Great American Brass Band Festival…great audience reaction!
The Southern Stars Symphonic Brass (SSSB) recent appearance on June 12, 2010 at the Great American Brass Band Festival (GABBF) in Danville, KY was met with a great crowd reaction from the estimated audience of 5,000 present to hear the bands that afternoon. At the end of the concert, the audience gave us a standing ovation for a concert that we were proud to have given.
The SSSB was one of 14 different brass related ensembles who were invited to perform for this internationally renowned festival. Two other full-fledged brass bands were present in addition to the SSSB which gave us the opportunity to see how we measured up to these bands who have already established an international reputation. Fountain City Brass Band from Kansas City was presented their typically outstanding concerts which demonstrated why they are the four time consecutive NABBA and 3 time consecutive US Open champions as well as the winner of the recent Scottish Open Championships. Present also was the Canadian Staff Band of the Salvation Army from Toronto, who presented technical as well as inspiring sacred music for their concerts.
While the SSSB has only been together a relatively short time (3 years) compared to the above band’s longer histories, and only rehearse once/month for 9 months versus their weekly rehearsals for the full year, the SSSB’s motto of providing “Premium Entertainment” was evident by the program they presented. From the opening number “Liberty Fanfare” to their closing selection of KL King’s “Caravan Club” march………..the audience was clearly impressed with the band’s technical skills and programed concert. Wedged into their 50 minute concert were the typical variety of music genre which makes their concerts so enjoyable………a classic overture (Raymond), marches (El Capitan, and march from “1941”), musicals (Chicago selections), swing/jazz (Misty, Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, You Can’t Take that Away from Me).
Impressive virtuoso instrumental soloist from with the band received standing ovations from the appreciate audience. Principal euphonium, Brandon Jones, wowed the crowd with “Believe Me With All Your Endearing Young Charms” as he negotiated the variations on the theme with technical gymnastics which stretched the range of the euphonium. Then Chris McCormick slowed the pace down with his flugelhorn rendition of “Misty” which impressed the audience with his jazz improvisation skills.
Our appearance at GABBF has a highlight of last season and was helpful in spreading the reputation of the SSSB more broadly across the US as the attendees come from far and wide for this weekend of free music by the best brass ensembles in North America and sometimes even from Europe. Many in the audience came up to various band members to congratulate us on our concert. Here are a couple of quotes from these audience members: “We have attending the GABBF for 12 straight years and this concert by the SSSB was the BEST we have heard in this time”………Janice from Indiana. “The performance today confirms their growing reputation as one of the top brass band’s in North America”……Simon, Danville audience member.