Members of the Americus Brass Band
Richard Birkemeier, Musical Director and Conductor
A native of Wisconsin, Richard Birkemeier is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Memphis State and Northwestern. Dr. Birkemeier has performed trumpet with among others, the Columbus Symphony, the Memphis Symphony, and the Pacific Symphony Orchestras. He has studied trumpet with Don Whitaker, Richard Steff and Vincent Cichowicz and conducting with H. Robert Reynolds, John Paynter and Frederick Fennell. He is currently a Professor and Vice Chair of the Music department at California State University, Long Beach. He is married to his wife Laurie and they have two cats, eight birds and hundreds of fish.
Kurt Curtis, E-flat Cornet, Americus Brass Band President
Kurt has toured extensively with the Make Believe Brass, Royal Brass, and Pacific Coast Horns. He has recorded on Crystal Records and Summitt Records and can be heard on many movie soundtracks. Kurt has performed with the Orange County Symphony, Redlands Symphony, Riverside Symphony, Pageant of the Masters Orchestra, The American Winds and the Long Beach Municipal Band. He is a member of the Disneyland Band and leads a nine piece band as well as Disney’s Fanfare Trumpets. Kurt received his Bachelors of Music from California State University, Long Beach
Dave Wailes, E-flat Cornet
Originally from Nampa, ID, Dave went to C.S.U., Fullerton, and the University of Southern California. He holds both a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in trumpet performance. Studies were with Rob Roy MacGregor, Roy Poper, William Bing, Charles Yukl, and Boyde Hood. He is a member of the Pacific Symphony Orchestra and the New Century Brass. Currently a 3 handicap golfing snob, he also likes to cook and read. He bikes and plays with his power thumb cutter (table saw). He is married to a working violist, Vicki Miskolczy, and they have a fourteen year old cat and nine year old rat terrier.
Dave Scott, B-flat Cornet
Dave hails from Knoxville, IA. He graduated from the University of Iowa with a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education, finished his Master’s degree atthe University fo Wouthern California with a major in trumpet, and in now pursuing a D.M.A. degree at U.S.C. His teachers were John Beer, David Greenhoe, and Boyd Hood. He is currently principal trumpet in the New West Symphony and freelances in at least five different southern California counties. He is married to Janis, has three children, Chuck, Greg, and Gina, and enjoys boating and water-skiing.
Pat Mullen, B-flat Cornet
Coming to us from the San Joaquin Valley town of Reedley, Pat holds a Master of Music from CSU Long Beach and has studied with Robert Nielsen, Charley Davis, and Rob Roy MacGregor. He is seldom without some form of digital technology in his possession. Pat has been married to Janet for 29 years and they have two children.
Mitch Mocilnikar, E-flat Alto Horn
Mitch was born in Dayton, OH. He graduated from C.S.U.L.B. with a Bachelor of Arts degree in music. His teachers were Fred Fox, Calvin Smith, and James Decker. He is currently working with "The Bellhops" at the Disneyland Hotel and at Knott’s Berry Farm. Between musical gigs he is a substitute teacher.
Brad Harris, B-flat Tenor Horn
Brad was born in Meridian, MS, and is a graduate of C.S.U.L.B. He received a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education and studied with Norman Pearson and Loren Marsteller. Later he went on to Cal Poly Pomona and received a Master’s degree in Landscape Architecture. Past performing groups included being leader of the "Magic Kingdom Korps" at Disneyland and The Brass Tax. Currently, Brad lives in Laguna Niguel with his wife Gwen and two sons, Brady and Jackson. He is currently Instrumental Music Director at Woodbridge High School.
Jerry Wheeler, B-flat Tenor Horn
Jerry was born in Chicago, Illinois on October 6, 1961, one hundred years to the day after the Confederate blockade runner ’Alert’ was captured by the Federal Navy near Charleston, S.C. His family moved to the warmer climes of Southern California in 1962. Jerry received a Bachelor’s Degree in Music from California State University at Fullerton and studied with Jeff Reynolds, Loren Marsteller, Al Veeh, Bill Nichols and Rick Hahn. He is an active freelance musician and graphic artist who lives, works and plays in Long Beach, California and is a founding member of the humorous vocal troupe the Poxy Boggards who entertain each year at the Renaissance Pleasure Faire in Southern California.
Loren Marsteller, Baritone Horn
A native Californian from Glendale, Loren graduated from the University of Southern California with a Bachelor’s degree and from Catholic University of America (in Washington, D.C.) with a Master’s degree in Trombone Performance. His teachers were his father, Robert Marsteller and Keith Brown. Formerly a euphoniumist with "the President’s Own" U.S. Marine Band and principal trombone with the Calgary (Alberta, Canada) Philharmonic Orchestra, he currently plays principal trombone with the California Philharmonic Orchestra, solo trombone with the Orquesta de Baja California, first euphonium with the Tubadours and Los Tubas, doubles on both instruments in the quintet Brassininity, and teaches low brass at C.S.U.L.B. as well as privately. In his "free" time, he works on this web site.
Phil Keen, B-flat Bass
Phil is a native Californian from Lynwood. He received a Bachelor of Music degree from C.S.U.L.B. and a Master of Music degree from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. His major teachers were Jeffrey Reynolds, Dennis Smith, John Hollenbeck, and Robert Sanders. Phil specializes on the alto, tenor and bass trombones and the euphonium. He currently performs on trombone with the Monterey County Symphony, the Fresno Philharmonic, and the Riverside County Philharmonic, freelances in the Los Angeles area, and teaches trombone and euphonium at Riverside Community College. Phil resides in Anaheim Hills, CA. with his wife Andrea and their pet Corgi "Taffy".
Leigh Schwartz, E-flat Bass
Leigh is a native Californian from Ventura. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from California State University, Long Beach and a Master of Arts degree in Educational Administration from California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks. His teachers were Jim Self and Steve Klein. He is currently the Principal at El Rio Elementary School in Oxnard, California. Previously he worked as a music educator in the Moorpark Unified School District, as well as with the A.B.B. and Brass Tax.
Ken Peters, Percussion (Snare Drum)
Ken is a native Californian from Long Beach, went to C.S.U.L.B., where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Performance. Ken is a frequent performer at Disneyland. His major teachers were Greg Goodall and Karen Earvin. Currently a freelance musician, he also holds a degree in computer application. Ken and his wife Kathy have been married for ten years and have two children, Erin and Ryan.
Tim Catlin, Percussion (Bass Drum /Cymbals)
Tim, a native Californian from Garden Grove, attended both C.S.U.L.B. and Azusa Pacific University, receiving a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education and a Master’s degree in School Counseling. He studied trumpet with Joan La Rue, Craig Parker, Burnette Dillon, and Dave Evans. Tim is presently the head counselor at Portola Middle School in Orange, CA.