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How I Became an International Trumpet Player

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Saturday November 17, 2018

From Capilano Courier

How I Became an International Trumpet Player
By: Nivedan Kaushal

“It was one of those moments where I was ready to throw the trumpet against the wall – just a breaking point of frustration. And then I had a heart-to-heart with my horn. ‘All right, are we gonna do this? Are we gonna do this? Yeah. I think we are.’” New York-based jazz trumpeter and singer Bria Skonberg, an alumna of Capilano University’s Jazz program, grew up in between a dairy farm and a cornfield in Chilliwack, BC. She was asked to learn trombone for Grade 7 school band, but instead picked trumpet because her father, a trumpeter himself, had one in storage. Many years later, Skonberg has performed with several acclaimed jazz musicians, including Wycliffe Gordon, Bucky Pizzarelli and Howard Alden. Her LP, Bria, won a Juno Award in 2017, and her most recent album, With a Twist, was nominated for another this year.

“I was a shy kid, too shy to sing. I think trumpet was really a vehicle for me to be around people and perform,” said Skonberg. During high school, Skonberg partook in improvisational theater, captained both the soccer and volleyball teams and served as student council president. Her love for performing prompted a guidance counsellor to suggest she study music at CapU. It wasn’t until Skonberg’s second year of university, however, when she broke out of her shell. Committed to being a professional musician, the “trained extrovert” started hanging out in the Fir building’s halls until 11:30 pm every night. “To be honest, I’ve not been on this campus very many times since I graduated. Fir 113 still has the same kind of anxiety it used to,” Skonberg laughs. By third year, she was fully supporting herself as the leader of two hot jazz bands with a busy touring schedule. After graduating in 2006, Skonberg was scouted to play in the Dal Richards Orchestra, a big band led by Vancouver’s “King of Swing.”

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