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Oct. 27, 2021

Eclectic brass quartet to kick off showcase series

A contemporary all-brass chamber ensemble visits the MSU campus to perform and mentor students through the College of Music’s Entrepreneurial Musical Artist in Residence Program funded by the MSU Federal Credit Union. Building on their online residency from April 2020, The Westerlies will cap three days of in-person student and community workshops with an inventive, energetic performance at 7:30 p.m., Nov. 3 at Fairchild Theatre, part of the MSU Federal Credit Union Showcase Series.

Comprised of childhood friends from Seattle, The Westerlies mix ideas from jazz, new classical and Appalachian folk. Based in New York, the blend of two trumpets and two trombones navigates venues and projects with the precision of a string quartet, the audacity of a rock band and the charm of a family sing-along. Formed in 2011, the self-described “accidental brass quartet” takes its name from the prevailing winds that travel from the West to the East. As both a musical group and a corresponding non-profit organization, The Westerlies are committed to amplifying unheard voices, and aim to reflect the values of diversity and inclusion in the music they make.

The ensemble engages students of all ages and abilities across the U.S. through innovative educational assemblies and masterclasses to promote cooperation and inclusion through music. During their multi-day residency at MSU, The Westerlies will engage students through masterclasses, a visit to DeWitt public schools, workshops on improvisation and entrepreneurship, and a public concert. Students from the composition area will also have the opportunity to have their original works performed by The Westerlies for a free and open-to-the-public event at 7:30 p.m., Nov. 2 in Cook Recital Hall.

Ensemble members include Riley Mulherkar, trumpet; Chloe Rowlands, trumpet; Andy Clausen, trombone; and Willem de Koch, trombone. The Westerlies have produced three critically-acclaimed albums of genre-defying chamber music, including their recent 2020 release, Wherein Lies the Good.

Created in 2019, the MSUFCU Entrepreneurial Musical Artist in Residence endowment focuses on entrepreneurship in the musical arts and brings MSU College of Music students an opportunity to learn from and network with successful and progressive artists. The Westerlies concert is also supported by the Arts Midwest Touring Fund, a program of Arts Midwest that is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, with additional contributions from the Crane Group.

Additional concerts in the MSUFCU Showcase Series 2021-22 “Live Again” season include Songs of Comfort and Joy, 8 p.m., Dec. 4, in Cobb Great Hall, Wharton Center; A Jazzy Little Christmas, 8 p.m., Dec. 11, Fairchild Theatre; Barbara Wagner Chamber Music Competition Showcase, Two days: 8 p.m., April 15 and 3 p.m., April 16, Fairchild Theatre, and Piano Monster, 3 p.m., May 7, Fairchild Theatre.

All Showcase Series concerts are reserved seating, except for the Barbara Wagner Chamber Music Competition Showcase which is general admission. Reserved seating tickets are $22 for adults, $20 for seniors (age 60 and older) and $12 for students. Information on these and other concerts, as well as ticket links can be found on the MSU College of Music website.

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