Dennis and Karen both grew up in Orange County, California and attended Los Alamitos High School. They married in 1979 and received music degrees in Horn Performance at California State University Long Beach in 1980. After graduation, they traveled to South America to play in the Orquesta Sinfonica de Valle in Cali, Colombia. In 1981, Dennis was awarded a Rotary Foundation Scholarship to study music in Germany. He and Karen both continued their studies at the Northwest Academy of Music in Detmold, Germany. Upon returning to the US, the Houghton family settled in Wichita Falls. They both taught lessons at Sam Kreutz music store and played in the WFSO under the direction of Bill Boyer. Receiving more playing and teaching opportunities in the DFW area, Dennis and Karen moved to Denton, where they continued post-graduate studies at UNT, studying with Dr. Bill Scharnberg. In 1985 Dennis began a brass repair business in Watauga. In 1990 the family relocated to Keller and established Houghton Horns, a brass pro shop. Houghton Horns is known throughout the world, providing new and used quality brass instruments, accessories and repair services. Karen continues to have a successful private horn studio in Keller. Both Dennis and Karen are freelance musicians in the DFW metroplex and thoroughly enjoy playing with the WFSO.
Dr. Heather Suchodolski is the Principal Horn of the East Texas Symphony Orchestra and performs regularly with DFW Brass, the Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra, the Lake Lewisville Symphony Orchestra, and other ensembles throughout North Texas. Heather regularly presents performances and master classes throughout the United States and abroad. She has served as an invited Guest Artist at the Universidade de Brasília, the 25th International Festival of Brazilian Colonial and Early Music, and the 2nd International Festival of Classical Music of Piracicaba. She also helped coordinate the 44th Annual International Horn Symposium in Denton, TX. Heather describes music as her team sport. High School Band and Youth Orchestra had a huge influence on Heather’s adolescence, and she’s passionate about passing that love on through her teaching. Heather’s students have successfully auditioned for highly competitive All-Region Bands for Texas Music Educators Association Regions 2 and 31, as well as the All-State Bands and Orchestras. Her middle and high school students regularly compete on national and international stages, taking 3rd place at the 2019 Bands of America Grand Nationals with an invitation to march in the 2021 Rose Bowl Parade, and at the 2016, 2017, and 2019 Midwest Clinic International Band and Orchestra Convention. Heather earned degrees from the University of Arizona (BM) and University of North Texas (MM, DMA) and enjoys painting, cooking, traveling, and damn good coffee. Her last name is pronounced “such-a-doll-skee” if you were curious.
William Scharnberg (Bill) has been principal horn of the Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra since 2007. He graduated from the University of Iowa with the BM, MA, MFA, and DMA degrees. He has performed as principal horn of the Tri-City (now Quad-City) Orchestra, Tacoma Symphony, Flathead Festival Orchestra, Royal Opera Orchestra (Stockholm), Dallas Symphony, Dallas Ballet, Dallas Chamber Orchestra, Breckenridge Music Festival, Big Sky Orchestra, Intermountain Opera, and Dallas Opera (for 32 years).
He taught horn and various subjects at Central Missouri State University (1973-74), Pacific Lutheran University (1975-77), the University of Oklahoma (1977-83), the Royal Academy of Music (Stockholm – fall of 1987), and the University of North Texas (1983-2018), where he retired as a Regents Professor with a horn class of fifty students. Fourteen students were mentored through the DMA degree, all of whom are either teaching at a university and/or performing in an orchestra, with two recently retired from universities.
Since the fall of 2003 he has been the Editor of The Horn Call, journal of the International Horn Society. He served the IHS as President (1990-92), Advisory Council member (1986-92 and 1999-2003), music review editor, and hosted two International Horn Symposia (1991 and 2012). He has performed at international and regional horn conventions, in recital at several universities, concerti with regional ensembles, as a chamber musician at several festivals, and recorded on Crystal, EcoClassics, Centaur, and Klavier labels. He commissioned and premiered works by Paul Chihara, David Maslanka, Cindy McTee, Anthony Plog, Kim Scharnberg, and Yehudi Wyner. His editions of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century horn works were published by McCoy’s Horn Library. He has also been a frequent finalist in the Reader’s Digest and Publisher’s Clearinghouse sweepstakes.