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Southlake's Just Brass Band Donates $325 to Baylor's Neuroscience Parkinson's Research Program

Jan 08, 2015 08:51AM ● By Dia

DALLAS, January 5, 2015 -- Local area youth band members met with the Baylor Health Care System Foundation and donated funds raised over the holidays to benefit Parkinson’s research.

The Just Brass Band, a local Southlake youth brass band ensemble, raised over $300 for Parkinson’s research by playing several concerts at the Southlake Town Center during the month of December. Concerts were free and were mainly for fun. Passerby’s donated money in the tuba case as they stopped to listen, watched children dance to the tunes and enjoyed the holiday spirit while shopping or waiting for Santa at the town center.

Ethan Jezek formed the group last year for fun with four friends all from SL Carroll. This year, the group expanded to seven players ranging in age from seventh grade to sophomores in high school and decided to name themselves The Just Brass Band. They not only grew in size, but also in music repertoire, and they decided to give the money they raised to charity.

“My friends and I love to play our instruments and had so much fun last year playing, that we invited a few more friends to join us this season,” said Ethan Jezek, band leader. “My grandmother, who is a professional musician in the Houston area and has inspired my love for music, was recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. It’s a debilitating disease that will eventually prevent my grandmother from doing what she loves. The Band discussed it and decided to donate the money we made to Parkinson’s research in honor of my grandmother.”

Baylor Health Care Foundation recently announced it is on the verge of bringing an innovative research project to patients with Parkinson’s in the North Texas region. Baylor has teamed up with the University of Wisconsin to study the use of a small device, called a Portable Neuromodulation Stimulator (PoNS) which is placed in the patient’s mouth and stimulates nerves in the tongue that are connected to the brain. The research project aims to restore the functions lost to Parkinson’s disease.

The Just Brass Band was also spotted over the holidays by Trisha Murphy-Rae, executive director of Christmas is for Children, who asked them to play at the local Christmas is for Children charity food drive at St. John’s Baptist Church earlier in December.

“I was just coming out of Starbucks at the town center and heard this beautiful Christmas music,” said Trisha Murphy-Rae. “I got enough chutzpah and went over and asked them if they would play at the Christmas is for Children food drive. I’m so glad I went over and discovered them. The Band did such a great job. They were such a hit of the ball and brought so much joy to all the people volunteering. They even jumped right in and helped out with the food baskets when they were done playing. What a great group of kids.”

As the name implies The Just Brass Band is a group of seven Southlake Carroll band students, all brass instrument players. Members of the band include: band leader Ethan Jezek - tuba (9th grade), his sister Devon Jezek - french horn (7th grade), Sally Hatfield - french horn (8th grade), Austin Woolsey - trombone (10th grade), David Coughlin - trombone (9th grade), Samuel Ortiz - trumpet (10th grade) and Walter Gaman - trumpet (9th grade).

“We had a lot of fun playing,” said David Coughlin, band member. “Raising that much money for charity while getting to play my instrument, which I love to do, was amazing.”

“I hope this experience is one that all the kids will remember throughout their lives,” said band parent Anne Woolsey. “What a great way for the kids to gain more experience, and confidence playing their instruments, while bringing joy to those around them during the holiday season.”

“The Band would like to thank all those that stopped by to listen to us,” said Jezek. “Thank you for your donations to Parkinson’s research. With your help, we are one step closer to finding a cure and better treatment options.”

The Just Brass Band plans to continue the tradition and will play again next holiday season at the Southlake town center and is considering the possibility expanding their repertoire yet again to include other music to play all throughout the year.

 Southlake’s The Just Brass Band donated $325 to Baylor’s Neuroscience Parkinson’s research program, Monday, January 5, 2015. Pictured l-r are: Kelly Maher Thomas - Director Baylor Health Care System Foundation, Ethan Jezek - band leader, David Coughlin, Devon Jezek, Walter Gaman, Samuel Ortiz, Austin Woolsey, and Tim Moore - Director Baylor Health Care System Foundation. Not pictured: band member, Sally Hatfield.



Southlake’s The Just Brass Band performed at the Christmas is for Children food drive December 20, 2014. Pictured l-r are: Samuel Ortiz (trumpet), Walter Gaman (trumpet), Sally Hatfield (french horn), Devon Jezek (french horn), Austin Woolsey (trombone), David Coughlin (trombone), and Ethan Jezek (tuba). 

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