Wayne Bennett | Ray Buck | Taylor Helms | Trevor Kiefer | Chris Savage

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 music faculties of Agnes Scott College, Brenau University, and Georgia State University’s Perimeter College.

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.

Chris Savage, trumpet

Chris Savage comes from a family of musicians and began his own music education studying the piano at the age of 6. When he was 10 and living in St. Louis, MO he started learning to play the trumpet. 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 longtime Canadian Brass trumpeter, Fred Mills. Mr. Savage graduated from UGA in 2001 with a Bachelor’s of Music Education degree and also holds a Masters of Arts degree from Nova Southeastern University. Since 2002 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 freelance trumpet in and around the Atlanta area, he was a member of the Covington-based Alcovy Brass in the mid-2000s before becoming a founding member of Gate City Brass in 2017. Mr. Savage is an active composer and arranger of chamber brass music and is the co-owner of Jamescliff Music Publishing.

Mr. Savage’s professional affiliations include the International Trumpet Guild, Georgia Music Educators Association, the National Association for Music Education, and the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. He is married to another UGA graduate and music teacher, Kim, and has two daughters who are aspiring dancers and musicians.

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 a good book.

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.

Ray has performed with the American Wind Symphony Orchestra (based in Ohio) and the Clock Tower Jazz of Rome, Georgia. Mr. Buck has taught middle school bands since 1999 and is currently the band director at Jasper County Middle School in Monticello, Georgia. Professional associations include Georgia Music Educators Association and Music Educator’s National Conference. In the 2017-2018 school year, he was selected as Jasper County Middle School’s Teacher of the Year.

In 2006, Ray joined the Abundant Life Jackson worship team, playing trombone.  He is currently playing for the Forsyth Abundant Life Campus where he also serves as a Board Member.

Trevor Kiefer, tuba

Trevor Kiefer, a native of the Atlanta area, has been a musician at heart his whole life. He grew up an avid listener of many styles of music and has always made it a goal to be fluent in a wide variety of musical languages. From playing sousaphone with international artists such as The Arkells and Frank Turner, to performing with the River City Brass, Trevor takes pleasure in making music whenever the opportunity arises.
Trevor recently moved back to the Atlanta area from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he completed his Masters Degree in Music Performance with Dr. James Gourlay at Duquesne University. He completed his Bachelors in Music Performance two years prior at the University of Georgia where he studied with David Zerkel. Alongside his two private teachers, some of his most influential mentors and teachers include Phil Smith, Jim Nova, and Jacquelyn Hartenberger.
While in Pittsburgh, Trevor served as the Assistant Director of Marching Bands at West Mifflin High School in West Mifflin, Pennsylvania. Although performing is his primary passion, he has enjoyed teaching private lessons, sectionals, and general instruction for bands throughout the Metro Atlanta and Georgia area. In his freetime, he enjoys spending time with his wife, Anna, who works as a music therapist at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.