The Paw Print
Last Thursday evening, April 9th, the University’s Brass Choir made their premiere in Leon concert auditorium. The band, a collaboration between college students, alumni, and community members, began its journey just a few months prior with the push of resident trumpet major Jon Colson.
“After hearing many other brass choirs,” Colson said “it was worth it to put together an ensemble that allowed brass players to make a pure sound and fill up a room.”
Colson worked with Dr. Don Miller, the director of bands here at Adams, to organize the affair; contacting the players, selecting the music and planning meetings.
The group met once a week for rehearsals beginning in late February, but with busy schedules it was difficult to get all the members there at one time. In fact, the performance was the first time that the full band played together, a situation that is not uncommon for professional ensembles.
Regardless of that or the short number of rehearsals, the Brass Choir gave a spectacular performance that evening. The ensemble rattled the hall with their opening piece titled Also Sprach Zarathustra by Richard Strauss (commonly known as the theme for the film 2001: A Space Odyssey). This piece, a famous brass piece featuring timpani drums, is well known for its epic fanfare and appearance in much of modern day media. In other words, almost everyone has heard it before.
“I did recognize it and thought it was fantastic! A perfect piece to open with.” Kaitlyn Barringer said. Barringer is a student here at Adams State who has attended many of the music department’s productions though she has no music background of her own.
This wasn’t her first time listening to an all brass ensemble perform and it won’t be her last. “I would definitely like to see the brass ensemble return next year.” Barringer heard about the performance from a few friends and typically enjoys going to Adams’ music performances. She says the sound of the brass band is “extremely unique and lively” compared to other, more common ensembles.
Many of the audience members agreed with her statement, describing the performance as strong, stunning, and delightful. The group performed several pieces that were arranged by the Canadian Brass Ensemble including Three Spirituals, The Grand March from Aida, and Three Madrigals as well as another well-known piece called O Magnum Mysterium. O Magnum was written by Morten Lauridsen but arranged from the original choral version to a rich, majestic brass tune by Colson himself.
The music wasn’t easy to come by, but together, Miller and Colson were able to create a well-rounded concert that displayed the traditional renaissance sounds of brass bands as well as the modern, dark themes. For some of the members, the chosen literature was their favorite thing about the ensemble.
For others, it was simply being in the ensemble.
“I liked knowing I was a part of this elite little group.” Rebecca Valdez says after the concert. For her and many of the community members, elite groups like this are the only opportunity they have to play their beloved instruments.
For these members, it’s important for bands like these to continue, however, they aren’t the only ones who want this ensemble to return. Many audience members, even some who were unable to attend the concert, agree with Barringer and have said they hope to see more from the Brass Choir next year.
Thankfully, the only thing that’s elite about this band is the restriction to brass players. The ASU Brass Choir is open to any students, alumni or community member that can play a brass instrument.
Adams’ music department is planning on bringing the ensemble back next year and will welcome any brass players to join them.