Ben grew up in a musical family. At a young age his family would gather and sing songs while his dad played the guitar, and at times they performed together for family and church gatherings. Ben began playing the trumpet when he was 10 years old. He participated in school band ensembles, clinics, and honor bands from fifth grade through high school. Ben stood competed and beat out most high school students in his county at age 12, and his reputation successes grew from that point forward. He began playing professionally at the age of 14, and at age 16 he began teaching trumpet lessons to younger students. Even then he gained a reputation as one whose students out-performed their peers.
In college Ben studied trumpet performance at East Tennessee State University where he stood out from the beginning. As a freshman he was chosen over more-experienced peers for solo opportunities, and he placed higher in the section in all ensembles including the Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Johnson City Symphony Orchestra, Marching Band, Basketball Show Band, and Jazz Ensemble. He was also a founding member of the student brass quintet, Classic Brass. Throughout his time at ETSU he was chosen to perform as a soloist accompanied by the Symphonic Wind Ensemble and Concert Band, and he often performed with the Johnson City Symphony Orchestra as the principle trumpet. Ben also continued teaching private trumpet lessons while at ETSU, and taught students as young as nine years old, and as old as seventy. He found satisfaction in watching his students develop their musical abilities and become excited about learning. He loved seeing the smiles on their faces when they struggled to master a concept or technique and able to meet their goal.
After graduating from college Ben taught private lessons to trumpet students to members of a top high school band in South Carolina at Fort Mill High School. The improvement that could be seen in these students within months was dramatic. Before Ben began taught there, none of the trumpet students had ever been admitted to all state band. After teaching them for three months, six of his students auditioned for all-regional band. All six placed in the regional band, five were granted call back auditions for All-State, and three of his students were accepted in the All-State band.
Ben went on to teach music in public school for three years. In South Carolina he taught high school choir for a year, as well as middle school choir, general music, and theater for the second and third years. He faced unique challenges in these schools, including taking over music programs that had been through unfortunate circumstances causing them to languish prior to his arrival. At Sangaree Middle School in the Charleston, SC area he began his first year with a choir class that had zero students registered. He worked quickly and recruited 57 students. Within two years his choir program grew to over 150 singers. He collaborated with local musicians to provide live ensembles to perform with his choir and theater casts.
After teaching for three years Ben felt called to serve in the Army as a communications officer. Although he did not perform in an Army band during his service he remained an active performer in the community. He participated in local ensembles including the Fairbanks Symphony Orchestra and Fairbanks Community Band in Alaska, and the Cumberland Winds in Clarksville, TN. He also led and organized ensembles for community performances in Fairbanks, AK and Aiken, SC including choirs, children’s choirs, brass quintets, and chamber orchestras.
Ben is a well-rounded musician always eager for new musical education and performance opportunities. In addition to experience performing and teaching the trumpet, he is a skilled composer, singer, and choir director. He began composing and arranging/orchestrating music actively at ETSU. His compositions were well received by his teachers and classmates and were often featured on composer concerts. He combined his composition and conducting skills in Fairbanks, AK when he organized a community choir and chamber orchestra. He found it difficult to find existing music that fit the orchestration and ability level of a unique set of performers, so he created his own arrangements to cater to the ensembles. Ben also has experience as a solo singer. He recently made his operatic debut in Italy, performing the role of Antonio in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro).