Fountain City Brass Band Wins U.S. Open Brass Band Championship, Again!


The Fountain City Brass Band, directed by UMKC faculty and associate director of bands, Joseph Parisi, won the U.S. Open Brass Band Championship for the third year in a row.  The band has now won six U.S. Open titles, more than half of the competitions in the history of this event. 

Here is a rundown of the band's UMKC ties:

8 of the 12 cornet/flugelhorn players are students of Keith Benjamin
3 of the 4 baritone/euphonium are students of Tom Stein
3 of the 4 percussionists are students of Jim Snell
3 of the 4 trombone players are students of JoDee Davis
2 of the 3 tenor horns are students of Marty Hackleman
1 of the 4 tubas is our UMKC tuba professor, Tom Stein

Current UMKC students
Patrick Doyle
David Dimmit
Jennifer Fox
Natalie Higgins
Emily McGinnis
Emelie Pfaff
Jeff Seba
Jennifer Wagner

UMKC Alumni
Paul Bessetti
Roger Caliman
Nate Gay
Lee Harreslon
Chris Larios
Andrew Schwartz
TJ Menges
Anthony Rodgers
Ryan Sharp
Tyler Vahldick
Matthew Vangjel
Jena Wight

UMKC Faculty
Tom Stein
Joe Parisi

Here is an excerpt from reviewer Michael Boo.

"Repeating as Champion for the third year in a row, Fountain City Brass Band from Kansas City, Missouri and under the direction of Joseph Parisi, has now won six U.S. Open titles, over half those presented in the history of the event.

The band won the Championship trophy and $1,000 from Buffet Group, a Partnership Sponsor, plus a $100 Sam Ash gift certificate. In addition, the band automatically received an invitation to return to the 2014 Brass in Concert, the world’s premier entertainment brass band contest held at The Sage Gateshead in England just two weeks after the U.S. Open. (Or, as Frank Renton stated, “…a fortnight.”)

The band performed a more traditional-sounding program than what we heard from the band in the past, a Scottish repertoire dedicated to the Estes Park Longs Peak Scottish-Irish Highland Festival in Colorado. The band performed at that festival this past September, just one week prior to a devastatingly deadly flood that swept into the area and forever changed lives and landscapes.

Fountain City’s set opened with Riverdance by Bill Whelen, arranged by Lee Harrelson. The many muted brass in the opening chorale, Cloud Song, hauntingly re-creating the vocal opening to the popular worldwide sensation. In the spirited section that followed, the brass split up into different pods across the stage.

(For those who have never been to this festival, the bands frequently employ segments of their show in which they don’t sit on chairs, allowing them to move around and explore different instrumental configurations.)

Philip Sparke’s Dundonnel came next, the clarity of the myriad individual parts helping explain how the band won the Music caption by 7 points over its nearest competitor. The sudden mood changes—one second passive and restrained and the next aggressive and forceful—kept the audience guessing what was coming next.

Kenneth Downie’s Piper O’Dundee featured soloist TJ Menges on tenor horn, as the rest of the horn section impeccably nailed the rapid-fire after-beats. The final selection was a medley of Irish Tune from County Derry by Percy Grainger, arranged by Denis Wright, and Finale from St. Magnus by Kenneth Downie, arranged by Lee Harrelson.

One could be forgiven for wondering where the pipe organ was being hidden during the massive euphonious sound of the Grainger. Surely this is what angels sound like when they sing. The instant transition to St. Magnus from the Grainger should not have worked, but somehow it did. The sudden crescendos of the numerous chords cut off so quickly that the leftover reverberations filled up one’s ears with a sense of wonder. Indeed, this is what a Champion sounds like."


For more information, please contact:

Name: Dana Self
Phone: 816-235-2949