As a prelude to the Washington Wizards’ 109-point rout of the Toronto Raptors on Nov. 16, George Mason University’s Trumpet Ensemble played the nation’s anthem.

It was a beautiful sound for those in attendance, pairing “The Star-Spangled Banner,” penned during the War of 1812, with one of the country’s newest musical groups. Mason’s trumpet ensemble was formed in September, a brainchild of professor Dennis Edelbrock.

“I started the national trumpet competition here 20 years ago and several years after that, we decided we will have a trumpet ensemble division,” Edelbrock said. “Well, there weren’t any schools that really had a trumpet ensemble, like Julliard and Indiana, so they all have them now.”

In its first months of existence, the 14-man ensemble has quickly gained traction in the area. Edelbrock and his team have high expectations for the future and are fueled by the quick success the group has already had, playing for professional sports teams.

“I’m even thinking we can get a Redskins game next year,” Edelbrock said. “I have crazy ideas. I’m going to see if I can get us into the Virginia State legislature.”

Edelbrock performed with the United States Army Band beginning in 1975. Only recently did he retire from that band to become more involved with Mason’s music program.

His background in music is quite extensive, and he uses it as a motivational tool for himself and his students.

“I’ve been playing since I was two,” Edelbrock said. “My dad retired in 1987, the Iowa bandmaster of the year. My mom, I watched her play with The Supremes, she played with shows that came through town, little Michael Jackson when he was still singing with the brothers.”

Even though the students do not always have the same extensive background as their professors, they have the same motivation now that they are working on their craft with a high level of professionalism. They push each other to be better in the best case of peer pressure.

“It has really stepped up a lot of the players who haven’t been in the practice room as long and it gives them something to work on,” said Buddy Deshler, a sophomore music major who is a member of the ensemble. “Now everyone has seen what this group is capable of doing and what direction [Edelbrock] is helping us go in.”

As the newest arm of the university’s music program, opportunities are abounding for students in the music program. Deshler plays in the pep band and the trumpet ensemble and has played for a variety of events. Every opportunity must be taken for those who want to pursue the field of music as a career. It is definitely not for the faint of heart.

“There’s a lot of freshmen that are taking the initiative to be part of a group like this. I didn’t have an opportunity like this my freshman year and a lot of the upper classmen really did not have an opportunity like this,” Deshler said.

Mason benefits as well. Not only do dedicated students have an opportunity to play for the group, but the university can use the group as a face of their program and student population.

“It’s become a recruiting arm as well as a public relations arm,” Edelbrock said.

With dedicated and driven members who have done much in the short time they have been together, the sound of Mason’s Trumpet Ensemble will only get sweeter with time.