LAAC’s Free Brown Bag Performance Series Presents Black Mesa Brass Quintet

The Black Mesa Brass Quintet performs at noon Jan. 8 at Fuller Lodge. Courtesy photo

LAAC News:

The Los Alamos Arts Council’s kicks off its 2014 Brown Bag Performance Series with the Black Mesa Brass Quintet noon Wednesday, Jan. 8 in the Pajarito Room at Fuller Lodge. 

The Black Mesa Brass Quintet was formed in 1990 and still has three of the original five members. Their repertoire is an eclectic mix of classical, modern, pop, and jazz tunes. They play a variety of venues including concerts, educational performances at schools, weddings and other special occasions. Jan McDonald, John Hargreaves, Jerry Morzinski, Larry Bronisz, and Bruce Letellier make up the quintet. Their collective musical experience is on the order of 240 years.

Jan McDonald received his BA and MA degrees in music education and pursued graduate studies at Indiana State University and Boston University. He is the musical director of the Los Alamos Big Band, founder of the Black Mesa Jazz Quintet, and directed the Los Alamos High School band for almost 30 years. He is the recipient of the Outstanding Secondary Educator Award and the Outstanding New Mexico Jazz Educator Award. He performs with many professional groups, frequently as a soloist, including the Southwest Jazz Orchestra, Pro Musica Orchestra, and the Santa Fe Symphony. 

John Hargreaves has played horn for about 50 years. He studied music at the University of Colorado graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in performance and later taught there as an Instructor of Music. These days he works as a mechanical engineer at LANL. Besides performing with the Black Mesa Brass, John also has performed with the Denver Brass, the San Juan Symphony, and Concordia Santa Fe. 

Jerry Morzinski performs regularly on tuba and trombone with the Los Alamos Big Band, Santa Fe Great Big Jazz Band, Los Alamos Symphony Orchestra, Concordia Santa Fe, and Santa Fe Community Orchestra. He is choir director at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church, where he also organizes brass ensembles and arranges music for special occasions.

Larry Bronisz started his musical studies in the LA Schools on cello.  He picked up the trombone in 4th grade and started taking lessons from Jan McDonald in 6th grade – 42 years later he is still playing with Jan in the BMBQ and LA Big Band. He enjoys Classical and Jazz genres and has started playing cello again in the last few years.

Dr. Bruce Letellier has played the trumpet as an amateur and semiprofessional musician for almost 40 years. Letellier is an avid volunteer with the high school drama department, and he performs regularly with numerous ensembles including the Los Alamos Big Band, Los Alamos Community Winds, Light Opera, and the Santa Fe Community Orchestra.