The School of Music’s Beneficence Brass is a student brass quintet dedicated to performing and educating audiences about music. The group is comprised of students Ben Maynard (trumpet), Kieran McNamara (trumpet), Abbie French (horn), Austin Hinkle (trombone), and Sam Michels (tuba). Established in January 2018, Beneficence Brass has performed recitals in Indiana, Iowa, and Bavaria, Germany. The quintet has worked with several notable brass chamber ensembles and artists including Boston Brass, Canadian Brass, Rekkenze Brass, and with John Manning from Atlantic Brass.
Quintet member Ben Maynard wrote about the group’s recent visit to Germany and the development of an exchange project.
During the summer of 2018, Beneficence Brass attended the Brass im Frankenwald chamber music camp in Hof, Germany. This experience was an intensive, one week seminar that culminated in three performances in Bavaria, Germany. Each day consisted of multiple hours of brass quintet rehearsals, coachings with the professional brass quintet Rekkenze Brass, coachings with Ball State trombone professor Dr. Chris Van Hof, and rehearsals with other chamber groups. To say that this trip was incredibly eye-opening would be an understatement. Not only did our quintet gain performance experience, we obtained unique musical feedback from a professional group for an entire week. While fully immersed in the culture of German music, we discovered the musical culture to be quite different from the United States. This educational element contributed heavily to our “incredibly eye-opening” experience.
During our stay in Hof, we befriended and collaborated with another student brass quintet. This particular group is comprised of students that study at the University of Würzburg School of Music. Members of Beneficence Brass and the quintet from Würzburg became increasingly curious about the cultural similarities and differences between Germany and the U.S. As a result, we began planning an exchange project. We thought it would be an astounding educational experience for us to host each other at our respective universities.
The exchange project will consist of performance collaborations between both groups at the universities and in their respective communities. It will include culturally enriching experiences, and the visiting group will study with the applied brass faculty. Furthermore, each group will visit the hosting university for roughly two weeks. The Würzburg quintet is scheduled to visit Ball State from April 3- 15 and Beneficence Brass will stay at the University of Würzburg from June 2 – 13. We hope this trip will benefit both groups of musicians, universities, and their surrounding communities. – Ben Maynard