Sunday, September 30, 2012

Concert Preview: Milwaukee Festival Brass

The Milwaukee Festival Brass will present its first concert of the season on Sunday October 21st at 3 PM.  The venue will be St. Matthew's Evangelical Lutheran Church at 1615 Wauwatosa Avenue in Wauwatosa.  The Brass will be under the baton of new Music Director Mark A. Taylor.  He was kind enough to send a preview of the concert.  Rather than my paraphrasing his words, here is his summary.

The Milwaukee Festival Brass opens its 2012-13 concert season by welcoming newly-appointed Music Director Mark A. Taylor in a concert devoted to themes of Autumn. Entitled “Homecoming,” the program explores various aspects of the holidays and traditions we enjoy during the fall months. The concert opens with a jazzy, Broadway-style rendition of Hughie Cannon’s wartime hit, “Bill Bailey, Won’t You Please Come Home?” The concert also includes works by Eric Ball, one of the twentieth century’s most prolific and virtuosic writers for British brass bands, as well as Drew Fennell, a young American brass band composer. Douglas Court’s “Harvest Festival March” playfully disguises quotations from a familiar Thanksgiving tune.

The performance will feature performances by three soloists from the Milwaukee Festival Brass: Tom Mohr on trombone, Marty Kuphall on cornet, and Edman Leung on E-flat tuba. Special guest artist Melinda Voelcker, a jazz and contemporary singer from the Chicago area, will join the band for a rendition of Cole Porter’s iconic tune “You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To.”

The centerpiece for this table of sumptuous musical delights will be the band’s performance of Philip Wilby’s “Paganini Variations.” This towering, monumental work is one of the most challenging pieces in the brass band repertoire. Constructed around a theme (originally created by Niccolo Paganini) followed by a set of intricate and unique variations, the piece serves as a sort of auditory homecoming: each time the listener hears the familiar opening theme in its new version, it is like a return to a musical home base.

The Milwaukee Festival Brass will present “Homecoming” on Sunday, October 21, 2012 at 3:00 p.m. at St. Matthew’s Evangelic Lutheran Church, 1615 Wauwatosa Avenue in Wauwatosa, WI. Tickets are $12, or $9 for seniors and students. Group rates are available. For more information, please visit the band’s website at

For those who have not heard music played on the instruments of a British Brass Band, be sure to attend this concert.  The music will be wonderful, and the sound of the British instruments is rich and full.  I know I will be there!

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