Who are we?
The University of Houston American Roots Ensemble "Cougar Roots" was founded in late 2015 by Garreth Broesche, who quickly added what are now the core members of the band, Emily Hardey, Emilie Catlett, Zachery Lacy, Nick Zizinia, and Justin Grubbs.
The band was and is occasionally joined by auxiliary members Chance Olsen (fiddle) and Salvador "Sal" ______ (trumpet), both students at the Moores School of Music. In the Spring of 2016, Cougar Roots finished expanding the core group with Kyrie Bouressa.
There are two phenomenal auxiliary members of the band that play at a number of live performances intermittently, and have since the conception of the band. Chance Olsen vocalist that plays fiddle in the group and has been playing on and off since fall 2015. Salvador 'Sal' plays trumpet, and has been playing intermittently with the band since fall 2015.
Garreth Broesche A native Houstonian, Garreth holds a B.A. in Philosophy from Kenyon College, a Master's in Music Theory from the University of Texas at Austin, and a Ph.D. in Music Theory from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His primary interest lies in the intersection of music and technology. Garreth has presented his work at conferences in the U.S. and Canada. His article, "Glenn Gould Spliced: Investigating the Filmmaking Analogy," will appear in a forthcoming issue of the journal 'Music Theory Online'. Before teaching at the Moores School of Music (University of Houston), Garreth taught at both UW-Madison and UT Austin. Garreth is the founder of the band, and plays guitar, mandolin, harmonica, and banjo, as well as being a vocalist in the group.
Garreth is also easily the glue that holds the group together and possesses enough drive and passion to turn every single one of the members of Cougar Roots into impassioned individuals and more powerful musicians.
Nick Zizinia is pursuing a Masters in History, having attained his undergraduate degree from Louisiana State University. Nick is a founding member and plays guitar, rhythm guitar, and banjo in the band, and appears on several tracks of Volume One playing both banjo and guitar. Nick is a masterful musician and is always improving upon previous melodies, solos, and licks in the roots repertoire. Several songs in which this talent shines are St. James Infirmary Blues (namely, the mad guitar solo towards the end of the song), Roll in My Sweet Baby's Arms, Cluck Old Hen, and Shine on Harvest Moon.
Emilie Catlett recently graduated from the University of Houston with a Bachelors of Music Performance in Viola and a minor in Contemporary American Literature, and is currently attending the Boston Conservatory for a Masters in Viola. She plays viola and fiddle in the band, and is one of the vocalists (on tracks such as Cluck Old Hen and I Truly Understand). She is a founding member and arranges a number of her own pieces from famous fiddle waltzes and from her experience as a teacher at various fiddle camps around the state of Texas. She is currently applying to a number of graduate programs throughout the United States.
Zachery Lacy recently attained a Bachelors of Music Education with a concentration in Voice. Zach is a founding member and plays mandolin and guitar, as well as being one of the main vocalists in the group (appearing on numerous tracks, among them St.James Infirmary Blues, Roll in My Sweet Baby's Arms, and Pretty Boy Floyd). Zach is currently involved in a number of artistic projects throughout the Houston area, having graduated from the University of Houston in Spring 2016.
Justin Grubbs is pursuing a Bachelors of Music Education in Percussion. Justin is a founding member and plays drum kit and a small number of percussion items in the band. There are several tracks on which Justin truly shines, among them St. James Infirmary Blues, Shine on Harvest Moon, and Once a Day.
Emily Hardey is pursuing a Bachelors of Vocal Performance. Emily was a founding member and is the main vocalist of the group, and accompanies on ukelele on a number of songs on the record, and is currently accompanying the band on guitar. Emily is a native of Austin. Listing the tracks upon which Emily shines would just be listing the entire album, so it can only be truly recommended that you buy the album or head over to the 'Music' tab and listen to one or two of the songs there to get a glimpse of Emily's vocal mastery.
Kyrie Bouressa is pursuing a Bachelors of Music Education with a focus on Double Bass, and a minor in Biology with a specialization in Genetics, as well as a minor in History. She plays double bass in the group and has been with them since Spring 2016. Kyrie is an Austin native. Kyrie possesses great improvisational skill, particularly in the realm in jazz and swing playing. This can be felt and heard in several songs, in particular St. James Infirmary Blues, Shine on Harvest Moon, Cluck Old Hen, and Once a Day.