About BrassChix

Founded in 2009, BrassChix is an annual gathering of female brass players from high school, college and beyond, for a day of playing and discussing music, sharing ideas and enjoying the cameraderie of playing a brass instrument. 

The Mission of BrassChix is to encourage girls and women who play a brass instrument. BrassChix forums aim to cultivate a network of peers and mentors among female brass players, through activities designed to engage participant’s music making and conversations about the rewards of playing a brass instrument.

BrassChix Co-Founders

Sarah Schmalenberger teaches courses in music history and literature, as well as studio French horn at St. Thomas. Currently, Dr. Schmalenberger is engaged with several areas of research, from published articles on black American women in concert music to new inquiries into music pedagogy and also music and disability. She is the primary investigator of the Life and Livelihood Study, a national research project on the occupational and medical well-being of musicians after breast cancer. In addition, Dr. Schmalenberger maintains an active schedule as a freelance hornist, both the modern and the valveless horns. She is the principal horn of the Lake Superior Chamber Orchestra as well as the Early Music Orchestra, and she has recently commissioned a work for horn, percussion, and guitar by composer Albert Biales.



Kara Bradshaw is the Director of Marketing and Communications for the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of St. Thomas. She earned a Bachelors of Music from the University of Minnesota-Duluth and a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership in Student Affairs from the University of St. Thomas. Outside of her responsibilities in marketing, communications and enrollment, Kara is also a freelance horn player. 

Photo of BrassChix co-founders, Sarah Schmalenberger and Kara Bradshaw

 Sarah & Kara