Tell me about your work is a new interview series published by the Division of Jazz Studies at UNT. We're interested in knowing more about the work life of our alumni, what role their musical education plays in the work they do, and what their musical lives are like now. Knowing this will give current students a broader sense of the career paths they could follow, and could suggest ways to prepare for them while they are still studying at UNT. --John Murphy
Los Angeles, California - July 12th, 2016 - UNT Jazz Studies alumni Dave Richards (M.Mus 2009) and Brett McDonald (B.Mus 2010) returned from China last month from a tour of the musical My Fair Lady.
The tour took McDonald and Richards to seven major cities in China over a period of two months: Shanghai, Xiamen, Zhuhai, Guangzhou, Chongqing, Chengdu and Beijing.
Richard’s writing and playing can be heard on Lab 2009, Live at Blues Alley, Lab 2008, Lab 2007, Lab 2006 and Lab 2005. A multi-instrumentalist, Richards performed on Trumpet for My Fair Lady, but is heard on lead trombone on Lab 2009.
Also a multi-instrumentalist, McDonald can be heard performing on Alto and Soprano saxophones on Under the Radar by the Two O’Clock Lab Band but played Clarinet, Bass Clarinet and Flute on My Fair Lady.
Richards and McDonald have previously toured together on the 2013 international tour of Dreamgirls, which took them across the USA, Canada and 5 weeks in Japan.
In regards to traveling overseas, McDonald says “It is amazing to me how small the musical world really is. I was able to meet English speakers in nearly every city we visited who either played music as well, or could direct us to jam sessions with expats and English speaking Chinese”.
While in Shanghai, McDonald was asked to present a masterclass at the Shanghai conservatory, where fellow alumnus Li Xiaochuan is now on faculty. McDonald also did a short presentation for the students at Leman International school in Chengdu with two other members of the My Fair Lady orchestra on life as a musician, and performed for the students.
Dave Richards is currently based in Los Angeles, where he has maintained an active schedule touring with international presentations of The Glenn Miller Orchestra and several musical theatre shows, including How The Grinch Stole Christmas: The Musical and Nice Work If You Can Get It.
Based in New York City, Brett McDonald has performed on Piccolo, Flute, Clarinet, Bass Clarinet; Soprano, Alto, Tenor and Baritone saxophones in various shows and tours, including two touring seasons of A Christmas Story: The Musical.