Jeff Green | Apr 20, 2006
Feature Article - April 20, 2006
Back toHomeFeature Article - April 20, 2006
Kingston Symphony BrassQuintet at PrinceCharles
byTrish WorkmanKingston Symphony Brass Quintet. Back row, from l. to r. Wayne Tindale, John Palmer, Larry Howard. Front row, l. to r: Cory van Allen, Sylvain Gagnon. Because Mr. Van Allen was away at a conference, Catherine Redsell filled in on French horn at the Prince Charles School program on April 11. A live musical performance has a power and magic that no perfectly engineered CD or MP3 player can touch. This the Kingston Symphony Brass Quintet demonstrated for the students of Prince Charles Public School on Tuesday, April 11.
The Quintet consists of Sylvain Gagnon on tuba; John Palmer, trombone; Catherine Redsell (sitting in for Cory Van Allen), French horn; and Larry House and Wayne Tindale, trumpets. Theypacked history, humor and grand music into an engaging hour-long program. As if to prove that brass is not all bombast and brashness, the music reflected a variety of times and styles, from stirring 18th century trumpet tunes to jazz, ragtime, folk and even pop, as on "Can You Feel the Love" (which students recognized from TheLionKing).
If the young audience grew a bit restive during the discussions, they were mesmerized during musical numbers. But that didn't prevent them from spontaneously clapping in time to appropriate passages, as when the players swung into a hot improvisation on the old gospel tune, "Just a Closer Walk with Thee."
The hour was instructive as well. Playing in turn a conch shell, a cow's horn, a bugle, a hunting horn, and a "natural" or valveless trumpet, the musicians traced the history of brass instruments. Then each explained how the construction of his/her modern instrument determined the tone and pitch qualities peculiar to that instrument. (Did you know that the French horn is actually 11 feet long?) After each demonstration, the group played a piece highlighting that instrument--thereby teaching the children to listen for individual instruments when they're played ensemble.
The program reminded me how important such school assemblies were in forming my love of and appreciation for music. It was there that I also learned how to behave in a concert hall or theatre--something that is impossible to get from TV or an MP3 player. It's gratifying to see that with financial support from their communities, our public schools are offering those same opportunities to students today. And I'll bet more than one young brass player was "born" at this lively and instructive program!
The next musical assembly at PCPS is April 19, when a group of drummers will entertain--and no doubt inspire-students and teachers.
For further information on program offerings, you can contact the KSBQ at http://www.brasswerks.ca/KSBrass/KSBrassHome.htm