Tubist Victor Gomez has enjoyed a particularly fruitful international career; performing, given masterclasses, and private instruction domestically as well as internationally in the Americas, Caribbean, and Asia. During his travels, Gomez has performed in both domestic and international venues; such as: Carnegie Hall, Meyerhoff Hall, Abravanel Hall, Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City, Beijing Concert Hall, Theatro Municipal do Rio de Janeiro, and Teatro del Lago in Frutillar, Chile. Gomez is proud to be Principal Tubist of the Symphony of Southeast Texas, as well as being an instructor of a thriving and competitive Tuba and Euphonium studio at Lamar University. Alongside these posts, Gomez is a regular substitute with the Houston Symphony, and has performed with the Chicago Civic Symphony, Houston Ballet, and Orchestra of the Americas. Being an avid proponent for chamber music, this talented brass musician is also a member of internationally acclaimed Omni Brass, a founding member of Brass Beats, and regularly engages & educates his community during tours with the faculty brass quintet at Lamar University.
Trumpeter Jody Ilgenfritz was born in Houston, TX and grew up in the coastal town of San Leon. He currently resides in Spring, TX with his wife, two kids, two Boxer dogs and two cats. In his spare time he enjoys spending time with family and friends, woodworking, and working out. He graduated from Dickinson High School and, then went on to attend the Moore’s School of Music at The University of Houston. Ilgenfritz holds a bachelor’s degree in trumpet performance from U of H , and his teachers include Roman Jakubas, Jim Austin, Noe Marmolejo, and Jim Vassallo. Ilgenfritz teaches privately in the Woodlands/Klein (Houston) area and is an active freelance trumpeter. He has performed with the Houston Grand Opera, Houston’s Theater Under the Stars, the River Oaks Chamber Orchestra, Masquerade Theatre, Woodlands Symphony, Brazos Valley Symphony, Orchestra X, Campanile Orchestra, the Symphony North of Houston, and toured with Omni’s sister group, the Resonance Brass Choir. He has won the Clear Lake Symphony Concerto Competition, and in his third year at U of H, the Moores School of Music Concerto Competition.
Jody loves being a member of Omni Brass because the other members of the ensemble are also some of his best friends! This means Omni never feels like work! Performing in Omni gives him a chance to fulfill one of his greatest passions which is to travel. As a classically trained player, Jody enjoys the challenge of Omni’s multi-style approach.
Trumpeter Micah Bell received a Bachelor of Music Education degree from TCU in 2007 and a Masters in Trumpet Performance in 2009. After that, while attending the University of North Texas, he was a member of the famed One O’Clock Lab Band. As an educator, Mr. Bell is a very active clinician in the DFW metroplex and East Texas teaching jazz and trumpet masterclasses as well as private lessons since 2004.
He is also a regularly performing professional musician all over the DFW metroplex and East Texas in many different types of musical settings. Mr. Bell has played with and backed up many prominent artists including Aretha Franklin, The O’Jays, Doc Severinsen, Wayne Bergeron, Andy Martin, Bobby Shew, Terrell Stafford, Allen Vizzutti, Greg Field, Marcus Printup, Ryan Anthony, Arturo Sandoval, Vincent Dimartino, Adam Larson, Eric Marienthal, Phil Woods, Denis Diblasio, Frank Greene, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Kirk Whalum, and many more. He has also been featured guest artist at the Collin College Jazz Festival, South Eastern Oklahoma University Jazz Festival, and with many high school, middle school, and college bands.
As a composer/arranger, Micah Bell is very busy as well writing commissions for various ensembles. He is the chief arranger for the Imperial Brass and in addition to writing big band arrangements, music for his jazz quintet and whatever else the occasion may call for, Mr. Bell has had several pieces premiered at prominent conventions around the world. In 2005, his composition Midnight was premiered at the International Trumpet Guild convention in Bangkok, Thailand. He has since had numerous premieres of original works at conventions all across the country including Texas Music Educators Association, International Trombone Festival, and the North American Saxophone Alliance.
He is a regular member of the Imperial Brass, The Project Band, Omni Brass, Kris Berg Metroplexity Big Band and has served as Interim Director of Bands at Tyler Junior College as well as Interim Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Texas at Tyler. He currently serves as a busy freelance trumpet player, composer and arranger in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex as well as East Texas and is Professor of Music and Trumpet at Tyler Junior College. Micah is Omni’s composer-in-residence, and frequently contributes original works to the ensemble’s repertoire.
Trombonist Dr. Karen Marston is the founding member of Omni Brass, and has also contributed many of the group’s arrangements. Karen is currently on the music faculty at Mount San Antonio College in Walnut, CA, and serves as Director of the International Trombone Festival. Prior to her current posts, she was on the faculty at San Jacinto College in Pasadena, TX, where she was the founder of the San Jac Brass Symposium, a semi-annual, multi-day brass event featuring guest artists from around the world.
Karen holds degrees in trombone performance from the University of North Texas and Rice University (Texas), and both a masters and doctorate in education from Teachers College, Columbia University (New York). Her teachers include Jan Kagarice, David Waters, and Dr. Vern Kagarice. Having completed an extensive dissertation project focused on innovative teaching strategies, her research is well-known to the trombone community, and has been a frequent contributor to the Journal of the International Trombone Association and the International Trombone Festival.
Karen has performed with the Houston Symphony, the San Antonio Symphony, Orchestra X (Houston), the Composers Orchestra of Houston, the American Radio Chamber Orchestra, the Ebony Opera Guild (Houston), the Houston Masterworks Chorus, the Woodlands Symphony, Texas Brass, and the Resonance Brass Choir, and was active as both a contractor and freelancer in Houston for over fifteen years. Recently, she was also heard as a guest trombonist with the Alliance Brass Quintet, on their west coast tour.
Karen has received grants from the Brown Foundation, the San Jacinto Foundation, the Houston Arts Alliance, and the American Chamber Music Players of New York, and is currently an artist with Rath Trombones, England.
Percussionist Michael Mizma has been teaching at San Jacinto College (Texas) since 1990. He applies his teaching philosophy to all music disciplines: “Wake your brain, body and spirit to the task of becoming a better musician every single day.” Former students have gone on to successful careers in performance, recording engineering, live sound reinforcement, television and radio broadcasting, and teaching.
Currently Michael is working on numerous grants to generate a body of literature for steel band and other large ensembles. In March 2010 the San Jacinto College Central Steel Band commissioned, and with the College Chorale, premiered the first of this type of work, Gary Gibson’s “In the Shadows of the Forest”, 2014 commission of Gary Gibson’s “Language of Life, Voice of the Soul” for our entire music department, 2014 commission for Phil Hawkins’ “The Pebbles”, 2015 commission for Phil Hawkins’ “Four Seasons”, 2015 commission for Dave Longfellow’s “History of the Steel Band”, 2016 commission for Phil Hawkins’ “Through the Soil”, and 2016 world premiere of Paul Busselberg’s “Psalms”.
In addition to teaching duties Michael also owns his own company, Funnynotes, Incorporated. Through this company Mr. Mizma provides performing, recording, mixing, producing and compositional services. Recently, Michael has generated numerous recordings, and has toured with Omni Brass, Resonance Brass, appeared with the Birdsong Steel Orchestra for the Panorama semifinals in 2015, performed with Andy Narell on numerous occasions, made an educational tour to Seoul, South Korea for a week-long series of clinics, seminars, and performances at the Lee Jung Hee Jazz academy, toured Munich, Salzberg, Vienna and Prague with the Kingwood Orchestra, and completed three teaching and educational tours to Rio de Janeiro and Salvador, Brazil.
Michael has performed numerous times with the percussion group NEXUS, with Bob Becker, with Bob Becker and Yurika Kimura, jazz mallet master Dave Samuels, electronic media specialist Tony Verderosa, pan artist Andy Narell, Debbie Boone, and Marvin Hamlisch. Mr. Mizma is well-versed in many ethnic musical styles and techniques including steel pan Caribbean music, Afto-Cuban music, Brazilian music, Jazz and Eastern European Gypsy music. He is co-founder of the Steel Pan Caribbean Jazz group Tropic Envoy.
Michael also has audio engineering interests and completed drumset performances for Houston Fusion Group’s latest CD. He produced, mixed, performed, arranged and engineered the Genetic Drift album “Love”, mixed the debut CD by The Crisis, and has provided performance services for numerous studio sessions. Most of Michael’s compositions are rooted in technological exploration. Most recently Michael contributed to the Percussive Arts Society International Convention with a clinic- performance entitled “Creating a Compositional Standard for Electronic Percussion Controllers” for which he composed three new works, most notably “Gettysburg”, based on experimental treatment of speech and samples. The content of this clinic was also published in “Percussive Notes” magazine, the official publication of the Percussive Arts Society.
Michael is an artist for Dream Cymbals and Innovative Percussion.