The Millar Brass Ensemble was founded in 1981 by a group of friends interested in playing and performing large brass ensemble music. A rehearsal space was provided for
the musicians at Northwestern University's Alice Millar Chapel in return for performing at the Chapel’s worship services. After a twenty six year odyssey, the ensemble has developed into an established tradition with a nine month performing season and an international reputation for the finest in brass playing. The American Record Guide calls the Millar Brass Ensemble, "...an up-and-coming group of young players who are making it big... They are certainly one of the best in the US." Fanfare Magazine describes the group’s first recording as, "...clear, clean and crisp. This is how brass music should sound when recorded... the performers are clearly dedicated musicians. I doubt you will find it better done."
The ensemble has toured extensively and has performed concerts at the Mid-west Band and Orchestra Clinic, the International Trumpet Guild Conference, the International Trombone Workshop, the New York Brass Conference, the Texas Music Educators Convention, the University of Chicago and the Eastman School of Music.
The group has seven compact discs to its credit on the Crystal, Koss and Delos International labels. The brass players that make up the ensemble are highly regarded as many of the top freelance musicians in Chicago. The individual members have performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Grant Park Symphony, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and a host of other regional orchestras and chamber groups. Alumni of the Millar Brass Ensemble are performing as members of symphony orchestras around the country.
While the ensemble tours and performs outside of Chicago, one of its primary functions is still to perform brass music as part of the liturgy at Alice Millar Chapel.