Rockford student an international star with trumpet

July 30, 2015 // 0 Comments

By BETH ALTENA Pure talent will take you far. According to professional trumpet instructor Gregg Good, a recent Rockford homeschool graduate who has been taking lessons from him for years, Brent Proseus, has pure talent, but also all the other trappings of a top player. “He grew up in a culture of music and he has kept his life in balance,” Good described. Proseus is only 18 years old, just performed at Carnagie Hall on July 11 and appeared on the Today Show July 12, is is just returned from performing in China. He is this country’s top soloist trumpet player, after taking first in the National Trumpet competition in March. At Carnegie he was the only performer from the state of Michigan who was and chosen as part of an elite performance team for the National Youth Orchestra. That Orchestra is just back from an all-expenses paid performance tour in China, playing in such haloed venues as Beijing National Centre for Performing Arts, Shanghai Oriental Arts Centre, Xi’an Concert Hall, Shenzhen Concert Hall, Xinghai Concert Hall and the Hong Kong Cultural Centre. Led by Charles Dutoit, the orchestra’s concert program included the premiere of a new work from award-winning Chinese composer Tan Dun, commissioned by Carnegie Hall for NYO-USA, as well as Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5 (“Emperor”) with guest soloist YUNDI; and Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique. Gregg said it is not surprising Brent is already so accomplished even with his continuing education still ahead of him. Gregg was trumpet teacher for Brent’s father, Eric. “This is the next generation, down from his dad.” He said Brent’s mother is also a very accomplished musician, and a much sought-after accompanist on piano. “He grew up in a culture of music. He has a good support system.” “He’s kept his life in balance. A lot of people can’t keep up the performance, ensemble and mechanical skills. He serves the community and he is also good at academics.” Gregg said Brent is also very energetic, actually the most energetic student he has ever had. He said even at his young age Brent has earned many awards locally and even internationally. The world’s leading organization for trumpet players is the International Trumpet Guild. Brent has won this organization’s scholarship […]

Resident experiences the unusual and magnificent

August 20, 2009 // 0 Comments

  by CHRISTINE BIGNEY They say that it’s good to try different things. In Stacey Kowalczyk’s case, she didn’t think that would include drunken shrimp and cow’s intestine for dinner. The 2007 graduate of Rockford High School always wanted to study abroad. So when a trip to China presented itself, Kowalczyk jumped at the opportunity. Never mind that she didn’t know the first thing about the language; she was ready to go. Kowalczyk, currently in her Junior year at Grand Valley State University, traveled to China with two Professors and eight other Grand Valley students from May 5 through June 14, 2009. “I took one class on how to speak Chinese, but I’m not very good at it,” Kowalczyk said with a smile. For the most part, Professors Peimin Ni and Geling Shang interpreted the language for them. That came in handy when they were served a dish called Drunken Shrimp. Kowalczyk’s professors explained to them that the chef would literally soak the shrimp in liquor, and serve them alive to the diners. “My professor would prepare the shrimp for us, and then hold them out to us and say, “Here, eat this.” Kowalczyk wasn’t too crazy about the drunken shrimp, but said at a breakfast buffet they were served cow intestine. “It wasn’t that bad, it tasted like noodles. It was grosser to look at, than eating it,” she said. The students did, however, get an opportunity to visit an Italian eatery. “We were pretty psyched to get a fork.” Kowalczyk explained. “We had to get used to chopsticks real fast,” since other eating utensils were nowhere to be found. The group stayed in Shanghai, but took side trips to Beijing, and Hainan, (sometimes called the “Hawaii of China”), which was on the South China Sea. “The scenery was beautiful,” Kowalczyk said. The most memorable site for Kowalczyk was the Great Wall of China. Kowalczyk explained that they were very fortunate to have their professors, who knew their way around China and its sites. “We were able to visit parts of the Great Wall that most tourists don’t get a chance to see. They took us to parts that were crumbling and overgrown with vines,” she said. “It was magnificent.” While the students were […]