TMSO BRASS QUINTET
The TMSO Brass Quintet was founded officially in 2020 at the height of the pandemic; however, the tradition and members first started more than 10 years ago when we were the Orion Chamber Music Society. We enjoy playing classical and sacred quintet arrangements spanning the ranges of composers and arrangers.
Austin Flowers - trumpet
Austin started playing the trumpet in the 4th grade while first taking lessons with his dad. Of course, his true music education started with his mother's teaching while only in kindergarten on the piano. That quickly snowballed into a passion that surpassed even his Dad's own as he started to teach himself, until the 9th grade when he was able to be taught by Pastor Steve Allen. This marked the beginning of a new era of performance and musicality that he cherishes. Learning music of this quality and caliber at Bethany Christian School allowed him to excel far more than anticipated.
It is this great beginning and foundation that ultimately set him up for success as he continued to grow his skills throughout college at Eastern Michigan University, playing with their University Orchestra as Assistant Principal trumpet under Dr. Kevin Miller. He was also privileged to have teachers such as Vincent Penzarella of the Julliard School.
After college, he continued to perform as the Principal Trumpet of the Lapeer Symphony Orchestra till 2016, the Principal Trumpet of the Orion Chamber Music Society Symphony till it was rebranded the TMSO in 2016, the Principal Trumpet of the Michigan Chamber Orchestra till 2020, Lead trumpet for the Woodward Avenue Jazz Orchestra till 2016, section solo cornet in the Motor City Brass Band till 2018, trumpet soloist with White Pines Entertainment performing both classical and sacred venues across the state.
Austin enjoys performing with the TMSO quintet throughout MI and also performing for the local churches in the area, using his talents for God's glory and the edification of each congregation we perform for.
Joe Robertson - trumpet
Joe started playing trumpet in 4th grade when his father gifted him a 1943 Martin Committee Deluxe Model trumpet that he found in a pawn shop in Pontiac, Michigan. He went to Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp and Interlochen while he was in Junior High School and High School and had the opportunity to play under Leonard Falcone and William Revelli. He was fortunate to have Al Belknap from the DSO for trumpet lessons.
Craig Strain was his High School band director. Craig would bring the Brookside Jazz Ensemble book to school, so the high school jazz band had excellent charts to play. After college, he joined the Troy Symphony Orchestra (now Royal Oak Symphony Orchestra) and played there for 22 years until he had a chance to play in the Big Band Express with his father.
Joe Robertson has played in the Motor City Brass Band for 25 years. He plays Repiano Cornet, a solo part that sits in the back row next to the Soprano Cornet. This important part may double any voice in the band, most often working together with the Solo Cornet row or the Soprano.
He recently retired from dentistry and looks forward to learning more about music theory. He enjoys the camaraderie and level of musicianship he has found in MCBB.
Ross Harmon - horn
Music has always been important in Ross’s life. As a young boy, he listened to his father play trumpet in the community band. Once he turned five, Ross began piano lessons, establishing a musical foundation for the rest of his life. He became an excellent pianist over the years, even winning a piano scholarship as a teenager. Encouraged by his parents, Ross started playing trumpet in the 5th grade. Throughout middle school and high school, he taught himself how to play the trumpet, baritone, french horn, mellophone, and saxophone.
During college, Ross marched in Star of Indiana drum corps playing mellophone and soprano trumpet. While attending Purdue University, Ross played french horn in Wind Symphony and mellophone in marching band. He then moved to Ohio and played Eb Alto horn in the Ohio Valley British Brass Band for three years. While getting a master’s degree in engineering, Ross played french horn in six college ensembles each quarter, including faculty winds and faculty strings groups.
After moving to Michigan, Ross has played principal horn at TMSO and Lapeer Symphony Orchestra. He has also played locally with Pontiac, Oakland, Macomb, Grosse Pointe, and Southern Great Lakes Symphony Orchestras as well as with The Michigan Chorale and The Michigan Chamber Orchestra. Ross enjoys playing with TMSO Brass Quintet, TMSO Woodwind Quintet, and a horn group made up of former TMSO musicians.
Ross enjoys serving at his church in the music ministry. He keeps busy with his seven children (and one grandson!).
Paul Yee - trombone
Music has been a major part of Paul Yee’s life, ever since he started playing the trombone in 5th grade. “I studied music at the University of Michigan, and while I was a “pretty good” trombone player, I realized it would be difficult to make a living as a professional musician.”
Reluctantly, Paul stopped playing, but wanting to stay in the field of music, he started working for the Harmony House Records & Tapes chain, and before he knew it, music retail became a career. “After 25 wonderfully musical years at Harmony House, I spent the next 9+ years doing similar work, managing the music shops for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.”
It was during Paul’s time with the DSO that he started playing trombone again, after a 33-year hiatus. “I’m making up for lost time by playing with the talented MCBB, six other local ensembles, and anybody else who needs a trombone player!” Paul plans to keep playing as long as he can fill his lungs with air. Besides music, Paul’s hobbies are Michigan/Detroit sports teams and his 2 grandchildren!
Melanie Hutchings - tuba
Through hearing about how her parents played instruments during their school years and seeing her brother actually start learning a musical instrument, Melanie decided that was something that she would like to pick up as well. Although Melanie’s musical path started with playing the trumpet in the 5th grade, she eventually was asked to switch to tuba and after some convincing, self-taught herself prior to beginning the 7th grade. She was honored to have been asked to join the high school’s marching band as an 8th grader, where she learned the importance of individual accountability along with teamwork, and continued to be involved in numerous ensembles during her high school years.
After high school she continued to be involved in music through her involvement as a contra player with the Glassmen Drum and Bugle Corps for 5 years, as well as spending 10 years as a visual and low brass music instructor for the Redford Thurston Marching Band.
Currently she enjoys playing in the Birmingham Concert Band/BCB Entertainers as well as the TMSO and TMSO Brass Quintet while pursuing a PhD in Nutrition and Food Science from Wayne State University. Music has always been a passion of hers, and she hopes to continue playing in musical ensembles no matter what direction (or location) her career path may take her!