Noted brass ensemble to conduct clinics
with area's high school band students

By By Ida Brown/The Meridian Star
Next week, more than 200 Meridian area band students will have the opportunity to study with one of the country's foremost musical ensembles for one day, culminating with a full public performance.
On Monday, the six-member musical ensemble Dallas Brass will conduct clinics with band students at Meridian, Quitman, West Lauderdale, Southeast Lauderdale, Northeast Lauderdale and Clarkdale high schools. The sessions will be held throughout the day at Meridian High School.
The clinic is a joint venture among the city and county schools. The objective of the program, known as the Dallas Brass "Music In the Schools" Project is to be a musical inspiration for students, their families and the community. According to organizers of the project, the overall goal is to help motivate students to increase their musical involvement, practice harder, strive to excel and to realize the lifelong enjoyment and satisfaction that being involved in music can provide.
Participating students sold CDs to raise funds for the clinic. Those who sold the most CDs will have the opportunity to perform on stage with the ensemble during the evening concert. Students representing the various high schools also will perform with Dallas Brass.
Founded in 1983 by Michael Levine, Dallas Brass has established a unique blend of traditional brass instruments with a full complement of drums and percussion, which creates a performing entity of extraordinary range and musical challenges. The ensemble's repertoire includes classical masterpieces, Dixieland, swing, Broadway, Hollywood and patriotic music.
In addition to their solo engagements, Dallas Brass also appears with symphony orchestras nationwide. Symphonic credits include the Cincinnati Pops conducted by Erich Kunzel, the New York Pops conducted by Skitch Henderson and the Phillip Pops conducted by Peter Nero. The ensemble has performed at Carnegie Hall, the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and has toured overseas to Europe and the Far East.
The ensemble has released five recordings: "Debut," "Dallas Brass II," "A Merry Christmas with Brass," "Windborne" and "Nutcracker."
The members are:
Michael Levine (director, trombone) is originally from Minneapolis. He attended the University of Minnesota and then The Juilliard School, where he received his bachelor of music degree.
For four years, he held the position of assistant principal trombone in the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra. While in Israel, Levine was also active in brass music as founder of both the Jerusalem Brass Quintet and a larger group, the Jerusalem Brass Ensemble. Both ensembles toured extensively throughout Israel. Michael formed the Dallas Brass in 1982 and serves as the ensemble's master of ceremonies and artistic director.
Tage Larsen (trumpet) grew up in Cambridge, Mass., and has studied music at Michigan State University and the Eastman School of Music.
His professional experience includes performances with the Rochester Philharmonic, Baltimore Symphony and the Philadelphia Orchestra. Larsen was a member of the Dallas Brass for one season before moving to Washington, DC, where he was principal trumpet of the "President's Own" United States Marine Band for the past four years.
He recently assumed his new position in the St. Louis Symphony. Tage currently resides in Baltimore, Maryland with his wife, Amy.
Brian Neal (trumpet) is native of Miami. After earning music degrees from the Manhattan School of Music in New York, and the University of Miami, Neal earned positions as principal trumpet of the Miami Symphony Orchestra and the Miami Bach Society Orchestra.
Equally at home as a composer, Neal's compositions have been performed at both the Aspen and Waterloo Music Festivals. He has also received a commission to write music for the opening of the Bayfront Park outdoor amphitheater in downtown Miami, and for the opening of the Miami Symphony's 10th anniversary season.
Neal is on the faculty at the New World School of the Arts and Barry University. He resides in Miami with his wife, Karen, and their three children.
Jason Ayoub (horn) of Dallas received his undergraduate degree from the University of North Texas.
Ayoub has performed with the Texas Wind Symphony, the Dallas Wind Symphony, and the symphony orchestras of San Angelo, and East Texas. Chamber ensembles He has participated in, won or been finalists in the Colman Chamber Music Competition and the Music Teachers National Association Competition.
Devoted to music education, Ayoub currently teaches 75 students in the North Texas area, ranging from beginners to college students. He currently resides in Denton, Texas.
Andrew Hitz (tuba), originally from Boston, has enjoyed playing the tuba since age 9. Hitz holds a bachelor's degree from Northwestern University and is currently a graduate assistant at Arizona State University where, in addition to his teaching duties, he performs frequently in the Phoenix area with the Dixie Devils, a Dixieland jazz quintet.
Hitz's previous performing experience includes the National Repertory Orchestra, the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, and at the National Orchestral Institute. When finished with his graduate degree, Drew plans to return to the Boston area.
Daniel Hostetler (drums and percussion) was born in South Bend, Ind., and started playing percussion at age 8. He attended Indiana University, where he earned his bachelor of music degree and was awarded a Performer's Certificate.
Hostetler has been active with the Star of Indiana Drum and Bugle Corps, and the Minnesota Brass Senior Drum and Bugle Corps in several capacities including performer, instructor, and arranger. He is also currently percussion coordinator for Eden Prairie High School near Minneapolis and Worthington Kilbourne High School near Columbus.
Hostetler performs frequently with his blues/R&B band, The Butanes, who perform annually at internationally recognized festivals including the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage festival.
He and his wife, Michelle, reside in Columbus, Ohio.
Tickets for the evening concert are $5, students, and $8, adults. CDs by Dallas Brass will be available for purchase.
For more information, contact Ron Posey at 482-3191.