By Ed Karvoski Jr., Culture Editor
Hudson – The dictionary by Merriam-Webster defines “artist” in part as “one who professes and practices an imaginative art” and “a skilled performer.” Prolific trumpeter Barbara Hall-Siktberg of Hudson personifies the definition.
While raised in North Jersey, she played trumpet as well as sang in church and school choirs. Her appreciation for various musical styles came about when she saw television appearances of acclaimed trumpeters, ranging from jazz legends Louis Armstrong and Maynard Ferguson to classical icon Maurice Andre.
“I was born loving music,” Hall-Siktberg declared. “I started playing trumpet as a kid and stuck with it. Growing up in the New York, New Jersey area, I had great teachers. All my life I’ve been involved with music – listening and performing.”
Hall-Siktberg moved from North Jersey to Boston to study at Berklee College of Music, where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in music education in 1987. For much of the following three decades she worked days as a music educator at private and public schools while playing trumpet nights and weekends with bands and community theaters.
Soon after graduating from Berklee, Hall-Siktberg began teaching music at Immaculate Conception School in Marlborough in 1987. Subsequently, she worked at public schools in Boylston, Hudson, Sharon and Westwood as a trumpet and instrumental teacher, and choir and band director.
From 2003 to 2008, Hall-Siktberg instructed music and movement classes with Apple Country Music Together in Hopkinton, Northborough, Shrewsbury and Westborough. Additionally, she taught after-school instrument lessons with the Hudson-based River’s Edge Arts Alliance from 2002 to 2012. Concurrently, she taught private lessons.
“I enjoy helping kids learn about music and performing,” she noted. “I love teaching them from the very beginning how to read and understand music, and then to play an instrument and perform on it. It’s important to instill in the next generation an appreciation for music and live performance.”
As for performing as a musician herself, she and trombonist Leslie Havens founded the five-piece band Quintessential Brass in 1989. Hall-Siktberg performed with the band for about six years at outdoor summer concerts throughout New England. Her most memorable gigs with them were entertaining at the opening of CambridgeSide Galleria, a Flag Day observance at Boston’s Rowes Wharf, and First Night in Boston and other cities.
Now, Hall-Siktberg plays trumpet with several ensembles of various sizes including the Hudson-based Symphony Pro Musica, Bolton-based Nashoba Symphonic Band and the region’s popular Tom Nutile Big Band. This past February, she performed with the orchestra accompanying the Sudbury Savoyards’ two week-run of the Gilbert and Sullivan comic opera “H.M.S. Pinafore.”
Her community theater orchestra credits in recent years are 2017’s “The Producers” at Concord Players and 2016’s “Hair” at Emerson Umbrella (now known as the Umbrella Arts Center), also located in Concord. Furthermore, she served for three years on the Hudson Cultural Council.
In June 2018, Hall-Siktberg completed her most recent job as a public school music teacher in Boylston. About a year ago, she began working as an Avidia Bank teller at its Marlborough branch. She’s still scheduling time to play trumpet nights and weekends with bands and community theaters.
“Artists need to follow our passions,” she said. “When you’re passionate about something, you need to do it – you don’t have a choice. I just manage to find the time to make music.”