Day two of Summer Symposium got off to a rainy start, but tonight’s concert was a special experience for all who got to witness the fantastic ensemble that is Boston Brass!
The Yamaha Performing Artist Group opened with Danza Fantastica and Ritual Fire Dance. This provoked quite the reaction from the students, whose cheers and applause resonated throughout Emens Auditorium. Boston Brass is a quintet that consists of Jose Sibaja and Jeff Conner on trumpet, Chris Castellanos on horn, Domingo Pagliuca on trombone, and William Russel on tuba. The musicality of the group was rich, yet bright. They all came together in a unique, yet harmonious way that followed with standing ovations piece after piece, and even gave me chills throughout certain moments. My personal favorite was Blue Bells of Scotland. As they described it, “a piece that is harder and more difficult as you play”; yet they made it sound so effortless. The playfulness of the notes and the carefree spirit of the piece made it quite the experience for everyone, myself included.
Overall, Boston Brass had a fantastic repertoire which included the famous Green Hornet, and Sway, originally performed by vocalist Dean Martin. Sway was definitely another favorite of mine, and this variation of it almost makes me appreciate the song on a deeper level. The penultimate piece Blues for Ben was joined by John Wittmann, Director of Artist Relations of the Band and Orchestra Division of the Yamaha Corporation of America, on the drum set. I personally know John, as he and his team work in the Music for All office. Not only is he an incredible person, but an incredible musician as well. They closed the night out with Caravan by Duke Ellington.
Tonight’s concert was incredibly personal. These musicians spoke to us after every throughout the concert as if we were old friends, describing the history of each piece. Then, just as we thought the concert was over, they actually closed the night out with Lullaby written by Billy Joel (one of my all-time favorite artists) for his daughter. Boston Brass quite literally ended the night on the most perfect and beautiful note. As I sit here and reflect on this busy and exciting week, Boston Brass put on the most memorable concert I’ll cherish for the rest of my life.