About Spark Brass

We are professional musicians and educators from across the United States who have experienced the profound positive impact of music in our own lives and the lives of our students. These experiences shaped us into passionate advocates for the value of music education. It is our privilege to present our life’s work and personal journeys with audiences of all ages so that they too can discover the intrinsic value of music education and the thrill of a dynamic live performance.

We strive to be artists in all that we do, inspired by the words of St. Francis of Assisi, “He who works with his hands is a laborer. He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman. He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.”

Spark Brass’ debut album, Carnaval to the Music Hall is now available on iTunes and Amazon.com!

Meet the Members

Dr. Kate UmbleDr. Kate Umble

Dr. Kate Umble Smucker is a trumpet player and music educator based in New York City. She currently teaches trumpet, theory, and brass ensemble at the Music Conservatory of Westchester and plays with Calliope Brass Quintet.  A versatile musician, Kate has also performed with the Allegro Chamber orchestra, the Lancaster Symphony Orchestra, the Fulton Theater pit orchestra, and the Lancaster British Brass Band in Lancaster, PA. She served on the  music faculty of Millersville University and maintained an active private teaching studio.

Kate is a dreamer who loves to bring big ideas to life. Working with Calliope Brass, Kate assisted in the development of the educational show, “What’s Your Story?” She is a founding member of Spark Brass, a brass and percussion ensemble dedicated to promoting the positive impact of music education. She is also the founding artistic director of Lancaster New Sounds, a concert series that showcases new music by living composers. Her love of jazz prompted her to put together and lead the 18-piece King Street Big Band.

Kate holds a Doctorate in Trumpet Performance from the University of Missouri in Kansas City, a Masters of Music from the University of North Texas, and a Bachelor of Music Education (K-12 instrumental) and a Bachelor in Trumpet Performance from the University of Northern Colorado. Her primary teachers were Dr. Keith Benjamin, Professor Keith Johnson and Dr. Robert Murray.

Dr. Ed Jakuboski

Pennsylvania native and trumpeter Dr. Ed Jakuboski strives to be a versatile musician. Due to his well-rounded approach to the instrument, he continues to thrive in all facets of the performance industry. While attending Penn State University, Ed studied both classical and jazz music, which continues to benefit him as a working musician. His first passion, jazz trumpet, led him to complete graduate work at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia where he focused on jazz improvisation, composition and arranging. In 2011, Ed released his first project, In the Space, featuring his own ensemble performing original music in a jazz quartet setting. Ed continues to maintain a busy freelance schedule, playing a variety of gigs in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware as a member of Spark Brass, Titan Brass, and Chico’s Vibe. In addition, he is often called upon to perform with other area chamber groups, orchestras and jazz ensembles. As a recitalist, Ed continues to present programs for trumpet and piano in addition to collaborating with many local musicians. Most recently, Ed has been a student of world-renowned trumpeter Chris Dekker who describes him as “a trumpeter of superb ability, capable of performing the most demanding repertoire with total command”. In addition to Mr. Gekker, Ed has been a student of Dr. Langston Fitzgerald, Steve Hendrickson, John Swana, John Daniel and Ken Brader. He shares his acquired knowledge with students of all levels by maintaining a private trumpet studio and working with area schools and universities. Ed recently earned his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in trumpet performance, literature and pedagogy from the University of Maryland.

IMG_0355-2Dr. Ashley Cumming

Dr. Ashley Cumming is the Assistant Professor of Horn at Murray State University in Murray, Kentucky. Hailing from Cambridge, Ontario, performance experience includes principal horn with the COSI Opera Orchestra in Italy and Columbus Indiana Philharmonic and freelance horn with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, UANL Symphony Orchestra in Mexico and Orchestre de la Francophonie in Quebec. Recital appearances include the International Horn Society Conference in New York, International Women’s Brass Conference in Michigan, Midwest Horn Workshop in Wisconsin, and the K-W Chamber Music Society in Ontario. She was also a concerto soloist with the Murray State Symphony Orchestra, Sooke Philharmonic in British Columbia, the Kitchener Waterloo Symphony Youth Orchestra in Ontario and Jr. All-State Band in Indiana. Cumming has held collegiate positions throughout Indiana and maintains an active private studio. Ashley holds a Doctorate of Music from Indiana University where she studied with Jeff Nelsen, Dale Clevenger and natural horn with Rick Seraphinoff. She also holds degrees from Wilfrid Laurier University and University of Victoria and performed in prestigious programs such as the Banff Centre for the Performing Arts Summer Masterclasses, and International Sommerakademie in Austria. For more information, please visit www.ashleycumming.com.

IMG_0389-2Dr. David Ball

Dr. David Ball is an Assistant Professor of Music at Concord University in Athens, West Virginia where he serves as the Director of Bands and teaches private brass lessons and courses in music history. David has spent the past three summers performing with the Ohio Light Opera at the College of Wooster in Ohio.  He can be heard on the Albany, Chandos, and Polyphonic record labels in performances with the Royal Northern College of Music Wind Ensemble and the Ohio Light Opera.  David holds degrees in trombone and euphonium from the University of Minnesota, the Royal Northern College of Music, and Virginia Tech.

IMG_0375-2Gary Mayne

Gary Mayne is a resident of Washington, D.C. and a Colorado native.  From big bands to salsa bands, to rock bands, to the symphonic stage, Gary has performed and recorded with a diverse array of ensembles around the country.  He is an active performer, educator, clinician, and adjudicator who loves working with students of all ages from all walks of life.  Since 2008 Gary has been the trombonist with Big Head Todd and the Monsters and has performed and recorded with them in Colorado, Florida, and the Caribbean. As a big band performer he has performed and recorded regularly with groups such as the 9th and Lincoln Orchestra, the Steve Owen Big Band, the Dan Gailey Jazz Orchestra, the Colorado Jazz Orchestra, the H2 Big Band, the Fred Hess Big Band, the Glenn Miller Orchestra, the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, the Arturo Sandoval Mambo Big Band, and many more! As a lover of Latin music, Gary performs with La Tremenda of Washington DC and backs-up popular vocalists such as Jerry Rivera, Frankie Vasquez, Lalo Rodriguez with countless others.  He also leads his own salsa band called SalsAmerica.  As a symphonic player, Gary has performed with the Colorado Symphony, the Colorado Music Festival Orchestra, the Greeley Philharmonic Orchestra and the Colorado Springs Philharmonic along with quintets and chamber ensembles.

Spark Brass loves to collaborate with wonderful local musicians.

We are pleased to have the following musicians as friends and colleagues.

wcl-blackwhite2-copyJames Armstrong

James Armstrong has performed and taught on five continents as solo artist and clinician for Yamaha, Sabian, Vic Firth, and Latin Percussion companies, as well as a member of the internationally acclaimed MARASSA DUO, the ROBERT HOHNER PERCUSSION ENSEMBLE and several other notable artists. He has recorded on the RCA/DMP, Albany Records, Tinkle Tone, I-Town, and C.Alan record labels and is a published composer and author through Drop6 Media, Carl Fischer Publications, and House Panther Press. Mr. Armstrong earned a BME from Central Michigan University and a MM in Percussion Performance (Ethnomusicology and Jazz emphasis) from Bowling Green State University and is a highly respected performer, teacher, and author on the subjects of West African and Caribbean sacred and secular music. James Armstrong is currently Instructor of Percussion at Millersville University where he teaches applied percussion, directs the Millersville University Percussion Ensemble, teaches percussion education classes, teaches West African Music and Dance, coordinates the Millersville and Music For Everyone “Music in the Schools” program, and serves as Artistic Director for the MU Summer Music Camps.  James is also President of the Percussive Arts Society Pennsylvania State Chapter, and remains extremely active as a freelance percussionist throughout the greater Philadelphia and New York City Regions. Hobbies include coaching and playing hockey,  photography, and spending time with his son Steven. For more information visit: www.jdapercussion.com or Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/james.armstrong.3154

Dave Day has performed in a variety of settings and musical roles. As a trombonist, Dave has played in pit orchestras for over 50 different stage productions, most notably for the 2014 National Tour of Man of La Mancha. He spent three seasons as tenor and bass trombonist of the Ohio Light Opera of Wooster, OH. In the same time frame, he freelanced and taught throughout the southeast Michigan area, serving as a regular member of the Michigan Philharmonic and the Adrian Symphony.

As a conductor, Dave has conducted stage productions of Guys and Dolls, Spamalot!, HMS PinaforePrincess Ida, and Man of La Mancha with its 2014 National Tour,. Dave was also the music director and conductor of the Parkland College Wind Ensemble in Champaign, IL and has recently joined the Charles River Wind Ensemble as its assistant conductor.

Dave has previously served on the faculties of colleges in Georgia, North Carolina, Michigan, and Illinois, teaching courses ranging from private lessons to advanced musical form and orchestration. He holds degrees from Virginia Tech, the University of South Carolina, and the University of Illinois

jason-headshotJason Sulliman

Jason Sulliman is the visiting professor of low brass at the University of North Alabama where he teaches applied lessons and brass techniques.  He has previously performed with the Dallas Brass and the New Mexico Brass Quintet as well as several professional orchestras throughout the United States including the Indianapolis Symphony and the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra. Jason is currently the principal trombonist of the Shoals Symphony in Florence, Alabama.  Jason was the conductor and music manager of the Tony and Emmy Award-winning show “Blast!” and performed as a soloist on trombone, euphonium, and tuba with the company for over ten years.  Jason is currently completing his doctorate in brass pedagogy as well as a master’s degree in kinesiology- motor learning/motor control from Indiana University and keeps an active schedule of presentations and workshops involving performing arts wellness and innovative practice techniques at various universities and state/national conferences.  Jason holds masters’ degrees in conducting and trombone performance from the University of New Mexico and a bachelor’s degree in music from the University of Massachusetts.  For more information, please visit www.jasonsulliman.com.

William Lang

Originally from Long Island, trombonist William Lang is an active performer, improviser, and teacher based in New York City. He can be found playing in all settings and style, from the avant-garde and classical to Broadway and indie chamber pop. He has given his signature unaccompanied recitals throughout the United States, played concertos in both America and Europe, and has also recorded with such artists as Philip Glass, David Bryne, St. Vincent, and Jonsi (of Sigur Ros.) Intensely passionate for chamber music, he regularly performs alongside his groundbreaking ensembles loadbang (an original and unique group of musicians interested in cutting edge music) and the Guidonian Hand (a trombone quartet dedicated to breaking boundaries within the brass community.) The New York Times has called his playing “fiercely, virtuosic” and the Boston Globe has hailed him for his “superb performance” in past solo works.

Casey Cangelosi

Composer, educator, and award winning percussionist, Casey Cangelosi is a “Voice of the new generation” –Fernando Meza, 2010 International Marimba Festival.  His composition style and  boundary-pushing virtuosity has nicknamed Cangelosi “The Paganini of Percussion” among his peers and “a marimbist of magisterial power and insight” by the Classical Marimba League.  Cangelosi has performed at some of today’s most recognized festivals including the PiteD Percussion Repertoire Festival in PiteD, Sweden; the 2010 International Marimba Festival in Minneapolis, Minnesota; the 2011 Zeltsman Marimba Festival in Appleton, Wisconsin; PASIC 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana; and the Zivkovich International Marimba and Percussion Summer Academy in Engers, Germany.  In the 2011-2012 academic year alone, Cangelosi appeared as an invited guest-artist/clinician to over 30 universities, high schools, and middle schools including the University of Alaska FairBanks, University of Texas at El Paso, Middle Tennessee State University, University of Delaware, University of North Florida, Juan Diago High School, and the Toledo Center for the Arts.