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Local trumpeter is always a standout no matter where she performs

Sandra Stoeckel has had a lifelong love for music that she expresses through playing the trumpet and delights in encouraging young people to use their musical talent. Submitted photo

Sandra Stoeckel credits parents for her love of music 

Anyone who has attended a recent Kicks Band concert might have noticed a new face in the trumpet section. In fact, she’s a standout — she’s the only female trumpeter in the band.

This musician is Terre Du Lac resident Sandra Stoeckel. Her parents first inspired her love for music. They often listened to musicals, swing, big band, jazz and classical music.

“We always sang with the radio in the car,” said Stoeckel. “Music was always surrounding me.”

When Stoeckel joined the school band in seventh grade in Jefferson City, she played clarinet but soon realized trumpet was her calling and switched mid-year.

Stoeckel’s brother John played trumpet, so they already had one in their home. He caught her playing it one day after school and grabbed it and said, “You can’t play that!”

She took that as a challenge and yelled back, “Game on!”

Stoeckel earned first chair in band at the next audition.

After college, Stoeckel moved to St. Louis. She wanted to play in a band, but none were near her. She went to the Parkway School District and spoke with Mr. O’Brien. She asked if she could start a band in their adult education program, and he agreed.

She led that band for three semesters. Her plan was to break away from adult education and start their own 501-3C nonprofit. That’s when the After Hours Community Band began.

Stoeckel just happened to be in the right place at the right time when she was asked to become an MAFAA instructor. She and her husband, Dan, moved to Terre Du Lac in June 2020. Stoeckel joined Mineral Area College’s Community Band in mid-2021.

One evening Bob Monks asked Stoeckel to join him in the trumpet section. He had heard her play trumpet. Later, he and Amanda Dement asked Stoeckel to join MAFAA as a trumpet instructor.

“I so enjoy my trumpet studio students,” said Stoeckel. “They bring me great joy!”

She added, “That, for me, is what my retirement is all about. Giving back to the community by utilizing and sharing my skills and nurturing young trumpeters.”

Dement and Linda Huck had already discussed creating a Junior Community Band. One evening, Huck approached Stoeckel about assisting her with the band.

“I immediately said yes, knowing I could learn so much from her,” said Stoeckel. “I so appreciate her talent and many years of teaching experience.”

Stoeckel said their collaboration would be beneficial for her personal growth, not to mention the main reason for providing more musical experience for local young musicians.

Her goal is to grow the MAFAA Junior Community Band so that more young musicians will have the opportunity to play and perform in a band other than the one at their school.

Stoeckel expressed her appreciation for the opportunities she’s been given since moving to the community.

“I want to thank MAFAA for all the opportunities they have allowed me since my arrival to this wonderful community,” she said. “My husband Dan and I are both so grateful to have been so fully and warmly embraced into this music community.”

Stoeckel is performing in the MAFAA Community Band concert today. She and Linda Huck are also co-directing the newly formed Junior Community Band, which debuts in their first concert before the Community Band’s performance.

Pam Clifton is a contributing writer for the Daily Journal.

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