Hootin’ for Hooten


Photo Credit: Lauren Serpa Photographs

A professional trombone player, Game of Thrones fan, and yoga instructor, Mr. Bryan Hooten is a talented new addition to the Collegiate faculty. Taking the place of Mrs. Wherrell and Mr. Boyd, Mr. Hooten is now the Jazz Band, orchestra wind section, and Middle School Band teacher. He’ll be having a significant impact on the Collegiate arts department, so here are some things you need to know about Mr. Hooten. 

Mr. Hooten has plans. “I am 100% open to collaborations of all kinds,” he explains about what he has in store for the Collegiate Jazz Band in the future. He has already brought in Ms. Clare Sisisky, Collegiate’s Director of Responsible Citizenship Initiatives and Strategic Planning, to talk to the Jazz Band about an African tribe piece they are playing about the Dogon people. They have “a really interesting and rich history and a really interesting world view… [an] art and dance element to their culture which we are going to explore” Mr. Hooten says. Playing new types of music isn’t his only plan. “A lot, a lot, a lot of jazz music is intended to be dance music,” and that’s exactly what Mr. Hooten plans it to be. He has made it very clear that collaborations with the Collegiate dance program are very likely and that he thinks it will add an element of reality to the jazz band’s music. Also, don’t be surprised if you hear about the Jazz Band playing more out-of-school gigs this year. Mr. Hooten plans to “maybe book a date or two at The Camel or The Broadberry” to expand the Jazz Band’s performance experience and get them further into the Richmond music scene. Mr. Hooten is on the road to bring exciting change to the music department that could alter how music is taught over all at Collegiate.


Photo Credit: Lauren Serpa Photographs

Mr. Hooten is in an up-and-coming brass band. The band is called NO BS! Brass Band and you may have heard of them before from their countless performances at Collegiate events (sometimes alternately given the family-friendly name “RVA Brass Band”). This past year they toured all over the US and Canada for the first time. This is due to the band’s recent rise to fame. “It is…challenging… it is also a lot of time in a van… a lot of time moving equipment and setting up equipment… very little sleep” laughs Mr. Hooten about touring and being on the road, but “it’s really fun.” NO BS! or “the brass band”, as Mr. Hooten casually calls it, hasn’t always been this popular. Mr. Hooten has been in the band for eight years. One of five trombones and 12 total band members, he’s put an immense of time and effort into making the band what it is today. We “put out some music that nobody cared about but because [we] believed in it [we] kept doing it,” and eventually a Richmond audience began to believe in it, and their fan base has only grown. Some of their most exciting gigs have been playing the Eaux Claires Music Festival in Wisconsin this summer, playing a surprise show in the Forbes Magazine offices, and performing a Tiny Desk Concert on NPR . Recently they have appeared on Jimmy Fallon’s Tumblr page, which is often a stepping stone for new artists to perform on The Tonight Show. “I feel very fortunate to be able… to travel around and do something that I love.”

Mr. Hooten wants to get to know you. He “feel[s] really fortunate to have gotten the job,” and he wants to become fully involved in the Collegiate community. He is open to getting to know everybody, whether you are a part of the music department or not. Before coming to Collegiate, he taught music at Henrico High School, James River High School, and VCU. Coming to Collegiate has been a rare experience for him, and he is excited to mix with the student body.

If you’re interested in learning more about No BS! Brass Band, you can check out their website, facebook, Instagram, and twitter

And catch NO BS! at The Broadberry this Friday, October 9!

Cover photo: Lauren Serpa Photographs


About the author

Margaret is a senior at Collegiate.