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Meet Professional Musician Bonny Brown

Meet Professional Musician Bonny Brown

By M. Scott McMannis

Its too easy to call her Bonny the Bugler Brown, or Bugler Bonny Brown. With all those Bs the alliteration is built in, the ball is teed up.

Not only is it too easy, its too superficial, and it does not serve her fairly. Brown is indeed a professional musician, and not just for the reason that she makes her living in music. She is professionally trained, broadly experienced, and accomplished in multiple arenas.

Brown was born and raised in Aurora, Illinois. She is a product of Aurora West High School, class of 91.

At age nine it was time for Brown to begin music lessons. My 12-year-old brother was already studying the trumpet, began Brown. I wanted to take up the saxophone, but there was only enough money in the family budget for one instrument. However, we could afford two mouthpieces, so I, too, began studying the trumpet.

During junior and senior high school Brown played in the school band and the jazz band. In her sophomore year she auditioned for a trumpet position in the prestigious Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra and was selected from more than one hundred aspirants. In her senior year, she achieved coveted first chair.

Brown added to her accomplishments by winning trumpet first chair in the Illinois All State Competition in both her junior and senior years.

Her achievements earned Brown numerous scholarship offers. I accepted a scholarship to DePaul University, explained Brown. I wanted to be in a big city, and I wanted to become a performer. Brown graduated from DePaul in 1995 with a BA degree in Music Performance.

My trumpet professor at DePaul advised me to go to graduate school or go into retail, quipped Brown. And, there was some sage advice in his quirky recommendation. Its difficult to make a living in music. Im trained in classical music, but there are few positions in symphony orchestras.

Out of college Brown took several jobs. She worked 9-5 as a receptionist to ensure steady income and admits, I was miserable. Since my dream was to be a musician, I also worked nights playing in polka bands and blues bands. I played for wedding receptions and corporate parties. I knew I had to become more commercial if I was to stay in music.

I played in bands for Bill Archer. In 2003 Bill tipped me that Joe Kelly was leaving his trumpet job at Arlington, and suggested I audition for it. I almost didnt. Why, I didnt even know how the Call to Post went! Fortunately, Brown won the competition. The Arlington gig, to use musician parlance, led to her current Hawthorne gig.

Brown continues to combine several outlets for her talents. For 10 years she has been giving lessons and currently carries a coterie of 30 students she coaches weekly.

In 2001 Brown formed her own band, Rhumbuzzz. I was sick of playing cover music. I wanted to be creative and express myself. I started writing music and what came out seemed to lean toward reggae and other Caribbean-style music, so I went with it. Ive traveled all around the Caribbean to continue the development of my music and my bands style.

Bonny the Bugler? Shes Bonny Brown, classically-trained musician and versatile professional performer who plays trumpet, herald trumpet, coronet, bugle, French horn, flugelhorn, and piccolo. Shes Bonny Brown, music teacher. Shes Bonny Brown, band leader. And now shes Bonny Brown, producer and recording artist, with a new CD, Rhumbuzzz. You should hear it, Mon!


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