From a Blue Stars press release: Clayton Harris and Chad Armbruster will serve as the 2004 brass co-caption heads for the Blue Stars. They will lead a brass staff that has more than 80 years of drum corps experience combined. "All of our instructors this year are outstanding musicians," said corps director Bill Sucha, "but more importantly, all of them are great teachers and great people. I think it's clear that this staff will bring the Blue Stars brass line to a new level of excellence." Harris is a doctoral candidate in trumpet performance at the University of North Texas where he serves as principle trumpet for the acclaimed University of North Texas Symphony Orchestra. Clayton also plays lead trumpet in the 5 O'clock Jazz Ensemble and has performed with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra. Prior to beginning his teaching fellowship at North Texas, Clayton taught with Oachita Baptist University. Clayton is a former marching member of the Madison Scouts. Armbruster is currently the director of bands at Hastings, Neb., high and middle schools. The 2004 season will be Armbruster's 11th in drum corps. He is a former marching member of the Capital Sound and the Madison Scouts, and has taught with both Minnesota Brass, Inc. and Southwind. Rounding out the Blue Stars brass instructional team will be Dan Ritacco, Ray Vasquez, Roger Grupp, Annette Nicks and David Seip. Ritacco will be enjoying his 24th drum corps season in 2004. Ritacco worked with Capital Sound from 1996 until 2003, serving as caption head during his last three seasons Vasquez will be returning to the Blue Stars as a consultant in 2004 after two very successful years as the Blue Stars brass caption head. Vasquez is currently a doctoral candidate in trumpet performance at the University of Minnesota. Prior to beginning his teaching fellowship, Ray worked for the Disney International Show Band at Disneyland Paris, and also instructed with the Phantom Regiment in 1995. Grupp will be assisting the Blue Stars during winter rehearsals. Grupp has been a performing member of Minnesota Brass Inc. for 30 seasons, and has been a soloist with the corps every year since 1986. DCA named Grupp the best soloist in its 1993 championship competition, and the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame named him an Associate Member in 2001. Grupp began his drum corps career in 1961 and 1962 with the Pine City Saints, and continued with the St. Paul Scouts in 1963 and 1964. Nicks is a music education major with an emphasis on trombone. She is a two-year alumnus of the Colts, where she was the 2003 baritone section leader. Seip is a music performance major at Wichita State University. He is a three-year alumnus of the Blue Stars and was the winner of the 2001 DCI I&E contra competition.
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