Trumpeter, former teacher reunite for Symphony fanfare
Jessica Brownell took her first trumpet lesson in the sixth grade. Her instructor was Kelly Thompson.
It’s only fitting Brownell’s final concert in the Roaring Fork Valley includes a trumpet duo with Thompson. The team will perform at Symphony in the Valley’s Mother’s Day Spring Concerts.
The symphony is performing two concerts during the Mother’s Day weekend: at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Saturday, May 11, at the Aspen District Theater; and at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 12, at the Glenwood Springs High School auditorium.
Brownell, a graduating senior at Rifle High School, will perform Vivaldi’s “Concerto for Two Trumpets” with Thompson, who is the symphony’s president-elect.
Performance is a major part of this 17-year-old’s life. It began with joining the school choir in the fourth grade when she was living in Colorado Springs. By the time Brownell and her mother, Serene, moved to Rifle in her sixth-grade year, hours of rehearsing and practicing had become a permanent part of her young life.
Brownell played trumpet in the school band, under the direction of Thompson, until last year when he left the band. She then began taking private lessons with Thompson.
Brownell added spotlights and grease paint to her repertoire, starring as Juliet in the seventh-grade production of “Romeo and Juliet,” then moving on to Rifle High School performances portraying Martha in “Arsenic and Old Lace,” Hermia in “Midsummer Night’s Dream,” Louisa in “Sound of Music” and Alice in “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.”
Her favorite production was “Bye, Bye Birdie,” in which she played a chorus girl, a reporter and an old man. “The old man was my favorite part. He didn’t have any lines, but I could do anything I wanted with him, so I made him crazy. The audience laughed and laughed. I was so made up, my mom didn’t even know it was me,” she said, still enjoying the laughter she created with the role.
During that time, her music didn’t fade behind the stage curtains: Brownell passed the audition two consecutive years for the All State Band in Greeley and she attended the Rocky Mountain Summer Music Camp at Colorado State University in Fort Collins.
“The camp was my first orchestral experience,” she explains. “Then this year I joined Symphony in the Valley with trumpet and percussion, and my rhythm has really improved with the experience.”
Brownell will head next year to Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where she has been awarded theater, music, science and academic scholarships. She plans to pursue a double major in music and chemistry.
But, she added, “I’ll always be in the performing arts because it’s my passion.”
Symphony in the Valley is a 60-member, nonprofit, volunteer community orchestra organized in 1993. The symphony performs a variety of classical and popular music and supports the study of music by local youths.
Tickets for the upcoming concerts will be sold at the door. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for youths ages 3-18. For more information, contact Marice Doll, 947-1389.
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