VALDOSTA – VSU’s Brass Ensemble performed during Sonny Perdue’s investiture as the University System of Georgia’s chancellor.
Valdosta State University’s Brass Ensemble, a combination of the Presidential Brass Quintet and Sonorous Brass Quintet, recently performed during the investiture of George Ervin “Sonny” Perdue III as the University System of Georgia’s 14th chancellor. The special ceremony was held in the House of Representatives at the Georgia Capitol in Atlanta.
“It was a great honor and privilege to be able to play at such a significant event,” shared Oscar De La Rosa, a senior music performance major from Kingsland, Georgia, who plays trombone. “When we first walked into the House chamber to rehearse, I was filled with a sense of awe at the amount of history that the room held. With all the personal pride I felt, the whole event was only made better by the fact that I had many wonderful friends right there with me.”
The VSU students, as well as their accompanying faculty coaches, had an opportunity to hear a number of state leaders speak during the event, including Harold Reynolds, chairman of the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia; Brian Kemp, governor of Georgia; David Ralston, speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives; and Harold Melton, former justice and former chief justice of the Supreme Court of Georgia.
The students performed prelude music prior to the start of the investiture ceremony, as well as processional and recessional music for the platform party. Dr. Doug Farwell, professor of trombone in VSU’s Department of Music, said the students learned a lot of music very quickly and, in the end, “did a fantastic job.”
“Performing with this group as a freshman was very nerve-racking,” shared Kailey Stephenson, a music and music education major from Waynesville, Georgia, who plays horn. “I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. One thing I remember is how happy Sonny Perdue was when he came up to meet us. His smile made all the hours of practice and hard work worthwhile.”
De La Rosa anticipates earning a Bachelor of Music in Music Performance from VSU in May 2023. He began studying trombone in the seventh grade. He performs with VSU’s Wind Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble, Valdosta Symphony Orchestra, Presidential Brass Quintet, and Trombone Choir. Off campus he has performed with the Ed Barr Orchestra and the Albany Symphony Orchestra.
Stephenson anticipates earning a Bachelor of Arts in Music and a Master of Arts in Teaching in Music Education from VSU in 2026. She began studying trumpet in the fifth grade, followed by horn in the ninth grade. She performs with VSU’s Wind Ensemble, Sonorous Brass Quintet, and Blazin’ Brigade.
The Presidential Brass Quintet and the Sonorous Brass Quintet at VSU are audition-only ensembles. They each consist of five players — two trumpets, one horn, one trombone, and one tuba.
In addition to De La Rosa and Stephenson, students who performed during the ceremony were Jacob Bady of Brunswick, Georgia (trumpet); Brandon Allen of Metcalf, Georgia (trumpet); Braedon Floyd of Valdosta, Georgia (trumpet); Riley Prichard of Barney, Georgia (horn); Franklin Carmona of Hollywood, Florida (trombone); Jorge Gauvin Caraballo of Eustis, Florida (tuba); and William Griffin of Winder, Georgia (tuba). They were coached by Department of Music faculty members Dr. Doug Farwell (trombone), Dr. Brandon Smith (tuba and euphonium), and Dr. Javian Brabham (trumpet).
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