The Cameron Community Brass Choir will present its inaugural concert on Thursday, April 29, at 7:30 p.m. The new ensemble is composed of CU students; high school students from Lawton High School, MacArthur High School, Eisenhower High School, Cache High School and Central High School; local band directors and hobby musicians. They will be joined by guest trombonist Dr. John Shanks, Assistant Professor of Trombone at West Texas A&M University and Principal Trombone for the Amarillo Symphony.
Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for senior citizens/military/K-12 students. Admission is free to CU students, faculty and staff with CU ID. Seating is limited, so patrons are encouraged to call (580) 581-2346 to reserve a seat. Social distancing will be in place, and facial coverings are required.
“I started the Cameron Community Brass Choir because I noticed a need in our community,” says Dr. Lucas Kaspar, conductor of the ensemble. “As a brass player, I think it is important to learn how to blend your sound together with other brass instruments. Playing in a brass choir allows the musicians to stretch their musicianship in ways that other ensembles do not typically permit.”
Kaspar will join Shanks on Stephen Verhelst’s “Devil’s Waltz,” a flashy duet for tenor and bass trombone. Shanks will also perform two staples of the trombone repertoire, “Bolivar” by Eric Cook and “Annie Laurie” by Arthur Pryor. “Bolivar” is a short-upbeat piece, featuring the soaring high register of the trombone. “Annie Laurie” is composed in a standard theme and variations style. Each variation is in a faster tempo and includes more challenging technique from the trombone soloist. The third variation was adapted by Robert Isele, trombonist of the US President Own’s Marine Band from 1937-1961.
“I was thrilled when Dr. Shanks accepted my invitation to perform with the Cameron Community Brass Choir,” Kaspar says. “I first met John in 2010 when I started my master’s degree at the University of Alabama. At the time, John was starting his doctoral degree. The first time I heard John play the trombone, I was inspired, intimidated and in awe all at the same time. He blew me away with his technique and musicality on the trombone. During my two years at the University of Alabama, I grew as a musician and trombonist from performing and rehearsing in the trombone choir, orchestra, and trombone quartet with Dr. Shanks.”
The concert will include arrangements of several movie favorites, including “Star Wars” and “Superman.” Emma Ferguson, a CU music education major, will conduct the brass choir for the music from “Star Wars.”
The ensemble will also present Jack Stamp’s arrangement of “Declamation of a Hymn Tune,” which is based on the 13th century hymn, “All Creatures of our God and King.” This work includes a variety of percussion instruments, including vibraphone, bells, snare drum, tom-toms, timpani, chimes, and bass drum. William Schmidt’s “Chorale, March, and Fugato” and Alexander Borodin’s “On the Steppes of Central Asia” will also include various percussion instruments. CU percussion students Will Magee, Michael Richard Trent Hagood will join the brass ensemble for these pieces.