Helen Harrelson began her playing career on euphonium with the Rotherham Schools Band before progressing to the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain. She later changed to baritone and was accepted at the Royal Northern College of Music where she studied with James Gourley, Sandy Smith, Steven Mead, and Bob Childs. Over the past 20 years Helen has been a member of some of the world’s finest brass bands including Black Dyke, Fodens, YBS, & Fountain City with whom she has toured, recorded and competed. Helen has won numerous national titles both in the UK and USA.
Helen has been a guest artist and clinician for the North American Brass Band Summer School, the International Woman’s Brass Conference, the International Tuba & Euphonium Conference, Kansas Music Educators Association, Missouri Music Educators Association and received an award for outstanding contribution to music education from the Kansas Bandmasters Association.
Summer 2007 saw Helen take a voluntary sabbatical to Kansas City to perform with the Fountain City Brass Band and develop their youth brass band program. The Fountain City Youth Brass Academy has gone on to win 5 national titles in the last four years and the program had over 130 students currently enrolled. Her love of Kansas City saw her return back to the US in 2008 as Instrumental Music Teacher at St. James Academy. Since then, she has developed the school’s band and orchestra program and won two Blue Star Awards for Outstanding Pit Orchestra (Beauty and the Beast 2013, & Guys & Dolls 2016). In 2015 Helen completed her Masters of Arts in Music at the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance.
Lee Harrelson is an Associate Professor of Music at Missouri Western State University. At Missouri Western he serves as the Chair of the Department of Music, coordinator of the music theory program and instructor of low brass and chamber music. Dr. Harrelson attended the University of Southern Mississippi, where he studied music education and music performance before completing his masters and doctorate at the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s Conservatory of Music and Dance.
Dr. Harrelson is the founder of the Fountain City Brass Band and currently serves as its artistic director and principal euphoniumist. The Fountain City Brass Band (FCBB) is one of America’s premiere brass and percussion ensembles and has been featured throughout the U.S. and Europe in concerts and competitions. The FCBB is currently the top ranked brass band in the United States. Under Dr. Harrelson’s artistic leadership the band has won seven North American Brass Band Association Championships, eight U.S. Open Brass Band Championships and one Scottish Open Brass Band Championship since it began competing in 2004. At the 2011 All England International Brass Band Competition, as a member of the FCBB, Lee was named Best Instrumentalist; a first for an American at an English brass band competition. During his tenure the FCBB has produced four commercial recordings, performed with countless world-class soloists and developed a youth brass program, the Fountain City Youth Brass Academy, that serves over 100 students per year.
Dr. Harrelson can be heard on numerous commercially released recordings and has appeared throughout North America and Europe as a clinician, soloist and chamber musician. Lee Harrelson is a Buffet Group/Besson Performing Artist.