Earl Lewis Raney, Jr.
Earl Raney, trumpeter, conductor, educator, and composer, is widely known for his leadership of and extensive work as solo trumpet in the popular Epic Brass Quintet, an award-winning ensemble that in the three decades since its founding in 1983 has established a reputation for its virtuosity and appeal to listeners of all ages and tastes. He has also served as a conductor of bands, most frequently The Atlantic Wind Symphony and the Southeastern Massachusetts Wind Symphony.
Earl grew up making music in the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Vestal Hills, New York. When he was fourteen Virginia-Gene Rittenhouse, whom Raney refers to as "perhaps my greatest mentor," invited him to join her New England Youth Ensemble after he played for her at an SDA Youth Congress in 1977. He spent the next three years touring with the NEYE, attending South Lancaster Academy, from which he graduated in 1980, and taking music courses at Atlantic Union College.
Today in his role as Artistic Director and Solo Trumpeter of the award-winning Epic Brass Quintet Raney has given over 2000 performances in 46 states, with appearances at venues including the Kennedy Center, Weill Recital Hall, and Carnegie Hall. Internationally, he and his group have concertized in Austria, Bermuda, Canada, England, France, Germany, Italy, Jamaica, Poland, Scotland, Switzerland, the US Virgin Islands, and the Far East.
They have recorded seven compact discs for the Ars Nova Digital and Chapel/Bridge labels. In addition to his chamber music career, he has performed with several New England area orchestras and as principal trumpet of the Taipei Festival Orchestra in Taiwan, R.O.C.
Raney is a roster artist for the Massachusetts Cultural Council and New England Foundation for the Arts. Deeply committed to music education, he performs as a clinician at colleges and high schools throughout the country and abroad, including several SDA music clinics. Balancing a dual career as trumpeter and conductor, Raney is a brass faculty member at New England Conservatory's Preparatory School where he also coaches chamber music and guest conducts the New England Conservatory Youth Brass Ensemble.
He is an Assistant Professor of Music in Performance at Wheaton College (Norton, MA) where he serves as conductor of the Southeastern Massachusetts Wind Symphony. From 1987-2012, Earl was also an Adjunct Professor of Music at Atlantic Union College, where he founded the Atlantic Wind Symphony (Raney still conducts this community ensemble, which has continued in a semi-professional capacity since AUC’s closing).
Past posts include Music Director and Conductor of the Great Woods Chamber Orchestra, the Atlantic Union College Symphony Orchestra, Greater Boston Academy Wind Ensemble, Atlantic Union College Brass Ensemble, and Director of the Thayer Performing Arts Center and Community Music School in South Lancaster, MA. Most recently, he conducted the Boston University Symphony Orchestra and the Icelandic National Festival Band in Reykjanesbaer.
As a composer, Raney has written over twenty-five sacred choral pieces and is Choirmaster at the Fellowship Free Evangelical Church in Easton, MA. Earl holds a B.Mus. in Trumpet Performance and an M.Mus.in Orchestral Conducting, both from Boston University.
On a personal level, Raney considers his greatest treasure to be his wife, Barbara, and their two children, Daniel and Katie. A committed Christian, he recently wrote the following about his career and perspective about life,
Being a professional musician is a dream come true. But I have discovered something or rather someone that makes music pale in comparison: the One who created music in the first place, God.
I am a husband, father, and son, but most importantly, I am yet another witness to the goodness of God, an example of His love, forgiveness, peace, and joy. I have discovered Him to be totally trustworthy and most completely revealed in His Son, my savior, Jesus Christ.
In the music business you get what you deserve (if you're lucky!). You work hard and reap the benefits of all that practice. But what amazes me, as a follower of Jesus, is that you get what you don't deserve and could never earn in the first place - inner peace, a satisfying life right now, and life eternal when you've played that last concert in this world.
Sure I have my problems and faults like everyone else, but I face them with a completely different perspective since I accepted Jesus Christ's offer. He still says,
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.’ Matthew 11:28-30.
God is real. God can be known. God loves you. I have found people with a heart for music have a heart for God. If you would like to talk about faith in Jesus contact me!”
Sources: Written material, Earl Raney, April 2013; Atlantic Wind Symphony and Epic Brass Quintet websites; the Atlantic Union Gleaner, 26 August 1986, 3; Christine Hamm, “Born to be brassy and bold,” reprinted from an article in the Concord Monitor; Other online sources.
Epic Brass Earl Raney, director
(Ars Nova recordings)
Music of the Masters (CD 1000) 1988
Star Spangled Pops! (CD 1001) 1989
Going Home (CD 1002) 1991
Joy to the World 1991 with AUC Collegiate choir and New England Youth Ensemble
International Treasures (CD 1004) 1992
Christmas Classics 1993
High Flyin’ Horns 1997
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