The JMU Brass Band has been invited to perform as a featured ensemble at the 2017 Royal Northern College of Music Brass Band Festival in Manchester, England. The performance will mark the first time a band from the United States has presented a concert at this very prestigious event. In an interview for the October edition of Brass Band World Magazine, founding conductor, Kevin Stees commented: "In the US, the Festival is held in very high esteem. Throughout the years, I've continued to regard it as one of the most important events for brass bands in the world and the (JMU) band has no idea what a monumental experience this will be. The band is in for a life-changing experience. We can't wait!"
The concert will focus on American music featuring Stephen Bulla's Images for Brass and a new work by JMU faculty member, Eric Guinivan. Also on the program will be Samuel Barber's Mutations from Bach and Joseph Turrin's Hymn for Diana. Additionally, the band will perform Variations on an Enigma by Philip Sparke and Oliver Waespi's The Raid.
The JMU Brass Band is excited to host euphonium star, Glenn Van Looy, on their upcoming concert. Glenn will be featured on Philip Sparke's Euphonium Concerto, as well as Devil's Duel (Meechan), Walking on Music (Derongé) and Scherzo-Tarentelle (Wieniawski/arr. Nieuwenhuis). Glenn will also teach a master class during his stay at JMU.
JMU Brass Band with Glenn Van Looy
Friday, February 26, 2016
Forbes Center for the Performing Arts
James Madison University
For tickets go to www.jmu.edu/forbescenter/
In recognition and celebration of Edward Gregson's 70th birthday year, the JMU Brass Band, along with the Massanutten Brass Band, will be presenting a concert featuring six of the composer's works. Included on the concert will be Gregson's Prelude for An Occassion, Intrada, Partita, and Rococo Variations. Additionally, the JMU Brass Band will feature soprano cornetist, Charlie Frise, in a performance of Richard Eaves' (aka Edward Gregson) Rhapsody for Eb Soprano Cornet. As a finale to an evening of wonderful music, the bands will combine for a performance of the Gregson classic Variations on 'Laudate Dominum'.
The Music of Edward Gregson
JMU Brass Band
Massanutten Brass Band
Friday, November 6, 2015
Forbes Center for the Performing Arts
James Madison University
Principal Cornet, Matt Harper
Soprano Cornet, Charlie Frise
Flugel Horn, Dylan Rye
Solo Horn, Zach Nicely
1st Baritone, Allie Hunter
1st Trombone, Megan Hendrix
Solo Euphonium, Joel Collier
Eb Bass, Will Mason
Bb Bass, Matt Knopp
Every fall James Madison University’s campus is buzzing with the excitement of a new year. At the turn of each semester there is also the anticipation of ensemble auditions for musicians at JMU. Music students find their multiple audition excerpts posted online, which challenge various aspects of the musicians’ abilities. Preparation is key, especially when auditioning for JMU’s Brass Band because it is one of the top ensembles available. Being a part of the brass band requires high levels of technical, lyrical, and overall musical playing. The Brass Band is constantly challenged to ‘bring something to the table,’ by director Kevin Stees. Members are encouraged to work together in order to produce a desired sound and product for listeners.
Matt Harper, the band’s secretary and principal cornet player for the past two year says, “It always seems like the cornet section and the band as a whole gets better every single year I have played with the band! I'm really looking forward to performing with an older and very mature band, especially the cornet section. The repertoire and the expectations become more demanding with time but the band always finds a way to step up and make awesome performances happen. The audition process was a little different this year in that we got two solo pieces - one technical and one lyrical piece - instead of one test piece that we would perform at the first concert. We were given Hungarian Melodies by Vincent Bach – a nice change of pace but still challenging nonetheless – and The Lark in the Clear Air arranged by Gordon Langford. I'm personally really looking forward to my audition and the new opportunities to make music this coming year!”
Another music student, Charlie Frise, summarizes his experience preparing for auditions as “a challenge to put out the best product I can for not only Mr. Stees, but also for myself. It is not just the notes and rhythms… I want to move people in some way with the sounds coming from the end of my horn. The correct notes and rhythms are only the first step when preparing for an audition.”
This is just the start of an impressive semester for the James Madison University’s Brass Band.
The 2015-2016 season marks the 15th anniversary year for the JMU Brass Band. Since it's beginnings in 2000, the band has presented consistently high performances at the North American Brass Band Association (NABBA) Championships; toured England, Wales and Austria; performed at regional, national and international music conferences; presented concerts at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (Washington, D.C.) and the Bruckerhaus Concert Hall (Linz, Austria); given the North American premiers of numerous works for brass band; and hosted a wide variety of international brass soloists including Allen Vizzutti, Les Neish, Sheona White, David Thornton, Steven Mead, David Childs, Vince DiMartino and Brett Baker.
An alumni brass band event kicks off the year long celebration. Past and current band members have come together for a weekend of music making and socializing, culminating in a concert on the lawn at James Madison University on Sunday, June 28 at 3 pm.
The band finished out the year to a packed concert hall as we shared the stage with the brilliant Massanutten Youth Brass Band under the direction of Rhonda Stees. Both bands have shared performances in the past, but this was the youth band's first time in the Forbes Center for the Performing Arts. The youth band's program included Fanfare Prelude (Curnow), March from A Moorside Suite (Holst), Ar Lan y Môr (arr. Baker) and A Cambrian Suite (M. Ball). The second half of the concert featured the JMU Brass Band performing Jupiter (Allan), Concertino (Shostakovich), Zelda (Code) with soloist Matt Harper, Brillante (Graham) with soloists Aaron Campbell and Joel Collier, and The Year of the Dragon (Sparke). The concert finale showcased combined bands performing the exciting Festmusik der Stadt Wien (R. Strass)
The JMU Brass Band is looking forward to their featured performance at the 2014 Virginia Music Education Association Conference in Norfolk, Virginia on Saturday, November 22. The program will include Walking with Heroes (Lovatt-Cooper), Masque (Hesketh), Hymn for Diana (Turrin) and Music of the Spheres (Sparke). In addition, Andrew Lankford, JMU Professor of Trombone, will join the band on Leidzén's Concertino for Band and Trombone. It has been 10 years since the band last performed at this prestigious event.
The band will also present the same program at JMU on Friday, November 14 and in Virginia Beach at Ocean Lakes High School on Friday, November 21.