The second annual Festival of Wind Music by the Sunshine Coast Music Society performed as bold as brass last weekend at the Heritage Playhouse.
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A full house awaited the Little Mountain Brass Band on Sunday — a group of entertaining, dedicated musicians with dazzlingly polished brass instruments and a program of familiar music with superior arrangements. As B.C.’s only non Salvation Army brass band, the 35-member ensemble favours cornets over trumpets, perhaps for their softer, mellower sound, and has at its cornerstone the vibrant tones of tubas and euphoniums, the smallest member of the tuba family. The band demonstrated their facility with — as genial director Jim Littleford called them, "twiddly bits" — on a stirring rendition of O Canada. The elaborate arrangement enhanced the familiar strains of the anthem.
The band continued to impress with classics such as Amazing Grace and a work attributed to King Henry VIII, Pastime With Good Company. Movie themes are popular with both brass and concert bands, it seems. Little Mountain played the theme from The Great Escape as well as The Magnificent Seven theme. Euphonium player Brian Stride soloed on the Geordie (Newcastle area) tune Blaydon Races, then later in the program, he gave a slide presentation on the history of brass bands. Now out of fashion, the bands, comprised entirely of brass instruments, have gradually changed with the addition of woodwinds into concert bands over the last century. Some of the better brass bands were to be found at mission schools where native children, stripped of their own culture, were encouraged to learn the European instruments. One such slide depicted young band musicians at a Sechelt mission school in 1890.
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Updated 2011 Sep 02, 17:47