Hastings College to host high school honor band and choir

Hastings College music is hosting its annual honor band and choir for high school students on Sunday and Monday, January 22 and 23, 2023, on campus, with the final performance being held at First Presbyterian Church at 5:30 p.m. on Monday. The performance is free and open to the public.

Students can submit their audition and find additional information at hastings.edu/hhbc. The deadline to submit an audition is Sunday, November 27, and all audition materials must be submitted through the music honors application portal, with a separate account for each student. The submitted audition can also be used as a Hastings College scholarship audition if the student so chooses.

This is the 59th annual honor band and the 51st annual honor choir. They are the longest-running high school music honor ensembles sponsored by a college in Nebraska. The honor choir clinician is Brett Epperson, who started as director of choral activities and assistant professor of Music at Hastings College this fall. The honor band clinician is Dr. Louie Eckhardt, director of bands at Hastings College.

Honor choir and band check-in event begins at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, January 22, 2023, on the Hastings College campus. Additional details will be provided once students are selected for the honor band and choir.

About the Clinicians

Brett Epperson was most recently a graduate assistant in the College of Music at Florida State University, where he prepared the Opera Chorus, mentored undergraduate choral conductors and served as assistant conductor for the Tallahassee Community Chorus, Choral Union, Levana (SSAA), Collegians (TTBB) and University Singers. Prior to doctoral coursework, he was vocal music director at East High School in Lincoln, Nebraska, from 2013 to 2019 and associate director of vocal music at Jefferson High School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in the 2012-2013 school year. Epperson has also served as adjunct instructor of voice at Doane University.

As a performer, Epperson has maintained an active professional career as a baritone soloist, collaborative keyboardist and chorister with choral, operatic and orchestral organizations across the Midwest and South. He has performed with Opera Omaha, the Omaha Symphony, Résonance (Omaha), the South Dakota Chorale, Orchestra Iowa, Theatre Cedar Rapids, Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre, Abendmusik (Lincoln, Nebraska), the Omaha Consort, sounding light (Michigan), the Omaha Symphonic Chorus, Orchestra Omaha, and the Festival Singers of Florida. Epperson has served as a church musician in Presbyterian, Lutheran, Methodist, Congregationalist, and Catholic communities.

He earned a bachelor of arts in music from Luther College, a master of music in choral conducting from Michigan State University and is a candidate for doctor of philosophy in music education-choral conducting at Florida State University.

Dr. Louie Eckhardt, in addition to directing the Hastings College Band and Marching Bronco Band, teaches music history and high brass, and is chair of the Department of Music and Theatre. He is the principal trumpet of the Hastings Symphony Orchestra, principal trumpet of the Monroe Symphony Orchestra, the Cathedral Brass Quintet and La Follia Austin Baroque. He has also performed with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, Acadiana Symphony Orchestra, Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra, Cheyenne Symphony Orchestra, Rapides Symphony Orchestra, Nittany Valley Symphony Orchestra and the Altoona Symphony Orchestra.

He has performed with the Victoria Bach Festival in Victoria, Texas and the Vail International Dance Festival in Vail, Colorado. He has been a guest of the Fundación Sinfonía Concertante de Panamá, presenting masterclasses at the Universidad de Panamá, the Instituto Nacional de Música de Panamá and the Casa de Cultura de Panamá. In addition, he is an active recitalist and is in frequent demand as a performer and clinician throughout Nebraska, Texas, Louisiana and beyond. As a Baroque trumpeter and disciple of the historically informed performance movement,  Eckhardt has performed with La Follia Austin Baroque, the American Bach Soloists, Mercury and Bach Society Houston.

He holds a bachelor’s of music in music education and trumpet performance from Hastings College, an master of music in trumpet performance from The Pennsylvania State University and a doctor of musical arts degree in trumpet performance at Louisiana State University. He has studied trumpet with Daniel Schmidt, Langston J. Fitzgerald III and Brian Shaw. He has also studied with Denny Schneider, Keith Benjamin, John Thiessen, Charles Lirette and Vance Woolf.

Hastings College is a four-year residential college that focuses on student academic and extracurricular achievement. Hastings’ student-centered initiatives include providing books, an iPad and a two-week study away experience at no additional cost. A block-style semester schedule allows professors and students to focus on fewer classes at a time and promotes hands-on experiences. Discover more at hastings.edu.

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