Filed Under (rural life, rural living) by admin on 04-11-2008

If your school district can nab The Dallas Brass for a day, give yourselves time to promote the performance and sell tickets. For a show this good, you should have more people attending than just the parents of kids in the school band.

The music directors of the Lewisburg school district intercepted a musical ensemble that was traveling through our area. This group, The Dallas Brass, offers an unusual package: They schedule a day with the school system that includes several hours of rehearsals with the school band(s), and then an evening concert that includes the school bands for a small portion of the program.

The cynic in me expected a hack group of musicians who couldn’t cut it without obligating parents to pay to see their kid’s token participation. In part because of my cynicism, that’s how the show seemed to start. The performers were very capable and entertaining—they offered up some campy humor and impressive trumpet pieces. But I’ve heard a lot of good trumpet (just last year, one of the school band directors performed an awesome number), so they weren’t pumping me up toward a standing ovation. Things changed, however, partway through the performance when the group’s percussionist delivered a xylophone solo.

I don’t know virtuoso from hack when it comes to xylophone players. Heck, I can count on one finger the number of times I’ve heard a xylophone featured in a performance. So, if The Dallas Brass percussionist had been just good, the novelty of the experience might have made him great. But as I sat in the high school auditorium, I was sincerely impressed. Later, the ensemble featured a tuba solo that involved novel and clever technique. It had the audience laughing and excited, and again I was sincerely impressed.

Audience response drew an encore for which The Dallas Brass had planned. They played a medley of familiar songs that it’s unlikely anyone would have spliced together. It was a great finish.

So, I left the show feeling quite differently from how I’d felt going in: The Dallas Brass had won me over. My only regret was that the event had not been well-promoted: the auditorium had had empty seats. It’s a shame that a show of that caliber hadn’t sold out… but then who would have expected it to be so entertaining?

Members of The Dallas Brass obviously had a great time performing. They explained that part of their mission is to try to turn kids on to music. They’re succeeding. After the show, my child who plays trumpet reported: “I know what I want to do for a living some day. I want to play in a group like that.”

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