Cameron Handel, local trumpeter

Cameron Handel, a Mount Pleasant native, has been playing trumpet in Charleston and around the world for decades. After touring with Michael Bolton for five years, she started her own band, Cameron and the Funk Dumplins, in Charleston in 2013. The group will headline the Pour House, 1977 Maybank Highway, at 10 p.m. Wednesday. Tickets are $5 in advance and $7 at the door. For more information about the show, visit

Q: When did you start playing the trumpet?

A: I started playing the trumpet in the sixth grade, at Laing Middle School. My big brother was playing at the time, so I had to be a tag-along little sister!

Q: When did you decide you would become a professional career musician?

A: I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do when I graduated from Wando, but I accepted a scholarship to the University of Georgia to study classical music. I then joined the Broadway show called “Blast!” as a featured soloist. I came back and finished my undergraduate at The College of Charleston with a jazz degree. I toured with Michael Bolton for five years, and now here I am still playing, and teaching several weekly private students. I never consciously made the decision to pursue a career in music, but it has worked out for me, and I’m extremely grateful.

Q: You’ve played with so many prestigious bands and artists around the world, and you’ve remained in Charleston’s music scene, too, playing with Sol Driven Train and the perennial wedding gigs with Emerald Empire Band. What is it like to have that kind of duality in your career?

A: Studying jazz was one of the best things I could have done, as it has allowed me to have the duality you mention. I’ve been able to sub with The Charleston Symphony, be a member of Chamber Music Charleston, and The Charleston Wind Symphony with my classical training. With my jazz training, I’ve been able to be a part of the Charleston Jazz Orchestra, tour with pop artists, and gig with my own group.

Q: What made you want to start your own band, the Funk Dumplins?

A: I had just gotten off of the road with Michael Bolton. While it was an incredible experience and opportunity, I didn’t have any freedom to play what I wanted to. Forming the Funk Dumplins gave me that outlet. Our first show was actually around Christmas time at The Pour House, in 2013. For the upcoming show, Chris Bluemel will be on sousaphone, Simon Harding on saxophone, Bryan Motte on guitar, Jeff Handel (my husband) on drums, and yours truly on trumpet and a few vocals.

Q: The upcoming show at the Pour House is going to be Christmas-themed, so does that mean you’ve had to come up with your own arrangements of holiday tunes to fit your funk style?

A: Yes, we will be playing several holiday favorites, but with a more funky, New Orleans second-line feel. We will also be playing tunes that aren’t holiday themed but definite crowd pleasers. Everything from funk to Christmas to pop to jazz, and even a few Hanukkah tunes set to a funky street beat.

Abigail Darlington