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About Jubal Brass

In 1975 Paul Hoelzley and John Scripps had an idea for a brass choir of eighteen players to play Christian music in churches around West Michigan. They realized that many young people spend countless hours practicing (and parents spend lots of money on lessons!), and only use their talents in high school and perhaps college. Then, there are few outlets to utilize their abilities. At the same time, churches could be exposed to the joy of quality Christian brass music. And so Jubal Brass was born, with the name coming from Jubal, the first person mentioned in the Bible regarding instrumental music. Although he was a superb tuba player, Paul Hoelzley preferred to direct the ensemble for two years until he resigned to teach at Baldwin-Wallace Conservatory of Music in Cleveland, Ohio. In the early years, the group played in a church every Sunday evening during the school year and, due to high demand, had a policy of not going back to the same church two years in a row.

John Scripps then directed for two years until Charlie Buffham took over the baton. Charlie was a music teacher at Grand Rapids Community College, and served as both conductor and arranger for Jubal Brass. Many of his arrangements remain in our repertoire today. He directed the group for several years. John Varineau came to Michigan as a music professor at the Grand Rapids Baptist College (now Cornerstone University) as well as the assistant conductor of the Grand Rapids Symphony, and he consented to direct Jubal Brass, which he did marvelously for fifteen years. Jubal Brass now played in churches every other Sunday evening, to allow the players opportunity to participate in their own church services.

After John Varineau, one of our trumpet players, Ron Toering, conducted for two years. Dale Grotenhuis, a retired music professor from Dordt College, conducted the ensemble for several more years before another retired music professor from Calvin College, John Worst, took the podium. Chris Hansen, a noted arranger and conductor, followed and provided direction and many arrangements for the group. Chris was especially instrumental in guiding our efforts in recording two CDs. Five years later, a young high school music teacher, Vince Frampton, took the baton and conducted the ensemble for one year. Dr. Mark L. Taylor took over the conducting duties in 2015.

(excerpted and appended from As I Recall, by John Scripps)

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