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UW-Eau Claire People Pages

Bassically Brass

The idea of a university tuba/euphonium ensemble at the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire goes back to the mid-1970s when a group called “Mellow Mud” was founded by an enthusiastic group of euphonium and tuba students.    When Dr. Jerry Young arrived on campus in the fall of 1983, the idea of a euphonium/tuba ensemble was revived right away.   In that very first year, a non-credit, informal group was organized and gave performances on and off campus, establishing the tradition that has carried through to the present.   The name, “BASSically BRASS,” was conceived by tuba alumnus Robert Holec, and it has just stuck with us over the years.   BASSically BRASS rehearses one time per week for two hours during the academic year.  Guests are welcome to observe our rehearsals on Wednesday evenings from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. in room 143 of the Haas Fine Arts Building.   Call or e-mail Dr. Young in advance to let us know you’re planning to come.

BASSically BRASS has established a reputation for fine performances and for bringing new repertoire to the table over the years, regionally, nationally, and internationally.    The group has presented performances at four international tuba/euphonium conferences (Lexington, Kentucky, Riva del Garda, Italy, Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Budapest, Hungary).    We have presented numerous world premiere performances including arrangements from Skip Gray (including his now famous arrangement of “Berecuse and Finale” from Stravinsky’s The Firebird), Ronald Knoener (Mozart’s The Impressario Overture, Sousa’s Power and Glory among many others), Rodger Vaughan (far too many works to mention) in addition to original works by Rodger Vaughan including Winds (premiered in Lexington, Kentucky in 1992) and Variations on “Melita” (premiered in Washington, D.C. in 2001) and James Grant’s tba4tet.   The group recorded its first compact disc recording, “BASSically Holidays” in cooperation with the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire Foundation in the fall of 2008.  We were the featured ensemble at the Upper Midwest Regional Conference of ITEA/Tubonium at Gustavus Adolphus College in April of 2009 and at the Minnesota Music Educator’s Mid-Winter Conference in 2010.

BASSically BRASS has presented workshops for public school students throughout Wisconsin over the years.    Our workshops include performances by the ensemble, small group clinic sessions wherein members of the ensemble help students to evaluate and review fundamental aspects of low brass performance and give individual attention to each student, and a massed tuba ensemble rehearsal and performance wherein all workshop participants perform with BASSically BRASS.    For information on bringing a BASSically BRASS workshop to your area, contact Dr. Jerry Young at for complete details.