The Owners of Houghton Horns
Dennis Houghton earned his Bachelor’s degree in music performance at California State University, Long Beach, where he studied horn with Fred Fox. He went on to post-graduate study at HFM Detmold (Germany) with Michael Hoeltzel. Other notable teachers include James Decker and William Scharnberg. He has held the position of Co-Principal horn of the Orquesta Sinfonica del Valle (Cali, Colombia) and is currently 4th horn in the Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra. Best known for his handicraft, Mr. Houghton seeks to combine the greatest qualities of artisanal brass craftsmanship with the advantages of new technology. His technical background in brass instrument repair, customization and restoration includes thousands of projects over more than thirty years, as well as consulting work with professional musicians, industry-leading music brands and corporations. Dennis’ outstanding service and reputation have yielded clients from across the United States and abroad. Dennis is an owner of Houghton Horns and serves as Head Craftsman.
Dr. Derek J. Wright is a hornist, web designer, and recording engineer. He currently plays 4th horn in the Amarillo Symphony and section horn in the Midland-Odessa Symphony & Chorale. He has also performed with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, the Phoenix Symphony, the New World Symphony, and countless other critically acclaimed ensembles. As a solo artist, Derek has performed as a guest artist at multiple symposiums and education institutions. He has also released multiple solo recordings on the Houghton Horns YouTube channel. His music studies include work with William VerMeulen, John Ericson, Herbert Winslow, and Kazimierz Machala. As an audio engineer with over 15 years of experience, Derek offers on-site recording, editing, and mixing services. He is also a web designer with specialties in WordPress and eCommerce. Derek is a co-owner of Houghton Horns, one of the largest brass-specialty music shops in the country. He has helped to design and market multiple horns and mouthpieces for the company under the Houghton Horns and Verus brands. He has also spoken as a guest at multiple colleges and universities on the subjects of instrument design and acoustics.
Karen Houghton has been a private horn instructor for over forty years and has taught in the Dallas/Fort Worth area for the past thirty years. During this time, she has had over one hundred high school students place in the prestigious Texas Music Educators Association All-State Bands/Orchestras. Several of her former students now hold professional teaching and playing positions across the country. Karen enjoys teaching all levels and loves to see each student excel and reach their potential on the horn. She studied horn with Fred Fox at California State University, Long Beach, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in music performance. Other notable teachers were James Decker, Michael Hoeltzel (HFM Detmold) and William Scharnberg. Karen has held the positions of second horn in the Long Beach Symphony, Co-Principal horn in the Orquesta Sinfonica del Valle (Cali, Colombia) and is currently 2nd horn in the Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra, in addition to freelancing in the DFW area. Karen is an owner of Houghton Horns.
Mark Houghton has been a member of the internationally acclaimed, Grammy Award winning Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra since 2014. Previously, he held principal horn posts in the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra, the Phoenix Symphony and the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra. Mark is a past prizewinner of national solo horn competitions, and has appeared as a guest artist or soloist with many notable orchestras and music festivals. Mr. Houghton earned a Bachelor’s degree with a Performer’s Certificate from the Eastman School of Music as a student of W. Peter Kurau. Further training included professional studies with William VerMeulen. A passionate educator, Mark has presented numerous clinics and masterclasses across the nation, and currently serves as Adjunct Professor of Horn at Duquesne University. As an owner of Houghton Horns, Mark is primarily involved in artistic ambassadorship, product research and development, social media, events, and strategic planning.
The Associates of Houghton Horns
Benjamin Allen is a writer, podcaster, and French horn restoration artist from North Texas with over fifteen years of repair experience. Trained and mentored by Dennis Houghton, Benjamin has worked with several instrument repair shops, including the largest musical instrument repair facility in the United States. Benjamin specializes in repairing all brass instruments, and is an expert at magnetic dent removal. On occasion, he also performs minor woodwind adjustments on saxophones, clarinets, and flutes. Mr. Allen lives with his wife in Fort Worth and hosts the Apocalypse Theater Podcast.
Christian Paarup is a trombonist, teacher, composer, arranger, digital sheet music engraver, and trombone sales specialist. He has performed with many ensembles in Texas, including the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, Dallas Opera, San Antonio Symphony, and Dallas Winds, and is a founding member of the Fort Worth Brass. Mr. Paarup is Adjunct Professor of Low Brass at Dallas College, a private instructor for Aledo and Burleson school districts, Founder and Director of the Trombone Choir of North Texas, and a frequent adjudicator at UIL auditions and competitions. His works have been performed at the International Trombone Festival and American Trombone Workshop, among others. Through Paarup Music Editions, Christian has helped create method books, arrangements, and instructional materials for esteemed artists and educators such as Dr. Per Brevig, Joseph Alessi, Dennis Bubert, Anthony Barfield, and Karen Houghton. Mr. Paarup holds degrees from Baylor University (BM – magna cum laude), and the Manhattan School of Music (MM). His teachers include David Finlayson, Brent Phillips, and Dennis Bubert. As the Trombone Specialist for Houghton Horns, Mr. Paarup helps guide customers, creates social media content, and represents the business at workshops and trade shows.
Christopher Reddick is known as “The Valve Whisperer”. A skilled craftsman, Christopher specializes in the maintenance and restoration of rotary valves. He also does bell conversions, refits bearings, removes dents, cleans horns and makes people laugh on a regular basis. Christopher’s years of experience in the shop and his love of the horn make him a valuable member of the Houghton Horns team.
Emily Houston is a freelance musician in the DFW area, often performing with the Dallas and Fort Worth Symphony Orchestras as a substitute and extra musician. Emily graduated Magna Cum Laude from Texas Christian University in 2018 with a degree in Horn Performance. She married her high-school sweetheart, Rhett, right after graduation. Emily earned a Master of Music Performance and Literature from the Eastman School of Music in 2021, where she was also awarded a prestigious Performer’s Certificate. Emily plays on a Lewis and Dürk "Rhenish" Anniversary model LDx5, purchased from the Houghton’s in 2018.
Kacie Wright earned her Bachelor’s degree in English and history from the University of Texas at Arlington. Before coming to work at Houghton Horns as photographer and webmaster, she worked in public schools for over a decade, first teaching English to students in Japan, then teaching Japanese to students in the U.S. Her passions include podcasts, cooking, and linguistics.
Kathryn Houghton is an oboist who was born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee. Her parents are musicians and music store owners. Kathryn started on violin, and began studying oboe at age twelve. After attending the Interlochen Arts Academy for her senior year of high school, she completed her bachelor’s degree at the Eastman School of Music as a student of Richard Killmer. She then went on to earn an artist diploma and a master’s degree at Southern Methodist University, where she studied with Erin Hannigan. While at SMU, Kathryn maintained a private oboe studio of 25-30 students in the Dallas area. Kathryn has performed with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, the Grand Rapids Symphony, Spoleto USA, Dallas Wind Symphony (Dallas Winds), the Las Colinas Symphony Orchestra, and many others. Kathryn has been in charge of accounting, payroll, and finance at Houghton Horns since 2007.
Katie Evans is a freelance musician and instructor from Mansfield, TX. She attended University of Texas at Austin and earned a Bachelor's in Music from Texas Christian University. She has performed with the Disneyland All-American College Band, Tuacahn Center for the Arts, Texas Baroque Ensemble, Dynamic Rhythm and many other ensembles throughout the metroplex. When not teaching or playing, Katie spends her free time hosting trivia, making earrings, and cuddling with her dogs Daisy and Sam.
Janet B. Nye is the co-author of “Recipe For Success: A balanced curriculum for young horn players”. She has been a private instructor in the DFW area for over twenty years. Janet is passionate about horn pedagogy and has presented many clinics at band conferences, universities, and horn events around the United States. In addition to freelancing in the DFW area, Janet has played in the Waco Symphony and Irving Symphony for over twenty years. She has toured for seven summers throughout Germany with Eurobrass. Originally from the Appalachian mountains in Abingdon, Virginia, Janet made her way to Texas to study at Baylor University, where she received M.M. in Horn Performance. She received her B.M.E from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.
Darin Northam is a trumpeter, teacher, clinician, composer, and arranger based in Fort Worth, Texas. He has a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from UNT, and has been performing freelance and maintaining a studio for over 20 years, with a few side adventures as a graphic designer and marketing manager in Texas and Uganda, East Africa. Darin specializes in trumpet, but teaches all brass instruments.
James Bailey earned a BME in 2022 with a specialization in euphonium from Southern Oklahoma State University. He aspires to continue his education in conducting. James loves spending time with his three dogs, Lily, Elsa, and Finn, and playing games with his family.
Rex is Houghton Horns' Customer Service Manager and CCO (Chief Cuddles Officer).