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Brass Musicians

Current brass musicians of Occasional Brass and Strings all hail from New England, and enjoy playing weddings and events in the Boston area. Get to know them here.

Alexandra Johnson - Trumpet

Alexandra Johnson, TrumpetAlexandra Johnson is a University of Massachusetts Amherst graduate in trumpet performance and music education, cum laude. Since graduating, Alexandra has performed with the Symphony Pro Musica, Metrowest Symphony, and the Waltham Chamber Symphony. She has also performed in numerous pit orchestras for musical theatre productions such as Gypsy, Annie, and Guys And Dolls. Alexandra’s primary teachers have included Eric Berlin, Tony D’aveni, and James Pendolfi. Her background in music education has provided her with many teaching opportunities from teaching private lessons to leading larger jazz and classical ensembles as well as general music classes.

Ami Fields - French Horn

Ami Fields, French HornA native of Raleigh, North Carolina, Ami holds her Bachelor and Master Degrees in Horn Performance from the University of North Carolina Greensboro and the University of New Mexico, respectively. You may have heard her playing from behind the scenes in local productions such as 'A Little Night Music' at the Lyric Stage (Back Bay), or 'Into the Woods' at the New Repertory Theatre (Newton). She has also toured with the national tour of Monty Python's Spamalot and Shrek The Musical. Ami's life ambition is to be immortalized in print on the inside of a Nantucket Nectar's lid.

Andy Cormier - Trumpet(s), Flugelhorn

Andy Cormier, TrumpetAndy Cormier grew up in Waltham, MA and studied trumpet with Charles Schlueter, former principal trumpet of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, while at the New England Conservatory of Music (NEC). While at NEC, he also studied improvisation with Jazz trumpeter John McNeil, and was selected as principal trumpet of the 1992 All-American College Orchestra at Disney World. Andy has also played trumpet for two North American tours of Broadway musicals, and has played professionally in the Boston area for over 20 years. He can be found in horn sections, jazz bands, church ensembles, and pit orchestras throughout New England.

Angel Subero - Bass Trombone

Angel Subero, Bass TromboneVenezuelan Trombonist Angel Subero started his musical studies at the age of 13. He attended the Conservatorio Itinerante, where he studied with the legendary Michel Becquet. In the U.S., he studied with Lawrence Isaacson, John Rojak, Claudio Roditi, and Jeff Galindo. Angel attended The Boston Conservatory and the New England Conservatory (NEC), where he received the NEC Merit Award, graduated with distinction in performance and studied with Douglas Yeo of the Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO). He has performed with the BSO, the Boston Pops, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP), and many others. Angel has worked with such conductors as James Levine, Seiji Ozawa, John Williams, Kurt Masur, Keith Lockhart, and Robert Spano. He currently serves as bass trombone faculty at The Boston Conservatory.

Brian Wallace - Trumpet(s), Flugelhorn

Brian Wallace, TrumpetBrian Wallace attended the Berklee College of Music, earning a bachelor of music in music education. While in college he had the privilege of studying under such notable trumpet players as Wayne Naus, Lin Biviano, Tiger Okoshi and Jeff Stout. After college, Brian spent 4 years touring with original funk group, Rippopotamus, a group that has shared the stage with national acts such as Queen Latifah, Phish, Fishbone, De La Soul, and the Beastie Boys. Rippopotamus released five albums, wrote and performed the theme song for MTV's show, Singled Out, and were a featured act at the Montreal Jazz Festival. He has performed with the likes of Deana Martin, Bobby Rydell, Roger Ingram, Kayvan Vega, Don Sonero and Luisito Carrion. He regularly performs with Goza, Mikata, and the Rob Zappulla Orchestra.

Bryan Hilliard (aka Deeb) - Trumpet(s), Flugelhorn

Bryan Hilliard, TrumpetBryan Hilliard studied with Vincent Macrina (Brockton, MA), then with Jeff Holmes and the late Walter Chesnut at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. During College, he found the funk and joined Rippopotamus (Rippo), a Boston-based funk/rock band. During his tenure with Rippo, Bryan opened for a variety of national acts, including Queen Latifah, Phish, Fishbone, De La Soul, and the Beastie Boys. He can be heard around town playing weddings, musicals, funk, rock, big band, dixieland, salsa, merengue, and even a circus gig or two. Bryan earned a BA from UMass Amherst and an MBA from Boston University. After completing his MBA, Bryan founded Occasional Brass & Strings, which now employs over 150 musicians!

Chris Oberholtzer - Trombone

Chris Oberholtzer, TromboneDr. Chris Oberholtzer, Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Southern Maine, completed his Doctor of Arts degree in Trombone Performance/Pedagogy with a Secondary Emphasis in Jazz Pedagogy at the University of Northern Colorado, Greeley. He earned his Master of Music degree in Jazz Studies from Indiana University, Bloomington, and his Bachelor of Arts in Music Education from the University of Southern Maine, Gorham. Chris maintains a busy schedule as a professional freelance trombonist. He has performed, toured, and recorded with many groups in various genres. His playing experience includes touring with the Artie Shaw Orchestra, the Guy Lombardo Orchestra, Ringling Brothers Circus, Toni Tenille, Capitol Center Jazz Orchestra, and Holland America Cruise Line.

Clayton DeWalt - Trombone

Clayton DeWalt, TromboneClayton DeWalt began touring and recording professionally at age 15. He excels in many musical styles: from South African pop, blues, R&B, and classical chamber music, to salsa, Balkan brass, jazz, reggae, and folk. From Lincoln Center to the Monaco Opera House, Clayton has worked with many talented artists: Toshiko Akiyoshi, Nancy Wilson, John Brown's Body, Robin McKelle, Cecil McBee, The New York Voices, the Gene Krupa Orchestra, The Temptations, and Regis Philbin. He is an adjunct professor at Babson College, a resident artist at the Conservatory Lab Charter school, teaches music in the Lincoln public schools, and maintains a private studio. Clayton holds a B.S. in Music Ed. from Slippery Rock University, a M.M. in Jazz Studies from New England Conservatory (NEC), and is pursuing his D.M.A. in Jazz Studies at NEC.

Dan Linden - Trombone, Bass Trombone

Dan Linden, TromboneA graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music (M.M '07, B.M.'04), Dan has performed with many of the top professional orchestras in New England. He has been hired by the New Hampshire Pops, Granite State Symphony, Granite State Opera, Orchestra of Indian Hill, Nashua Symphony, Symphony by the Sea, and others. An active teacher, he is the principal brass instructor for the Northborough, MA school system. Daniel also performs frequently with various chamber groups, funk and rock bands. When not playing trombone, Daniel enjoys strumming guitars and drinking coffee.

Diantha Millott - French Horn

Diantha Millott, French HornDiantha Millott, originally from Las Cruces, NM moved to the Boston area in 1998. Her horn professors include Jon Boen, whom she studied with at DePaul University where she graduated with a BM in horn performance; and Paul Ingraham, whom she studied with at the Yale School of Music where she graduated with a MM in horn performance. Upon graduating from Yale, Diantha auditioned for and won a position in the Air Force Band of Liberty (1998-2002), where she continued her musical studies with Eric Ruske. Making her home in Concord, MA she continues to enjoy freelancing in various ensembles in the greater Boston area.

Grant Randall - Trombone, Bass Trombone

Grant Randall, Trombone and Bass TromboneGrant Randall performs in the Boston and New York area. He plays with many professional orchestras such as the New Bedford Symphony Orchestra, the Masterworks Chorale Orchestra, and the Männedorf Collegium Cantorum of Zurich, Switzerland. He also performs and records with many big band leaders and jazz composers such as Omar Thomas, Nick Grondin, Nick Urie, and the Beantown Swing Orchestra. Grant holds performance degrees from St. Olaf College, Northfield, MN, and the New England Conservatory of Music, Boston, MA, where he studied voice and piano in addition to low brass. He is currently the tenor vocal soloist at St. John the Evangelist Episcopal church on Beacon Hill in Boston.

Jerome Smith - Tuba, Bass Trombone, Trombone, Piano

Jerome Smith, Bass Trombone and TubaA native of Austin, TX, Jerome Smith attended College at UT Austin, then relocated to Boston to work on his Doctorate in Trombone at Boston University. Being no stranger to the freelance music scene, Jerome doubles on Tuba, Euphonium, and Bass Trombone, as well as encompassing all styles of music from Classical, to Jazz, Rock, and even Country/Western. You can check him out at a Red Sox game, jamming with the Hot Tamale Brass Band, or around town just rocking out. Blessed with perfect pitch and amazing musical sense, Jerome has his sights set on a professional orchestra gig.

Jerome Stover - Tuba

Jerome Stover, TubaJerome Stover has studied at the University of Indiana (Bloomington), DePaul University (M.M.), Yale University (A.D.), and Boston University (D.M.A.). At DePaul, he studied with Floyd Cooley, who was Principal Tuba of the San Francisco Symphony for 31 years. While attending Boston University, Jerome studied with Mike Roylance, Principal Tuba of the Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO). He has performed with the BSO, Boston Pops, Tanglewood Festival Orchestra, Honolulu Symphony, Chicago Civic Orchestra, and many others. Jerome is currently an Adjunct Professor of Tuba and Euphonium at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, and maintains a busy schedule of teaching and performing.

Kathleen Doran - Trumpet(s), Flugelhorn, Vocals

Kathleen 'Leenie' Doran, Trumpet, VocalsKathleen (Leenie) Doran grew up in Westport, MA and in high school was a scholarship student at Interlochen Arts Academy. While at Oberlin College she spent her summers in Lenox, MA participating in the Tanglewood Summer Youth Orchestra. She later attended the University of Missouri (Kansas City) and studied with Bobby Watson, performing in his big band. In summer of 2009 she won "best brass" award at the American Brass Quintet Seminar at Boston University. She then attended the Berkelee College of Music as a World Scholarship Tour Student, studying trumpet with Tiger Akoshi and Darren Barrett and playing in Phil Wilson's Rainbow Band. A member of the trumpet section of the Beantown Swing Orchestra, Leenie is also the lead vocalist.

Megan Riccio - French Horn

Megan Riccio, French HornMegan Riccio is a passionate performer and educator. She holds Bachelor of Music degrees in Horn Performance and Music Education from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She also holds a Master of Music in Horn Performance from the Longy School of Music. Her principal teachers have included Laura Klock, Jean Rife, and Kevin Owen. Megan performs all over New England in a variety of settings, including: symphonic orchestra, theatre orchestra, jazz, chamber music, and solo recitals. She maintains a large private teaching studio with students from South Shore Conservatory, Derby Academy, and the Duxbury Public Schools. Megan is also a full time faculty member in the Lexington Public Schools, teaching instrumental and classroom music.

Michael Stephan - Tuba

Michael Stephan, TubaMichael Stephan is currently the principal tuba for the Orchestra of Indian Hill, acting principal tuba of the Brookline Symphony, tubist with the Bay Colony Brass and Occasional Brass and Strings. An active freelance musician, Michael has performed with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Pittsburgh Opera Company, New World Symphony Orchestra, Naples Philharmonic, Boston Philharmonic, West Virginia Symphony, Vermont Symphony and many orchestras throughout the New England Region. He has an Artist Diploma from Duquesne University, a Masters in Music from NEC, and a Bachelor of Music from UMass Amherst. In his spare time, Michael loves to ride bicycles, hike mountains and play outside!

Neil Godwin - French Horn

Neil Godwin, French HornNeil Godwin holds a Bachelor of Music and a Master of Music in Conducting from the University of Mississippi. He also holds a Master of Horn Performance from Boston University, where he studied with Eric Ruske (Cleveland Symphony, Empire Brass Quintet). Neil has a wide range of experience as an orchestral, chamber, and solo performer, and has appeared with the Arlington Street Chamber Players, New World Symphony, Louisiana Philharmonic, Mississippi Symphony, Meridian Symphony, and Monroe Symphony. He is an active teacher and performer in the New England area.

Rachel Daly - French Horn

Rachel Daly, French HornRachel Daly received her Bachelor of Music degree from the Manhattan School of Music in horn performance and Masters of Arts degree from Columbia University in music education. She studied under David Jolley, William Brown, Laura Klock, and George Lessard. Rachel is a founding member of Hornithology Ensemble and the Lakeside Brass Quintet. She has performed with many area orchestras and chamber groups including the Civic Symphony Orchestra of Boston, Plymouth Philharmonic, New Bedford Symphony, Symphony by the Sea, Clafin Hill Symphony, and Charles River Sinfonietta. Along with a home studio, Rachel teaches at lessons programs at Hopkinton High School and King Philip High School. She is also a visiting lecturer at Bridgewater State University.

Russell Bogartz (aka Roof) - Trombone

Russell Bogartz, TromboneRussell graduated Cum Laude from UMass Amherst with a B.A. in Music Education. He planned to audition for Orchestras but joined the Rock Band Rippopotamus instead, taking on the alter ego "Roof". Rippopotamus went on to win a Boston Music Award for Outstanding Funk Band, licensed a song as the theme song for MTV's Singled Out with Jenny McCarthy, won a WFNX award for Best Jam Band and has played around the country and the Montreal Jazz Festival in Canada. Russell has played with numerous ensembles from Orchestral to Jazz and from Dixieland to Funk.

Stan Johnson - Trumpet(s), Flugelhorn

Stan Johnson, TrumpetStan has been performing professionally for 30 years. In addition to his work with us, he has been performing for weddings, holiday celebrations, and sacred music and is currently on staff with Entertainment Specialists and Groove Entertainment agencies. Stan has performed at music festivals in Montreaux, New Orleans, Chicago, Memphis, and Detroit. Recently, performances included a Western US tour with Mighty Sam McClain, sideman with guitarist Rick Russell and organist Ron Levy, and trumpet for the Sweet Willie 'D' Band. He also performs with his own jazz trio.

Takatsugu Hagiwara - Tuba

Takatsugu Hagiwara, TubaA native of Japan, Takatsugu Hagiwara (Taka) received a Bachelor of Music degree from Showa College of Music in Japan, a Graduate Performance Diploma from Boston Conservatory, and a Master of Music degree from Boston University. His principal teachers include Chitate Kagawa (Sapporo Symphony Orchestra), Kensuke Yao (Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra), Andrew Miller (Alabama Symphony Orchestra), Charles Villarrubia (Rhythm and Brass), and Mike Roylance (Boston Symphony Orchestra). As an orchestral player, Taka has performed with the BSO, Boston Pops, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Albany Symphony Orchestra, and Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra. He is currently a member of the Majestic Brass Quintet, and the principal tuba for both the Vermont Symphony and the Symphony New Hampshire.

Thomas Gregory - Tuba

Thomas Gregory, TubaThomas Gregory received a Bachelor of Music in tuba performance from the Boston Conservatory of Music and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Rhode Island College. He has performed with The Civic Orchestra of Chicago, The Bolshoi Ballet Orchestra, Harry Connick Jr., The Rhode Island Civic Choral and Orchestra as well recorded live performances in Boston, Chicago, and Norfolk, VA. He served for seven years as a tubist and electric bassist in the US Navy Bands in Norfolk and Chicago. He has performed in England, France, Iceland and 38 of the 50 United States.