Robert Baca is Professor of Trumpet and Director of Jazz Studies at the all undergraduate University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. His performance background includes countless performances in both classical and commercial areas including the Milwaukee Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra and the Phillip Brunelle “Plymouth Music Series Orchestra" as well as a past member of the popular radio ensemble for Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion.” He has toured with Frank Sinatra, Buddy Rich, Tony Bennett, Mel Torme, Blood Sweat and Tears and numerous others as well as performing over countless Broadway shows and hundreds of recording sessions in Minneapolis, Indianapolis, and Chicago. He has been employed at the Orpheum and State Theatre in the theatre district of Minneapolis for all concerts and Broadway Shows for the last 29 years. As a soloist, Robert has performed in China, London, Costa Rica and Europe as well as the United States.
Mr. Baca also directs the UW-Eau Claire Jazz Studies program which was recently cited in the New York Times as "one of the most well-regarded jazz studies programs in the country." Under Mr. Baca's direction, the UW-Eau Claire Jazz Ensemble I has recorded 21 CD's, received the Down Beat award for Jazz Ensemble eight times and been nominated for a Grammy twice. Recently, Robert conducted the National High School Honors Jazz Ensemble for the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) at their national convention in Nashville, Tennessee. Other educational highlights include serving as a faculty member of Conn-Selmer Institute, conducting numerous all-state ensembles and presenting at educational conventions. Recently he received the first, “Career Excellence in Teaching Award” presented by the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and was runner-up for the "Teacher Of The Year", UW-System Award. Mr. Baca is a past executive board member of the International Association for Jazz Education (IAJE) as the United States Representative as well as an advisory board member for the Edwin Franko Goldman Band.
Mr. Baca loves to help students of any age reach their whole potential through an apprentice approach. Each week students practice with Mr. Baca from 7:30-9:00 each morning and afternoon when available, receive weekly lessons, trumpet studio class, trumpet choir and brass quintet coaching as well as attending concerts in the Twin Cities. He has been happily married to his wife Jodie for over 30 years and has two children, Alec and Nicole and a dog named Chewy.
Matt Mealey has toured all across the country as a freelance trumpet artist. Performing credits include: lead trumpet for Wayne Newton, the New York Voices, the Irish Tenors, the Temptations, The Four Tops, Frankie Valli, Johnny Mathis, Jimmy Dorsey, Mannheim Steamroller, Gap Mangione, Five by Design, and the National Broadway Tours of 42nd Street and Monty Python's Spamalot. He has also appeared as a guest soloist with the Chippewa Valley Concert Band, the UW - Stout Concert Band, UW-EC Jazz Ensemble I, as well as several high school jazz and concert bands throughout the Country. Mr. Mealey holds degrees from the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire and the Eastman School of Music in trumpet performance and music education. Currently, he teaches and performs in Western Wisconsin and the Twin Cities.
Kyle Newmaster, a composer originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota has been providing music for film, television and live performances for over 15 years. Newmaster holds a bachelor’s degree in Music from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and a master’s degree in Composing for Contemporary Media from The Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York.
Newmaster is primarily active in film scoring. He recently composed music for the indy hit drama "Where Hope Grows" (2015) starring William Zabka, Danica Mckellar, Kristoffer Polaha and David DeSanctis; Horror/Thriller feature “Something Wicked (2014),” Brittany Murphy’s last film; "The ABC's of Death 2, Segment E (2014) " directed by Alejandro Brugues; the vampire action feature “Blood Shot (2014) starring Lance Henriksen, Christopher Lambert and Brad Douriff ;” "Channeling," (2013) an edgy futuristic Drama; and Sundance Select’s “The Myth of the American Sleepover” which was an official selection at the 2011 Cannes Festival du Film. Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times called the teen coming-of-age drama, “Poetic … A lovely, gentle and very true film.”
Newmaster has also been very active in the game music world. Kyle – a self-professed “Star Wars” fanatic – helped bring the pop culture phenomenon back to avid gamers in the LucasArts/Microsoft’ (2012) title Kinect Star Wars. Kyle Co-scored the game which was recorded at the famed Abbey Road Studios in London, with the London Symphony Orchestra. More recently Kyle also provided additional music and orchestrated for the EA game "Star Wars-Battlefront" (2015). He has also provided music and orchestrated for a variety of other games including "Star Wars The Old Republic" (2011), "Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings" (2010), "The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct" (2013) and "Spy Hunter" (2012).
Born and raised in Minnesota, Kyle’s deep-rooted interest and talent in music comes from his family. His great grandfather was a published composer for military bands, and his father studied classical music and played a key role in Newmaster’s musical training at a very young age.
When he is not writing music, Newmaster is an active professional trumpet player who performs and records in a variety of groups. He has performed with bands such as "The Brian Setzer Orchestra" and the "Seth Macfarlane Big Band" and has recorded for numerous TV shows and films including Family Guy, Cleveland, America's Got Talent, The Middle and American Dad. He also frequently gives lectures on composing and the music business at the University level. These speaking engagements recently included an online talk at the University of Pennsylvania Pembroke and he was guest lecturer at his alma mater, UW-Eau Claire.
Rooted in both traditional and modern forms, John Raymond's music incorporates jazz, classical, folk and indie-rock influences. Recently selected by Downbeat Magazine's Critics Poll for the Trumpet "Rising Star" category, he has collaborated with musicians such as Billy Hart, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Orrin Evans, Linda Oh, Ethan Iverson, Dan Tepfer and Gilad Hekselman among others. He has also recorded with Grammy-nominated singer Sara Bareilles, Dove Award-winning producer Darnell Davis, and performed at events such as the Austin City Limits Music Festival and on NPR's 'Toast of the Nation.'
John's album "Foreign Territory," released in April 2015, received critical acclaim from the New York Times, Downbeat Magazine and others. Of note, his composition “Deeper” was chosen as a winner of the 2015 Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Award presented by ASCAP. His latest album "Real Feels" also received glowing reviews from many major publications (including a ★★★★ 1/2 star review from DownBeat Magazine), and was celebrated with a 24-city CD release tour in 2016.
John has also established himself as a sought-after educator in New York and beyond. He currently teaches at the United Nations International School in New York, and he is also an active guest clinician & soloist at schools around the world such as the University of North Texas, Oberlin College, the Brubeck Institute, New Trier High School, and Lawrence University among others.