Tooting their own horn

March Madness again for UND’s Trumpet Ensemble after reaching collegiate brass’s Big Dance for 2018

2018 Trumpet Ensemble

For the last four of five years, Professor of Trumpet Ronnie Ingle’s five-student ensemble has advanced to the live semifinals for the National Trumpet Competition. The ensemble, from left to right: Michael Morrisey, Maddie Ardelean, Dawson Domke, Christiena Taralson, and Gilson Silva. Photo by Connor Murphy/UND Today.

Under the leadership of Ronnie Ingle, the UND Trumpet Ensemble is ready to cut another rug in the “Big Dance” of the trumpeting world.

March 8-10 marks the 26th National Trumpet Competition (NTC) and UND has made the live, semifinal rounds the last four of five years — meaning they can hang with the best of the best.

“They’ve worked extremely hard,” Ingle, professor of trumpet in UND’s music department, said of this year’s five-student crew. “They’ve adopted the idea that we can do anything at any level we set our mind to.”

The UND Trumpet Ensemble has the makings of a dynasty. While earning a spot in the live rounds is a testament to both their mettle and Ingle’s leadership, they’re heading in with a mindset to go even further than previous years.

They’ll be up against some of the most accomplished music programs in the United States when they arrive at University of North Texas.

“It takes a lot of coffee,” Michael Morrisey joked. The junior trumpet performance major is one of two on the team returning for another year of competition. “It’s kind of surreal to exist here and compete at such a high standard.”

The other returning member, Christiena Taralson, knows what it’s like to stand in front of her trumpeting peers. She wants to make sure everyone keeps a team mindset when it comes to facing elite groups.

“Something I told this ensemble is, ‘if you do get scared up there, or nervous, just look at each other and know you have a team to back you,’” she said.

Versatile instrument

Ingle’s ensemble will play Erik Morales’ “Cityscapes” during this year’s run at the NTC. To the casual musical observer, the tune is no mere walk in the park. Fast-paced, technical and rhythmic, the music utilizes every piece of both the ensemble and the instrument itself.

Ronnie Ingle

Ronnie Ingle

“The trumpet can be used as an obnoxious instrument to signal troops from across the hill,” says Ingle. “On the turn of a dime, it can also produce some of the most lyrical and beautiful sounds in music. This is what makes the trumpet unique.”

Gilson Silva, the sole graduate student of the ensemble, outlined how the group first came together with a game plan.

“Michael and Christiena made very detailed schedules,” he told UND Today. “From the beginning we were conscious about where we wanted to go. First we went to Archives just to analyze the score and try to understand what’s going on in the literature.”

What followed was practice, discussion, brainstorming and more practice — hours of it.

“It wasn’t necessarily learning the music completely,” Morrisey chipped in. “The other half is learning who everyone is, hanging out and figuring out how to work as a team.”

“Achieving at a high level takes a lot of your own personal practice,” Taralson followed. “When you’re able to bring that to the ensemble it creates a higher level of playing from the group.”

Falling in love

Much of this is new to freshman Dawson Domke. He plans to pursue a music education major and the trumpet ensemble has only enhanced his UND experience.

“It’s really helped in the fact it’s made me fall in love with the trumpet more than ever before,” he said. “Being around this group and their enthusiasm for the trumpet has me excited for the next four years of playing in college.”

Maddie Ardelean, a sophomore studying communication, is the only non-music major of the group. She values her time in the ensemble as a creative and social outlet.

“I just love coming back to play and enjoy it,” she said. “I get to enjoy making music with a family of trumpet players.”

2018 Trumpet Ensemble

Students travelling to this year’s National Trumpet Competition will be able to meet with peers and professionals in their field. Graduate student Gilson Silva (right) is looking forward to the networking opportunity. Photo by Connor Murphy/UND Today.

‘Just like me’

Traveling to the NTC not only provides a chance to collectively show their stuff, but to network and learn more about what it takes to pursue music as a career.

“Versatility is an important part of surviving in the industry,” Morrisey offered. “You can be a great trumpet player, but if you don’t have other skills, you aren’t going to get a job. That’s something we talk about on a daily basis.”

He noted that while you can be skilled technically, it’s the human side that counts.

“It’s important to learn those things and I hope I’m bringing that to the studio,” Ingle said, responding to Morrisey’s comment. “At NTC they get to see firsthand the way professionals are genuine, decent, approachable human beings — even though they play the trumpet like a fiend.”

Dennis Edelbrock, famed U.S. Army Band trumpeter and founder of the competition, has grown close to the UND studio over the past few years. Ingle is happy that the master trumpeter has stayed in touch with UND musicians. Edelbrock has even made an appearance at the University.

“We’re going to hang out with him next week and he’s one example of what they can see at NTC,” Ingle said. “They start to understand, ‘they’re just like me, and I can be like them in a few years.’”

For Ingle, that’s what it’s all about.