by THOMAS O’SCANNELL Section Editor
The Princeton Brass Band played at our Performing Arts Center and put on a great show on Sunday, February 22, 2015.
I first caught wind of the event in my Music Theory class from my teacher, Mr. Alfred Hadinger (who also performs in the band as a tuba player). With his status as a member of the band, I felt asking him a few questions about his and the band’s preferences and their musical ambitions could help people better understand the group and make them want to go see them:
Would there ever be any other groups of instruments in addition to brass and percussion used in the group’s performances? “Rarely. In my all time in being in the band, the only instrument we don’t usually use that was used was the saxophone. Mainly, this is just a brass and percussion ensemble.”
What is your favorite piece to perform? “I’m not entirely sure if I have a favorite piece. Every year, we play two pieces for competition, and there’s been some fun ones. “Hymn of the Highlands” by Philip Sparke, who also wrote “A Tale As Yet Untold” that we played at our performance here, is one of my favorites, if I am to choose.”
What is the main audience you aim for in your shows? “I don’t think we have a target audience. We just try to be as broad as we can, playing typical classical pieces as well as popular music. When it comes to popular music, for example, we have an concert coming up consisting entirely of brass covers of Beatles songs. Our main goal is to expose to audiences how much brass musicians can do.”
Did you enjoy playing along with the students as the students did with you? “Absolutely. It’s a great experience for both parties. Musicians like sharing with everybody, including the younger, aspiring ones. Also, you never know if any of these students will be playing in a professional brass band themselves in 10 years.”
What do you want people to leave your shows saying? “One of our main goals is to make people keep an open mind to all music fields. By showing what we brass musicians can do, we want people to be interested in our music and make them want to hear more. If they feel this, I feel we’ve done our job.”
I may be a heavy metal fan and musician, but classical music was always right behind metal and rock as my favorite music genre. I attended the event to check it out, and I am glad I did, as all the musicians played a great show.
Junior Max Vreeland says, “I thought the performance was great. As someone who loves orchestras and their shows, I definitely enjoyed this event.”
The orchestra played two different sets. The first featured two hulking instrumentals of extensive length, while the other was more quantitative, consisting of shorter songs (with a couple of Beatles covers thrown in).
My favorite song of the show was the second of the first set, “A Tale As Yet Untold”. The conductor, Dr. Stephen Arthur Allen, said that the piece could make people think of, specifically, a country like Finland – he means such pictures of snow and brisk weather. It did, which made me like it and like him more as a conductor. The piece was exceptional, making it the most enjoyable moment of the show.
After the intermission, the group began to play some shorter songs, including a couple of brass takes on Beatles classics such as “Hey Jude” and “Yellow Submarine”.
For the last few pieces, MTHS students joined the professional band to play tunes such as “Little Suite for Brass”, written by Sir Malcolm Arnold. The students played well, and blended right in with the professionals. The chemistry was definitely there, and everything worked out according to plan.
Sophomore Andrew McCabe, who participated in the student section as a trumpet player, said, “It was fun playing along; it was a new and valuable experience, especially playing with professional musicians.”
What was the best performance at the brass ensemble show at the PAC on February 22, 2014?