Sunday, March 29, 2009

Milwaukee Festival Brass Youth Band

I mentioned a few posts ago that the Milwaukee Festival Brass have begun organizing a Youth brass band. 2009-2010 will be the inaugural year for the program. Auditions are open to any brass and percussion students who demonstrate a passion for music and are highly skilled on their instruments. Brass band music requires all of the brass musicians to learn treble clef and percussionist should be all around players as parts are rotated. F horn is not used in brass band and students will be asked to play e-flat tenor horns. Likewise, trumpet is not used and trumpeters will be asked to play cornet. Cornets, tenor horns and E-flat tuba will be provided.

The auditions for the Youth Brass Band will be held at the Lincoln School for the Arts, 820 E. Knapp Street in Milwaukee on Friday April 24th by appointment. For the audition, students will be asked to perform a 3-5 minute solo or etude, scales, double & triple tonguing and sight reading. Percussion will be asked to play drum set, timpani, and mallet percussion.

Dr. Patricia Backhaus will direct the NEW Milwaukee Festival Youth Brass. She has been passionately involved with brass music from a very young age and earned the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Minnesota. Dr. Pat is an internationally known trumpet and cornet soloist as well as a band history scholar. Her interest in pioneer women brass players stems from a doctoral project studying the history of early cornet soloists and her work as a band history scholar has been published in several international journals.

Call the Milwaukee Festival Brass to set up an audition appointment at 262-385-9627, OR visit our website at, to get more information. Questions can be emailed to:

And don't forget the MFB Annual Guest Night, where you can join the MFB members in an open rehearsal to see what it is like. Any brass or percussion player is invited to sit in. Please contact the MFB Manager at, and as always BRING A STAND.

Oh, one other thing...ENJOY!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Upcoming Concert in Wauwatosa

The Wauwatosa Community Band is in concert on Tuesday evening March 31 at 7:30 PM at Longfellow Middle School in Wauwatosa (corner of 76th and North). But this one is different. The concert will be a collection of recitals of small groups from within the Wauwatosa Community Band. The different groups performing include a Brass Choir, a Woodwind Choir, the Percussion Ensemble, Trumpets and Trombones, a Trombone choir, a Tuba Quartet, a Flute quartet, a Clarinet choir, a Saxophone choir, and a woodwind and brass quintet. (Whew!)

The concert finishes with a short program from Tosa Jazz, the jazz big band arm of the Wauwatosa Community Band, will perform some new charts, never before performed in concert. The cost of the concert is $5, $3 for Seniors and Students.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Upcoming Concert - Milwaukee Metropolitan Community Concert Band

Don't forget the Knightwind Ensemble concert this Sunday March 22 at 3 PM at Wisconsin Lutheran College. Check their site for the details. If you attend, stop by and say hello. I'll be manning the ticket table.

Also next week, the Milwaukee Metropolitan Community Concert Band will present Music for the Young and Young at Heart on Saturday March 28th at 3 PM also in Schwan Concert Hall on the campus of Wisconsin Lutheran College. The group's director, Karen Lippert, tells me that this concert celebrates the 15th anniversary of MMCCB. Celebrating with the band, and guest conducting, will be the founding directors of the band: Dr. Patricia Backhaus, and Mr. Richard Mannisto.

The program will include pieces that reflect the life of a child - exuberance, playfulness and rest - such as Festive Overture (Shostakovich), The Teddy Bear's Picnic (Bratton), Creatures of Dreams (Barber), Joy Revisited (Tichelli), Easter Monday on the White House Lawn (Sousa), and Sleep (Whitacre).

This free concert will also include a special intermission with "Cookies & Milk", certainly a big event in a child's day!

The MMCCB always presents a fun program. And so I suggest that you take some time out of all your errands Saturday afternoon and help them celebrate their anniversary. You'll have a good time.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Upcoming concerts and other stuff

Back in January I wrote about two of the pieces on the program to be performed by the Knightwind Ensemble on Sunday March 22 at 3 PM at Wisconsin Lutheran College. Here's some information on the feature piece, Van Gogh Portraits by Aldo Rafael Forte.

First a bit about Mr. Forte. He is Composer / Arranger for the United States Air Force Heritage of America Band stationed at Fort Langley, VA. He is also Adjunct Professor of Composition at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, VA. He came to America at the age of nine, having been born in Cuba. His compositions are varied, having produced works for chamber orchestra, band, and orchestra.

The Van Gogh Portraits are his musical interpretations of a number of works by Van Gogh. The Potato Eaters is the first movement inspired by the dark painting of a poor peasant family eating a simple meal of potatoes. La Berceuse is a lighthearted, rollicking second movement based on portraits of the wife of Vah Gogh's postman. The Zouave, which features the percussion section, represents soldiers of North African origin, who were first brought to European awareness by Napolean. The Drawbridge was inspired by the Langiois Bridge. The Finale is a musical essay on Van Gogh's last self portrait, painted only months before his suicide. The work is very difficult to perform, but very exciting, interesting, and enjoyable.

For more information, see the Knightwind web site:

And on Sunday March 15th, Tosa Jazz is in concert at Plymouth Church, 2717 E. Hampshire, at 7 PM. I don't have any information at this time, but hope to get some details soon. More information on Tosa Jazz is at their website:

Finally, I received word from the Milwaukee Festival Brass that they have set the audition date for the Youth Brass Band. It is April 22. I'll have more details in the next couple of weeks. And speaking of the Milwaukee Festival Brass, I'll see you at their concert this afternoon at Wisconsin Lutheran College at 3 PM. Don't forget to bring some non-perishable food items for the Hunger Task Force!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Milwaukee Festival Brass - Concert this Sunday

I was reminded last night that the MFB concert this Sunday at 3 PM at Wisconsin Lutheran College is also a benefit for The Hunger Task Force. Bring two or more non-perishable food items and receive a discount on admission.

So, there you have it! Take in a great concert this Sunday, get a discount on the admission, and do something good for the Hunger Task Force. Your Sunday is set!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

More from the Milwaukee Festival Brass

Last week I mentioned the upcoming concert by the MFB at 3 PM on March 8th at Wisconsin Lutheran College. It will be a good one, so be sure to mark your calendar. Mine is!

Today I devote the posting to two programs of the Milwaukee Festival Brass: one an ongoing program, and one that is totally new.

The program that is continuing is the High School Apprentice Program. In the past, the MFB has invited talented high school students to audition for a few selected positions in Milwaukee Festival Brass. By playing some of the concerts in the series, students gain valuable experience by sitting next to seasoned players. The current group of HSAP players view Tuesday rehearsals as one of the highlights of their week. Auditions for new applicants to the apprentice program will be held in late April. Any brass or percussion player may audition. Check the Webpage, for more information or e-mail to

If you know of a high school student that really enjoys performing brass music, this program is one you should take a close look at. What a great opportunity for students to perform with a very talented group!

The new program being offered by the MFB is The Milwaukee Festival Youth Brass. MFB is proud to announce auditions for the debut year of a full blown brass band for students from about grade 7 through high school. This Youth Band is designed to acquaint students with the fabulous repertoire of the brass band and to challenge them to extraordinary new heights of brass and percussion playing. Auditions will be held in late April. Any brass or percussion player may audition. Check the Webpage for more information or e-mail to

So, congratulations to the Milwaukee Festival Brass for their innovative programs for the Milwaukee area. And be sure to attend their concert on March 8th. It will be a good one. I know I'll be there!