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News | Arts and SciencesOctober 02, 2023

Octubafest Celebrates Low-Brass Performers and Polkas

On Sunday, the Smith-Pendergraft Campus Center at the UAFS campus will echo with the annual autumnal sounds of Octubafest.

The 17th annual event brings students, faculty, alumni, and community friends together to play “really fun polka music,” said Dr. Alexandra Zacharella, professor of Music and Theatre at the university.

“Octubafest is for low brass students in ninth to 12th grade and adult low brass performers,” she said. “The players are invited to bring trombones, euphoniums/baritones, sousaphones, and tubas for a mass play-along rehearsal that begins at 1:30 p.m.,” she said.

This year, Brass Mammoth, a tuba/euphonium quartet, will present a masterclass/open rehearsal and mini-recital from 2-3 p.m.

Brass Mammoth is made up of Alma’s Dr. Matthew Murchison, a euphonium player and faculty member at  Cornell University in Ithaca, New York; Dr. Ben Pierce, euphonium player and faculty member at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville; Dr. Kent Eshelman, tuba player and faculty member at Baylor University at Waco, Texas; and Dr. Zach Collins, tuba player and faculty member at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, at Indiana, Pennsylvania..

Brass Mammoth was founded in 2022 to pursue a high level of musicianship in a fun, flexible, and inventive way. The group seeks to perform and expand the standard euphonium-tuba quartet repertoire while branching out into world music, jazz, folk, and other styles. The members of Brass Mammoth bring a wealth of experience as performers and educators. Collectively, they have released 15 solo and chamber albums, won first place in dozens of solo competitions, appeared as soloists around the world, and performed with leading ensembles, including the Brass Band of Battle Creek, the River City Brass Band, and the symphony orchestras of Los Angeles, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Toledo, Grand Rapids, San Antonio, West Virginia, and Tulsa. Their diverse backgrounds include composing and arranging, jazz performing, conducting, studio work, and judging. They each hold a doctorate in music performance and are active as university professors.

There will be free soft drinks and pizza for all participants.

Octubafest will culminate with a free concert open to the public at 6 p.m. in the Reynolds Room, featuring the UAFS Brass Ensemble, Low Brass Ensemble, Die Löwenbande, and the mass low brass playing along.

UAFS Alumni and Students

Alma: Tanner Gil

Fort Smith: Danny McClellan, Daniel Simon, Jesus Ortiz, Raul Ortiz, Tommy Thavonekham, Hunter Van Ness, Gavin Green

Greenwood: Gustavo Martinez, Andrew Hardin

Pea Ridge: Jonathan Ortiz

Prairie Grove: Quana Kilpatrick

Van Buren: Arturo Hernandez, Emily Brown

Muldrow, Oklahoma.: Kaydon Chisum

Pocola, Oklahoma: Jon Woods, Gunner Trent, Parker Miller

Sallisaw, Oklahoma: Tessa Winton

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  • College of Arts and Sciences
  • Music

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Rachel Rodemann Putman

  • Director of Strategic Communications
  • 479-788-7132
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