I joined School of HONK in May 2015 when Maggie convinced me to stop talking about wanting to learn trumpet and actually give it a try. I had met many of the first mentors through the Second Line Social Aid and Pleasure Society Brass Band, and I was intrigued by a community brass band with an almost nonexistent barrier to entry. I got hooked when I was empowered to play songs and take solos on an instrument I had never played right on the first day.

I am a lover of many genres from concert music to jazz. I have played amateur saxophone since childhood and work as a professional composer and software developer. You might be surprised to learn how similar composing and coding are. I would wager these threads of music woven through diverse walks of life is part of what attracts so many to our beloved little school.

I believe strongly in the value of learning to appreciate a wide selection of music. When I want to feel shivers running down my spine or experience a melancholy catharsis, I seek the orchestra or the opera. When I want to sense the palpable connection with my fellow concert-goers over a uniquely American art-form in an intimate setting, I haunt a jazz combo in a tiny club. But when I want to engage the singular sense of playfulness and energy riding an irresistible urge to move, I play in brass bands like School of HONK.

As a composer, I spend many, many hours perfecting the few minutes of music that a piece of mine comprises. I am pleased when I craft a work of inventiveness and nuance, but it can be a daunting task. Our community of players here provides a wonderful musical outlet to balance my world of theory and orchestration with a refreshing group of friends who don’t take themselves or their music too seriously.

Photo by Mike Lovett.