Purdue Brass Choir makes its debut April 16
Monday, April 13, 2009
From hymn tunes to reggae, from swing to salsa, the Purdue Brass Choir will showcase all sides of its personality in its debut concert at 8 p.m. Thursday, April 16, at University Church, Third and North Sts.
Ishbah Cox directs the Brass Choir made up of 25 trumpets, horns, trombones, tubas, baritones and euphoniums as well as piano, drums and percussion. All the musicians are members of other ensembles under the Purdue Bands & Orchestra umbrella. The abundance of music for chamber wind ensembles and interested musicians led Cox to create the Brass Choir.
“The pieces challenge them as musicians and they are more independent playing in a small group,” Cox says. “Plus it exposes them to literature they probably haven’t played before.”
As an undergraduate at Auburn University, Cox played in a small brass ensemble and found so much joy in it “that I wanted to share that experience with them,” says the Band faculty member who also conducts Purdue’s University and Collegiate Bands.
John Zdechlik’s “Centennial Fanfare” provides an upbeat celebratory opener for the concert followed by “Passacaglia and Scherzo” by Leroy Ostransky.
There’s a strong Indiana connection in “Ten Masterworks for Brass Choir” arranged by William Pelz who was born in Evansville and headed the Music Theory Department at Butler University. “We consider them masterpieces because of the composers he decided to work with,” Cox says.
Among others, Pelz tacked “Ave Maria” by Friedrich Burgmuller, a “March” by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, a “Gavotte” or Baroque dance by Johann Kunhau, an “Andante Grazioso” by Wolfgang Mozart, an “Andante” by Ludwig van Beethoven and a “Mazurka” or stylized Polish folk dance by Frederic Chopin.
Changing the mood, the Brass Choir will perform Duke Ellington’s “It Don’t Mean A Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing” and three selections written for the Dallas Brass “Brass Grooves” project by John Wasson – “Senor Salsa,” “Swingtime” and “Island Holiday.”
Changing the mood again it will also perform an arrangement of the classic hymn tune “How Great Thou Art” by Keith Kunda and a series of three chorales for brass choir scored by Paul Whear including “Let Us Rejoice” by Johann Christian Bach, “Chorale for Brasses” by Carl Ludwig and “Rejoice, Ye Christians by Johann Sebastian Bach.
Admission to the concert is free. The Brass Choir’s next public appearance will come as part of the Purdue Bands Showcase concert at 6 p.m. Saturday, April 25, in Elliott Hall of Music.
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