School of Brass Faculty

Samantha Croach, Cornet & Education Director

Samantha Croach plays cornet with the River City Brass.  She graduated in 2012 from Slippery Rock University, where she received a bachelor’s degree in Music Education.  She went on to continue her studies at Carnegie Mellon University, earning a Master of Trumpet Performance as a recipient of the School of Music Fellowship.  She studied with Mr. Neal Berntsen of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.  In addition, Samantha is currently an elementary music teacher in the Ambridge Area School District.  In her spare time, she enjoys skiing, crocheting, and spending time with her husband, Brian.

Brian Croach, Cornet & Conductor

Mr. Brian Croach is one of the instructors for the River City Brass Band’s “School of Brass” where assists in teaching beginning brass and percussion students. Brian received his B.S. in Music Education from Slippery Rock University in 2014. As a trumpet and cornet player, Brian enjoys playing the Eb soprano cornet with the Allegheny Brass Band.

Mr. Croach is the instrumental and general music teacher at Laurel Middle High School where he teaches students in grades seven through twelve. He will be entering his 6th year at Laurel at the start of the 2019-2020 school year where his regular schedule consists of seventh and eighth grade instrumental lessons, seventh and eighth grade concert band, seventh grade general music, ninth through twelfth grade chamber ensemble, ninth through twelfth grade beginning theory class, and ninth through twelfth grade concert band.  The Senior High Concert Band showcased their talents this past year when they premiered a new work of music on a concert with the River City Brass Band. Brian is also the director of the marching band as well as the jazz ensemble. Both groups perform regularly and the jazz ensemble even opened up for the Balcony Big Band this past spring.

Algirdas Matonis, Euphonium

Algirdas Matonis is a Lithuanian born euphonium player. He serves as a Principal Euphonium at River City Brass Band in Pittsburgh, Low Brass Instructor at Seton Hill University in Greensburg, PA, and is a founder of a digital music publishing company and store at www.matonizz.com. Algirdas performed as a featured artist at ITEC in 2012, 2014 and 2019. In 2014 Algirdas won the ‘Fodens Solo Competition’ in the UK, which led to his appointment at River City Brass as well as a full scholarship for Carnegie Mellon University. Algirdas received his undergraduate degree in 2014 at Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester under the tutelage of Steven Mead and David Thornton. In 2017, he finished his postgraduate degree at Carnegie Mellon under the guidance of Lance LaDuke. Algirdas is a sponsored artist with Denis Wick and DF Music Inc. He is currently dedicated to his role as the section leader at River City Brass, teaching at Seton Hill University and the RCB School of Brass, performing as a low brass clinician and soloist, and managing www.matonizz.com

Abigail Langhorst, Percussionist

A native of Cincinnati, Ohio, Abby Langhorst is a freelance percussionist in the Pittsburgh area. She has performed with groups such as the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra, Resonance Works, Alia Musica Pittsburgh, and NAT 28. Outside of Pittsburgh, she has performed with the Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra in Tennessee and the Eastern Music Festival Orchestra in North Carolina, under the direction of Gerard Schwarz.

Abby earned her Master of Music degree from Carnegie Mellon University in 2014, where she studied with members of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and River City Brass. She received her Bachelor of Music degree from DePaul University in Chicago, where she studied with members of the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Cleveland Orchestra, and Chicago Symphony Orchestra (emeritus).

Outside of performing, Abby also works as a music educator. Inspired by her parents who both are music educators, she teaches privately and works as the percussion coordinator for the Keystone Oaks Golden Eagle Marching Band in the South Hills of Pittsburgh.

Abby is excited to join the River City Brass team and bring her considerable performance experience to administration and provide support to the organization behind the scenes.

Allyson Huneycutt, Clarinetist

Pittsburgh-based clarinetist Allyson Huneycutt is passionate about approaching music with a sense of creativity and enjoys finding new ways to engage audiences and students alike. She is currently the clarinetist and executive director of Pittsburgh-based new music ensemble NAT 28, an organization dedicated to premiering new works and featuring local composers. She is also a member of Lîla Quartet, first place winners of the 2016 Silberman Chamber Music Competition. Allyson has been featured as a soloist with the Carnegie Mellon University Contemporary Ensemble, the Mansfield University Orchestra, and the Juniata College Wind Symphony. She has received multiple recognitions for her performance, including the Silberman Clarinet Award in both 2014 and 2016. In addition to playing, Allyson enjoys creating various media to accompany live music – including a series of paintings for Lîla Quartet’s performances of Olivier Messiaen’s Quatuor pour la fin du temps. Allyson is also an active educator and teaches private lessons throughout the city. 

Allyson holds both an Advanced Music Studies Certificate and a Master of Music in Performance from Carnegie Mellon University, and a Bachelor of Music in Music Education from Mansfield University of Pennsylvania. Her teachers include Ron Samuels, Tommy Thompson, Dr. David Wetzel, and Janet Berlin. She also traveled to Vienna, London, Madrid, and Amsterdam to study clarinet pedagogy with various conservatory instructors as the 2014 winner of the Gindroz Prize for Travel.

Photo credit: Nadine Photography

David Gardner, Cornet

Mr. David Gardner, a native of North-Central Ohio, is a founding member of The Brass Roots, a member of its illustrious trumpet section, and serves as the Executive Director. Known for his innovative musical ideas and cross-genre versatility, Mr. Gardner performs frequently in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York.

Mr. Gardner frequently performs with a number of local arts organizations: the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra, Johnstown Symphony Orchestra, Resonance Works | Pittsburgh, Wheeling Symphony, Youngstown Symphony Orchestra, Opera Western Reserve, River City Brass, The Bach Choir of Pittsburgh, and many more. In 2017, David and several musicians of The Brass Roots gave the American premiere of Sir James MacMillan’s “Gloria” in collaboration with Resonance Works | Pittsburgh.

As a commercial musician, David has had the pleasure of performing and recording alongside musicians such as Barry Manilow, Slide Hampton, Rufus Reid, Ben E. King, and Ralph LaLama. Mr. Gardner is a member and composer/arranger for two Pittsburgh-based bands: The Employees of Funk (a traditional funk band with horn section) and Run The Meat (a powerhouse brass band that plays funk/dance/pop music).

In addition to performing/teaching in the city, David works for the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Carnegie Mellon University and spends his free time arranging/composing, grilling, trying new cigars, and searching for the best coffee in the Steel City.

David plays a Bach Chicago C Trumpet for the high notes and a modified Yamaha 8310z for the higher notes.

Morgan Wynn, Trombone

A native of Aliquippa, PA, Morgan Wynn is a trombonist and educator based in Pittsburgh, and is the Director of Educational Outreach in the Brass Roots. She enjoys performing and teaching music of all styles including classical, commercial, jazz, and new music. 

As a freelance trombonist, Morgan has performed with the River City Brass Band, the Pittsburgh Opera Orchestra, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, City Music Cleveland, and Resonance Works | Pittsburgh. 

Morgan is passionate about sharing music with students of all ages. As an educator and clinician, she has worked with groups such as YMCA Lighthouse, West Virginia University School of Music, Three Rivers Young Peoples Orchestras, and Youth Chamber Connection. Morgan’s favorite part of teaching is introducing students to new genres, and she enjoys working with a small studio of private students. 

In 2017 Morgan performed in the American premiere of Sir James MacMillan’s “Gloria” in collaboration with Resonance Works | Pittsburgh. She has been a finalist in the IWBC Ginger Turner Ensemble Competition, and has performed as a soloist with the Dana Symphony Orchestra in Youngstown, OH.

Morgan holds a Master of Music from Carnegie Mellon University and a Bachelor of Music Education from Youngstown State University, where she was also a University Scholar. Her primary teachers include Rebecca Cherian, Pete Sullivan, Dr. Michael Crist, and John Olsson.