From left: Nicholas Robson, Justin Bury, Will Broverman and instructor Tom Shorthouse will perform during the upcoming brass concert at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. The March 15 concert will feature performances by the Kwantlen Brass Ensemble and A Touch of Brass.

Kwantlen musicians bold as brass

Second annual brass concert, on March 15 at KPU's Langley auditorium, will feature student and professional performers

When it comes to musical showcases, there’s always been a certain ‘something’ about a piano’s elegant grace and those distinctly haunting melodies that only stringed instruments can produce.

But is it really fair to let keys and strings have all the attention?

This weekend, brass will get its chance to shine, as Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s music department presents its second annual brass concert featuring both student and professional musicians — one that promises to be heavy on the horns.

Two groups — Kwantlen Brass Ensemble and Touch of Brass — will take the stage at KPU’s Langley auditorium on Friday, March 15.

Tom Shorthouse, a KPU music instructor and director of both ensembles, said the idea for the brass concert flowed from a similar effort in Vancouver.

Through the years, UBC has held an annual brass festival which has been well attended, Shorthouse explained.

“We thought we’d try to mirror that in the Fraser Valley, with a smaller performance and perhaps add a masterclass.”

Introduced last year as Brass Blast, the show will include pieces that are both familiar and brand new to audiences.

Among the pieces the KPU ensemble is scheduled to perform is a work titled Akrobrasstics — an original composition in three movements by Vancouver’s Fred Stride, who is himself a former trumpet player.

“It’s virtuosic and very accessible, very approachable, melodic and showy,” said Shorthouse.

Also on the program will be excerpts from the opera Carmen and the Hungarian March from Faust.

The audience can also look forward to hearing “mass brass” when all 22-instruments from both ensembles join together in song at the end of the concert.

But there will be time to single out a performer or two, as well.

Will Broverman, a second-year KPU student and graduate of Walnut Grove Secondary, will be featured on bass trombone during a performance of Henry Mancini’s Days of Wine and Roses.

Broverman, a performance major, is one of two KPU music students — along with Langley Fine Arts School graduate Nicholas Robson — who have been accepted as first alternates to the National Youth Orchestra of Canada.

“It’s a huge accomplishment,” said Kwantlen music instructor Dr. Wayne Jeffery.

The 19-year-old Boverman, who is currently a member of both the Vancouver Academy Symphony Orchestra and the Fraser Valley Wind Ensemble, hopes to attend McGill University in Montreal, with the goal of eventually winning a full-time job with a professional orchestra.

That’s one reason this concert is held each year, said Jeffery.

It gives up-and-coming young musicians a glimpse at the opportunities that exist for them once they leave high school by allowing the younger generation of students to hear both the university group and a professional ensemble perform.

The other goal of the concert, he said, is to bring brass ensemble music to the valley and — equally important — to draw people to Kwantlen to hear the young musicians perform.

To accomplish that, Jeffery has enlisted the four students in the KPU’s Business of Music class.

Third year music students Marya MacAulay, Josie Ohl, Mark Armstrong and Josh Denny-Keys have been tasked with designing posters and handling publicity to help get word out about the event.

They will also be in attendance on the night of the concert to answer questions and to direct new patrons, who may be unfamiliar with the venue.

For those who will be attending their first concert at Kwantlen’s Langley campus, the auditorium is located on the building’s west side, at 20901 Langley Bypass.

The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $20 adult, $10 senior/student and $5 each for groups of 10 or more.

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