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Hornheads Tribute Ensemble

The MSCM Hornheads Tribute Ensemble is a five-piece horn ensemble that performs jazz and popular music without a rhythm section. The ensemble has performed in a variety of educational settings for middle school and high school instrumentalists around the Midwest. They have been featured at area jazz events such as: The 2 Rivers Jazz Festival and the Twin Cities Brass Day. They have also opened for JazzMN Big Band at several major concerts. When called upon the MSCM Hornhead Tribute Ensemble also provides a horn section to many other McNally Smith ensembles including: Soul Ensemble, Latin Ensemble, Funky Blues Ensemble, Doors Ensemble and Afro Caribbean Drumming Ensemble.

The MSCM Hornheads Tribute Ensemble is primarily dedicated to the study of arrangements and compositions written by Michael Nelson for the professional Midwest-based Hornheads group. This ensemble provides the opportunity to read challenging horn charts in a variety of musical styles that will aid players in developing: sight-reading, internal groove, a solid sense of time, and ensemble skills. Students will also become more familiar with a body of horn band repertoire that is often used in contemporary music jobs.

Current Students


YouTube recording of 5 Heads are Better Than 1


YouTube recording of Isn’t She Lovely


PDF chart of Select Audition Materials (click below to download)

Hornheads Tribute Ensemble Audition

1) Please prepare your instrument specific Select Audition Materials to be performed along with the recording.
2) You will also be asked to sight read and improvise.
3) You will be evaluated based on the following criteria: Tone, Time, Feel/Groove, Improvisation, and Musicality.
4) Contact me if you have any questions: