The Kennedy Center

Beltway Brass Quintet


The Beltway Brass Quintet is a project group led by Zachary Smith of the nationally acclaimed Dixie Power Trio. The members of the quintet reside in the Washington, D.C. area and quite frequently spend hours slogging around I-495, D.C.’s infamous beltway. It was on this stretch of highway that the idea for the Beltway Brass was conceived in 2003. The repertoire for the quintet is unusual in its emphasis on Twentieth Century jazz harmonies and stylings. Zachary Smith and Chas Peterson have written most of the arrangements for the group—many of which can be heard on their CD’s Holiday Drive, From the Streets of New Orleans, and The BBQ Goes to Church. Each player in the ensemble has a background rooted more in commercial playing than classical. This allows them to incorporate jazz technique such as improvising into their performances.

Best known for his work with the Dixie Power Trio (25 years, seven albums), Zachary Smith has been a full-time professional trumpet player since graduating from the University of North Texas in 1986. His writing credits include a jazz articulation instructional book for high school and college big bands and critically acclaimed arrangements for Alfred Music. The Beltway Brass Quintet is a project he began in 2003, with the help of Chas T. Peterson.

Chas T. Peterson is a graduate of the University of North Texas and has a master’s degree from Virginia Tech. He is a member of the band Cityscape,
the Quintessential Brass Repertoire, and operates He plays a wide variety of gigs around Washington, D.C., has written numerous brass quintet & trio arrangements, and can be heard on several big band albums as well as his own solo album, My Tribute.

A long-time friend of the Dixie Power Trio, Merry Beth Hall is co-principal horn with the Richmond Philharmonic. She studied music at James Madison University where she also performed on trombone with the jazz ensemble. Along with her orchestral duties, Hall is a very active freelance player in the Richmond area.

Dan Haverstock has worked as a freelance jazz trombone player for more than 20 years in the D.C./Baltimore region. Along with countless show and variety bands, he has performed many times with the Dixie Power Trio and as part of the New Line Brass Band. He has been a regular member of the Zemer Orchestra in Baltimore, and is the founder of the Black Sombrero Brass, the world’s foremost Herb Alpert repertory ensemble.

Tom Holtz is a retired member of the “President’s Own” United States Marine Band and is one of Washington, D.C.’s busiest freelance tuba players. He performs frequently with Big Bertha’s Rhythm Kings, the Bayfield Brass Quintet, and Heimat Echo (a traditional German polka band). Also a talented arranger, many of Holtz’s pieces for brass quintet can be found at
 Beltway Brass Quintet