Canadian Brass hosts master class for Blinn brass ensemble

'To have this opportunity at a two-year college truly is wonderful,' says Blinn trumpeter Juan Romero

'To have this opportunity at a two-year college truly is wonderful,' says Blinn trumpeter Juan Romero

October 19, 2018

Five Blinn College District band students received the opportunity of a lifetime when world-renowned brass quintet Canadian Brass recently offered its expertise in an exclusive tutoring session.

The Grammy Award-winning ensemble hosted a special master class for Blinn’s top brass quintet, comprised of Juan Romero, Jarvis Swatt, Alejandro Valencia Gutierrez, Jose Villa, and Timothy Vanek, prior to their concert with the Brazos Valley Symphony Orchestra Sunday at Rudder Auditorium at Texas A&M University.

“A master class is a unique opportunity to play for and learn from skilled musical professionals,” Assistant Director of Bands Dr. Kendall Prinz said. “Canadian Brass was really accommodating, readjusting their schedule to host our students on the same day as their concert, which is very rare. We appreciate their willingness to work with our students.”

During the hour-long class, the five students performed as an ensemble onstage, and members of Canadian Brass analyzed their playing styles, offering critiques and advice. The interactive instruction brought many laughs, and the student quintet walked away with a new perspective on performing.

“Their personalities really clicked with ours,” said Valencia Gutierrez, who plays tuba. “We were very nervous that this would be an intimidating encounter, but they just made it so comfortable. We learned a few tips and tricks to improve our timing and rhythm, and we were really able to come out of our shell.”

Formed in 1970, Canadian Brass is a brass quintet composed of two trumpeters, a hornist, trombonist, and tubist. Known for their unique performance attire of formal black suits paired with white running shoes, the group performs internationally and has recorded more than 130 CDs and DVDs.

The ensemble also has appeared on numerous major North American television networks and programs, including “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson,” NBC’s “Today,” and “Sesame Street.”

“When Dr. Prinz requested a quintet to play for Canadian Brass, it was just mind-blowing,” said Romero, who plays the trumpet. “I’ve listened to these musicians for a long time, and to have this opportunity at a two-year college is truly wonderful.”

The Blinn College Buccaneer Band offers students an excellent opportunity to exercise their musical talents in a variety of capacities, including marching shows during football season, exhibition performances, campus concerts, and concert tours. The Buccaneer Band is part of the Blinn Music Department, which offers additional musical outlets to instrumental students such as Piano Study, Brass Ensemble, Woodwind Ensemble, Jazz Band, Percussion Ensemble, and Steel Drum Band.

For more information about the Buccaneer Band, visit www.blinn.edu/music/band.html.

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