Melodies produced by wind instruments filled the University of Montana's School of Music Music Recital Hall Tuesday evening for the first area-wide Top Brass concert, Feb. 11, 2020. The concert featured two ensembles, two choirs, one quintet, and one consort.
The concert opened with pieces from composers Eric Ewazen, Claude Debussy, and John Williams. The five student brass ensemble performed these pieces in the soft limelight, and set the stage for the UM Brass Quintet to proceed them.
After each group of brass players performed their instrument-specific pieces, the concert culminated in the UM Brass Choir. University of Montana tuba and euphonium instructor Benedict Kirby directed the multi-instrument finale. He conducted musicians both from the stage and in the balcony to the concert's harmonious conclusion.
Some brass student musicians said they were glad to have a wind-instrument specific showcase. Sophomore Quinton Schauer, a trumpet player, said the concert was appropriate.
"I feel like the brass in general don't get enough attention," Schauer said. "A lot of what we do, even in fusion, is a lot of strings and woodwinds or vocals so I think that it is important that we get our equal representation."
University of Montana assistant professor to horn and music theory Zachary Cooper helped put on the concert not only to showcase the University's brass program but to encourage future students to take up wind instruments.
"All of our professors are always looking for more students who want to study brass," Cooper said. "My favorite part [about the Top Brass concert] is starting new way to present our students to the community, hopefully to get younger students especially those involved in the Missoula County Public Schools."
Student brass musicians will be performing in upcoming concerts at the University of Montana, including the Symphonic Wind Ensemble and Concert band performance of Mystics and Sorcerers, Feb. 20, 2020.
The University of Montana announced the spring commencement ceremony scheduled for May 9 will be canceled due to COVID-19, but students may be able to participate in smaller commencement ceremonies in communities across Montana and other regions in the fall.
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