MU1 Eric M. Lopez

Eric Lopez

Location: Lives in VA, works in Washington DC

Years attended WIU: 1991-1995

Current Job: Plays trumpet with the United States Navy Band. This includes playing for Military Ceremonies and Funerals and playing with the concert band.

Major at WIU: Trumpet Performance

Masters and Performer's Certificate: Eastman School of Music

Proudest Accomplishments: His two boys, Thomas and Matthew, and his wife Amy (Blatchley) Lopez another Western Alumni. He is a member of the NOVA Brass Quintet ( Eric has performed with the Rochester Philharmonic, Alexandria Symphony, and Fairfax Symphony.

How trumpet playing affects his life: Playing trumpet keeps Eric centered.

Memories of the WIU trumpet studio: Eric states, "The thing I remember most of about the Western Trumpet Studio is the camaraderie, the life long friends that I made while there. An amazing group of people and amazing musicians as well. "

Navy Band Website:

GH Keyboard

George Hufnagl

Current Location: Chicago, IL Years Attended WIU: 2000-2005

Current Position: Full-time composer and sound designer at Publications International, Producer/Sound Designer for game development group My Escape, Freelance composer and sound designer working with performers, game developers and other media outlets

Major at WIU: Composition

Ensembles at WIU: Wind Ensemble, Orchestra, Xtreme Brass Quintet, Brass Ensemble, Marching Leathernecks

Major Accomplishments: WIU Music Departmental Scholar, WIU Orchestra Performance of "Color Variations, " Pelzer Composition Fellowship at University of Iowa, Collaboration with Dr. Briney on Trumpet and Percussion electroacoustic work "And Still, Between. "

How trumpet playing affected his life: While my current pursuits are almost exclusively compositional, playing in varied ensembles as well as well as encouragement to achieve excellence in trumpet playing from Dr. Briney have given me the aural skills, appreciation for performers and confidence to pursue a life of music. It was fundamental to my current level of success and future endeavors.

Advice for trumpet players from George: "It’s all too easy to get hung up on day-to-day issues and to provide hurdles to your own accomplishments. Instead of focusing solely on what challenges the day brings, create short and long-term goals that are meaningful to you and will give you the direction necessary to make it to the next level. Cultivate positive relationships with your professors, fellow students and yourself. Also, try new foods. Seriously, food and music go hand in hand. "

Contact George

Skype – grhufnagl

Linkedin -

diana miller

Diana Miller

Graduated May 2009
Master of Music
Trumpet Performance

Hometown: Zelienople, PA (North of Pittsburgh)

Current City: Salina, KS

Job: Freelance Teacher/Performer

After finishing my degree at Western I moved back to the Cincinnati area. I got engaged in June, and Jared and I will be married on May 30th.

My favorite WIU moments were playing Pines of Rome at IMEA and my weekly meetings with Dr. Briney. His passion for trumpet and music continue to inspire me today.

Dave Zeng

Current Location: Cincinnati, OH
Years Attended WIU: 2000-2004

Current Job: Free-lance Trumpet player in the Cincinnati Area. Trumpet instructor at Stivers School for the Arts in Dayton, OH and the Musical Arts Center in Cincinnati, OH. Member of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra in Springfield, OH. Founding member of The Cincinnati Brass Quintet.

Major at WIU: Trumpet Performance

Ensembles at WIU: Wind Ensemble, Orchestra, Brass quintet

Major Accomplishments: Won concerto competition at WIU in 2000 and 2002. While attending The College Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati for his Master of Music degree, he reached finals at the National Trumpet Competition in Fairfax, VA as a member of the CCM trumpet ensemble two seperate times.

How trumpet playing affects his life: Dave says that trumpet playing and teaching is his profession and passion. It is a part of his everyday life.

Dave said, "The trumpet Studio at WIU was a joy to be a part of. The concern and leadership of Dr. Briney and his sincere desire for his students to succeed as well as the great relationships with the other trumpet players made being a part of the WIU trumpet studio a wonderful experience. There are so many great memories that I can hardly pick one to share. "

Advice for trumpet players from Dave: "You can be as successful as you want to be, it all depends on how much you are willing to work. Never pass up an opportunity to listen to great players, whether it be live or on a recording. Also, do everything Dr. Briney tells you to do, he really does know what he's talking about. "

Andrew Hunter

Location: Chicago Suburbs
Years attended WIU: 2002-2006

Current Job: Band director at Wauconda Middle School in Wauconda, Illinois. He has two bands, a 6th grade beginning band and a combined 7th/8th grade band. His bands meet every day and the rest of his schedule is small-group lessons on all instruments. His students also participate in the Northshore Concert Band and Solo & Ensemble Festival, the Music in the Parks Festival, and they audition in the fall for District VII Junior Band.

Major at WIU: Music Education

Ensembles at WIU: Wind Ensemble, Symphony Orchestra, Jazz Studio Orchestra, Marching Leathernecks, Concert Band and XTREME Brass. He also spent four years moving stands and pianos as a stage crew member at the COFAC Recital Hall. He spent four summers as a counselor with Summer Music Camps as well.

Major Accomplishments: While at WIU he was especially proud of the Wind Ensemble performances during Dr. Dugle's last year. This included performing the Stravinksy Suites with the Symphony Orchestra and playing lead in JSO for a semester. He has been very successful in his first year of teaching and looks forward to many fine years with the Wauconda Middle School band.

How trumpet playing affects his life: Playing trumpet keeps Andy centered.

Memories of the WIU trumpet studio: Andy states, "How many of you have ever paid a construction crew to run over a trumpet with a steamroller? I have. "

Advice for trumpet players from Andy: "Don't ever let Dr. Briney get rid of the ‘student chair' in his office. Sitting in it after a year off campus was wonderful. "

Ryan Mills

Ryan Mills

Graduated May 2010

Bachelor of Music
Trumpet Performance

Hometown: Keokuk, IA
Current City: Albuquerque, NM

After graduating from WIU, Ryan is attending the University of New Mexico for his Master of Music degree.

Ryan's favorite memories from the studio are Dr. Briney's performances of student compositions in seminar and coming away from lessons with ideas on being a better musician and person.


Jessica Todd

Current Location: Aztec, New Mexico

Years you attended WIU: 2005-2010

Current Job: Band Director at Kirtland Middle School in Kirtland, New Mexico

Major at WIU: Music Education

Ensembles at WIU: Brass Ensemble, Concert Band, Concert Choir, Marching Band, Orchestra (sometimes), University Band and Wind Ensemble

Major Accomplishment: Her improvement as a musician since her freshman year of college. She is also happy to make the bold decision of moving out of Illinois.

How trumpet playing affects Jessica's life: In times of strife and stress, returning to the trumpet and playing a nice flow study is the perfect antidote.

Memories of the WIU trumpet studio: Watching her peers overcome playing barriers and of course, holiday parties at the Brineys! Mrs. Briney's cider is unforgettable.

Advice for trumpet players from Jessica: Don't forget why you became a music major -- keep playing to remind yourself. And just remember to breathe.


Mr. Kyle Freesen
Varsity Pep Band Director/Conducting GTA
Wright State University, Dayton OH
Brass/Visual Staff
Centerville Jazz Band, Centerville OH

Current Location: Dayton, OH
Years you attended WIU: 2002-2007

Current Job: Director of Athletic Bands/ Wind Conducting GTA, Wright State University - Brass/ Tech, Centerville HS

Major at WIU: Music Education

Currently Pursuing: Master of Music Performance in Wind Conducting, Wright State University

Ensembles at WIU: Marching Band, Concert Band, Brass Quintet, Jazz Studio Orchestra, Jazz Combo, and Pep Band.

Major Accomplishments: Being selected as a featured student conductor, being in the "Never Walk Quartet", and serving two terms as MENC President at WIU. Teaching the students at El Paso-Gridley HS what they could accomplish and that learning music never stops.

How trumpet playing affects Kyle's life: Playing trumpet allows me to meet the most fantastic mentors and gain a deeper understanding for what I conduct or study.

Memories of the WIU trumpet studio: Meeting some great friends and colleagues before we all "grew up". There are so many stories...

Advice for trumpet players from DJ: "Don't compare yourself to others. If you are better today than yesterdayyou're on the right path."

DJ Alstadt

Current Location: Naperville, IL
Years you attended WIU: 1993-1998

Current Job: Director of Bands, Naperville Central High School

Major at WIU: Music Education

Ensembles at WIU: Wind Ensemble, Concert Band, Brass Quintet, Jazz Band(s), Jazz Combo, University Singers, Concert Choir, Marching Band.

Major Accomplishment: Being an alumni of WIU!

How trumpet playing affects DJ's life: The trumpet has shaped the type of person that he strives to be.

Memories of the WIU trumpet studio: "Jason Pool and Dr. Briney at Master Class: It still makes me smile when I think of the way Jason could really take a punch. " DJ also said, "Before I graduated, Dr. Briney told me ‘my job is simple- lead kids to water.' "

Advice for trumpet players from DJ: "Strive to live your life to not have regrets. "

Travis C. Lopez

Current Location: Quad Cities
Years attended WIU: 1997-2003

Current Job: Assistant Director of Admissions at Brown Mackie College in Moline. He interviews prospective students to the school and advises them through the enrollment process. He also teaches a studio of about 20 trumpet students at the Quad City Association for Music Educators.

Major at WIU: Music Business with a minor in Marketing

Ensembles at WIU: Marching Band, Wind Ensemble, Concert Band, Jazz Studio Orchestra, Jazz Band II, Jazz Band III, Brass Ensemble, Madrigal Brass Quintet, Orchestra, Pit Orchestra, Vice President and FEO of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity of America, Inc.

Major Accomplishments at WIU: Sat atop every ensemble I was in at some point in my career. Georgia soloist for the Marching Leathernecks.

How playing the trumpet affects his life: He plays every day and gig just about every weekend. Incuding everything from weddings, graduate recitals, studio recitals, dance band gigs, jazz band gigs, and pit orchestra gigs for Quad City Music Guild and St. Ambrose University. Plus, he teaches lessons three nights a week and loves it. Travis states, "Music has given me everything, so I devote my every day to music and my love, whom I met through playing trumpet. "

Memories of the WIU trumpet studio: "Trumpet family gatherings were always amazing!"

Advice for trumpet players from Travis: "It's all about the air. All good things come from effective usage of air."


Matthew Shefcik

Location: Chicago, IL
Years at WIU: 2004-2006

Major at WIU: M.M., trumpet performance

Current Job: most recently, he has played principal trumpet with the Quincy symphony orchestra and taught trumpet as an adjunct trumpet instructor at Culver-Stockton College in Canton, MO. He also does freelancing in Chicago and teaches private lessons.

Ensembles at WIU: LaMoine Brass Quintet, WIU symphony orchestra, WIU wind ensemble, WIU chamber brass, Xtreme brass quintet. He also played with Dr. Briney in the Knox-Galesburg Symphony.

WIU accomplishments: He was a winner of the 2005-2006 WIU concerto competition. Also while at WIU, he was a finalist in the 2006 International Trumpet Guild Orchestral Excerpts competition and a 2006 ITG conference scholarship winner. Matt was also a 3-time semi-finalist at the National Trumpet Competition.

Trumpet in his Life: Trumpet is a huge part of Matt's life, as he is auditioning for jobs, recording for competitions, and gigging.

Memories of WIU: "I really enjoyed the WIU wind ensemble's concert at symphony center in Chicago. It was great to share that amazing stage with Dr. Briney! "

Advice to trumpet players from Matt: "Always listen to Dr. Briney! Also, the high B's on the school's cornets are 40 cents sharp, so adjust! Hehe! "

Jason Hawkins

Current Location: Plainfield, IL

Years you attended WIU: 1998-2003

Currently Jason is the Director of Choirs at Plainfield North High School

At WIU he received a BA in Music Ed. (Choral and Instrumental Endorsements), BA in Trumpet Performance. He performed in Wind Ensemble, University Singers, Madrigals, Opera, JSO, Marching Band, and a few more.

His biggest accomplishments were being named Department Scholar, College Scholar, Student Conductors' Competition Winner, and performed in a workshop with Vincent Chicowitz.

Jason still plays a few weddings now and then and directs his school's Madrigal Brass Ensemble

Jason's memories of trumpet studio: "I can still play Clarke 2 in all keys! "

Jason's words of wisdom to current trumpet students: "Read "The Inner Game of Tennis." Dr. Briney recommended it to me early on in my studies, and I still refer back to it 10 years later. "

Brian Friedrich

Brian Friedrich

Years at WIU: 2003-2008

Major at WIU: Music Education

Ensembles at WIU: WIU Marching Leathernecks, WIU Brass Ensemble, WIU Basketball/Volleyball Band, WIU Concert Band, WIU University Band, Phi Mu Alpha Glee Ensemble, The Advantage

Advice for trumpet players from Brian: "Do what you love, Love what you. Never be satisfied, Always push yourself to be better than what you appear to be. "

Contact Brian:
Phone: 815-351-2810