- Who: Jessica Stein, Brewster native, SUNY Purchase grad
- What: Trumpet player in concert
- Where and when: Sunday, Nov. 20, at Studio Around The Corner in Brewster
- Tickets: http://www.oththeater.org/upcoming-events.html
BREWSTER, N.Y. -- Sometimes, mothers really do know best. Jessica Stein of Brewster is not in position to argue the point.
Stein will perform in concert on trumpet with colleagues from SUNY Purchase on Sunday, Nov. 20, at 3 p.m. at Studio Around the Corner in her hometown. Her mother’s encouragement to pick up a trumpet instead of a trombone way back when Jessica was in third grade has proven prescient.
“I wanted to play trombone, I really don’t know why,’’ Jessica said. “My mother convinced me to play trumpet. It was more manageable to carry. I must have liked how the brass sounded, and I’ve loved it ever since.”
Now, Jessica is a highly-sought after and accomplished trumpeter. She obtained a bachelor’s degree in trumpet and music education from the The Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, and a master's degree from SUNY Purchase in trumpet. She performed in the highly-acclaimed Aspen Music Festival, and with regional orchestras and bands in the New York area, including the Yonkers Philharmonic, Norwalk Symphony and Bronxville Pops. She also visited Austria as a member of the American Institute of Musical Studies’ professional festival orchestra. Her goal is to perform for a Broadway show.
“I’ve always loved the idea of playing an instrument and my parents noticed that I was really into music from the very start,’’ said Stein, the daughter of Jeanette and Paul Stein. “When I was in sixth grade, my mother thought I should also learn piano. It was passable, but I loved trumpet. I brought my trumpet home from school all the time and practice. Other kids would leave it at school, and I’d come home and just play for hours.”
Stein decided early on in high school to focus on trumpet and music as a career choice. “The other activity I enjoyed was baton twirling,’’ Stein said. “I did all the weird stuff. I made it to the Junior Olympics for baton when I was in eighth grade, but they were both taking up a lot of time. I thought I should stick with the trumpet.”
In high school, Stein performed with the marching band and eventually became drum major. She played in the pit for school productions and in the New York State School Music Association All-State Festival in the wind ensemble at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester.
Jessica still enjoys practicing -- “I really like being able to sit down every day in the same place, and just the feeling of getting slightly better,’’ she said -- and works on her music in her parents’ basement. “I have a big stack of music books, a little keyboard, a zoom recorder where I can check in on my playing,’’ she said. “I keep my trumpet on a stand, so I always have easy access.”
Her parents have become accustomed to the sound. Before moving downstairs at the family home, neighbors enjoyed hearing the blare from Stein’s trumpet. “My parents never really complained,’’ she said. “I’ve done some teaching, and it can be rough sometimes. I’ve heard some really bad trumpet playing. I’m sure I sounded that way at some point.”
Stein advanced her skills in the 8-week program at Aspen, which is regarded as one of the top classical musical festivals in the United States. Stein played second trumpet in a piece with Karin Bliznik of the St. Louis Symphony. “I got to see what it was like to play in a professional orchestra,’’ Stein said. “Just to see how she works was terrific. It’s something I’ve been thinking about, taking on a leadership role as a woman in a male dominated section.”
Besides playing, Stein also gives lessons, works as a part-time teacher’s aid in Rye and is pursuing her New York teaching certification. She has played in front of friends and family previously in Brewster, and she’s excited to perform again in the town where once faithfully lugged her trumpet to school every day.
“I think it’s fun,’’ she said. “It’s great to bring the people I’ve met from Purchase to Brewster to play in front of family and friends.”
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