As an arranger, Xander has had the opportunity to work with Marine Band San Diego, the LA Scots Pipe Band, and the University of Arkansas Concert Band.
He is also a three-year member of the Marine Corps All-Star Jazz Band; his jazz experience has a large influence on his compositions and arrangements.
Xander has studied composition with John Wasson (arranger of "Caravan" in the film Whiplash) and Carl Lundgren (former music director of the Maniacal 4 Trombone Quartet). He has also studied trombone with Chris Oliver, Jimmy Clark, Dr. Cory Mixdorf, Dr. Bill Haugeberg, Dr. Bruce Faske, and Joshua Blankenship, and jazz trombone with Carl Lundgren and Joakim Toftgaard.
Xander currently studies music education at Texas A&M University in Commerce where he also leads his own brass choir, Nightfall Brass.
"Nightfall Compositions" are pieces written by Xander Navarro. Due to a sleeping disorder, the majority of his music is written after midnight.
Q: What is Nightfall Brass?
Nightfall Brass is a 54-member brass choir at Texas A&M University (Commerce).
The members meet at dusk and play student compositions, orchestrations, and arrangements.
Q: Why “Nightfall”?
A: In 2015, Xander Navarro chose the business name “Nightfall Compositions” because he has a sleeping disorder that causes most of his writing/arranging to take place at nightfall. Additionally, Nightfall Brass is an instrumental choir that plays both his & other students' compositions/arrangements, and the ensemble meets at nightfall.
Q: What is the goal of this ensemble?
A: To promote an environment in which people can:
1) play enjoyable, meaningful music;
2) play music that listeners don’t need to understand to enjoy;
3) enjoy making music together in a fun, friendly environment.
No cursing, insults, passive-aggressive behavior, etc. will be tolerated.
Q: What music is played?
A: Here are the characteristics of music on which this group focuses:
1) enjoyable by audiences of all ages;
2) enjoyable to play by all of our members (or as many as possible);
3) packed with meaning (doesn’t have to be program music, though);
4) fairly easy to sightread (so new members can jump in when others graduate);
5) has the ability to bring the group together by experiencing the same emotions as they play.
Q: Is music limited to Xander’s compositions/arrangements?
A: No, but anything brought to the group needs to fit in line with the aforementioned musical values of this particular ensemble (which are specifically designed to distinctly differ from other university ensembles/chamber groups). This does not mean that other music is bad/inferior. It just means that the function(s) of that music does not line up with our objective.
Q: Is there an attendance policy?
A: Two absences without prior notice (excluding emergencies) will result in removal from Nightfall Brass. We work together to schedule these rehearsals, so absences (within control) communicate that one does not value the ensemble enough to maintain membership.
Q: Who gets to join?
A: At the moment, Nightfall Brass is invite-only. Invites are extended to people who will likely aid in the aforementioned goal. Invites are also based on space availability.
Q: I know some really nice people. Can they join?
A: Recommendations definitely are taken into consideration. However, since this ensemble has limited space, please understand that not everybody who the ensemble likes can be in it at the same time.
Q: Why is space limited?
A: In the past, scheduling and attendance have been major issues that stopped the ensemble from functioning. However, with the “limited space” approach, we have either had perfect attendance or almost-perfect attendance at each rehearsal.
Q: Are rehearsals open?
A: Yes. Nightfall Brass is not a frequently-performing ensemble, so guests are welcome to come to rehearsals as audience members. Guests are afforded the opportunity to view the scores and provide feedback to the conductors after the rehearsal.
Q: Isn’t the guest policy a little cold/limiting?
A: It is not intended to be that way. Nightfall Brass is very much an enjoyability-first organization that is based on the experience of it, and it can be thought of as more of a movement to do something different rather than follow what other ensembles do. If a mistake is made, we will turn it into an educational opportunity. If a light-hearted moment happens, we will ride out the wave of happiness. If a piece is not clean, we will still continue to prioritize general effect over cleanliness. Every member of the group has made this paradigm shift, and we ask that our guests do the same to experience it the same way we do.