Brass Day 2019 is a chance to listen to a variety of instruments, bands and groups, for players to take part in workshops and performances, and to try out a brass instrument. We’ll be at Johnstone Town Hall and kicking off at 1pm, with a Scratch Band Finale at 5pm, hoping to feature a brass version of the Saint-Saens organ symphony – expect bold and brassy!
Highlights include a workshop from RSNO principal trombonist Dávur Juul Magnussen a solo performance by Chris Bradley, principal cornet of Whitburn Band, and a performance from Brass Tracks quintet.
We would love to see anyone interested in playing or trying brass or percussion. That could be listening or taking part in workshops and our finale scratch band.
Brass Day 2019 is funded by the Renfrewshire Council Culture Heritage and Arts Fund.
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St Wilfrid’s Church, Kirkharle in Northumberland was a beautiful place to play in August 2019. Most of the current building dates back to 1336 and it was a pleasure to play there with a full programme with a range of 500 years. It is isolated from main roads and it was as if time stood still as we performed there as part of a regular concert series that attracts many well known ensembles. The natural light with the sound of brass cascaded around walls that have the ears of nearly seven hundred years of listening! A stunning acoustic for our brass quintet. The organisers and audience were wonderfully friendly and appreciative and the coffee and lunch hot and homemade. James Cunningham deputised on tuba for the indisposed Robert Fraser.
Brass Tracks returned once again to the Edinburgh Fringe 2019 with a family friendly accessible programme that covered 500 years of music at St Mark’s Church. This year Brass Tracks enjoyed its biggest audience in the five years at the fringe with over 150 people in attendance. Brass Tracks were sponsored by HIDDEN HEARING this year and their logo adorned posters and flyers. Hidden Hearing produced banners at the performance and a free goodie bag for all! William Williamson a professional singer from Dumfriesshire sang the Scottish folk song, Annie Laurie with the quintet arranged by the group’s horn player, Robert Newth which was a first for the quintet.
This is a most beautiful venue. It is a large open air green area surrounded by a wooded glen filled with old trees and a loch at the foot of the estate visible from where we played and imbued with a quiet peacefulness. There was an old path around three hundred meters from where there was a gazebo and a building that fitted the surroundings where the food is prepared and has a large tasteful bar. A vintage wedding car slowly pulled up on the path and the bride and groom then walked to the outside area where we played them up with the march from Aida. Then for the next two hours while drinks and food were served al fresco to the guests we played a selection of light popular music that went down extremely well with guests coming up and humming,singing and even dancing with many saying that the the brass group complemented the stunning surroundings! The sun shone,the band played and guests had fun. James Cunningham deputised on tuba for Robert Fraser.
Brass Tracks looks forward to returning to 2018 Edinburgh Festival Fringe. A family friendly programme will feature original and arranged music by Byrd to Bernstein.
Tickets can be purchased either on the door or from the following link.
On 21 April 2018, Brass Tracks performed in Hawick at the fantastic Towermill Theatre. The venue is home to Visit Scotland Visitor Information Centre, meeting rooms, a theatre company and a cafe. The venue houses a 108 seat auditorium and hosts concerts by Hawick Music Club. Brass Tracks were invited by the club to close their concert season with a bit of fanfare.
The auditorium at Towermill Theatre, is a dry acoustic but works well for brass. The clarity of sound is ideal especially in fast, highly articulated music.
Brass Tracks received a warm welcome from the Music Club organisers and were pleased with their feedback from the concert.
Chair Mary Sherwood wrote, “Brass Tracks are such a lovely quintet. So professional and slick without being cocky or showing off. Really entertaining, they had the audience engaged from start to finish with just the right balance of information about composers and accomplished musicianship. The post horn was amazing and the playing of it so skilled.”
Brass Tracks continue to be supported by Enterprise Music Scotland via the music clubs and Societies that every year programme professional chamber music groups based across Scotland.
Over the weekend of 17 and 18 March, 2018 Brass Tracks performed two successful concerts as a brass octet. Brass Tracks was invited by the well established East Lothian Choir, The Garleton Singers to perform what was a spectacular programme of both old and modern works for brass octet and choir. These concerts came under the suitable banner of ‘Sound The Trumpet’ – directed by the choir’s conductor, Stephen Doughty.
The first concert took place at what is now a familiar concert venue for Brass Tracks, St Cuthbert’s Parish Church, located under the looming Edinburgh Castle. The Sunday concert was in the home town of the choir, in Haddington’s St Mary’s Kirk which is home to Scotland’s longest aisle!
Brass Tracks had the opportunity to perform works just for brass octet, including Gabrieli’s Pian e Forte and also a lesser known contemporary work by the Japanese composer, Yagishawa entitled Intrada. These two works are written over 500 years apart the former work is believed to be the first piece written for brass that specifies the instrumentation.
Other highlights of the concerts was the two Gloria’s for brass and choir – one composed by John Rutter and the other by Dan Locklair.
Brass Tracks performed the premiere of Oban Symphony on 20 March, 2018 by Norman Nicholson. The concert also featured Brass Tracks performing Nicholson’s brass quintet Two Fugues.
Edinburgh College – Concert and Q&A Session.
Edinburgh College is a further education institute that offers HND and Bmus Hons courses in classical and pop music performance. Each year in early February the college hosts an employability week. This is an opportunity for guest musicians and performers who are invited into the college music department to meet and play to students.
This year it was Brass Tracks turn to perform at Edinburgh College, which kick started their 2018 performances. Over lunch time Brass Tracks performed to a full Music Box auditorium. The concert and Question and Answer session which followed was open to all of the music students.
The 5 February concert featured a programme that offered a snapshot of music either arranged or written originally for brass quintet. The selection of music chosen by Brass Tracks offered a chronological impression of musical genres over the centuries. It illustrated the versatility of brass quintet music and the ability to have an even balance of the five individual brass voices.
Here is a little feedback from our time at Edinburgh College from Laurie Crump, Senior Lecturer in Music.
” Massive thanks to Brass Tracks for a superb lunchtime concert at Edinburgh College. We heard a huge range of repertoire – ceremonial music, Renaissance music for dancing, nineteenth century Russian concert repertoire, music theatre song arrangements, jazz standards and more, with an intricate arrangement of ‘When I’m 64’ one of the highlights. Each piece was expertly performed, with generous spoken introductions in every case; and following the concert, there were several fascinating insights into the world of the working musician from all five players. A great event and a treat to hear you! “