Marissa Benedict is Principal Trumpet of the Pasadena Symphony and
Pops Orchestra (since 2003), and Associate Principal Trumpet of the
Long Beach Symphony and Pops Orchestra (since 2001). She also performs
with the Los Angeles Opera, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Los Angeles
Chamber Orchestra, Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra, Los
Angeles Master Chorale, Orchestra Santa Monica, Pacific Symphony,
Long Beach Municipal Band, and is a founding member of the Modern
Marissa is a newly-appointed Assistant Professor of Trumpet at the
University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, where she is continuing her
teaching. She makes frequent trips to the L.A. area to to perform
with the Pasadena Symphony, Long Beach Symphony and other orchestras.
She also is an experienced studio player and a Yamaha Performing Artist.
Laura Caviani is a veteran of two decades of performing, recording and composing. With five CDs under her own name, and many more as a "side–man", she has recorded with some of the best jazz musicians in the region. Her recordings have received such praise as "stunningly fresh" from JazzTimes and "in a word, outstanding" from the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Recent projects include choral works for both the Great River Chorale and VocalEssence. Her works were recently performed by the St. Cloud Symphony Orchestra. She has composed numerous jazz pieces, most notably for Pete Whitman's Xtet, Four Voices String Quartet, JAZZAX Saxophone Quartet, Karrin Allyson, and has set Edna St. Vincent Millay's poetry to music, featuring vocalist Prudence Johnson. She holds degrees from both Lawrence University and The University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. As a dedicated educator, she is on faculty at Carleton College, where she directs the jazz ensemble, coaches chamber groups, and teaches jazz piano and improvisation. Please visit www.lauracaviani.com
Harvey Halpaus, retired educator was a full time music educator for 35 years. A graduate of UW River Falls(BME) and U of Iowa(MA) he studied trumpet with Conrad DeJong and John Beer. At Ellsworth Wisconsin he has conducted, directed concert bands and nationally recognized jazz ensembles at grade levels 7-12. Mr. Halpaus, a charter member and former officer of Wisconsin Jazz Educators Association has been an active soloist, clinician and adjudicator throughout the midwest. He was awarded the Wisconsin Jazz Educators”Distinguished Service Award” in 2004. During his active teaching years he was recognized for supervision, teaching and performing excellence by institutions and organizations such as UW EauClaire, UW River Falls, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, Minnesorta Music Educators Association, Wisconsin Music Educators Conference, Music Educators National Conference, International Association of Jazz Educators, Bay and the North American Brass Band Association.
He was a
graduate of UW River Falls(BME) and University of Iowa(MA). Mr. Halpaus is
currently trumpet player/leader of a professional Big Band called “Generation
II” and soloist and cornetist with the Sheldon Theatre Brass Band of Red Wing,
Zach Harmon was born into a musical family in Wisconsin. He began studying piano at the age of three and continued for thirteen years. He started playing the drum set at age fifteen and quickly gravitated towards improvised music. In 2003, Zach became a member of the Clifford Brown/Stan Getz All-Stars with whom he toured Japan and performed at the 2003 Monterey Jazz Festival. Also in 2003, he enrolled in the Thornton School of Music at USC where he studied with the great Terri Lyne Carrington for two years.
After his sophomore year, he transferred to the Masters program at the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz where he studied with Ron Carter, Jimmy Heath, Wynton Marsalis, Charlie Haden, Wallace Roney, Benny Golson, Robert Hurst, Lewis Nash, and many others. In 2005, as a member of the Monk Institute, he toured with Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock, performing in a cultural outreach program throughout Vietnam. In 2007, he toured again with Mr. Shorter and Mr. Hancock, this time throughout India.
Zach has been studying tabla with Abhiman Kaushal and recorded tabla on Terence Blanchard’s A Tale of God’s Will for Blue Note Records (the album, which reflects on the events of Hurricane Katrina, won a Grammy for best large ensemble). Over the years, as a versatile drummer and percussionist, Zach has performed with artists such as Ambrose Akinmusire, Charles Altura, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, Billy Childs, Yoonseung Cho, Romain Collin, Chris Dingman, John Doe, Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Angel Luís Figueroa, Lázaro Galarraga, Sara Gazarek, Larry Goldings, Tim Green, Tigran Hamasyan, John Harmon, Noah Harmon, Geoffrey Keezer, Kris Kristofferson, Abe Laboriel, Sr., Greg Leisz, Nick Mancini, Artyom Manukyan, Josh Nelson, Gabe Noel, Vardan Ovsepian, John Pizzarelli, Austin Peralta, John C. Reilly, Nell Robinson, Otmaro Ruiz, Joe Sanders, Gina Saputo, Anoushka Shankar, Walter Smith III, Terrell Stafford, Dayna Stephens, Strangeloop, Bobby Wilmore, Anthony Wilson and many others.
Notable venues at which Zach has performed include: Birdland, NYC; Blue Note, Nagoya & NYC; Freight & Salvage, Berkeley; Jazz Alley, Seattle; Jazz at the Bistro, St. Louis; Jazz Gallery, NYC; John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington, D.C.; Joe's Pub at The Public, NYC; The Lighthouse Cafe, Hermosa Beach; Rainbow Bar and Grill, Los Angeles; Ravi Shankar Institute, New Delhi; REDCAT, Los Angeles; Regattabar, Cambridge; Siri Fort Auditorium, New Delhi; Sunset-Sunside, Paris; World Stage, Los Angeles; Yoshi's, Oakland & San Francisco
Zach continues to perform, record, compose and teach around the world.
Bruce Hering is an active music clinician, trumpet
player and retired band director. He spent most of his 32-year teaching career
in his hometown of Eau Claire, Wisconsin. After a few years at the junior high school
Hering moved to Eau Claire Memorial
High School in 1990. The program grew to nearly 500 students with 6 concert
bands, 5 jazz ensembles, and 3 marching bands. Hering’s jazz program became
very active, regularly competing and performing throughout America, including
festivals and jazz clubs in New Orleans, Kansas City, Chicago, and New York
Hering led seven EC Memorial jazz
bands to the “Super Bowl” of jazz festivals: the prestigious Essentially
Ellington Festival and Competition held at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York
City. In 2010, he was moved to Eau
Claire North High School, tasked with building that band program. He ultimately led North to his eighth and
final Essentially Ellington Festival in 2012 before retiring.
Some of the guest artists Hering’s Eau
Claire bands have been in concert with include: Wynton Marsalis, Justin
"Bon Iver" Vernon (Eau Claire Memorial alumnus) Maynard Ferguson,
Geoff Keezer (ECMHS alumnus), Clark Terry, the Count Basie Orchestra, and members of
the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra.
Hering has been humbled to receive
some very nice awards, but he is most proud of the accomplishments of his own
children and his students, in music and beyond. He currently works at
Ward-Brodt Music, does jazz clinics and performs in several jazz groups in
Madison, where he resides with his lovely wife, Lisa O’Brien.
Karen Johnson is a UW-Eau Claire music education program alumna and director of bands at Denmark High School for 34 years. Though she retired in 2012, she remains an active player in the world of music by teaching children and directing events in her community.