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Trumpet festival brings notable musicians to Pittsburg 

Ten years ago, university professor of trumpet Todd Hastings had a vision: To bring the world's leading trumpet artists and performers to the Pittsburg State campus. 
Trumpet festival brings notable musicians to Pittsburg 
The annual Midwest Trumpet Festival provides students personal interactions with trumpet masters from across the nation, and audiences the chance to hear them for free.

His vision wasn't that far-fetched. 

Hastings, a musician who has played with the likes of the Buffalo Philharmonic, Aretha Franklin, Henry Mancini, and the Kansas City Symphony, has rubbed elbows with some of them at performances and conferences across the country. He has them on speed dial. All he needed was financial support, and donors came through. 

Eight years ago, his vision became reality when the Midwest Trumpet Festival was born. 

A two-day event, it enables students to hear and network with the best in the nation. 

"Our event is special and unique because it gives young trumpeters the opportunity for personal interaction with world-class artists in an intimate, face-to-face setting," Hastings said. "It gives them the rare occasion to get to know the performers as individuals. For many young musicians, it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity." 

And, it benefits the public, as well, he noted, with two free concerts for the public slated for Oct. 8 and 9. 

People can’t usually hear performers of this level on an easy basis, unless you go to a metropolitan setting," he said. "Even then, you don't get to know the artists on a personal basis. You just hear them play the concert and go home. Here, the participants get to know the artists on a personal level," Hastings said.  

The festival, held in the Bicknell Family Center for the Arts and in the Sharon K. Dean Recital Hall in McCray Hall, also benefits the Music Department and PSU as a whole, Hastings said, as articles about it always appear in the International Trumpet Guild magazine, the magazine for all trumpet teachers and enthusiasts around the world. 

“When my students played at the International convention, people came up to us and said they’ve read about us doing this here in Pittsburg,” Hastings said. “Guest artists call me now and ask if I need someone. And when they get here — and we’re talking about people who have won Grammy Awards — they always say ‘Wow, what a neat town, and then they tell me ‘Don’t ever leave’.” 

Since it began, Hastings said the festival has impacted more than 1,000 public school students, community, university, and professional trumpet enthusiasts.   

On tap this year: 

At 1 p.m. Sunday in the Bicknell Family Center for the Arts, featured artist Allen Vizzutti will give an address titled, "My Reflections on a Career in Music." 

Vizzutti has visited 40 countries and every state in the union to perform with a wide array of artists and ensembles including Chick Corea, ‘Doc’ Severinsen, the NBC Tonight Show Band, the Airmen Of Note and Chuck Mangione.  

Performing as a classical and a jazz artist, often in the same evening, he has appeared as guest soloist with symphony orchestras across the United and around the world. He has had solo performances at the Hollywood Bowl, Carnegie Hall, Newport Jazz Festival, Banff Center for the Performing Arts, the Lincoln Center in New York City and many more venues.  

While living in Los Angeles during the 80’s, he performed on more than100 motion picture sound tracks, including "Back to the Future" and "Star Trek," as well as countless TV shows, commercials and recordings with such artists as Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, Neil Diamond, Chick Corea, the Commodores and Prince. 

His extensive treatise, “The Allen Vizzutti Trumpet Method” and his “New Concepts for Trumpet” have become standards works for trumpet study worldwide 

Attendees may then browse exhibits starting at 2 p.m., followed by workshops in beginning and intermediate jazz improvisation at 3 p.m.At 4 p.m., guest artist Karl Sievers will present "Why We Keep Our Mind in the Sound."  

The remainder of the afternoon and early evening will focus on rehearsal time with guest clinicians, followed by a 7:30 p.m. concert open free to the public at McCray Hall featuring the Crowder Jazz Orchestra, Vizzutti, and festival faculty. 

Hastings formed the orchestra in 2005 out of a love for traditional big band jazz music and a need for a community-based ensemble. The band's personnel are comprised of community and professional musicians alike, many of whom have performed with such luminaries as Joe Williams, Slide Hampton, Henry Mancini, Doc Severinsen, Aretha Franklin, Bernadette Peters, Charlie Haden, Woody Herman, Wayne Newton, Ben Vereen, The O'Jays, and many others. 

Their repertoire ranges from classic jazz standards to arrangements by today's leading big band composers and arrangers.  

On Monday, students will get hands-on time with the guest artist and faculty. A warm-up session kicks off the day at 8 a.m., followed by a group trumpet ensemble reading session at the Bicknell. Vizzutti will hold a master class at 11 a.m. at the Bicknell, and attendees may browse exhibits after lunch. 

A master class for junior and senior high school students will be held at 2 p.m. at the Bicknell, followed by a university student spotlight recital at 3 p.m. The festival will conclude with a faculty artists recital starting at 5 p.m. in the Bicknell, with Vizzutti as the featured guest artist. 

The festival's numerous clinicians include artists who have toured with “Chicago” the musical, have appeared on stage with Phil Collins Big Band and Ray Charles, and are members of the Walt Disney World Orchestra, the Universal Studios Brass Band in Orlando FloridaTulsa’s Signature Symphony, the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra. 

While the concerts are free, the classes and other activities require registration and a fee.  

Details: www.pittstate.edu/trumpetfestival

 

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