His next 'gig' will be in
Rudy, a Halifax senior, will perform at
NMEA All-National Concert Band Festival
By Duane Good, EDITOR
students balk at practicing a musical
When Brennan Rudy first
acquired a trumpet in fourth-grade, he
didn’t want to stop.
“I couldn’t put the horn
down,’’ he recalled. ‘‘Physically, I
wasn’t used to it, so my lips would
bleed from playing so much.’’
Now a senior at Halifax
Area High School, the son of Steve and
Donna Rudy has been reaping many fruits
from those early days of long practices
and bloody lips.
Having earned All-State
honors as a junior for his musical
talent, Rudy will perform in Nashville,
Tenn. next week as a member of the NAFME
(National Association For Music
Educators) All-National Concert Band
Playing second trumpet, he will join
approximately 150 other high school musicians
from throughout the United States to present a
concert on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry House
Wednesday, Oct. 29.
Rudy is the first Halifax Area High School band
member to earn a national-level honor and will
be the only trumpet player from Pennsylvania in
the festival group. He will audition for his
chair position once he reaches Nashville.
Rudy qualified to audition for the all-national
group based on his selection to the PMEA
(Pennsylvania Music Educators Association)
All-State Wind Ensemble earlier this year.
“I didn’t expect to accepted (to the national
group) because a lot more people audition,’’ he
said. ‘‘I didn’t think there was much chance.’’
As excited as he was to make All-State honors,
Rudy is even more thrilled to be playing with
other students musicians from across the nation.
‘‘It’s definitely inspiring to be able to meet
other people who are just as involved in music
as I am,’’ he said.
Praise from his teachers. Already planning to
seek a career in music performance, Rudy
believes that from the beginning, he and the
trumpet were a match.
‘‘I knew when I was in fourth-grade that I
wanted to play an instrument,’’ he said. ‘‘I saw
the trumpet and said, ‘I want to play that,’
and I’ve never played anything else since.’’
While appreciating the prominent role trumpet
plays in many band and orchestral arrangements,
Rudy also enjoys performing for another reason.
‘‘I can express myself in a way other than just
talking to people,’’ he said.
Rudy’s enthusiasm for
trumpet made an impression on Amy Schade,
Halifax’s elementary instrumental music
instructor and high school marching band
‘‘Brennan was in
fifth-grade when I began working at
Halifax (2007-08 school year) and at the
age, he was a really committed student
who really loved playing the trumpet,’’
she recalled. ‘‘He never forgot a band
lesson and would look for any excuse to
come down to play and practice, even
throughout middle school when other kids
sart to find other interests.
challenge in playing was learning to
count rhythms and it was really amazing
to see him finally ‘get it,’ ’’ she
‘‘A student like Brennan
really keeps you on your toes as a music
teacher. It’s been really fun to help
him progress and watch him come into his
own as a musician,’’ Schade said.
For high school concert band director Traci
Aunkst, it’s equally been a pleasure to have
Rudy in the fold.
‘‘A lot of kids are technically good on their
instruments, but he has the musiciansship, the
emotion and the communication on top of it,’’
Aunkst said, praising ‘‘the way (Rudy) expresses
himself and the beautiful tone and sound he has
on the trumpet.’’
As an underclassmen, Rudy – at Aunkst’s
suggestion – began taking private lessons with
Bill Perbetsky, who recently retired from the
Susquehanna Twp. School District as a music
“He was shy and quiet at first, but I’ve come to
see a side of him that’s driven to be the best
he can be on trumpet,’’ Perbetsky said. “He is a
hard worker who, if you give him something to
do, he gets it done.”
Perbetsky said Rudy began taking lessons not
long after auditioning, but not qualifying for
the PMEA District Band.
‘‘I explained to him that there was a process
(in successfully reaching district and other
band festivals) and that if he was willing to do
what needs to be done, he’ll accomplish that and
a lot more,’’ he stated.
Rudy not only represented Halifax at districts
his junior year; he also reached the regional
event as well. On that basis, he auditoned for
All-State Wind Ensemble and was awarded a seat
for the festival, held in Harrisburg in late
Like Aunkst, Perbetsky praised Rudy’s
musicianship (“I’ve never had a student with a
sound like that,’’ he said) as well as his
‘‘He’s worked very hard, and I’m very proud of
him.’’ he said.
‘‘A lot of options.’’ Rudy continues to practice
daily for at least an hour a day and said he
uses the time to keep refining his skills.
‘‘With regular practice, you develop a
routine,’’ he said. ‘‘You can form a base and
say, ‘I want to work on this.’ After awhile, it
builds on itself,’’ he said.
Among the trumpeters he looks to for inspiration
are Harry James (1916-83), the well-known ‘‘big
band’’ leader; and the members of the Canadian
He also tries to provide and encouragement to
fellow musicians in the marching and concert
bands and hopes his achievements will inspire
other Halifax students to do their best
While continuing to encourage Rudy as a student,
Aunkst also is trying to help him find the right
school – he said he would prefer a music
conservatory if possible – after he graduates in
‘‘He has a lot of options coming his way,’’ she
As life after high school draws closer, Rudy
said that whenever he asks himself why he is
choosing a music-performance career – perhaps in
a Broadway pit orchestra, a small ensemble or
even a symphony – he remembers back to what drew
him to the trumpet in the first place.
‘‘It causes me to think about why music inspires
me and what I love about it,’’ he said.