Wayne Bennett, trumpet
Atlanta-based trumpeter and music educator Wayne Bennett performs as a soloist, chamber musician, and freelance artist throughout the United States. In recent seasons, he has appeared with numerous orchestras, chamber ensembles, and brass quintets, most notably as a member of the Market Street Brass and the Gate City Brass quintets.
An endorsing artist for Bach trumpets, Dr. Bennett has recently returned to Georgia after living in North Carolina for 15 years. In North Carolina, he was professor of trumpet at Elon University, where he coordinated the trumpet studio, taught brass instrumental methods, aural skills, music theory, and was Director of the Elon Brass Quintet. Bennett also taught performance studies in brass at Guilford College and was the Music Education Coordinator for The Music Center at City Arts of Greensboro, where he coordinated the private instruction program and assisted in ensemble and concert series management. Dr. Bennett currently teaches on the faculty of Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia.
Active as a clinician and educator, Dr. Bennett has built positive relationships with secondary school and collegiate music teachers throughout the southeastern United States, offering master classes, sectional coaching, and performances designed to motivate students to seek opportunities for further musical growth. He serves as an Artist/Faculty Adjudicator for the National Trumpet Competition and is an active member of the International Trumpet Guild, where he writes for the Journal’s reviews staff.
Dr. Bennett earned the Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from the University of Georgia, where he studied with former Canadian Brass trumpeter Fred Mills. He was a four-time semi-finalist in the Masters Solo Division of the National Trumpet Competition as a graduate student and, as a teaching assistant and student of Dr. Edward Bach, completed the Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in Trumpet Performance at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro.
James Brewer, tuba
James Brewer, originally from Charlotte, NC, attended Elon University in Elon, NC where he received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Music Education and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro where he received his Master of Music Degree in Music Education. After graduating Magna Cum Laude from UNCG, Brewer served as the Director of Bands at Walter M. Williams High School in Burlington, NC for seven years where he taught Marching Band, Concert Band, Wind Ensemble, Jazz Band, and Percussion Ensemble. During this time, Brewer also taught private tuba lessons as an Adjunct Professor of Music at Elon University. As a professional tuba player, Brewer has performed with the National Wind Ensemble at Carnegie Hall, NYC, the Church Street Brass and Phoenix Brass in Burlington, NC, and the GC Brass Quintet in Greensboro, NC. Currently, Brewer serves as Director of Bands at Georgia Military College Prep School in Milledgeville, GA where he teaches Middle School Band, High School Band, Military Parade Band, Marching Band, and Jazz Band. Brewer continues to be an active, performing musician including his current position as Tuba player with the Gate City Brass Quintet and sub Tuba player with Orchestra Noir of Atlanta, GA. Brewer currently resides in Milledgeville, GA with his wife, Díana, who is a professional Opera Singer currently pursuing her Doctor of Musical Arts Degree at the University of Georgia in Athens, GA.
Ray Buck, trombone
Ray Buck studied trombone with Steve Tyndall, Cecil Wilder, and Denson Paul Pollard before attending the University of Georgia. At UGA, he studied trombone with Dr. Philip Jameson as well as Joshua Hauser.
Taylor Helms, horn
Taylor Helms is an active freelancer and music educator in the Atlanta Metro Area. Originally from Griffin, Georgia, he began playing the horn at age 12 and piano at age 14. A passionate music teacher, he currently serves as Director of Operations for Ztunes Music School, where he maintains a studio of approximately 25 piano students and also teaches in Ztunes’ Preschool Music Academy. In addition, Mr. Helms is Instructor of Horn at Perimeter College at Georgia State University, and maintains a private horn studio of students throughout Atlanta. He is a frequent clinician and sectional coach at area schools and is a Brass Coach for the Atlanta Junior Wind Ensemble.
Mr. Helms performs as a freelance hornist throughout the Southeast. He currently plays with Tara Winds, and has performed with the Ludwig Symphony, the Marietta Pops, the Atlanta Philharmonic, the Dekalb Symphony, the Sewanee Symphony, and the Gwinnett Symphony.
Mr. Helms received the Bachelor of Music Degree in Composition and Master of Music Degree in Horn Performance from Georgia State University, where he studied with Brice Andrus and Jay Hanselman. He currently lives in Atlanta and when he isn’t practicing or teaching, he likes to spend his free time running, cooking, or relaxing with his adorable German Shepherd, Hazel.
Chris Savage, trumpet
Chris Savage comes from a family of musicians and began his own music education by starting the piano at the age of 6. When he was 10 he started learning to play the trumpet in St. Louis, MO. After moving to Georgia a few years later, he eventually found his way to the University of Georgia where he had the opportunity to study with Fred Mills of the Canadian Brass. Mr. Savage graduated with a Bachelor’s of Music Education degree from UGA in 2001. Since then, he has enjoyed a career as the band director at Jasper County High School, where he was selected as the STAR Teacher in 2011 and 2015, and Teacher of the Year in 2013. In addition to playing trumpet in various local churches and community ensembles, he was also a member of the Covington-based Alcovy Brass in the mid 2000’s.
Mr. Savage also holds a Masters of Arts in Teaching and Learning degree from Nova Southeastern University. Professional affiliations include the International Trumpet Guild, Georgia Music Educator’s Association, and the National Association for Music Education. He is married to another UGA graduate and music teacher, Kim, and has two daughters who are already aspiring pianists and dancers.