Rich Cline

Boys Play Trumpet and Girls Play Flute - But Why

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Boys Play Trumpet and Girls Play Flute, but Why?

At first glance, this might seem like the case considering when one views a major symphony orchestra or band, the ranks seem filled with women in the strings, woodwinds, and fute sections. I have noticed there seems to be a growing interest amongst girls and women especially in the Marching Arts to choose a brass instrument to play which prompted me to do some research on the subject and this is what I found. It's difficult to choose a starting point and If I leave someone out Sorry, there are so many.

Let's start with the 1977 Garfield Cadets production which featured a number of color guard members playing soprano bugles.

Spotlight: 1977 Garfield Cadets
Drum Corps International
Published on Aug 24, 2015
From rule-bending vocals to soprano bugle playing color guard members, the Garfield Cadets' 1977 production featured a number of trail blazing programming choices for the time period.


Next is Barbara Maroney. 35 years after her age out, Barbara Maroney is still honored. She is probably best known for her mellophone solo work with the World Champion Garfield Cadets during 1984. Her solo during "Maria" and "A Boy Like That/I Have a Love" were wrenching. It's also notable to note that Barbara was born with no left arm from the elbow down (thus, she had to lip everything that would otherwise have been done by using the 1st valve trigger on her mellophone)...I believe she even had a concert French horn made for right handed use.

In 83 the fingers of her glove were simply tied around the bottom of her mello...that's what you're seeing. In 84 she actually had a prosthetic device which her glove fit over and she was able to actually grip the valve casing.

See Barbara and the 1984 Garfield Cadets here:
Garfield 1984 - Program: Selections from West Side Story by Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim - Score: 98.00 1st
Published on Apr 1, 2016

There is a text interview where Barbara was interviewed by telephone on March 24, 1992 at the following link:
An Interview with Barbara Maroney - The Middle Horn Leader Interview.htm
Originally published March 31, 1992.

Here's a portion of the Garfield Cadets 1983 program:
Garfield Cadets (1983 Miami) - Program: Rocky Point Holiday - Score: 94.40 1st
Published on Jan 22, 2007
Zingali's drill & great G Bugle sound

1984 Garfield Cadets — Barbara Maroney Interview (Video)
Published on Jul 18, 2009
This is a video interview with Barbara Maroney, the mellophone soloist of the 1983 & 1984 Garfield Cadets.

Following are Forum Threads In Drum Corps Planet Forms linked to Barbara Maroney

Historical Junior Corps Discussions
Mellophone Question 
By abelm98, June 14, 2007 in Brass Forum


Barbara Maroney for Cadets HOF 
By 84BDsop, April 23, 2009 in Historical Junior Corps Discussions 


Drum Corps Membership Changes 
By xandandl, March 22

Next is Bonnie Thompson (Ott). Bonnie began her drum corps career in 1966 with the Stockton Commodores from Stockton, California. Her brother (Jim) was attending the University of the Pacific and he taught and arranged the music for the Commodores while Bonnie played. Her brother advanced to instructing Spirit of JSU where he was killed in a freak auto accident. Bonnie went on to play with the Blue Devils in 1974, serving as section leader for the alto bugle section until aging out as a national champion in 1976.

There is a article about Bonnie Thompson (Ott) which was Originally published March 1993 at the following link:
Bonnie Thompson (Ott) by Scooter Pirtle Thompson (Ott).htm

Bonnie Ott has been a guest at DCI World Championships and seen sitting in the end zone section with the Marine Drum & Bugle Corps. The Following Clip is Bonnie at DCI in 2012
Bonnie Ott Thompson @ DCI 2012 
Roy Perez

And  A Tribute To Her Brother (Jim Ott) announced by Wayne Downey of The Blue Devils

Tribute to Jim Ott July 1980-200 Horn Players
Roy Perez
Published on Nov 5, 2009
200 combined horn line players from the Stockton Commodores,Blue Devils,SC Vanguard,and Freelancers drum and bugle corps play a memorial tribute of NAVAL

HYMN for DCI hall of fame member Jim Ott at Concord California July 19,1980.

Next is Carolina Crown's Ballad in 2018 - Brass Caption Supervisor Matt Harloff Describes The Design using an all female brass ensemble
DCI Carolina Crown All-Female Hornline Moment in Ballad
Marching Roundtable / Marching Arts Education
Published on Jul 20, 2018
Crown Brass Caption Supervisor Matt Harloff gives us the inside scoop on that awesome all-female hornline moment in the ballad this year. How did it come about, and how did they make it happen

Here is the Carolina Crown 2018 Ballad during their tour in August of 2018 Carolina Crown 2018 Ballad
BubbaDuh Fett
Published on Aug 4, 2018

Next is Staff Sergeant Courtney Lawrence in “The Commandant's Own,” The United States Marine Drum & Bugle Corps, stationed in Washington, DC.

Staff Sergeant Courtney Lawrence serves as a Brass Technician with SCV for the 2019 season
Courtney Lawrence is a Staff Sergeant in “The Commandant’s Own,” The United States Marine Drum & Bugle Corps, stationed in Washington, DC. She plays the Euphonium Bugle and currently serves as the Hornline Instructor. A native Texan, Courtney studied Music Education at the University of Houston prior to enlisting in the Marine Corps. She completed her Bachelor of Arts in Music degree from George Mason University in Fairfax, VA. Courtney marched in the Phantom Regiment Drum and Bugle Corps in 2004-2008 and the Colts Drum and Bugle Corps in 2003. Currently in her third season with the Santa Clara Vanguard, she has also taught Phantom Regiment and is an active drill designer and clinician in the Washington, DC/Northern Virginia/Maryland area.

Here Is A Behind the Scenes featuring Courtney of The United States Marine Drum & Bugle Corps
Behind the Scenes with the Drum and Bugle Corps
"The Commandant's Own," The United States Marine Drum & Bugle Corps
Published on Feb 24, 2015
SSgt Courtney Lawrence talks about how the D&B is incorporating tablets with our drill writing and critiquing process.

Next is Amy Frost who also serves as a Brass Technician with SCV for the 2019 season

Amy Frost is in her second year as a member of the brass faculty for the Santa Clara Vanguard. She received her BM in Instrumental Music Education in May of 2008 from Arizona State University, where she was in several performing ensembles including the Wind Symphony, chamber ensembles, brass quintet, trumpet ensemble, and the Sun Devil Marching Band. While in college, she taught trumpet privately in the Phoenix area as well as supervised the visual programs at several high schools in the Valley. Amy has been involved with the DCI activity since 2001, beginning her drum corps career as a soprano soloist with Copper Star from Gilbert, Arizona. She then was a member of the Santa Clara Vanguard from 2003 to 2006, aging out of DCI as the 2006 I&E Trumpet Champion. During the Fall of 2008 Amy had the special opportunity of traveling to Japan as a professional musician, playing both trumpet and piccolo trumpet, for the “Odyssey” stage production. The show was an all-female cast of percussionists, dancers and brass musicians sponsored by the Min-On Concert Association, a Japanese organization that believes music is the universal language, promoting cultural exchange and peace by introducing music and performing arts from every country around the world. Following her time as a member, Amy began teaching drum corps in 2007 as an intern with the Vanguard A Corps, as well as devoting some time to the Velvet Knights Drum and Bugle Corps as a visual instructor. In 2008 and 2009 she joined the brass staff at the Blue Stars Drum and Bugle Corps from La Crosse, Wisconsin as the trumpet technician and Breathing Gym Specialist. Amy was a member of the brass staff of the Madison Scouts during the 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014 seasons. Amy is currently in her first year as an assistant band director at Grisham Middle School in Round Rock ISD. Prior to her time at Grisham, Amy spent two years as an assistant director at Vista Ridge High School in Leander ISD, and five years in Georgetown ISD, two as an assistant band director at Georgetown High School from 2009 to 2011 and three as the Director of Bands at East View High School from 2011 to 2014. Before moving to Texas to teach band, Amy was the Director of Bands at Stapley Junior High in Mesa, Arizona.

Next is Jessie DeJesus who also serves as a Brass Technician with SCV for the 2019 season

Jessie DeJesus is an active-duty service member of the United States Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps where she currently serves as a Bugle Musician, Drillwriter, Public Affairs NCO, Bugle Arranger, and 4/3 Battalion Equal Opportunity Representative. A native of Ponce, Puerto Rico, Jessie grew up in southeast Texas. She received her Bachelor of Music in Trumpet Performance at the University of Louisiana in Lafayette in 1999 and received her Master of Music at Louisiana State University in 2002. She is All But Dissertation at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music Doctorate of Brass Pedagogy and Literature Program with minors in Music History and Music Theory. She is a proud alumnus of the 1996 Cadets of Bergen County. Afterwards, she worked with local high school marching band programs and taught private lessons in southern Louisiana. In 2016, she began teaching in DCI as a Mellophone Technician at the Bluecoats and worked with them for three seasons. She is excited to spend her first season with Santa Clara Vanguard in 2019! Jessie currently resides in Alexandria, VA, and is stationed at Ft. Myer, VA, adjacent to Arlington National Cemetery. She maintains a small trumpet studio in Washington DC and teaches marching band in Alexandria. She is also an avid flamenco dancer – albeit a pretty bad one – and is pursuing portrait photography as a very expensive hobby.

Next are the section leaders for the 2019 SCV (All were part of SCV's 2018 Program: Babylon)

Elise Denghausen 2019 Horn Sergeant for SCV
Ashley Ballengee 2019 Trumpet Section Leader for SCV
Katie Christensen 2019 Baritone Section Leader for SCV

Ricky O’Bannon at the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra suggests the instrument choice my be gender based in this article
Boys Play Trumpet and Girls Play Flute, but Why?

In A Dec 2016 Post in the Trumpet Hearld Forum they discuss the performance of Tine Thing Helset, a Norwegian female trumpeter who has received numerous awards and will be touring the US in 2019 with her ten-piece, all-female brass ensemble "tenThing"
Post Thread: Women Trumpet Players

Here is a clip of Tine Thing Helset playing Libertango in March of 2013.
Tine Thing Helseth - Libertango (March 8th, 2013)
Kaare K. Johnsen
100th anniversary celebration concert for women's right to vote (in Norway), at Kilden Theatre and Concert Hall in Kristiansand, March 8th, 2013.

Clearly all of these women are exceptional.

So, the following questions are in order.

Do you think there is an increased interest among women to play a brass instrument?

If so, Why?

Would love your point of view especially if you are a band instructor.

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