University of Arkansas music professor part of new brass ensemble

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — University of Arkansas music professor and Fayetteville resident Richard Rulli is part of a newly formed brass ensemble, Zen Brass.

The ensemble is the vision and creation of Lawrence, KS, based musician David Swanson.

Zen Brass has produced a video in celebration of Easter weekend with an arrangement of a short piece originally written for pipe organ titled Postlude on “Easter Hymn.” 

Each member recorded themselves in their homes while listening to a click track to align the tempo. Another member, bass trombonist Andy Newbegin, edited the audio together and then the video clips were added to create their first public performance video.

Click here for the video.

Zen Brass is a small group made up of seven brass instrumentalists: three trumpets, three trombones and tuba.

The idea for the group started a few years ago, and last fall after Swanson contacted his friend and former Air Force band colleague, Richard Rulli, the idea became reality.

A brass septet is a relatively new type of brass ensemble, so there isn’t a lot of sheet music available.

Swanson set about creating a number of new arrangements for the group’s first rehearsal. He chose a wide variety of music, from traditional classical to jazz-inspired renditions of modern songs.

After assembling the cast of players from around the United States, rehearsals were at the Reuter Organ Company factory in Lawrence, where Swanson was an organ builder.

The challenge was to fit rehearsals and performances into everyone’s busy schedules, and then COVID-19 struck. Not only was travel restricted, but being in close proximity, a requirement for rehearsing, became a problem.

Zen Brass is planning concert tours in the Fall of 2020 & Spring of 2021.

Contact them through their website or their Facebook page for other information.

Members of Zen Brass are:
Karen Ballard – trombone – Overland Park, KS Ben Hay – trumpet – Tulsa, OK
Andy Newbegin – bass trombone – St. Joseph, MO Richard Rulli – trumpet – Fayetteville, AR
Brian Scarborough – trombone – Lenexa, KS Dave Swanson – tuba – Lawrence, KS
Mary Thornton – trumpet – Corpus Christi, TX

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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