MSU Spartan Jazz Trombones Awarded

Ensemble nets first place in international competition.

Pictured left to right: Michael Dease, William Wang, Kyle Tilstra, James Burchett, Kahleed Thorpe, Alejandro Espinosa, Tom Bones Malone, Alex Valigura, Rui Zhang, Kirby Fellis, Josh Dargavell, Peter Tijerina, Drew Kilpela, Genta Ogawa.

The MSU Spartan Jazz Trombones recently captured top honors in one of the largest annual competitions for trombone in the world. The award follows a first place finish earlier in 2014 in a competition through the International Trombone Association, further elevating the profile of the MSU College of Music as a premier institution for the study of the jazz trombone.

In mid-December, the ensemble was selected by the American Trombone Workshop as having the best-recorded entry for the 2014 National Jazz Trombone Ensemble Competition. The prize includes a full collection of sheet music from the U.S. Army Capitol Bones Band, as well as billing as a featured performer at the prominent workshop in Fort Myer, Va., from March 18-21.

“Winning this competition is a powerful inspiration to my hard-working students, and establishes the studio’s role as a leader in the international trombone community,” says Assistant Professor of Jazz Trombone Michael Dease of the workshop sponsored by the American U.S. Army Band. “The ATW is one of the largest annual conferences for trombone and attracts top players from all over the world.” 

MSU freshman Kyle Tilstra is among the dozen members of the Jazz Trombone Studio who will attend the conference. He will also step on stage as a member of the award-winning Spartan Jazz Trombones, and as runner-up in the ATW jazz solo competition. 

“It’s an honor and a privilege to be a part of something as special as this and to be able to share it with some of my closest friends and colleagues,” says Tilstra who majors in jazz trombone performance. “I’m looking forward to being able to listen and hopefully meet some of the best trombonists alive.”

Tilstra says he is also excited about the Capital Bones sheet music prize, and having the chance to play arrangements with his fellow studio members.

“It’s always nice to have more repertoire in the library,” he says. 

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