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Wind Ensemble Concerto competition winner Brittney Self will perform on trumpet April 30

By Ken Keuffel

BOONE, N.C.—Brittney Self, who is pursuing a master’s degree in trumpet performance at Appalachian State University, is about to end her studies in memorable fashion.

View larger imageBrittney Self, a trumpeter studying at Appalachian State University, will solo with the Appalachian Wind Ensemble on April 30. Photo courtesy of James Stokes

On April 30, she and Dr. Junie Cho will solo with the Appalachian Wind Ensemble in “Concerto for Trumpet in C and Piano” by Erik Morales. Cho is an adjunct instructor of collaborative and class piano. Dr. John Ross, an associate professor who directs bands at Appalachian, will conduct.

The performance will take place at 2 p.m. in the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts on the university’s campus. Admission is free and a live stream of the performance will be available at

Self’s teacher at Appalachian has been Dr. James Stokes, professor of trumpet. She has achieved much during her time at the university: She is soloing with the wind ensemble because she won the Wind Ensemble Concerto Competition of Appalachian’s Hayes School of Music Feb. 3, beating out four other contestants. Her artistry developed to the point where she could compete in the International Trumpet Competition, the premier event of its kind.

In addition to gaining more experience as a teacher and performer at Appalachian, Self was a member of the Appalachian trumpet ensemble selected to play at the International Trumpet Guild 2017 Conference. She is also a member of the Appalachian brass quintet that will present at the 2017 College Music Society Conference.

In a recent interview, Self reflected on her accomplishments during her time at Appalachian and what might be next for her career-wise.

You are from Norman, Oklahoma. How did you end up in Boone?
I earned my bachelor’s degree at the University of Oklahoma. I chose Appalachian because my trumpet professor from my undergraduate degree highly recommended Dr. Stokes. I came out and met him and really liked him. So, I decided to come here.

You have done more than study trumpet at Appalachian. What are some of your other responsibilities?
I am a graduate assistant for Dr. Stokes and the trumpet studio. I just help with whatever Dr. Stokes needs. Sometimes, that is covering lessons or helping with Appalachian’s Trumpet Choir. I am a member of the Johnson City Symphony and the Brass Band of Appalachia. I teach at Appalachian’s Community Music School.

How does it feel to be the winner of this year’s Wind Ensemble Concerto Competition?
It is an honor. The other musicians that competed are really talented and played very well, so to be selected as a winner was really special and honestly a little surprising. But I have been working on this particular concerto for a long time, so it was nice to have that hard work pay off and to have the opportunity to work with Dr. Ross and the Appalachian Wind Ensemble and share the piece with as many people as possible.

What can you say about Morales’ concerto that might enhance our appreciation of it?
It is a relatively new piece, composed in 2007. What drew me to the piece, and what I think the audience will like, is the melodic content. Many of the themes are really nice and simple, but Morales enhances them with technical elements that make the piece flashy and more demanding. I think it is a piece that people will enjoy, whether you are a musician or not.

You made it to the semi-finals in the National Trumpet Competition (, which took place this past March in Denver. What was that like and how do you think it will further your career?
Making the semi-finals at the National Trumpet Competition was an incredible experience. I was able to travel to Denver and be surrounded by some of the best trumpet players and musicians in the world. The cool thing about this competition is that there are also many classes and concerts given by the guest artists, so there is also the opportunity to learn a lot. Spending time with people who are dedicated and passionate about the same thing is really inspiring. I was able to come back to Boone excited to work hard and take things to the next level. As far as furthering my career, the music world is pretty small, and I was able to make some great connections and build some relationships that will last a lifetime.

Why was it important to participate in conferences of the International Trumpet Guild and the College Music Society?
The conferences are important because they allow us to interact with leading professionals in the field. We can attend masterclasses and performances by some of the best musicians in the world. It is also great to represent Appalachian State and the Hayes School of Music among some of the very best music schools in the country.

What are your career goals? How have Dr. Stokes and Appalachian helped you achieve them?
As far as a career goes, I would like to play professionally and eventually teach in a college setting. Dr. Stokes is an incredible mentor. I still have plenty of work to do, but I cannot thank him enough for guiding me to the skills and confidence I need to be successful and happy.

About the Hayes School of Music

The Hayes School of Music prepares young musicians for professional lives as performers, composers, music educators, music therapists, conductors and music industry professionals, ensuring the next generation of musical leadership for the state, region and nation. Noted for quality instruction by national and internationally recognized faculty musicians, the school offers four undergraduate degree programs and three graduate-level programs.

About Appalachian State University

Appalachian State University, in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The transformational Appalachian experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and embrace diversity and difference. As one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina system, Appalachian enrolls about 18,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.