Gary Halopoff is a freelance trumpet player and educator in the greater Los Angeles area. Born in San Gabriel, California, Gary’s music path was predetermined by his mother, Ellen, a music teacher herself, and founder of a school music education program. Like his siblings, Gary studied the piano at the age of seven for one year before joining the school orchestra program. He chose to learn to play the trumpet, unaware of how his decision would affect the rest of his life. In high school, Gary participated in the Hollywood Bowl Battle of the Bands, the most important regional music competition of its day, an experience that shaped his lifetime love of big band jazz. Before his 20th birthday, Gary began touring with Alvino Rey and The King Sisters, followed by tours and performances with Harry James, Ray Anthony, Boz Scaggs, Michael Crawford and Jack Sheldon, to list a few.
In the mid 1970s, a Long Beach Elks Club gig led to Gary’s chance meeting with a Disneyland entertainment director, followed by seventeen years of trumpet performance employment with various groups within the famous theme park. Gary spent 7½ years with the Disneyland Band, which introduced him to music education on a grand scale, as the Band often presented concerts at the Orange County Performing Arts Center, each attended by 3,000 2nd grade students. As the Band’s lead trumpet player, Gary developed a solid musical phrasing style and strong leadership ability.
Gary has held the position of adjunct trumpet professor in both the Mt San Antonio College Jazz Studies Program and at California Baptist University. He has also coached at several high schools, including Long Beach Polytechnic, Los Alamitos and El Dorado High Schools. Sensing the need for a better approach to trumpet playing, Gary has been inspired to write a book outlining techniques designed to create a more efficient trumpet player, giving way to becoming a more creative musician.
Just two months ago, Gary began touring with The Dallas Brass, visiting middle and high schools in Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Minnesota, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Texas and Tennessee. The Christmas concert with the Jackson (Tennessee) Symphony was the highlight of the most recent tour.
While still primarily a performing trumpet player, Gary continues to teach trumpet privately and coach at local high schools and colleges, and is available for guest soloist and clinician programs. He is working on his first solo CD project, scheduled for release in 2012.