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Everyone's Buzzin' about Buzz Brass! A Review of EMCA's latest concert.

Review by: George Gibson

Photo Credits: Derrek Owen

The Eastern Manitoba Concert Association hosted Buzz Brass last Friday evening in the Pinawa Community Centre. This is a brass quintet from Quebec featuring tenor trombone, French horn, two trumpets and bass trombone.

From the beginning, it was difficult to tell which was more entertaining – the actual musical performances or the playful introductions that preceded each piece. The descriptive and informative intros, deliberately comical, were also musical, delivered as they were with smiles and gesticulations, short demonstrations, and in those wonderful and heavy Quebecois accents.

Sylvain Lapointe (trumpet) founded the quintet over 20 years ago, and gathered Sylvain Arseneau (bass trombone), Jason de Carufel (tenor trombone), Frederic Gagnon (principal trumpet), and Pascal Lafreniere (horn). Together they have been performing around the world for over 15 years. Arseneau

explained that this show, called Famous Inspirations, was intended to inspire but noted “It is possible to play serious music in a serious way without taking ourselves too serious. Seriously.”

The first set included a typically exuberant fanfare and four classic pieces. Bach made his stuffy appearance, followed by Dvorak’s String Quintet 12 ‘American’ (M4) which was enjoyably quick and rhythmic. Satie’s Gymnopedies (M3) was a slow and interesting piece with some beautiful and plaintive trumpet notes. The set closer and crowd favourite was Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody #2, a piece that could stand on its own anywhere but in addition sparks vague memories of Warner Bros. cartoons.

The second set featured Jorgensen’s Brass Quintet in A-flat Major (M2), Debussey’s The Girl with the Flaxen Hair, Piazolla’s Milonga del Angel, and Pollack’s That’s a Plenty. But the highlight in this set was an audience participation game in naming short parts of movie soundtracks given the composer and date of composition. This was an accessible and enjoyable interlude.

In keeping with EMCA’s goal to engage youth in music, this show included a short girls’ choir performance before Buzz Brass took the stage. Eight young students from FW Gilbert School accompanied and directed by teacher Kari Schiltroth sang two excellent pieces, melting the hearts of the audience and of the visiting artists.

Now watch for information on our final concert of the season featuring Leaf Rapids, a Canadian Pop/Folk troupe coming to the Pinawa Community Centre Saturday, May 11.

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