Crane Latin Ensemble Concert Features 'Salsero' on Trombone


The Crane Latin Ensemble will present a concert featuring “salsero” sounds and trombonist Michael Wilkinson at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, March 25 in Helen M. Hosmer Concert Hall at SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music.

In a program entitled “¡Esta Puesta Toda la Carne del Asador!,” meaning “All the meat is out of the oven!,” the Crane Latin Ensemble will perform an eclectic mix of merengue, cumbia and timba fusions.

The group will also play original compositions by band members, including M. Maxwell Howard’s “The Prodigal Son Returns from His Calamitous Space Adventures.”

The Crane Latin Ensemble musicians are currently participants in a project called “For the Love of the Mambo.” The project will attempt to document, through multiple media, the experiences of both veteran musicians who played for decades under Tito Puente and young performers of the Crane Latin Ensemble, many of whose first in-depth Latin musical experience began as undergraduate students at SUNY Potsdam. The project hopes to weave the two story lines together and promote the education of Latin music, its culture and rich history for years to come.

In May 2010, the ensemble performed as featured young artists hosted by the University of the Americas and the Mexican Tourism Bureau in Puebla, Mexico. They have also performed in concert with legendary Latin jazz trombonist Chris Washburne and Spanish Harlem Orchestra’s baritone saxophonist Mitch Frohman. North Country Public Radio host Todd Moe has said, “It’s dynamic music from a group of talented young people who play their hearts and souls out.”

The Crane Latin Ensemble is directed by Dr. Marsha Baxter, associate professor music education, along with student directors Drew Coles and Chad Weinheimer.

Featured soloist Michael Wilkinson is the visiting instructor of trombone at Crane for the 2010-11 school year, where he teaches the trombone studio, directs the Crane Trombone Ensemble and teaches trombone techniques classes. Prior to moving to Potsdam, Wilkinson was a faculty associate in jazz studies at Arizona State University, where he is also working on a doctorate in classical trombone performance. He has a master’s degree in trombone performance from ASU, a bachelor’s degree in music education from the University of Arizona, and is an alumnus of the Disney/Grammy All-American College Jazz Band. Wilkinson taught middle school band in Tucson, Ariz., for eight years, building his program into one of the best in the region. He also spent nine years as the musical director, lead trombonist, sound engineer and auxiliary percussionist for a local salsa band in Tucson.

In 2009-10, Wilkinson collaborated with Moiss Paiewonsky at the University of Arizona to form the I-10 Trombone Conspiracy, performing at ASU, UA, and the University of Florida. He was also a featured guest artist at the University of Texas at El Paso, performing with the jazz faculty and coaching the brass ensemble. Wilkinson plays tenor, bass, alto trombone, and euphonium and has studied with Tom Ervin, Gail Wilson, Ralph Sauer and Sam Pilafian.

The Crane Latin Ensemble is an auditioned musical group of voice, percussion, piano, guitar, brass and woodwind performers dedicated to performing Latin music.

This concert is free, and the public is invited to attend. For more information about the many free events on the SUNY Potsdam campus calendar, visit

Founded in 1886, SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music has a long legacy of excellence in music education and performance. Life at Crane includes an incredible array of more than 300 recitals, lectures and concerts presented by faculty, students and guests each year. The Crane School of Music is the State University of New York’s only All-Steinway institution, and is celebrating its 125th anniversary in 2011.