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Special Performance


Conductor Thumb
Michael J. Garasi

Performer Details

Performer Bio Synopsis

Over the last 30 years, the Brass Band of Battle Creek has established itself as one of the premier brass/percussion ensembles in the world. During this time the band has seen its membership grow to include some of the finest brass/percussion performers in the United States and Europe. Former members include Tim Morrison (former Principal, Boston Pops), Ryan Anthony (former member Canadian Brass, Wycliffe Gordon (formerly Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra), Woodrow English (retired principal trumpet, U.S. Army Band,) Sam Pilafian (founding member, Empire Brass), Dave Ratajcak (former first call percussionist, Broadway), Vince DiMartino (former Professor of Trumpet, University of Kentucky) and Mark Gould (former member, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra). The BBBC is led by Resident Conductor Michael Garasi, who currently serves as Director of Bands at the University of Mary Hardin – Baylor. Current members of the band include Steven Mead (Professor of Music, Royal Northern College of Music – UK), Jens Lindeman (Professor of Trumpet, University of California Los Angeles and former member, Canadian Brass), Scott Hartman (Lecturer in Trombone, Yale University and former member, Empire Brass), Joseph Alessi (Principal Trombone, New York Philharmonic), Chris Jaudes (Professor of Jazz Trumpet, The Juilliard School), Rex Richardson (Professor of Trumpet, Virginia Commonwealth University), Owen Farr (Professor of Tenor Horn, Royal Northern College of Music - UK), Marty Erickson (Professor of Tuba, Lawrence University) and John Beck (Professor of Percussion, North Carolina School for the Arts). The BBBC is best known for its ability to expertly perform many styles of music. From swing to brass band classics, orchestral transcriptions, show tunes, pop selections, dance music, marches and Dixieland, the BBBC will wow you with its stunning energy, power and technical virtuosity. The BBBC has performed at many prestigious events, including appearances as the featured band at the International Trombone Association Convention, the International Trumpet Guild Convention, and the Great American Brass Band Festival. In 1998, the BBBC became the first band from the United States to perform as a guest band at the British National Brass Band Championships held in London’s Royal Albert Hall. The performance at Royal Albert Hall occurred as part of the Band’s 10-day tour of the United Kingdom, which also saw performances in Birmingham, Cardiff, and Manchester. The Band has twice performed with legendary trumpet soloist Doc Severinsen. In 2000, the Band performed as a guest artist of the University of Kentucky’s Artist Series. 2001 performances included the Interlochen Arts Society Series and the University Musical Society Series at the University of Michigan (the first performance ever by a brass band). In April 2002, the Band performed in Cincinnati as guest artist at the North American Brass Band Association Championships, thus becoming the only brass band to perform as guest artist at both the North American Championship and the British National Brass Band Championship. The BBBC has released 10 compact discs: Sing Sing Sing, Britain and Brass, Sleigh Bells and Brass, Fight Songs of the Big Ten, Brassmatazz, Live 1, Live 2, Live 3 (featuring music performed in concert since 1994), Music for Battle Creek, and A Christmas Festival.

Brass Band of Battle Creek

Conductor's Bio

Acclaimed by England’s as one of the most formidable and reputable conductors in the world of brass bands, Michael J. Garasi has been the Principal Conductor of the internationally acclaimed Brass Band of Battle Creek since 2013. Having conducted the Brass Band of Battle Creek at the Midwest Clinic in 2017, Mr. Garasi and the band are returning by special invitation, to perform for the 75th Midwest Clinic in 2021. Under the direction of Mr. Garasi, the BBBC has produced recordings, performed numerous concerts, conducted youth programs, children’s concerts and clinics throughout the state of Michigan. Because of his outstanding leadership in progressive and creative conducting and teaching techniques and methods during the year of the pandemic, and due to his passion in continuing Brass Banding throughout the world, Mr. Garasi was nominated for the honor of “Conductor of the Year,” in 2020, by After serving as Visiting Assistant Professor of Instrumental Music in 2020-2021, Mr. Garasi recently accepted the position of Director of Bands and Associate Professor of Instrumental Music at the University of Mary-Hardin Baylor in Belton, Texas. Mr. Garasi was the Musical Director of the innovative, and award-winning, Brass Band of Central Florida for nine years. Mr. Garasi became the first American brass band conductor ever to be nominated by for the “Newcomer of the Year” Award in 2004 and the “Conductor of the Year” award in 2006. Mr. Garasi also won the “Best New Arrangement” Award in the U.S. Open Brass Band Championships in 2004 and 2005. In 2007, Mr. Garasi became the first American conductor to adjudicate at the most prestigious entertainment competition for brass bands in the world, the Brass in Concert Competition at the Sage in Gateshead, England. Because of this international success, Mr. Garasi was invited to England twice to conduct the world famous Grimethorpe Colliery Band at numerous concerts and at the Brass in Concert Competition in 2008. In 2018, Mr. Garasi was invited to adjudicate the SIDDIS Brass Band competition in Bergen, Norway. In 2016, Mr. Garasi conducted the American Philharmonic Orchestra in a new video recording project called “Virtual Symphony” for Royal Caribbean Cruise Line’s Anthem of the Seas. The American Philharmonic Orchestra was comprised of musicians from the National Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and Military Bands in Washington DC. This video project was created for the exclusive performance experience offered only on the Anthem of the Seas in their 270 Degree state-of-the-art performance venue. Orchestral conducting experience includes the position of Music Director and Principal Conductor of the professional, Florida Lakes Symphony Orchestra for eight successful seasons. Under the baton of Maestro Garasi, the FLSO became a significant profile in the Central Florida community. Previously, Mr. Garasi has held the South Florida positions of Music Director/Conductor for the Treasure Coast Symphony, and the Broward Symphony Orchestra. In 2005, Mr. Garasi was invited to guest conduct the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra in five concerts throughout Central Florida. During the holiday season, Mr. Garasi has conducted the Epcot Candlelight Processional orchestra and 200-voice choir at Walt Disney World, having enjoyed this podium for seven consecutive seasons. A committed advocate for the performance of new music, Mr. Garasi has conducted in Texas’ Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music’s annual Contemporary Music Festival, conducting Bernard Rand’s Oboe Concertino featuring oboe professor, Robert Atherholt. During the 2011-2012 season, Mr. Garasi was invited to conduct the premiere season of the professional New Score Chamber Orchestra, performing the music of living composers of our day. He was also a part of the 1st “Young Composers Challenge” annual event, sponsored by the Orlando Philharmonic. With a gift for understanding, motivating and conducting youth ensembles, Mr. Garasi has spent decades investing in the lives of young musicians. For five years, Mr. Garasi was Director of Bands at the prestigious North Broward Preparatory Boarding School in Coconut Creek, FL. Prior to this, Mr. Garasi was a full-time faculty member of the School of Performing Arts at the University of Central Florida. At UCF, he was on the instrumental conducting faculty conducting the symphony orchestra, wind ensemble, chamber orchestra for the musicals in collaboration with UCF Theatre, and taught numerous undergraduate and graduate courses. Mr. Garasi has held positions as the Artistic Director/Conductor of the Brevard Symphony Youth Orchestra, the Conductor of the Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra’s Philharmonia, and has been actively involved in public and private school music education conducting bands and orchestras in Florida, Texas, Michigan, Arkansas, New York, Indiana and New Mexico. Mr. Garasi studied at the Eastman School of Music and holds degrees from the prestigious Cleveland Institute of Music. In addition to his formal degrees, Mr. Garasi has studied conducting with Kenneth Kiesler at the Conductors Retreat at Medomak, Michael Jinbo at the Pierre Monteux School for Conductors, attended masterclasses with Pierre Boulez at Carnegie Hall, Frederick Fennell, Allan McMurray, Roby George, Michael Votta and privately with Joseph Kreines. Mr. Garasi is married to Cherry T. Garasi, published and Dove Award winning music composer, editor, curriculum writer and music educator. Quote “Again, thank you for such an exciting concert Michael. Your excellent conducting technique, as well as knowledge of the scores, and your impeccable musicianship led the musicians of the University of Central Florida Wind Ensemble to a really outstanding performance. All three of my compositions were done with such conviction.” February 2007, Karel Husa

Additional Directors

Shannon Aikins