The Roots of the CMBE
The earliest roots of the Chicago Metropolitan Brass Ensemble come from a small brass choir originally established by Ken Frizane in the greater Chicagoland area around 1991. Frizane's ensemble has been known by many different names. The ensemble's name was often changed based on the holidays and was recognized as"Christmas Brass", "Red White and Brass", and "Resurrection Brass". Originally an octet, the group expanded to 18 members by the early 2000s.
In 2011, Brad Hecker took over the ensemble and changed the name to Kinsmen Brass. During the Kinsmen Brass era, the instrumentation settled at 11 members, which is the current structure of the group.
In 2012, the scope, musical focus and mission of the group began to shift towards higher level performance and musical education for the community. Hecker felt that a more all-encompassing group name was needed: The Chicago Metropolitan Brass Ensemble. At this time, a Board of Directors was established. The original Board was Steve Marcus (President), George Dzurcisko (Secretary) and Matt Greene (Treasurer). The position of Music Director was held by Brad Hecker.
The Chicago Metropolitan Brass Ensemble became a chamber ensemble in 2017 when Hecker resigned his post as Musical Director. Hecker is credited with much of the musical growth of the ensemble during his duration as director. At this time, nearly all the members of the Chicago Metropolitan Brass Ensemble are professional musicians. The current instrumentation of the Chicago Metropolitan Brass is: 4 trumpets, 2 french horns, 2 tenor trombones, 1 bass trombone, euphonium and tuba.