert of the year, Dr. Carnochan has taken his inspiration from the other side of the pond with Holst’s Planets arranged for wind band by Merlin Patterson. I’ll be taking the podium to conduct Hammersmith that evening too.

Also, our first football game of the season is tomorrow vs. Bethune Cookman and I’ll be taking my seat up in the press box to get behind the mic and introduce the band. This has to be one of my favorite new experiences. Announcing for the Frost Band of the Hour in a huge stadium packed with football fans is a real treat. Listen for me on TV (or at least the Youtube video of the band performance)!

More to come, looking forward to an amazing year.

Frosty Miami Festivities

Today is a big day for the Frost Wind Ensemble! In preparation for our Festival Miami performance tomorrow night of the Jonathan Leshnoff clarinet concerto (featuring world renowned clarinetist Ricardo Morales) we are spending the day working with BOTH of them.

On the agenda: a masterclass with Ricardo Morales, a composer’s forum with Jonathan Leshnoff, and then a dress rehearsal this evening with both.

Exciting, musical, inspiring. Can’t wait!

Rehearsing the Leshnoff

Well, it’s a new semester and a new set list in prep for our first concert: Festival Miami, Feb 6th at 8pm in Gusman Concert Hall.

We’ll be performing Jonathan Leshnoff’s Clarinet Concerto “Nekudim” with the inimitable Ricardo Morales. It promises to be an event not to be missed!

Due to such a short period of time for prep and conflicts with rehearsals (due to student participation in some of the other amazing Festival Miami events), we are here rehearsing on a Sunday night. It’s truly inspiring to see so many talented musicians (who also happen to be very busy students) here on a Sunday night playing their hearts out in anticipation of our performance.

It’s also a new experience to be working with such a recent piece of music. While the work has been around in orchestral form for a little while, the band transcription (done by the composer himself) is fresh off the press, just commissioned and completed last year. As a young studying conductor it’s impressive and edifying to watch Dr. Carnochan work through the score interpreting it for wind ensemble and looking out for things that might need to be clarified with the composer. How lucky are we to be working with a living composer who we can simply email with questions about the score. It’s not like you can call up Beethoven and ask him questions about his Ninth Symphony…

A visit with the Maestro

How lucky am I to be studying at the University of Miami in the Frost School of Music? We have a world class staff and faculty, amazing facilities, wonderful musicians, and most of all great opportunities.

Just last week my mentor, Dr. Robert Carnochan, arranged for his current conducting students (Christian Noon, Chee Weng Yim, and me) to go to a rehearsal of the New World Symphony conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas. If that wasn’t enough, he had also arranged for us to meet with MTT and have a brief conversation with him regarding conducting.

During the NWS’s break in rehearsal, MTT invited us to his office where we discussed lots of things from the role of the conductor to how the politics of a top ensemble work, from inspiration to application.

My favorite topic was that of positivity and imagination. MTT expressed that when working with musicians of the top most level, you know they can do what you want, the trick is motivating them to want to do it. Through positive comments and the striving for achievement much more will be accomplished than the “fixing of problems.” Having an imagination, expressing that imagination through positive analogies and creative means, that’s how musicians are moved to make music.

Thank you Michael Tilson Thomas. You are truly an inspiration. And thank you Dr. C, for making it happen!