Tarleton ensemble advances to National Trumpet Competition

STEPHENVILLE, Texas—Tarleton State University’s trumpet ensemble is one of 25 in the U.S. selected to compete March 10 in the prestigious National Trumpet Competition at Columbus State University in Georgia.

This marks the first time any Tarleton music ensemble has advanced to the final round of a national competition.

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Advancing to the National Trumpet Competition are Tarleton students (l-r) Matt Daigle, Kara Rodden, Tim Wilson, Beth Rugg, Akira Okamoto and Olivia Perkins. The ensemble is under the direction of Assistant Professor of Music Dr. Brian Walker (far right).

Led by Dr. Brian Walker, the ensemble will perform “La Forza del Destino” by Giuseppe Verdi arranged by Andrew Anderson. Student ensemble members are senior music performance major Matt Daigle of Dickson, Okla.; sophomore music education major Akira Okamoto of Frisco, Texas; junior music education major Tim Wilson of Midlothian, Texas; senior music education major Kara Rodden of Decatur, Texas; junior music education major Olivia Perkins of Denison, Texas; and senior music major Beth Rugg of Dublin, Texas.

The ensemble had to overcome a major setback during the fall semester when Walker had to take medical leave. During his absence, the students rehearsed on their own, up to 10 hours a week, in addition to their normal school activities.

“The students prepared their performance piece without any coaching from me until I was able to return,” said Walker. “This is truly a student-driven success for Tarleton.”

A panel of professional trumpet players selected the Tarleton ensemble in December based on an unedited video of their performance. Of 75 entries, only 25 advance to the finals in Georgia. The Tarleton ensemble, comprised entirely of undergraduate students, enters the competition against other schools’ teams which include graduate and doctoral students.

“Tarleton’s trumpet ensemble will compete against ensembles from music schools whose reputations are world-class,” Walker explained. “It is an honor to be held in that regard and a wonderful opportunity for these Tarleton students to be heard on the same stage. These students who wish to pursue a graduate degree have a stage to be noticed by these excellent programs as well. It’s truly a unique opportunity.”

A founding member of The Texas A&M University System, Tarleton is breaking records — in enrollment, research, scholarship, athletics, philanthropy and engagement — while transforming the lives of more than 15,000 students in Stephenville, Fort Worth, Waco, Midlothian, A&M RELLIS at Bryan and online. True to Tarleton’s values of excellence, integrity, and respect, academic programs emphasize real world learning and address regional, state and national needs.