Alumni Service to CAHSS Award Winner: Paul Brooks
The College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences (CAHSS) congratulates the 2023 Alumni Award Winners! These distinguished alumni have made positive, lasting impacts on not just CAHSS but within the liberal arts and their communities at large. We are proud to shine a spotlight on the incredible work these alumni have done and we look forward to their continued success.
The CAHSS alumni service award is granted to a CAHSS alum who has made significant contributions to the arts, humanities and social sciences at the University of Denver. The alum has offered their time, expertise, enthusiasm and energy to improving liberal arts programming at DU and has helped to preserve and promote CAHSS traditions at DU.
Graduation year and major
(BA '77) Music Education
(MA '82) Music
What is your current role?
Retired from public school teaching and professional trombonist
How did you get into this career?
I started playing bass trombone professionally as an undergraduate at DU. I freelanced in Denver, was a founding member of the Colorado Brass Quintet with Legh Burns, band director at Lamont School of Music, Jacob Larson and Carlberg Jones, professors of trumpet and horn at Colorado State University, and Robert Funk, another undergraduate trombonist at Lamont. I also substituted regularly with the Denver Symphony (now the Colorado Symphony). In 1975, I auditioned for and won the bass trombone position in the Central City Opera Orchestra, and performed there until 2001. I also played in the numerous nightclubs in the Denver area at the time, the Warehouse, the Turn of the Century, the Fairmont Hotel, as well as numerous ice shows, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, etc.
In 1980 I was hired as the adjunct professor of low brass at Lamont. I taught trombone, euphonium and tuba. In 1985, I moved to Arizona with my wife, who started a masters at Arizona State University and was hired as a band director in the Madison School District in Phoenix, and remained there until my return to Denver in 2006.
At that time I became active with Lamont alums, then served as a liaison between Lamont alumni and the Lamont Society, and, consequently, was elected as the president of the Lamont Society Council.
What are your favorite memories of your time at DU?
The amazing faculty and students at Lamont bring back the most wonderful memories. Many great performances, my trombone teacher, Tasso Harris, accordionist and superb musician, Robert Davine, composer, Normand Lockwood, and pianist, Theodor Lichtman, my longtime friend and world-class trumpet performer, Joe Docksey, all come to mind. And, of course, playing in the hockey band brings to mind many stories, and created a lifelong hockey fan.
What advice would you give to new and current students?
Practice, practice, practice! Be an entrepreneur — network like crazy! LISTEN to your mentors. Believe in yourself and support your colleagues. Sing your heart out!