Disney band proves magical for trumpet players

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    A TCU trumpet player landed a high-profile job playing with a select group of musicians in Anaheim, Calif. this summer.Micah Bell, a senior music education major, was the lead trumpet in the Disney All American College Band this summer.

    The band performs five days a week in front of thousands of Disneyland guests.

    Lori Cook, of the Entertainment Division for the Disneyland Resort, said in an e-mail that the participants were chosen from 250 students from all over the nation who auditioned in February.

    Out of the 250, 20 were placed, including four trumpets.

    Students were told personality and enthusiasm played an important part in the selection process, Cook said.

    Because the band plays almost every genre of music, students were asked to play three different styles in the audition and were expected to know how to sight-read, or read music on site.

    “I got paid to play music and entertain thousands of people every day,” Bell said. “I loved it. It was the best summer of my life.”

    Curt Wilson, TCU Jazz Ensemble director and director of jazz studies, has worked with Bell since he was a freshman.

    “It’s like an athlete making All-American,” Wilson said of Bell making the band.

    Bell said that while performing at Disneyland was the hardest thing he had ever done, he would do it again if he could.

    He said he was able to spend time in Los Angeles with some of the best studio musicians who taught him the ins and outs of the business.

    “It’s just funny because you idolize these people, and then you hang out with them and realize, wow, they’re just guys,” Bell said.

    He said Wayne Bergeron, the lead trumpet player on Chicago’s big band album, “Night and Day,” was his favorite person he met. Bell said he has admired Bergeron since his seventh grade year when his father bought the album for him..

    Bell said he went to dinner with Bergeron and to his house for a lesson. Bell also got the chance to hear the musician’s unreleased recordings and play duets with Bergeron.

    The event, Bell said, made him realize his blessings.

    Bell also had the opportunity to record a CD with the Disney band. The recording took place in the same Los Angeles room that Frank Sinatra, Pink Floyd and the Beatles used, he said.

    Jon Burgess is an associate professor of trumpet who has worked with Bell.

    “He is really involved in every aspect of music,” said Burgess.

    Bell not only plays the trumpet, but he also sings and composes, Burgess said.

    Bell isn’t the only TCU student who has played for the All American College Band at Disneyland.

    Cameron Summers, a trumpet player and senior engineering major, played with the Disney band in the summer of 2005.

    Summers said he was very happy he spent last summer with the Disney band. The experience gave him the chance to work with and talk to incredible artists, he said.

    “Cameron’s a great student,” Burgess said. “You can give him ideas and what you think will help him develop as a player; and he’s willing to work it and try new ideas, again investigate ideas on his own and bring new ideas. It helps me learn too.”

    Summers said he played with the Henry Mancini Institute, which centers around an orchestra comprised of musicians from around the world, this summer.

    Wilson said Mancini is a legend in the music world.

    “Henry Mancini is one of the great American composers of film and television of all time,” Wilson said. “That institute was built in his memory to train young musicians in the art of playing film music, which is a very difficult craft to learn.”

    Summers said he recorded tracks with the Mancini Institute for composer Patrick Williams’ big band album. The CD will be released by Concord Records, he said.

    Wilson said TCU should be proud of both Bell and Summers for representing TCU well.

    “It’s the chance of a lifetime for both of them,” Wilson said. “This will probably change their lives.