UND ensemble makes return trip to live semifinals of the National Trumpet Competition


Amy Halvorson

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UND ensemble makes return trip to live semifinals of the National Trumpet Competition

While most students took it easy over spring break, the University of North Dakota trumpet ensemble traveled to Messiah College in Pennsylvania, March 19-21, to continue a newly established legacy as one of the best in country.

For the second year in a row, the UND ensemble was invited to perform in the live semifinal round at the National Trumpet Competition, the largest instrumental contest of its kind.

The ensemble comprises six members, half of whom are semifinal veterans: Nate Stoezinger, Eagan, Minn.; Dillon Parker, Bismarck; Kyle Matthees, Rochester, Minn.; Evan Ouderkirk, Fargo; Mark Van Camp, Grand Forks; and Alex Tally, Ojai, Calif. They are led by UND Trumpet Professor Ronnie Ingle.

On its way to Pennsylvania, the group performed at high schools in Grand Forks, Fargo and Minneapolis.

“We are so fortunate to be at a University that supports us,” Ingle said. “When students are supported like this, it makes all the difference in their development as musicians.”

This year roughly 70 trumpet ensembles, from the University of Alaska to the University of Miami, auditioned for a select invites to the live semifinal round.

UND competed against some of the most elite music programs in the country, including Curtis Institute of Music, Baylor University, Florida State University, Manhattan School of Music and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

“This is the who’s who of music programs,” Ingle said. UND has had the only group in the four-state region that has made it to the semifinals.

“Last year, we learned that we’re not far off from the big schools ? we’re right alongside of them,” Stoezinger said.

The experience gained last year at the semifinals should prove valuable as they return for another go at it.

“I don’t have to convince these guys anymore.” Ingle continued, “They know they belong in this arena.”

“Last year, I was blown away by seeing all of the other groups play and then you realize that you are one of those groups,” Tally said.

“It is one of the biggest rushes one can experience,” Parker said. “One of the big surprises from last year was seeing just how different two groups could sound. The first and second-place winners played completely opposite of each other. Last year, we played more on the aggressive side, and this year, we are trying to show our more sensitive side.”

The group played Elaine Ross’s Neon Fanfare, a piece that is well known by the judges for being challenging. The piece allows each member to stand out and showcase their talents individually.

“Instead of there being just one block of music played by everyone,” Parker said. “We are all playing independent lines together in an artistic way, which is a skill that is immensely challenging to pull off."

The competitiveness of the groups was fierce once again. Many of the other groups had members who are Master and doctoral-level students.

“The majority of our group is not only undergraduates but underclassmen as well,” Parker said.

Famous trumpeters from around the world also be performed concerts at the competition, allowing the groups to see icons of the profession.

The UND group rehearse twice per week in class, and practices on their own time outside of classes to perfect the nuances needed to compete at the highest level as well as to encourage and critique each other. Throughout their many practices and performances, the group has developed a strong brotherly bond.

"They just kind of brought me in and now I’m kind of under everyone’s wing,” said freshman trumpet performance major Evan Ouderkirk.

"It’s been a really awesome experience to work with these fine musicians,” Matthees added. “I know I would not be on the same trajectory if it wasn’t for them."

Van Camp said, last year, he wasn’t part of the group, but he was watching closely from the sidelines so he’d be ready when he got his chance.

“I got to see them come back with so much experience and knowledge,” Van Camp said. “It’s a very humbling experience to be a part of this studio. There are all these really great things going on and they’re all happening here. I had no idea I would get to have this kind of experience when I came to UND.”

Amy Halvorson University & Public Affairs student writer

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