Members

Click on the name of any member to read their bio.

Musical Director

W. Brad Hecker

W. Brad Hecker is the founder, Conductor, and Musical Director of the Chicago Metropolitan Brass Ensemble. He has been playing various brass instruments for over 30 years. Although a Trumpet and French Horn specialist, he also performs on Tuba and Trombone. Brad started teaching brass instruments privately at age 16 and has gone on to earn degrees in Music Education (BME) and School Leadership (MA) from Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky and Concordia University Chicago in River Forest, Illinois, respectively. While at Morehead State, He played trumpet in the University's Jazz Ensembles I and II while playing principal horn in the Symphony Band and Symphony orchestra. Since then, Brad has played many televised events in California, North Carolina, and Greater Chicago. As a member of the Piedmont Wind Ensemble in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Brad played with legendary trumpeters Maynard Ferguson and Arturo Sandoval. Throughout his career Brad has played under the batons of John Paynter, Arnald Gabriel, Karel Husa, Elliot Del Borgo, Alfred Reed and many others. Additionally, Brad was a member of The Rhythm Brothers featuring Big John Thompson which was a Carolina Beach band specializing in good old Rock and Roll, and Soul with a little Funk mixed in. As a Rhythm Brother, Brad was at the top of the Carolina Music Association charts for 22 consecutive weeks, only to be displaced by Carlos Santana and Michelle Branch. When not conducting, Brad teaches Elementary Music at Rondout School in Lake Forest, IL and freelances as a Trumpet and French Horn player and studio teacher.

Trumpet

Bryant Millet

Born and raised in Westford, Massachusetts, Bryant Millet was first inspired to pick up the trumpet at the age of six after seeing the Empire Brass Quintet perform on the PBS television series Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. For most of his time in Westford he studied with Dana Russian, a freelance musician active in the Boston area. Bryant holds a bachelor's degree in music performance from the Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University where he studied with Charles Geyer, Barbara Butler and Christopher Martin, and is currently pursuing a master's degree in orchestral studies at the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University, where he is a student of Neal Berntsen and Mark Ridenour.

In addition to playing with and arranging music for Chicago Metropolitan Brass Ensemble, Bryant also plays regularly with the Lakeview Orchestra, Chicago Symphonic Winds and the Hip Young Gunslingers Big Band. Additionally, he has also performed with Axiom Brass, Fonema Consort, the Wheaton Municipal Band, the Chicago Brass Band, the North Shore Concert Band, 42nd Parallel, the Oistrakh Symphony Orchestra, the Lake Forest Civic Orchestra, and the Evanston Symphony Orchestra. Bryant can also be heard playing trumpet and piccolo trumpet with the Northwestern University Symphonic Wind Ensemble on their 2011 CD Rising. He is also an avid theatre musician and has played in several professional productions throughout the Chicago area.

Bryant lives in Chicago where he is active as a freelance musician and arranger. In his spare time he enjoys playing guitar and bass guitar, songwriting, composing, cooking, and is an avid railroad fan.

Garth Anderson

Garth Anderson received his performer's certificate from NIU in spring 2012, and his master's in trumpet performance in 2011. He earned a bachelor's of music education degree from DePauw University in 2009. While at NIU, he studied with Professor Mark Ponzo and played principal trumpet for the NIU Philharmonic, was section leader for the NIU Wind Ensemble, and played with the Graduate Brass Quintet. He is currently teaching beginning band and general music in the Sycamore public schools.

In addition to performing with the Chicago Metropolitan Brass Ensemble and serving as the president of the board for the group, Garth currently performs as a regular member of the Fox Valley Orchestra, principal trumpet with the DuPage Symphony, and has played principal trumpet for the Chicago Bach Ensemble. Garth also serves as the personnel manager for the Wheaton Municipal Band and personnel manager for the Fox Valley Orchestra. He has taught private lessons since 2004, having taught students of all ages from beginning to high school to students returning to the instrument later in life. Several of his students have gone on to All-State honors in high school or to study music in college.

Robin Krieb

A native of the Chicago area, Robin Krieb began her trumpet career at the age of 11- trumpet not being her first instrument. She received many music awards before attending the University of Illinois. While there she was selected to participate in the Smith Competition for talented female musicians, chosen to lead a jazz class in improvisation, and won a conducting competition giving her the opportunity to conduct one of the symphonic bands in concert. Robin has studied with trumpet greats Greg Helton, Ray Sasaki, and Michael Ewald. She holds a Master of Music Education degree from VanderCook College of Music.

Robin enjoys playing a variety of musical styles. She performs with jazz/big bands, R&B/funk/rock groups, brass ensembles, and in musical pits. In her free time Robin enjoys riding her motorcycle, gardening, and cracking people up. She shares her life with her wife and fur babies.

Sean O'Donnell

Sean O'Donnell is a freelance trumpet player and teacher in the Chicago area. He has been a member of the Chicago Metropolitan Brass Ensemble's trumpet section since 2016. He grew up in San Diego, California and attended high school at the Interlochen Arts Academy. He graduated from the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University in 2012 with his Bachelor of Music degree in Trumpet Performance, where he studied with Joey Tartell. He has also studied with Channing Philbrick, Stephen Burns, Frank Glasson and Ken Larson. He has been Principal Trumpet of the Classical Symphony Orchestra of Chicago since 2013 and has performed with the Andrew Blake Band, Full Score Chamber Orchestra, Wheaton Municipal Band, Chicago Brass Band, Lakeshore Symphony and the North Shore Concert Band. He is the trumpet teacher at Adlai E. Stevenson High School, Palatine High School and is a brass instructor for the Ravinia Festival's El Sistema program. Sean's hobbies include ice hockey, soccer, weightlifting and Tai Chi.

Trombone

Rachel Monroe

Rachel Monroe is a 2012 graduate of the University of Iowa with a Masters degree in Trombone Performance. Rachel received her Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in 2010.

Rachel won the position as principal trombone of the Chippewa Valley Symphony Orchestra in 2007 and served as solo/lead trombone of the Robert Baca Jazz Orchestra from 2008 to 2010. She is passionate about chamber music, and has performed Stravinsky's L'histoire du Soldat along with important chamber works. Rachel is also a founding member of the Genuine Brass Quintet based out of Iowa City, IA.

Rachel is currently the Instrumental Music Director at Westminster Christian School (Elgin, IL) and serves as Principal Trombonist for the Chicago Metropolitan Brass Ensemble and Chicago Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra. Rachel also performs as a substitute musician with the Wheaton Pops Orchestra, Chicago Trombone Authority, the Lake Shore Symphony, Wheaton College Symphony, Fox Valley Orchestra, Chicago Brass Band and the Evanston Symphony.

Ian Fitzwater

(bio coming soon!)

Bass Trombone

Brandon Bokowski

(bio coming soon!)

Euphonium

Josh Benjamin

Josh is a founding member of the Chicago Metropolitan Brass Ensemble. He started playing the piano at the age of 4 and euphonium at age 11. During high school he played as a church musician and as a member of the DuPage Community Band. Josh holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Euphonium Performance from the University of Illinois where he studied with Mark Moore. While attending the University of Illinois he performed with the Illinois Wind Symphony, British Brass Band, Tuba Ensemble, and Slippery Tuba Quartet. Josh's tuba-euphonium quartet was a semifinalist at the 2008 International Tuba and Euphonium Conference (ITEC). He also performed the world premiere of Brilliante for euphonium, piano, and vibraphone. Josh has performed in many places including Carnegie Hall, Symphony Center, and tours of Europe and New England.

Josh grew up in Woodridge, IL and currently resides in Carol Stream, IL with his wife and two cats. He works as a carpenter by day. In his spare time Josh enjoys building and repairing computers, cycling, cooking, and jigsaw puzzles.

Tuba

Steve Marcus

"My non-musician parents forbade me from studying music," says Steve Marcus. "I eventually defied them. Ultimately, my mother admitted her mistake. My father, after hearing a recording of me playing tuba with an orchestra, told me that he was proud of me. I'm trying to make up for lost time now. While I still enjoy playing piano and choral singing, every moment with the tuba in my lap is precious."

Steve Marcus earned his B.Mus.Ed., summa cum laude (concentration in piano and choral conducting), and his M.M. (ABT) from Temple University Boyer College of Music in Philadelphia, PA. Subsequently, his tuba study was with Rex Martin at Northwestern University Bienen School of Music and with Roger Rocco. He performed in Master Classes with Kenneth Amis, Arnold Jacobs, R. Winston Morris, Sam Pilafian and Rolf Smedvig. Steve also performed at the International Tuba-Euphonium Workshop at the University of Oklahoma and participated in the Symphonia Tuba-Euphonium Workshop at Interlochen Center for the Arts.

Steve loved playing in the Chicago Brass Choir and lamented when that organization was dissolved. He welcomed Brad Hecker's invitation to join Kinsman Brass which ultimately grew into Chicago Metropolitan Brass Ensemble. In addition to being the group's tuba player, Steve served as CMBE's first President of its Board of Directors. As Manager of Piano Sales for PianoForte Studios, he was instrumental in CMBE's performance at the prestigious Schubertiad.

Steve has played tuba for the Ars Viva Symphony Orchestra, Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra, Lake Forest Symphony Orchestra, Northwest Indiana Symphony Orchestra, Rockford Symphony Orchestra, Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra, Wheaton Municipal Band, Wheaton Symphony Orchestra, and many other ensembles. He is a co-founder of Chicago Brass Band and played in that organization and its 10-piece ensemble for its first 5 years. He is currently the Principal Tuba for Park Ridge Civic Orchestra, West Suburban Symphony Festival Orchestra, Barrington Brass Quintet, and two trad jazz/Dixieland Bands: the Mad Monks of Melody and the Sinful Saints.

Steve's favorite quote is from Victor Borge: "I don't play requests...unless, of course, I'm asked to do so."