A kick in the Boston Brass

By By Chase Dickerson

By Chase Dickerson

There they were, five purple-suited men all standing in a row, shimmering, if not slightly odd-looking, instruments held in each of their hands.

The folks over in Massachusetts call these musicians the Boston Brass, and they are known worldwide for their astounding talent and A-plus performances.

After last week’s performance at Libby Gardner Hall, Utahns might as well just go ahead and call them spectacular.

The Brass opened their Utah show with “Moscow Cheryomushki: Galop,” by Dmitri Shostakovicha, and the quintet didn’t look back-a wide repertoire of pieces followed, almost all of them having been adapted and arranged by the group’s very own J.D. Shaw.

Among the instruments used by the Brass were two trumpets, a French horn, one trombone and a tuba, played by Richard Kelly, Jeff Conner, J.D. Shaw, Edward Clough and Andrew Hitz, respectively.

After a brief intermission-during which the humble musicians mingled with audience members-the mood lightened as the group finished off the night with more upbeat and jazzier selections, such as “The Chicken” and the last item on the program listing, “Caravan.”

But, even after the show ended, it was clear the audience hadn’t quite had enough though of the group.

During the standing ovation, everybody in the audience made the Brass feel welcome, chanting “One more!” and “Encore, encore!”

Sure enough, the group returned to treat everyone to “Here’s that Rainy Day.”

It was intriguing throughout the performance to watch as the players were visibly moved by each other’s notes-it was easy to see the level of appreciation the performers felt for the group and how deeply it affected them.

Also making an appearance during “Rigaudon,” ‘Pome Hroque,” and “Here’s that Rainy Day” was Kenneth Udy, a familiar musical face here at the U. Udy had the opportunity to accompany the Brass on the organ and definitely made full use of Libby Gardener’s pristine wall of organs. The combination of the brass and Kenneth’s fine-tuned ability made those three pieces come to life.

However, music wasn’t the only entertainment provided-between each composition the members of the Brass took turns telling stories and jokes, maintaining a light and airy atmosphere throughout the performance. During “Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2,” Richard Kelly (trumpet) came to a part where he was required to repeat two notes for a prolonged period of time. As he played them longer than he should have, he began to run out of breath and had to have the part “transferred” to Jeff Connor (also on the trumpet) so that he could regain his stamina. That and many other such incidents had the audience chuckling and asking for more.

More importantly, the group also described the personal application each piece had to them. Of particular note, the audience learned that “Largo” was one of Andrew Hitz’ favorite pieces in middle school because he only had to memorize 14 notes while other violinists playing had a couple hundred to keep track of.

Interested in hearing the Brass in the comfort of your own home? Sadly, the Brass don’t have a habit of making house calls, but interested parties can check out the Web site at www.bostonbrass.com, where you can purchase the Brass’ music, listen to samples of their work and find out more about the band.

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