Saturday, Feb. 1, students, faculty, and public alike will have the opportunity to enjoy an evening of professional musical arrangement. At 8 p.m., a classical and jazz brass quintet known as Boston Brass will perform in Markel Auditorium in the Sage Center for the Arts.
Twenty-seven years ago, Boston Brass began the career that has since launched them to top performance platforms such as “The CBS Early Show,” National Public Radio’s “Performance Today,” and “The Great American Brass Band Festival.”
The group’s success comes to a great extent from their ability to merge classical and jazz styles developing a captivating sound, and the members of the group are as diverse as their musical offerings. Boston Brass boasts artists who hail from Venezuela, Costa Rica, Las Vegas, Miami, and of course, Boston.
In addition to their performance, Boston Brass will also teach a masterclass for the Hillsdale College brass quintet on the same Saturday at 11 a.m. The Hillsdale quintet is composed of freshman Conor Woodfin and sophomore Andrew Zeiler on trumpet, freshmen Michael Zabik on French horn, Hank Prim on baritone, and Braden Kelley on tuba.
“They’re just getting started,” Teacher of Music and Director of Jazz Ensembles Chris McCourry said. “They’re playing mostly Renaissance-style music, late Baroque, which is what they should be working on right now.”
Director of the Music Department James Holleman invited Boston Brass to campus in hopes of boosting interest in brass quintets.
McCourry said that student interest also supported the plan, especially the brass ensembles who will get to see professionals first-hand.
“That was Jim’s idea to get this thing going. Sort of a ‘let’s see what we can do to get them excited.’ Giving them a goal like ‘you’re going to play in front of professionals’ has really made them work and given them focus.”
McCourry said he is also excited for the opportunity presented to the students in the quintet, who he says have had a rough start but are pushing forward. The improvement in the developing groups has also been encouraging for student and instructor alike, according to McCourry.
“Everybody’s been saying how great the trumpet ensemble’s sounding, but when we started that group, it was terrible,” he said. “Even the guys who started the group were like, ‘when is this going to sound like anything?’ And four years later, after they’ve been working and working on it, they just sound great. It’s the quintet’s first year, and Conor’s a freshman, so they’re just getting started.”
In light of the rocky start the quintet has had, McCourry spoke optimistically about the long-term goals of the young quintet.
“They struggled, but I think that inviting Boston Brass is a great idea because the students are pretty excited about it,” McCourry said. “When I was in school, my greatest joy was playing with my quintet. We’re hoping to get that going with the students so that they can enjoy and experience that. Like anything, we just want to see them get better and stronger. We’re just trying to build and keep it growing.”
To get more information about the event and reserve tickets, contact the box office at 517 – 607-2848.