Americus Brass Band Members
Richard Birkemeier, Conductor & B-flat Cornet
Richard Birkemeier is a semi-retired professor of music at the Bob Cole Conservatory at California State University, Long Beach where he taught trumpet, brass ensembles and music history with a specialization in the 19th century Wind Band. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin, University of Memphis and Northwestern Universities and was the band director at Lakeland College, Northern Illinois University and Ohio Wesleyan University before coming to CSULB in 1985. Richard has also been a professional trumpeter and conductor and has performed with the Columbus Symphony, Memphis Symphony, Pacific Symphony, Los Angeles Baroque Orchestra, San Luis Obispo Mozart Festival and the Golden State British Brass Band. Most recently, he served as Host for the 2016 International Trumpet Guild Conference that was held in Anaheim, CA last June. Richard has been a member of the ABB since 1985 and Musical Director since 1988. He is happily married for 37 years to his wife Laurie.
Kurt Curtis, E-flat Cornet
Kurt is currently the conductor of the world famous Disneyland Band, having performed in the Magic Kingdom for the past 34 years. He has toured extensively throughout the United States and Japan with the Make Believe Brass, Royal Brass, the Pacific Coast Horns and as cornet soloist with the Americus Brass Band, regarded as the finest 19th century re-creation brass band in the country. Kurt has recorded on Crystal Records and Summit Records and can be heard on several movie/television soundtracks including, Glory, Gettysburg, Crazyhorse, Alamo; Price of Freedom, and Hidalgo. As a freelance musician, Kurt has performed with the Long Beach Symphony, Orange County Symphony, Redlands Symphony, Riverside Symphony, the Long Beach Municipal Band, and Pageant of the Masters. As an educator, he is a clinician for Disney Performing Arts and works with the Philharmonic Society of Orange County in inspiring more than 30 thousand elementary students each year.
David Scott, B-flat Cornet
David Scott is Principal Trumpet of the Redlands Symphony Orchestra, the Riverside County Philharmonic and the San Bernardino Symphony. He graduated from University of Iowa, (BM 1982) and USC (MM 1986, DMA 1998). His orchestral career began in 1986 with the LA Philharmonic Institute Orchestra, and since has performed with the LA Phil, Pacific Symphony, and many others. He has toured with the Glenn Miller Orchestra and the Americus Brass Band. At Disneyland he was a member of the Fantasyland Bras and the Fanfare Trumpets. He is the trumpet professor at University of Redlands and also directs the Studio Big Band and the University Symphonic Band. Dave lives in Redlands and enjoys boating, barbeques and yardwork. He is blessed with his wife Janis, and the kids: Chuck, Greg, Gina and Jacob and five grandchildren.
Patrick Mullen, E-flat Cornet
Coming to us from the San Joaquin Valley town of Reedley, Pat moved to Southern California in 1978 to be part of its rich music scene. Along the way Pat earned a Master of Music from CSU Long Beach, studying with with Robert Nielsen, Charley Davis, and Rob Roy MacGregor. He has been a freelance musician in SoCal since 1980, performing in all kinds of productions, from nightclubs to recordings, theme parks, and concert venues. Pat makes his living as an I.T. professional, and is seldom without some form of digital technology in his possession, but he continues his musical activities and skips most popular entertainment to ensure that his chops are ready to rock. Pat has been married to Janet for 33 years and they have two adult children.
Mitch Mocilnikar, E-flat Alto Horn
A graduate of California State University, Long Beach with a Bachelors of Music, Mitch works as a freelance player in the Southern California area. He is a member of the Americus Brass Band and has toured extensively across the country. His recording credits include soundtracks for major motion pictures such as Hidalgo, Geronimo, Gettysburg, and Glory as well as several episodes of Dr. Quinn - Medicine Woman. Mitch has performed with the Civic Light Opera Orchestras of Irvine, San Gabriel, Long Beach and the South Bay Cities, and the South Coast and Florida Symphonies. As a French horn player, Mitch has the distinction of having performed at most of the major theme parks including Disneyland and Walt Disney World.
Jerry Wheeler, E-flat Alto 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.
Brad Harris, B-flat Tenor Horn
Brad was born in Meridian, MS, and is a graduate of C.S.U. Long Beach. 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 three sons, Brady, Jackson and Nathan. He is currently Instrumental Music Director at the National GRAMMY Signature Woodbridge High School.
Jeremy Swem, B-flat Tenor Horn
Jeremy Swem is a freelance trombonist in the greater Los Angeles area and currently resides in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Trombone Performance and Instrumental Music Education from California State University, Long Beach, where he studied with Loren Marsteller, James Miller, and Jeffrey Reynolds. Jeremy can be heard regularly at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, CA, where he has been a fulltime performer since 2009. He can also be heard performing locally with Pacific Coast Horns, the Pacific Brass Ensemble, The Golden State Pops Orchestra, The Americus Brass Band, and in the orchestras of Musical Theater West and 3D Theatricals. Jeremy is also a founding member of the Los Angeles-based new music collective, Wild Up. Also active as an educator, Jeremy has taught at schools throughout Southern California, from San Diego to Los Angeles.
Loren Marsteller, B-flat Baritone Horn
Loren Marsteller 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, is first euphonium with the Tubadours and is a Kanstul performing artist and clinician.
Phil Keen, B-flat Bass Horn
Phil is a freelance trombonist in the Los Angeles area. Currently he is a member of the Long Beach Symphony, the Monterey Symphony, the Riverside County Philharmonic and the Fresno Philharmonic. In addition to the Americus Brass Band he also a member of the Long Beach Municipal Band. In his post collegiate years, he could be found performing in Disneyland Entertainment and touring the country with The Make Believe Brass Quintet.
Phil has a Bachelor of Music degree from California State University, Long Beach, and a Masters degree in Trombone Performance from the University of Michigan.
Other ensembles he has performed with are the Los Angeles Philharmonic, The New York Philharmonic, L.A. Chamber Orchestra, L.A. Opera, San Diego Symphony, Pacific Symphony, Opera Pacific ,and many other Southern California orchestras, theater orchestras, brass chamber ensembles, ballet and opera companies. He has also recorded over 100 movie and tv soundtracks for many of the major studios in Hollywood. Notably he can be heard on soundtracks from Alice In Wonderland to Ghostbusters, The Green Lantern to Jack Reacher, Agents of Shield to Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Besides performing, Phil is on the faculties of the California State Universities Northridge and Fullerton, Pomona College, Golden West College and Long Beach City College where he teaches low brass studies.
A frequent performer of all instruments in the low brass family, Phil specializes on the alto, tenor, bass, and contra bass trombones, bass trumpet, euphonium and tuba. He lives is southern California with his wife Andrea, a middle school music teacher, and enjoys road bicycle riding in his spare time.
Leigh Schwartz, E-flat Bass Horn
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 Director of Student Services in the San Bruno Park School District. Previously he worked as a school Principal in various parts of California and a music educator in the Moorpark Unified School District, as well as with the A.B.B. and Brass Tax.
Ken Peters, Snare Drum
Ken is a native Californian from Orange County. He went to CSU Long Beach, where he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Performance. He also holds a degree in computer application. Ken was formerly a frequent performer at Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm, and the Queen Mary. He makes his living as an I.T. Professional, but continues to be a freelance musician as well. Ken and his wife, Kathy have been married for over 30 years and have 3 adult children and 2 granddaughters.
Tim Catlin, Bass Drum, B-flat Cornet
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.