Where he started . . .
Dennis Lambert moved to Brownwood, with his family, and enrolled in the BISD at Coggin Elementary. At 9, he most likely wasn’t considering whether growing up in a small town would impact his future, either positively or negatively. But, his story should be the answer for any who might have that question in their mind, now.
Lambert completed his primary and secondary education in the BISD, graduating Brownwood High School in 2003. For all four years he played with the band, primarily on piano, but also on trumpet. In that time, Lambert was selected to the All-District Band three times, with his trumpet, received a “1 Rating” at All-District and All-Region competition three times, on piano, and was selected as the recipient of the John Phillip Sousa Award and Scholarship his senior year. His early successes in music drew the staff and bar lines on his future.
Following high school, Lambert remained in Brownwood and attended Howard Payne University. He continued studying classical piano, under the tutelage of Dr. Elizabeth Wallace and jazz harmony under Prof. Stephen Goacher. While there, he had the opportunity to also study with world-renowned pianist, Stefan Karlsson. Lambert was named the Presser Music Scholar for the 2006-2007 school year and received five Outstanding Juries during his time at HPU.
Lambert played with the Howard Payne University Combo, competing annually at the Temple Jazz Festival. While a member of that group, he received three Outstanding Solo and three Outstanding Combo Awards. Lambert completed his Bachelor’s degree in Piano Performance at HPU, in 2008, adding several piano clefs, time signatures, and notes to the sheet music of his future.
Where he is now . . .
Upon graduation, Lambert joined the U.S. Air Force. From 2008 to 2012, he was pianist for the USAF Band of the West, stationed at Lackland AFB in San Antonio. Dennis Lambert became Airman First Class Lambert, in April 2008, and Senior Airman in August 2010, and was deployed as a part of the Central Air Forces Band, serving tours in Iraq, Afghanistan, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and Kyrgystan in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. The Air Force made some significant changes in tempo to his sheet.
“The main reason for me joining the Air Force Band was to pursue my love of playing in front of people,” Lambert said, “In addition, I loved the idea of having the opportunity to do it all around the world as the Air Force allows me to do today. I never get tired of it,” he added, “I think I counted having been in 14 countries during my Air Force career.”
In July 2012, Lambert transferred to the Band of the Pacific-Asia, at Yokota Air Base in Japan, where he graduated Airman Leadership School and attained the rank of Staff Sergeant, in 2013. While in Japan, he also worked as a freelance musician and clinician in Tokyo.
“While in the Air Force, I’ve had the opportunity to play for some great people,” said Lambert.
Specifically, he noted the Secretary and Chief of Staff of the Air Force, the United Nations, the U.S. Ambassador to Japan, and the Command Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force.
Lambert has received medals for AF Good Conduct, AF Achievement, Global War on Terrorism Service and Expeditionary medals, and National Defense Service.
Lambert’s extensive list of professional musicians with whom he has collaborated includes Eddie Daniels, Butch Miles, Jason Marsalis, The Mambo Kings, Kid Rock’s Twisted Brown Tucker Band, Memo Acevedo, Stefan Karlsson, the San Antonio Symphony, Georgie Padilla, and Mike Vax. His sheet of music successes just keeps growing.
Lambert was asked what words of encouragement he could offer young musicians, hailing from small towns.
“I would tell them to keep that fire going, regardless of any obstacles they may face that could prevent them from growing as musicians. It’s very easy in this business to become complacent. At the end of the day, it is hard work. It takes dedication and hours and hours of practice. I remember spending 6-8 hours in the practice room my last year in college. I’m glad I did though, because when it came time to take the audition to be in the Air Force Band, I was ready.
“I would give students four things to think about: 1. Find a mentor and someone that can really be a role model and guide their progress; 2. I would encourage young musicians to keep to a consistent schedule of practicing. Build practicing time into their schedule; 3. Allow yourself to be creative. Music is inherently a creative art form and I think it’s important for future generations to keep “reinventing the wheel” while honoring/respecting the traditions of the music; 4. And last of all, get out there and play. Put together their own band and experience what it is to play in front of people. People’s reaction to one’s music is the best feedback one can have as a musician.”
Lambert’s father, David, has passed on, but his mother, Esther Lambert, his brother, Andrew, and sister, Griselda Diaz, all still live in Brownwood. His ties to his roots are strong and he has demonstrated his appreciation for those who have helped him attain his goals, by taking time to share his music with local residents, performing concerts at HPU.
Musicians from Beethoven to Tchaikovsky are known for having unfinished symphonies. Lambert’s own musical story is still being written and his family, friends, colleagues, and supporters are no doubt as anxious as he, to hear what’s next.