Brass show short but sweet

To Brass Band of Minot director Gordon Troxel, recognition is key.

“We like to have pieces that people are familiar with, something for everybody,” said Troxel band’s spring concert, a free show on Sunday at the Ann Nicole Nelson Hall at Minot State University. The show also features Suzanna Miller performing on the organ at 3:30 p.m. as a prelude to the 4 p.m. show.

The band begins with a Sousa march, then the 1812 Overture.

“Now that’s a biggie,” said Troxel. “But we’ve got the horses for it, now that we have five tubas. We’re multiplying the drums to stand in for the cannon.”

Speaking of drums, they have invited the DRUMKidz from Sunnyside Elementary to play as special guests during the intermission. The group is led by Jeri Langemo, and is delightful to watch as well as listen to.

“It’s a win-win situation,” said Troxel. “They get to perform for an audience that might not get a chance to see them otherwise, and the audience members get to hear a concert they might otherwise not come out to.”

Troxel has been spicing up the Brass Band of Minot concerts with these guest artists, primarily drawn from high school and college small groups, as a way to keep the audience entertained during intermission. It also provides the band with a rest between sets.

“We’ve got a humorous piece, a calypso piece that’s got a lot of pizzazz,” he said. “And an alto horn solo with Jim Hogobom called ‘Solo Secondo’ that was written for the last chair horn player, ‘cos they never get a chance to have a solo!”

They round out the variety with “Shall We Gather (at the River),” but as a swing piece, and follow that with “Big Band Explosion,” which has several swing-type pieces in a medley. They close out the afternoon with a patriotic number in which the E-flat coronet has a part Troxel describes as like the piccolo part in the “Stars and Stripes Forever.”

“It’s not a long concert,” he said. “Just over an hour, even with all the extras we have.”

There will be a free will offering to defray the expenses of the group and the purchase of new sheet music.

“The Salvation Army, which this style of band really came from, has finally opened their library of music to everyone, and we’d like to take advantage of that,” Troxel said.