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Iowa Brass


OCT. 22, 2023 @ 4pm

Solon Community Center Auditorium


Vitae Aeternum, Paul Lovatt-Cooper

Over the Rainbow, arr. Goff Richards
Peter Laird, Tenor Horn soloist

Ravenswood, William Rimmer

Ivory Ghosts, Gavin Higgins
March to the Scaffold, Hector Berlioz, arr. Howard Snell 

** Intermission **

Our Hidden Language, Jacob Vilhelm Larsen

Suite in seven movements for brass band & percussion, "OUR HIDDEN LANGUAGE" was commissioned by conductor Dr. David Thornton and the Brighouse & Rastrick Band with funds provided by the Danish Art Council (STATENS KUNSTFOND) for the Brass In Concert championships 2018, held at The Sage Gateshead.


"The suite links directly or indirectly to music-related dance and different styles of dances from ballet to jazz”. 

1- Introduction

“The Firebird Suite” by the musical mastermind Igor Stravinsky, had me captured from the very first time I listened as a young boy. The introduction of “Our Hidden Languages” opens with the same 6 notes as “The Firebird”, and the whole introduction has Stravinsky-inspired rhythms and motives throughout. It is meant to set the scene for the whole suite, which is based on the variety of styles and moods from dances – from ballet to jazz.  

2- Cassini's Last Dance

Cassini's Last Dance is an homage to the NASA spacecraft, Cassini. The Cassini-Huygens mission ended its sojourn at Saturn on September 15th 2017, with a plunge in the atmosphere of the ringed planet. The mission began in 1997 when Cassini was launched on a trip to Saturn to look for evidence of water and capture the first close-up views of the planet. The spacecraft arrived in 2004 and probed its mysteries for 13 years. The music honors the achievements of the Cassini-Huygens mission, a mission lasting 20 years.

3- Ballerina

     Paul Waech, Cornet soloist

Solo for brass band & Bb Cornet. “The life of a ballerina is… sacrifice... loneliness… late hours… The life of a ballerina is… joy… succeeding… being something… The life of a ballerina is… from an early age… taking your body to the limit… But most of all, the life of a ballerina is… short…”

4- Norwegian Dance: Fanitullen

     David Lang, Euphonium soloist

Solo for euphonium. The music is deeply inspired by Norwegian folk music and especially the Norwegian composer Geirr Tveitt. Fanitullen is Norwegian folklore about a man playing the violin so people danced and went mad. He is often portrayed as the devil.

5- Washboard Watkins

     Kolbe Schnoebelen, Trombone soloist

     John Reyna, Tuba

     Spencer Kruse, Washboard

Solo for trombone and a small solo group of cornet, euphonium, Eb bass and washboard. The music is happy and smiling and a good foot tapper.

6- Berceuse

The theme in the Berceuse is again inspired by “The Firebird” by Stravinsky and is simply a variation on the 6 opening tones. The Berceuse is meant to link the suite from start to end.

7- Firebird Invention & Finale

The last movement carries on small variations from the opening tones.

Iowa Brass Personnel

Alex Beamer - Music Director


Alex has been the Principal Conductor of Iowa Brass since 2013, making this his 10 year anniversary with the group. Throughout his tenure, the band has performed at numerous competitions claiming such prizes as Best March and 2nd place at the Gateway Brass Band festival. Alex has participated in numerous conducting competitions throughout Europe and in 2016 received a finalist award at the Brass Band conducting competition in Manchester, England. 

Mr. Beamer completed a master’s degree in Orchestral Conducting at the University of New Mexico (Albuquerque, NM) and a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Messiah College. His conducting teachers include Dr. Jorge Perez-Gomez, Dr. Timothy Dixon, and Dr. Bradley Genevro. He has studied percussion with Steve Fidyk, Chris Rose, Doug Cardwell and David Knott. Alex has also participated in many master classes and clinics with some of the nation’s top conductors, such as Mallory Thompson, Eugene Corporon, Dennis Fisher, and Col. Timothy Holton.


Alex is the Vice President of School Music Services at West Music. During his down time, Alex enjoys life in the Amana Colonies with his wife Jessi, 3 boys Oliver, Henry and Paul, and their dog Lola. 

Eb Soprano Cornet

Matt Hartmann

Bb Cornet

Paul Waech

Evan Fowler

Jeff Fountain

Steve Stickney

Emma Cryer

Repiano Cornet

Lee Stickney

2nd Cornet

Brian Redington

Beth Villhauer

Karla Beckman

3rd Cornet

Dennis Pedde

Steve Kenny (chair sponsored by David Haaversen)

Keri Speidel


Dan Davies

Tenor Horn
Peter Laird

Ray Colony
Cliff Somers
Reid Barlow
Bob Upmeyer

Kolbe Schnoebelen 
Ross Thedens
Paul McNally
Lee Tippe 

Bass Trombone

Ryan Carter

Ryan Hesseltine
Joseph Horne


Todd Bransky

David Lang

Eb Tuba

Chris Bird

John Reyna

Bb Tuba

Bob Driggs

Steve Schomberg


Jenn Boyens-Bishop (chair sponsored by Nasus Properties)

Spencer Kruse

Taylor Wells


Becky Bunting



Peter Laird - Tenor Horn

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Peter has played with Iowa Brass since 2011 where he has played cornet as well as the tenor horn.  He joined Iowa Brass shortly after his professional career as an engineer brought him to Rockwell Collins, now Collins Aerospace, in Cedar Rapids.  He still works at Collins as a program manager working on artificial intelligence and unmanned aircraft. 

Peter grew up in Bowling Green, Ohio, before heading to Purdue University to study computer engineering.  Although Purdue has no school of music, Peter played trumpet year-round in the Purdue bands, including being the section leader of the 80-member trumpet section for the marching band.  During that time, Peter was able to trick the most attractive of those 80 members into becoming his wife.  Peter and Michelle have a 3-year-old (Mira) and 5-year-old (Calvin) who are already beginning to pick up horns at home. 

Peter also plays flugelhorn and serves as the manager for DTKK, a German Blaskapelle band based in Amana, IA.  He loves woodworking out of his home shop, and attempts to offset his desk job physique by training and racing in triathlons with a local club.


Paul Waech - Cornet

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Paul has been with Iowa Brass since the summer of 1995. During his time in the band, he has enjoyed making music with his brass band family at concerts, festivals and contests throughout the Midwest. Paul won 2nd place, technical solo division, at the North American Brass Band Association(NABBA) championships in 2003.

Paul taught band at Regina in Iowa City, West Liberty High School and the Des Moines school district.  He currently works at his church under much less stressful conditions.

Besides playing in the band, Paul enjoys gardening, writing, and trying to figure out what his dog Lucy is thinking. He does a pretty good job at that, too.

David Lang - Euphonium

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David retired from teaching at Independence High School in 2021. During his 32 year career his ensembles received honors in Concert Band, Jazz Band and Marching Band:  9 appearances at the Iowa Bandmasters Conference; 9 Iowa Jazz Championship 1st place finishes; BOA Regional Marching Band Champion, and 2 appearances a BOA Grand National Marching Band Championships.

David is a frequent guest soloist with area community bands, colleges and high schools. While studying at the University of Iowa, he performed as a guest soloist with all three School of Music Concert Bands. He was the first place winner in the Leonard Falcone International Baritone Horn Competition and was granted a performance with the Michigan State Symphonic Band. He was also the Grand Prize Winner in the Des Moines Symphony Young Artist Competition and performed a Concerto with the Des Moines Symphony Orchestra. He has toured Europe with The Iowa’s Ambassadors of Music as a low brass instructor and euphonium soloist ten times. 

David has won many education awards including: NEA and ISEA Awards for Excellence in Teaching; KCRG A+ for Education Award; KGAN Golden Apple Award; IBA & NEIBA Karl King Distinguished Service Award - Active; NEIBA Philip Sehman Excellence in Teaching Award; Colts Drum & Bugle Corps Hall of Fame, and Independence Chamber of Commerce Teacher of the Year.

Kolbe Schnoebelen - Trombone 

Kolbe is a Senior at The University of Iowa pursuing his B.M. in Trombone Performance and B.B.A. in Accounting.


Hailing from Iowa City, IA, Kolbe currently serves as Principal Trombonist of The University of Iowa Symphony Band and Co-Lead/Improvisation Chair in Johnson County Landmark.


Outside of the university, Kolbe is a member of the Clinton Street Quartet, performing and educating through masterclasses around area Iowa schools. Since the summer of 2021, Kolbe has toured with the Holy Mountain Singers as the hired trombonist, performing in Kansas City, MO, St. Louis, MO, Louisville, KY, New Orleans, LA, Apex, NC, Longwood, FL, St. Augustine, FL, and Daytona Beach, FL. In addition, Kolbe is a founding member of the 5K Jazz Quintet, which was featured by KCCK jazz radio. In 2023, as a member of the West Slides Quartet, the group advanced as a semifinalist in the Thailand international Trombone Festival Ensemble Division. In the summer of 2023, Kolbe was selected into the prestigious Jazz Aspen Snowmass Academy led by the Frost School of Music, under the direction of Christian McBride. Kolbe also competed as a semifinalist in both the solo and excerpt competitions at the Southeast Trombone Symposium in Columbus, GA. Kolbe was also selected as a member of both the 2020 Jazz Band of America and 2020 Honor Band of America.

John Reyna - Tuba

Originally from Wilmington, NC, John has established himself as a multifaceted tubist in both North Carolina and Southeastern Iowa. He received his Bachelors of Music in Performance from UNC Greensboro in 2021, and recently received a Master of Arts in Performance from The University of Iowa.


John actively performs in chamber ensembles and large ensembles in the Iowa City area, and typically performs a recital at least once a year. He has also worked to establish himself as a composer, most notably his duet The Lumbee Suite for Bass Tuba and Contrabass Tuba, was commissioned and performed by Professor John Manning alongside Reyna at the 2023 International Tuba and Euphonium Conference in Tempe, Arizona.

Spencer Kruse - Percussion


Spencer attended high school in Pipestone, MN, where he was selected as an All-State Oboist and Jazz Pianist. Upon graduation, Spencer attended Augustana University in Sioux Falls, SD. During this time, he was the principal oboist in the band and orchestra, jazz pianist for the Northlanders Jazz Band, and participated in percussion and mallet ensembles.

Upon graduation in 2015 with a Music and K-12 Education degree, Spencer began his teaching career in Dawson, MN, where he ran the band program. From 2016-2019, he taught at Roosevelt High School in Sioux Falls, SD. While here, he was responsible for directing the marching band, WGI, pep band, 3 concert bands, 3 jazz bands, 2 jazz combos, and 2 percussion ensembles. He now works at West Music as an educational road representative for southeastern Iowa.

Throughout his career, Spencer has been an active composer. Since 2011, he has written for a variety of marching bands and has had original works played by the Augustana Band, Augustana Orchestra, and High Plains Woodwind Choir.


Iowa Brass was founded in 1986 and is Iowa's only British-style brass band. Brass and percussion members perform repertoire that features original works for brass band as well as arrangements of popular, jazz, orchestral, and wind band music. Iowa Brass evolved from a brass ensemble that was part of the Mt. Vernon city band directed by Don Stine and was formerly known as Eastern Iowa Brass Band.


You can help support Iowa Brass by becoming a Sponsor for an entire season! When you become a Sponsor, you help the band: Purchase music, percussion, and specialized brass instruments, maintain a professional conductor, and support transportation to contests and performances.


What are the sponsorship options?

  • Chair/Musician Sponsor: $100

  • Conductor Sponsor: $150

  • Maestro Level Sponsor: $350

In addition to your name being listed in each Iowa Brass concert program under the name of the chair/musician you choose to sponsor, benefits include:

  • Chair/Musician sponsors have the opportunity to announce a piece from the stage.

  • Conductor sponsors will work with our conductor to select a piece for us to perform.

  • Maestro Level sponsors will be able to conduct the band at one of our performances!

Since we are a non-profit organization, your contribution is tax-deductible.

Click HERE to become a Sponsor!

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Sign up for future concert notifications HERE.

Upcoming Performances

  • Saturday, Nov. 11, 2023.  U.S. Masters Brass Band Entertainment Competition. 2:45pm @ Blue Valley North High School. 12200 Lamar Ave.  Overland Park, KS  66209

  • Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023.  3pm performance.  Festival of Trees at Lindale Mall, Cedar Rapids, IA

  • Sunday, Dec. 10, 2023.  4pm Christmas Concert in the Solon Community Center Auditorium. Solon, IA

We would like to thank our sponsors and donors.  We could not continue to make music without you!

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