On July 17, I had the opportunity to take my daughter to the Blast of Brass performance at Eastfield College, thanks to my friend and colleague Oscar Passley. I was treated to some fine music and an enjoyable evening. The performance featured the instructors and other professional performers that had been working all week with young brass players at the school in workshops and classes.
Each song played made me marvel at the versatility of instruments I guess I didn’t know that well. I was particularly impressed by the guest soloist, Scott Hartman, a trombone player I had had the chance to hear the day before in recital. His rendition of “Londonderry Air” (best known as “Danny Boy”) was marvelous.
Two interesting highlights for me were the student ensemble performance and the surprise guest. Playing the “Overture to H.M.S. Pinafore,” a student group calling themselves The Beastie Brass entertained the crowd of mostly students and their parents. Trumpet student Danial Gerona had many in the audience laughing and saying “Wow!” to his part of the show.
Another treat was the “unscheduled” entrance of Kurt Bradshaw, artistic director of the Dallas Jazz Orchestra. He led the group in an unrehearsed playing of “My One and Only You,” sung by the Darla Meek, narrator for the evening, to her husband, trombonist, conductor and Blast of Brass founder, Keith Meek.
The concert ended with the students joining the professionals on stage for Bach’s “Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme” (“Sheep May Safely Graze”). There were lots of people up there, but the result was nice.
Blast of Brass is a wonderful way to support not only the young people working hard to improve their chops, but the mentors and performers who make that possible. I look forward to going again next year.