Dr. Carrie Blosser is a trumpet performer and educator in Chicago. She is the founder of Diversify the Stand, a resource promoting diversity through commissioning, crowdfunding, weekly podcast, book club, and publishing. Serves as the co-chair and founding member of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee with the International Trumpet Guild (ITG) she is also an active member of the International Women’s Brass Conference (IWBC). Carrie is the coordinator of Brass Flexibilities, an IWBC article and video interview series, an invited mentor for IWBC’s Mentorship Program, and editor for the IWBC newsletter. 

Dr. Blosser is a clinician for the International Trumpet Guild and judges for both ITG and the National Trumpet Competition. She teaches private trumpet students of all ages and gives master classes, lectures, and performances across the country. She maintained a Colorado-based studio of 65 students while collaborating with multiple schools to deliver weekly clinics and also conducted the Rocky Mountain Concert Band for three years. Dr. Blosser was the Director of Bands at Cooper, Junior and Senior High School in Cooper, Texas. Her students’ achievements include selection to All-State Bands and advancement to the semi-finals of the National Trumpet Competition as Soloists and Ensemble Performers.


Jacquelyn Lankford is the Assistant Professor of Trumpet and Jazz Band Director at McNeese State University, acting principal and second trumpet with the Monroe Symphony Orchestra, and third trumpet in the Lake Charles Symphony Orchestra. She earned her Doctorate in Trumpet Performance with a related field in Music Education from the University of North Texas in 2019, Master’s in Trumpet Performance and Literature from the Eastman School of Music in 2016, and Bachelor’s in Music Education from New Mexico State University in 2014.

She is the creator and founder of the Women Composing for Trumpet Competition, which was made possible by her award of the Juliet Hardtner Women in Arts and Humanities Professorship in 2019. The Women Composing for Trumpet Competition was created to add to the list of "standard" trumpet repertoire composed by women. Though there are many incredible compositions by women for solo trumpet, the only one that is considered "standard" by the trumpet community is the Pakhmutova, written in 1955. It is the goal of this competition to bring light to this matter, as well as give modern women composers the opportunity to contribute to this list of "standards" and be recognized for their accomplishments.

Jacquelyn is also a founding member of Calypsus Brass, a chamber ensemble that creates high-quality, professional recordings for composers. Calypsus specifically focuses on performing and recording works by living composers of color, marginalized genders, and the LGBTQIA+ community.

As a soloist, Jacquelyn was invited to Rouen, France to compete in the Eric Aubier International Trumpet Competition where she was one of only two United States competitors in 2017.

Ensembles she has performed with include the Monroe Symphony Orchestra, Lake Charles Symphony Orchestra, The Rory Partin Big Band, The Temptations, Las Cruces Symphony Orchestra, Richardson Symphony Orchestra, Eastman Wind Ensemble, UNT Symphony Orchestra, and UNT Wind Symphony.


Dr. Emily Schaefer is Assistant Professor of Horn and Ear Training at East Carolina University in Greenville, NC. She joined Calypsus brass in 2023. She performs with Carolina Ballet, Chamber Orchestra of the Triangle, North Carolina Opera, and is a substitute musician with North Carolina Symphony and Charlotte Symphony.

In 2018, she was appointed to fourth horn with the Wichita Symphony Orchestra for the 2018-19 season before moving to North Carolina. Dr. Schaefer has had the privilege of performing with numerous other orchestras, including the Omaha Symphony, Topeka Symphony, and Kansas City Symphony. Her previous summer activities have included Caroga Lake Music Festival, National Orchestral Institute, Festival Napa Valley, Kent/Blossom Music Festival, Le Domaine Forget, and Eastern Music Festival.

Dr. Schaefer received her DMA at the University of Missouri, Kansas City in May of 2019 where she studied with Martin Hackleman and was a member of the UMKC Graduate Fellowship Woodwind Quintet (Plaza Winds) and taught undergraduate horn students. She holds degrees in horn performance from The Juilliard School (MM) and Cleveland Institute of Music (BM). While at Juilliard, she worked with the Pre-College students weekly in orchestra rehearsals and sectionals coaching the horns and brass. She has studied previously with Karen Schubert of Opera Philadelphia, Richard King of The Cleveland Orchestra and Erik Ralske of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.


Jessica is thrilled to be full-time Instructor of Horn at Eastern Illinois University.  In addition to teaching at Eastern Illinois, she performs with the EIU Faculty Brass Quintet and EIU Faculty Wind Quintet.  She was Adjunct Instructor of Horn at Illinois Wesleyan University, her alma mater, from 2016-2019.

In 2018 Jessica completed a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Horn Performance and Literature at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  During this degree she studied horn with Bernhard Scully and also studied jazz improvisation with Jim Pugh. Prior to working on her doctorate, Jessica worked as a freelancer and private teacher in the Chicago area from 2011-2015.  

Jessica plays Assistant Principal and Utility Horn with the Illinois Symphony Orchestra and Second Horn with the Champaign-Urbana Symphony.  She has also performed with the Quad City Symphony, Peoria Symphony, Chicago Jazz Philharmonic, the Gil Evans Project, Chicago Philharmonic Orchestra, the Elgin Symphony Orchestra,  Camerata Chicago, the Southwest Michigan Symphony, da Corneto Opera Company, Millikin-Decatur Symphony, and the Chicago Jazz Orchestra.

Primary Teachers:


D.M.A. University of Illinois, 2018

M.M. University of Michigan, 2011

B.M. Illinois Wesleyan University, 2009


Dr. Lauren Rudzinskas has a dynamic career as an accomplished trombonist and pedagogue performing as a chamber musician, soloist, freelancer, clinician, and presenter. Rudzinskas currently serves as the Senior Lecturer of Trombone at the University of Akron. Prior to the University of Akron, Lauren taught trombone and euphonium at Mansfield University. Rudzinskas is a founding member of Calypsus Brass, an innovative ensemble praised for its commitment to performing new works, giving masterclasses, and creating high-level professional recordings for underrepresented composers. An expert arts administrator, Lauren serves as the General Manager of the International Women’s Brass Conference.

Praised for her sound and technique, Rudzinskas has been a featured solo artist with groups including the Ashtabula Brass Band, Mercer Community Band, and YSU Symphony Orchestra. As a recitalist, she most recently gave a recital tour as part of the Neighbor Tones Project designed to bring music to vulnerable communities. Rudzinskas is an experienced orchestral musician having held the principal trombone chair in the Greenville Symphony, as a regular substitute in Symphoria (formerly the Syracuse Symphony), a substitute with the Akron Symphony, Canton Symphony, Youngstown Symphony, and as principal trombonist of the Greater Rochester Women’s Philharmonic. As a studio musician, Lauren has appeared on motion picture soundtracks as a member of the Youngstown Scoring Stage as well as various CD projects. Rudzinskas is a current member of the Athena Brass Band and the Ohio Trombone Consortium.


A multifaceted musician, Lauren’s jazz performance credits include playing with IWBC’s Holiday Brass and the Diva Jazz Orchestra in the Cleveland Playhouse production of Maurice Hines is Tappin’ Thru Life. She is a member of the SPH Jazz Orchestra and recorded the CD "Smash!" with that ensemble. After receiving a research grant in 2015, Lauren produced and performed in Aspire, a recording of original music including several of her own compositions. Solo competition awards include third place in the 2017 International Women’s Brass Conference solo competition, winner of the Youngstown Music Teachers Association Solo Competition, the Wright State Festival Solo Competition, the Dana Young Artist Competition, and the Dorothy Schwers Honorary Scholarship Solo Competition. 


As a founding member of the pioneering brass quintet, Calypsus Brass, Lauren regularly tours and records with the ensemble. In 2021, Calypsus Brass was in residency at McNeese State University giving masterclasses, performing a recital, giving pedagogical lectures, and coaching chamber music. Calypsus has also performed a featured recital as the Ensemble in Residence for Rising Tide Music Press as well as a Benefit Concert for the Lift Music Fund. In 2023 Calypsus will be in residency at Eastern Illinois University and the University of Northern Iowa.


An advocate for diversity and inclusion initiatives, Rudzinskas is President of the Board for the Future in Music Program and on the advisory board for the Chromatic Brass Collective. She champions the music of historically marginalized and underrepresented composers, actively commissioning and premiering new works. Rudzinskas served as an editor and recording artist for Diversify the Stand’s Winds of Change Book of Trombone Solos and is also the editor of a book of trombone solos by composer Belinda Reynolds that is currently in production.


Rudzinskas is an active presenter giving lectures on topics such as recruitment, diverse chamber music, arts administration, and pedagogy. In 2021, Rudzinskas was invited to perform as a member of the inaugural International Women’s Trombone Choir at the 2021 International Trombone Festival and give multiple presentations. The following year, Rudzinskas was invited to perform at the 2022 International Women's Brass Conference (IWBC) where she premiered a solo for trombone and performed with Calypsus Brass in addition to chamber music on multiple guest artist recitals. She has given masterclasses across the country and is a mentor in the IWBC Mentorship Program. In 2020, Rudzinskas founded and was the Executive Director of the Virtual Trombone Workshop, an event designed to support musicians during the pandemic  which had such immense success that a partnership with the Eastman School of Music created VTW@ESM 2021.  


As a strong advocate for music education, Rudzinskas received the Jack L. Frank Award for Excellence in Teaching, won multiple research grants, and published articles. Prior to the University of Akron, Rudzinskas taught trombone and euphonium at Mansfield University and taught at the Eastman Community Music School where she was the Assistant Director for the ECMS Trombone Choir.


Dr. Rudzinskas earned a doctorate of musical arts in Trombone Performance and Literature with a minor in Pedagogy and an Advanced Certificate in College Teaching at the Eastman School of Music studying with Larry Zalkind. She also earned a Performer's Certificate and was nominated for the prestigious Artist's Diploma. She was recognized for academic excellence as a finalist for both Eastman’s Teaching Assistant Prize and Lecture Recital Prizes. Rudzinskas earned a MM in Classical Performance from Eastman and a BM in Jazz Studies at Youngstown State University.


Dr. Rudzinskas is a sponsored artist with music software company, Blackbinder and an AK Artist. Lauren’s primary teachers include Larry Zalkind, Mark Kellogg, Michael Crist, John Olsson, Sam Blakeslee, and Jeff Bush.


Stephanie Ycaza is the Instructor of Tuba and Euphonium at the University of Northern Iowa, where she teaches applied lessons, Low Brass Techniques, Music Theory, and conducts the UNITUBA ensemble. She has served as adjunct instructor of low brass at Virginia Commonwealth University, Virginia State University, Longwood University, and the University of Richmond. She also taught courses in music theory, aural skills, and world music at VCU, Longwood, and Shenandoah University. Stephanie is a faculty member at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp, where she teaches tuba and music theory. Stephanie also regularly serves as a clinician for middle and high school bands.  

Stephanie is an active orchestral and band performer, and has appeared with the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony, the Virginia Symphony, the Williamsburg Symphony, the Capital Wind Symphony, and the Virginia Grand Military band. She performs with chamber groups and large brass ensembles, including the James River Brass, Cathedral Brass, and Annandale Brass. She has also contributed to recording projects at Spacebomb Records in Richmond, VA. Stephanie’s recent solo performances have focused on Latin American music, music by women composers, and her own transcriptions and arrangements for low brass. She appeared as a soloist at the 2021 Virtual ITEA Conference and the Northeast Regional ITEA Conference. Stephanie has researched and written on the topic of mindfulness in the practice and performance of music. She has presented on this topic for college studios around the U.S. and at the Army Band Tuba-Euphonium Workshop.   

Stephanie holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Shenandoah University, a Master of Music degree and Artist Diploma from Yale University, and a Bachelor of Music degree from Virginia Commonwealth University. She studied with Dr. Ross Walter, Toby Hanks, Mike Roylance, Andrew Hitz, and Michael Bunn.