Canadian Brass wows audience

Paul Moen

World renowned Canadian Brass Quintet treated the capacity crowd at the Access Event Centre in Morden to music performed at a world class level.

The Sunday, Oct. 23 concert began with Linda Butler, president of SMC, giving a background of this wonderful non-profit concert series that so many people have come to treasure over the years.

Southern Manitoba Concerts is the longest running concert series in rural Manitoba.

Numerous people have served in many ways over the years to make this concert series so successful.

In addition, the many benefactors, patrons, sponsors, friends and government grants to the concert series were noted.

An interesting side note is that at least four people in the audience indicated that they have purchased tickets for all 40 seasons of the concert series.

Cameron Friesen, a former SMC board member and the current MLA for Morden/Winkler, provided interesting comments and a further note of congratulations to Southern Manitoba Concerts for their contributions to the arts scene of the area.

The concert began with the five members of the Canadian Brass (two trumpets, French horn, trombone and tuba) slowly making their way from the back of the hall to the front while playing Just a Closer Walk with Thee.

The musicianship and precision of this group is impeccable and, as a result, it allows the audience a chance to thoroughly enjoy each selection, knowing that the quality will always be extraordinary.

The first half of the program allowed the audience an opportunity to hear music that for the most part was written hundreds of years ago.

The dynamic contrasts on the Renaissance selection were truly excellent, followed by an antiphonal Baroque selection where several of the performers stood in the audience, including the tuba player, who "sits where he wants to, because the tuba was not invented when this piece was written." Anyone fortunate enough to have heard the Canadian Brass (this is at least their third performance with the series), knows that they are not only incredible musicians, but that they bring a sense of love for music that is infectious and can be very humorous at times.

The concert continued with arrangements of two Brahms pieces that featured the strengths of the trombonist and one of the trumpeters who could change between various pitched trumpets with complete ease. The first half wound down with a fantastic display of technical and musical virtuosity with a trumpet feature on the Carnival of Venice, followed by an equally impressive display by the tuba player on Tuba Tiger Rag. Incidentally, Chuck Daellenbach on tuba is the last original member of the group, which was founded in 1970.

After an intermission break and celebration with coffee and cake, the Canadian Brass featured a "Dixie Bach" selection where J.S. Bach moves to New Orleans. This was followed by Bach's beautiful Air on a G String where the balance, blend, tuning and musicality of this outstanding ensemble shined in an exceptional way.

These world class performers appealed to the audience by providing them with numerous lighter moments, which triggered a great deal of spontaneous applause during an inspiring arrangement of The Beatles selection Come Together.

The concert concluded with a Tribute to the Ballet, where the performers pulled out all the stops with their humour and ballet motions, while still performing at an astonishing level. The audience immediately provided a standing ovation, with the Canadian Brass playing one final number entitled Saints, Hallelujah.

This concert was truly a highlight for many members of the audience and the comments I heard for the concert and for the Southern Manitoba Concert series were very positive and appreciative.

The concert series continues with a performance of Handel's Messiah by the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra at the Winkler Mennonite Church on Dec. 15.