Brassroots going strong after 25 years It's been 25 years and still London's big brass band is showing no signs of slowing.
"Frankly I'm not sure there's a similar group in North America that have done a home concert series in their own coach factory canada community for 25 years," says Bramwell Gregson, the group's musical director for the past 16 years. on November 12 at Saint James Westminster Anglican Church, 115 Askin St. In addition to the group's regular four trumpets, French horn, tuba, four trombones and two percussionists, they'll be accompanied by a number of special guests. Those include London Pro Musica choir, Primus Amabile Men's Ensemble, Jeff coach outlet atlanta attractions Christmas, singer Denise Pelley, Steven Holowitz on keyboard and Mitchell Tyler on Bass. They're all artists Brassroots has worked with over the last number of years. Handling a range of genres, including popular music, swing jazz, and classical transcriptions, the non profit band of professional musicians has gone from strength to strength over the years, recording five CDs and garnering two Jack Richardson Music Awards. Not bad for a group that started out as a few talented students jamming with their professor. That was back in 1986 when Professor James White assembled some of his students to play together at The University of Western Ontario. At the time, the group modeled itself partly after England's famous Philip Jones Brass Ensemble, which incidentally had just disbanded and was kind enough to provide Brassroots with much of the music they played at their first performances. Since then the group has performed a home concert series every year without fail, playing over 70 commissioned or donated arrangements, many from local composers like Jeff Christmas. It's an impressive feat for a non profit organization whose members all have other jobs, mostly as music educators. But the unique opportunity to play in a big brass band coach outlet handbags 4u is enough incentive to keep members dedicated. "If you're in an orchestra as a brass player, you're not playing all the time," Gregson explains. "It's a sort of intermittent contribution to the piece. But in this group coach bags premium outlets almost everyone is playing all the time. And there are real technical challenges too. "If you're playing a real classical part, trumpets might have to play clarinet parts, that sort of thing." While seven group members live in London, perhaps that explains why four commute from Kitchener and one comes from Toronto. "I think it's a real opportunity for brass players," Gregson says. "They're great guys. I've never worked with better people and I've worked with a lot of people in 45 years of conducting." As well as donated arrangements, Brassroots has also been lucky to benefit from the support of Fanshawe Chorus, which lend the group percussion equipment for concerts. "It's a fantastic thing for them to do because we would have to spend $35,000 or $40,000 on equipment and where would we store it?" Gregson says. But the group is also happy to spread the music when they have the chance. Every family that attends the Nov. 12 concert will receive a free copy of Brassroots' 25th anniversary CD.
With classics like Kurt Weill's "September Song," Hoagy Carmichael's "Stardust," The Beatles' "Yesterday" and Stephen Sondheim's "Send in the Clowns," the disc offers an eclectic reminder of how special a gem the group is in the city's music scene. Tickets for Brassroots' 25th Anniversary Gala Concert are $20 or $15 for students and seniors (accompanied children 12 and under are free). They can be purchased at Belle Air Music (all London stores), Centennial Hall Box Office and Tuckey Hardware.
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