Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fugitive Brass Quintet!

To answer a question that I’m sure will be asked, NO, these musicians are not jumping bail.

Far from it.

According to founding member Len Morse, “Where did that name come from? Our founding tuba player’s cat was called ‘The Fugitive.’ ”

Formed in 1997 (and nearing their 10th anniversary as a group), the Fugitive Brass Quintet was an offshoot from the Rockville Concert Band. The first members of the group were: Dave Rice (Tuba), Len Morse (Trumpet), Chris Campagna (Trumpet), Gail Hixenbaugh (French Horn), and Mark Nachtrieb (Trombone);

At this time, Morse, Campagna and Hixenbaugh are the remaining “founders” of the group, but with the assistance of fellow musicians that fill in, they still perform as a quintet.

The members of this group are well-seasoned performers.

For example? Len Morse currently plays trumpet, piccolo trumpet (which is a smaller, much higher pitched trumpet) and flugelhorn, and has played brass instruments since 5th grade (approximately 27 years).

The second trumpet player, Amy Bejm, has been playing for fifteen years. One of the highlights of her musical career was being invited to play in an orchestra backing Barry Manilow.

French horn player Gail Hixenbaugh has been playing hisr instrument for 48 years. He hails from Kansas originally, but now calls Rockville, Maryland “home”. He has even performed on German television and radio at one point.

But where’s the motivation to make music, especially when work and other committmens are present? To quote Morse directly:

In a nutshell: my ability to musically entertain myself and others, and the camaraderie of many of my fellow musicians. Applause from a crowd doesn’t hurt, either.

Hixenbaugh cites that the enjoyment of playing music in groups helps her to stay motivated. To further quote:

“Playing music is a creative effort–it fosters creativity in other areas.”

Where the Fugitives play varies in both locale and occasion. According to Morse, the Fugitive performs around Easter, Fourth of July, and the winter holidays. Church services and weddings are also familiar settings for the quintet. They are no strangers to opening for and/or performing with other community groups. In their experience, the FBQ has played the odd birthday party, Metro station opening ceremony, and other ceremonial occasions. Morse estimates that at least half are private functions, totaling approximately 4 or 5 gigs a year.

That’s why this first peformance featuring them and only them is such a treat.

Of course, these players are no strangers to humor. When asked what the funniest moment was at a typical FBQ gig, Morse replied, “You mean besides Mark starting to play “76 Trombones” at the wrong time?” (apparently not…) Bejm recalled a time when the trombone player couldn’t “get it together” and lost his trombone slide at her first rehearsal.

Hixenbaugh didn’t recall humorous moments with the Fugitives, but did state that many questions are asked about the instruments themselves.

But what keeps a musician who also works a “straight job” during the day motivated to play his/her instrument? For Morse himself, he states:

It has allowed me to expand on my personal goals of patience, persistence, and confidence. One of the biggest benefits is that I have something just plain fun to look forward to at the end of the week.

Bejm’s motivation?

It makes me a happier person and more fullfilled and motivated. There isn’t any other way I’d want to spend my Friday nights than in FBQ rehearsals!

Hixenbaugh states that playing with the Fugitives helps her to listen and strive for balance.

Who could ask for more than that?

For more information about their next performance (on Friday, October 13th, no less…) please click here and tell them you read about it here. Then Mr. Morse will give me my candy bar. (just kidding…)

Have a good ‘un, folks!

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