The Bone Rangers From Merit School of Music to Appear on NPR’s From the Top With Christopher O’Riley

The Bone Rangers, a chamber ensemble comprised of high school-aged trombonists from the acclaimed trombone studio of the Merit School of Music in Chicago, Illinois, will appear on an upcoming episode of From the Top, the hit NPR radio program featuring performances and interviews with America’s best young classical musicians. The episode will air by podcast and at beginning October 22. The episode was taped for students at Conservatory Lab Charter School at Roxbury Community College in Boston on June 5, 2018.

On the broadcast, The Bone Rangers — coached by Timothy Riordan and featuring Karl Kirkpatrick, 18, from Mundelein, Omar Tlatelpa-Nieto, 18, from Lansing, Jonah Blake, 16, from Chicago, and Rafael Noriega Jr, 15, from Chicago – perform “Canzona” by Biagio Marini (1594-1663) and “Intrada” by Walter Ross (b.1936)

Omar Tlatelpa-Nieto and Rafael Noriega Jr have also received From the Top’s Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award in conjunction with their performance on the show. The award of up to $10,000 is given to deserving young musicians to help further their musical studies.

The Bone Rangers have performed in concert with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and have appeared several times on the From the Top national radio program and their PBS television program, From the Top–Live from Carnegie Hall.  They have also been featured on Chicago news and other local television programming and have been staples of the Grant Park Symphony’s summer residence at Millennium Park.  The Bone Rangers have been the top finishing wind group at Fischoff, the Rembrandt Competition, MYA Discover National Chamber Music Competition, and several other local competitions, as well as being named Honorable Mention in the International Trombone Association’s Trombone Quartet Competition.  In both 2017 and 2018, The Bone Rangers won second prize in the Wind Division at University of Michigan’s M-Prize Chamber Arts Competition. One of their proudest moments was playing the national anthem for a Chicago Cubs home game.  The Bone Rangers trombone quartet is coached by Timothy Riordan and features:

  • Karl Kirkpatrick, 18, lives in Mundelein, Illinois where he is a senior at Mundelein High School and studies trombone at the Merit School of Music under Timothy Riordan.
  • Omar Tlatelpa-Nieto (trombone), 18, lives in Lansing, Illinois and studies trombone with Tim Riordan at the Merit School of Music. He is a recipient of From the Top’s Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award. In addition to performing with the Bone Rangers and other ensembles at the Merit School, Omar is also a member of the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra.
  • Jonah Blake, 16, is in tenth grade at Whitney M. Young Magnet High School in Chicago, Illinois and studies trombone at the Merit School of Music under Timothy Riordan.
  • Rafael Noriega Jr, 15, lives in Chicago, Illinois, where he is a freshman at Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy. He is a recipient of From the Top’s Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award. Rafael studies trombone at the Merit School of Music under Timothy Riordan, where he performs in the Merit Wind Symphony, Brass Ensemble, Trombone Choir, and the Bone Rangers.

Also featured on the broadcast:

13-year-old pianist Maxine Park from Hanover, New Hamphsire performing Bach; 18-year-old violinist Samuele Parrini from Greenville, South Carolina performing Wieniawski; 18-year-old cellist Han Lee from Hicksville, New York performing Shostakovich; the Bone Rangers Trombone Quartet from the Merit School of Music in Chicago, Illinois; and 18-year-old oboist Robert Diaz from Clearwater, Florida performing Poulenc.

This episode of From the Top will be available for streaming and podcast at beginning October 22, 2018.

About From the Top

Based in Boston, From the Top is an independent non-profit organization that supports, develops, and shares the artistic voices and stories of young classically-trained musicians. Its national platform and leadership programs amplify the hope, passion, and discipline of today’s extraordinary young musicians.

From the Top provides young musicians with live performance opportunities in premier concert venues across the country; national exposure to over a half million listeners on its weekly NPR show; leadership and community engagement preparation; and nearly $3 million in scholarships since 2005.

From the Top’s programs are made possible in part by an award from the National Endowment of the Arts, a grant from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, and partnerships with radio stations nationwide.

Learn more at

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