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Noles OnStage Abroad

This summer, graduate students Madison Barton (trumpet), Angela King (trumpet), Cory Kirby (horn), Jonah Zimmerman (trombone), and Chris Bloom (tuba), presented masterclasses and public performances in and around San Juan, Costa Rica from May 15-20. These enterprising young professionals, otherwise known as the Capital City Brass Quintet, were winners of Florida State University’s 2023 “Noles OnStage” competition.

Open to all students in the College of Music, this rigorous competition tested not only the performance abilities of the applicants, but their entrepreneurial acumen as well. In addition to exceptional performances, students selected for the final round of auditions were also required to provide cogent marketing plans for their tour and to present their plan to the panel of judges.

Established in 2022, NolesOnstage serves a dual purpose, simultaneously providing young professional musicians with the real-world experience of programming a financially successful tour while also fulfilling a central tenet of the College of Music: engagement with the community.

“The opportunity to perform on tour in Costa Rica is one that I will never forget,” said Zimmerman. “Through the process of submitting our audition recording and proposal, preparation of our tour program, and the time spent in Costa Rica, we grew so much as both individuals and as a chamber ensemble.”

“As winners of this competition, we were fortunate enough to travel to Costa Rica for a week of cultural exchange in the form of recitals and masterclasses,” said Bloom. “The experience gave us a taste of what it is like to be a professional brass quintet, a rare opportunity for collegiate students.”

The Quintet arrived in San Jose and subsequently performed and presented at locations including the University of Costa Rica, Escuela Municipal de Música Santo Domingo, Escuela de Música Paraiso, and the Conservatorio Castella, with a final performance at the Hospital Nacional de Niños in San Jose.

”Our music students were totally engaged as they became immersed in the culture of this Central American nation including interacting with a broad array of people and organizations,” said Dr. Greg Jones, associate dean of outreach and engagement for the College of Music. “I was immensely impressed with their work during the week as they adapted to many different performance and social situations.”

“Signature programs like these,” concluded Jones, “are vital to enriching global understanding and offering real world applications of their skills as musicians, entrepreneurs, and people.”

This program was sponsored by the US Embassy in Costa Rica and the Centro Cultural Costarricense Norteamericano. The FSU College of Music and the Capital City Brass Quintet would like to give special thanks to the Teatro Eugene O’Neill, Centro Cultural Costarricense Norteamericano, and the US Embassy in Costa Rica, for all of their help and support.

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