Author Archive for John Thomas Burson

John Thomas Burson, Atlanta-based trumpeter and entrepreneur, has pursued his passion for music across a diversity of genres and arenas, including performances with the Georgia Symphony Orchestra, Georgia Brass Band, Harrower Opera Institute, and Spectacle Brass, of which he is a founding member. In 2014, he was the winner of the International Trumpet Guild Sonare Pro Brass Scholarship. Burson’s devotion to chamber music has been an integral part of the strategic expansion of Atlanta’s own Spectacle Brass. Over several years, the brass quintet has broken into the national scene, performing at Michigan’s Bay View Music Festival and alongside the Boston Brass during the 2013 Crested Butte Music Festival in Colorado. The group recently received an invitation to perform at the Georgia Music Educators Association In-Service Convention and was a finalist in the Calvin Smith Brass Quintet Competition in Knoxville, Tennessee. Committed to outreach, Spectacle Brass collaborated with a local high school to present the Suite from Leonard Bernstein’s Mass and presented a benefit program for Children’s Healthcare of Augusta, Georgia. During his study at Metro Atlanta’s Kennesaw State University, Burson studied with Thomas Hooten of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Karin Bliznik of the St. Louis Symphony, Michael Tiscione of the Atlanta Symphony, and Georgia Brass Band Solo Cornetist Dr. Douglas Lindsey. John Thomas has attended the Sewanee Summer Music Festival, the YMF Balmat National Orchestra Institute, the Bay View Music Festival, and the Boston Brass Summer Music Clinic at Western State Colorado University. For two consecutive years, he was selected as Principal Trumpet in the Georgia Music Educators Association All-College Band in Savannah, Georgia. He was also a finalist in the National Brass Symposium Orchestral Excerpts Competition. Performing in venues such as the Cobb Energy Centre, Gwinnett Performing Arts Centre, Bailey Performance Center, and Spivey Hall, Mr. Burson also teaches trumpet as an instructor at the West Georgia Arts Conservatory. With an interest in the new music scene, John Thomas is currently working on a project recording the brass chamber music of William Funk. He is also actively arranging music for brass quintet to present in collaboration with Spectacle Brass. Mr. Burson performs on Yamaha, Bach, and Schilke trumpets. For more information, please visit his website and blog,, or the website of Spectacle Brass, [2014]

Boston Brass Interview Series, Part III

Trombonist Lance LaDuke of the Boston Brass shares his advice for growing musicians and professionals in this brief interview with Spectacle Brass.

More about Lance:

LANCE LADUKE is internationally known as a soloist, writer, adjudicator and clinician. In addition to his duties on trombone and euphonium in Boston Brass, Lance teaches at Duquesne and Carnegie Mellon Universities. Prior to joining, he served as principal solo euphonium with the River City Brass Band, the nations’ only full time professional brass band. Lance has written for countless organizations, including sketches for radio, stage and themed attractions. He also regularly steps in front of audiences around the country in a number of character and comic roles.

A graduate of Michigan State University, Lance received a bachelor’s degree in Music Education, with a cognate in English. After graduate study at the University of Akron (euphonium performance) and George Mason University (instrumental conducting), Lance joined the United States Air Force Band in Washington D.C. While there, he performed for two presidents, countless dignitaries and heads of state and in hundreds of protocol functions, ceremonies, and public relations tours. He maintained a Top Secret security clearance, played for well over a million people from the White House to Red Square, and can be seen (with a magnifying glass) in the movie A Clear and Present Danger.

Lance has also performed with many of the top professional brass groups in the country, including the Brass Band of Battle Creek and the Nothing But Valves brass quartet. He has appeared on over thirty recordings, has produced nine others and has toured extensively throughout the United States and Europe. His performances have been seen and heard on numerous television and radio programs and Lance has appeared onstage with such artists as Henry Mancini, Doc Severinsen, Morton Gould, E.G. Marshall, Morgan Freeman, and Frederick Fennell.

Boston Brass Interview Series, Part II

Spectacle Brass interviews Andrew Hitz, tubist with the legendary Boston Brass.  Mr. Hitz offers an encouraging word about the music business; recently he has discussed his ideas about developing successful business models and social media plans at the Savvy Musician In Action Retreat.

More about Andrew:

Andrew Hitz is an internationally renowned soloist and clinician having appeared in over 40 states and 30 countries including China, Brazil, Russia and Singapore. He recently ended an almost 14 year tenure as the tuba player for Boston Brass.

As an Educational Ambassador for Jupiter Band Instruments, Andrew appears on their behalf all over the world as both a teacher and performer. Over the past 15 years, he has presented at over 20 state music educator conferences. Andrew currently teaches tuba and euphonium at George Mason University and Gettysburg College and is a former faculty member at the American Band College, Virginia Commonwealth University and The Banff Center. He was also a thought leader specializing in social media and arts marketing at the Savvy Musician in ACTION Retreat at the University of South Carolina.

Andrew is the author of “A Band Director’s Guide To Everything Tuba: A Collection of Interviews with the Experts” and is in the process of putting out volumes for the trombone and oboe. In early 2014, he and former Boston Brass colleague Lance LaDuke will launch a digital media company, Pedal Note Media, focusing on providing resources for music educators. They also recently completed the first recording session for the Brass Recording Project featuring four former members of Boston Brass, due out in June 2014.

Andrew lives in the Washington, DC area with his wife Tiffany. They are expecting their first child in April.


Boston Brass Interview Series, Part I

Spectacle Brass was honored to participate in the 2013 Boston Brass Music Camp on the campus of Western State Colorado University in Gunnison, Colorado.  So many insights were gained from the Boston Brass, a group that has truly made a long-lasting career performing as a brass quintet around the world for the past 26 years.  Each member of the Boston Brass was very generous to share advice about becoming professional musicians in today’s world.  To begin, let’s check out Jeff Conner.

More about Jeff:

Jeff Conner is the only original member of Boston Brass. He founded the group with some fellow Boston musicians while a student at Boston University and has engineered the meteoric rise of this ensemble’s fame in the world of popular chamber music. Jeff received his master’s degree in Music from Boston University and his bachelor’s degree in music from Boston Conservatory. He has presented his Entreprenurial Clinics at Yale School of Music, New England Conservatory of Music, University of South Carolina, University of Las Vegas, Kansas State University and the Indiana Music Educators Conference.