Brass Band Plays on Campus - Humboldt State Now

Brass Band Plays on Campus

The HSU Department of Music presents The Humboldt Bay Brass Band (HBBB) in concert Saturday, April 8 at 8 p.m. in the Fulkerson Recital Hall, guests ranging from the serpent to the saxophone. Music will include renaissance dance music, fanfares of the German court played on long natural trumpets without valves, and music of the twentieth century.

Ticket prices are $6 general, $2 for seniors, and HSU students admitted free.

HBBB, one of HSU’s current brass ensembles, is a full band in the UK tradition, with 24 brass players and three percussion. It is perhaps the only group of its type north of the Bay Area. Following some well-received concerts over the past two years, the recording of a full-length audio CD last year, and shared concerts with bands from Eureka, Scotia, and McKinleyville, this concert is geared toward the inclusion of smaller ensembles, chamber ensembles having no conductor, and some historic brass.

Early in the first half of the concert, the audience will be treated to some early predecessors and rare birds of modern brass. The so-called “reptile duo” of English Lysard (S-shaped) and the more popular serpent will present music of 16th century publisher, Gardane. Next, and building on the early brass theme, is a consort of somewhat mythic cornetti (zinken) and the ever-captivating sackbut, forerunner of the trombone. This small ensemble, to include old drums as well, intends to prompt a bit of toe-tapping by way of dance music from a 1551 publication. The dances include Pavane and Galliardes, although the Brass Consort actually expects no audience dancing for this event.

One of the more successful instrument inventions, completely new in the flurry of innovation during the industrial revolution, was the saxophone. A quartet of HSU Music faculty, playing two altos, a tenor, and a baritone, will demonstrate the excellence of Adolphe Sax’s inventiveness. Another family of Sax’s instruments, the “saxhorns”, survives today in such brasses as the tuba, euphonium, and tenor horn — all members of the modern brass band. The balance of music in the first half of the concert is provided by small groups of HBBB, opening with the beautiful Echo Carol played from various “surround sound” locations, and the tuneful Rondeau by Jean-Joseph Mouret, used as the theme song of PBS’s Masterpiece Theater.

The second half of the concert is all HBBB, that is, all brass band. The opening music here is the breezy Lustspiele, a “comedy overture.” Having worked their way in past concerts through some famous music of Gustav Holst, the band members next will present the Second Suite in F major, a highlight of which is Song of the Blacksmith — complete with musical anvil.

Jumping across the pond, and using folk songs as source material in the same way that Holst and others have, HBBB next presents a rendition of Appalachian Mountain Folk Song Suite. Following this, audience members who aspire to conduct will get their chance, literally through the drawing of lots, for the honor of conducting the march Aces High, from the film Battle of Britain. The band always has fun “helping” the guest conductor, or rather, being helped by the guest conductor.

Closing the concert is the famous American march American Patrol. In a concept of a band seeming to appear sonically on the march from miles away, and then disappearing into the distance, the audience is treated to a medley of American’tunes. To complete the American story, HBBB elects to segue to the perhaps more well-known 1940’s Swing Era version based on the older American Patrol theme, and in very definite big band swing style complete with flag-waver ending.

The musicians of the Humboldt Bay Brass Band are — Cornets: Chris Cox, Burt Codispoti, Becky Crow, Frederick Belanger, John Ferreira, Julie Rolla, Jennifer Sisk, Lauren Burchfield, and William Zoller. Flugelhorn: Gary Ross. E-flat Tenors: Matt Morgan, Bob Peoples, and Leon Hamilton. Baritones: Phil Sams and Dick LaForge. Euphonium: George Ritscher and Vicki Robertson. Trombones: Bodie Pfost, George Epperson, and Toshi Noguchi. E-flat Tubas – Grace Kerr and Gregg Moore. Double B-flat Tubas: Fred Tempas and Jerry Carter. Percussion: Nick Moore, Steve Mitchell, and Jessica Bishop.