TTU welcomes guest artists from near and far to this year's Octubafest celebration

In addition to highlighting the talent of Tennessee Tech University’s student musicians, the annual Octubafest celebration is a great opportunity to hear performances on campus by featured guest artists.

This year’s Octubafest runs Oct. 24 – 31, and all shows are free and open to the public. Unless otherwise noted, each show will take place in the Wattenbarger Auditorium of the Bryan Fine Arts Building.

Among this year’s featured guest artists are:

• Bryce Edwards, who will present a euphonium recital at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 30, and TTU’s own Paul Thurmond who will accompany on piano.

Edwards is a TTU graduate, free-lance musician and private teacher. He performs with such groups as the Mr. Jack Daniel’s Silver Cornet Band and in such venues as the Cumberland County Playhouse. A contributing author to the Euphonium Source Book, Edwards was a semi-finalist in the Leonard Falcone Tuba and Euphonium Competition.

• Jay Hunsberger on tuba and Gail Robertson on euphonium, who will be in concert at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 30, with Alex Thio accompanying on piano.

Hunsberger has been called “one of America’s premier orchestral tubists.” He received both bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Indiana University School of Music and is currently the principal tubist with the Florida West Coast Symphony, where he’s often heard as a soloist, and the Florida Brass Quintet.

Hunsberger was invited to perform Jan Bach’s “Suite for Tuba and Strings” at the International Tuba and Euphonium Conference in Budapest, Hungary, this past summer, and he will be appearing at the U.S. Army Tuba Conference in January 2006.

Robertson earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Florida and a master’s degree from the Indiana University School of Music. She was one of the founding members of Walt Disney World’s Tubafours quintet, and she is currently instructor of low brass at Bethune-Cookman College and adjunct tuba and euphonium instructor at the University of Central Florida.

She is a judge for the Leonard Falcone Tuba and Euphonium Competition, International Tuba and Euphonium Conference Competitions and the Florida Bandmasters Association at both the district and state levels. Robertson is also a member of Symphonia, the nation’s premier tuba and euphonium ensemble.

At TTU’s Octubafest, Hunsberger and Robertson will also be featured soloists during the “Tubas of Mass Destruction” concert at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday.

• Timothy Northcut, who will present a tuba recital at 7 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 31, with Thio accompanying on piano.

A graduate of TTU, Northcut is instructor of tuba and euphonium at the College-Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati, where he won the CCM’s Ernest N. Glover Outstanding Teacher Award in both 1997 and 2003.

He is a member of the Cincinnati Ballet Orchestra and Symphonia and has been a member of the U.S. Army Field Band. In addition to holding a degree from TTU, Northcut also has a degree from the Catholic University of America and is completing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Arizona State University.

• The Joe Murphy Jazz Quintet will close this year’s Octubafest, with a show at 9 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 31, at My Place, located just off Interstate 40 Exit 287 at 1300 Bunker Hill Road in Cookeville.

Murphy is the assistant director of bands and tuba and euphonium instructor at Cumberland University, and his marching band shows have won dozens of awards, including the Division II Tennessee State Championship for three consecutive years. He also conducted the Middle Tennessee Band and Orchestra Association’s top jazz band in 2001.

As a soloist, Murphy was a finalist in the 1986 International Solo Competition held at the International Tuba and Euphonium Conference in Austin, Texas, and he is one of the top recording tuba players in the nation, recording hundreds of projects with artists such as Michael Bolton, Michael W. Smith and Larnell Harris.

For more information about these and other Octubafest events, check out the TTU tuba and euphonium website at http://orgs.tntech.edu/tuba/index.html.

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