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February 25, 2013

Music students welcome Motor City Brass Band

By Maria Allard
C & G Staff Writer

WARREN — Things are going to turn brassy inside the Lincoln High School auditorium Feb. 27.

Van Dyke Public Schools band students in seventh through 12th grade will welcome the Motor City Brass Band to a concert that is free and open to the public. Showtime is 7 p.m.

The event comes in two musical acts. The Lincoln Middle School seventh- and eighth-grade bands kick off the evening, followed by performances from the Lincoln High School Symphony Band and Symphonic Wind Band. About 110 students will perform.

Act two begins with a separate show from the Motor City Brass Band. According to information LHS Band Director Dan Taylor provided, the MCBB is a British-style brass band with roots steeped in Britain’s 200-year-old brass band heritage.

“Brass bands are from England and were very popular in the 1800s and the 1900s,” Taylor said. “It’s a tradition that has picked up in America. It’s all brass instruments and percussion. There are no woodwind or string (instruments) in their group.”

Taylor said John Aren, a Salvation Army officer and former member of the past national champion Illinois Brass Band, established the MCBB in 1996. Craig Strain is the musical director, and Tom Hanton has been tapped to be the guest conductor at the concert. 

According to VDPS Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Piper Bognar, the Feb. 27 event was made possible by way of a grant from the Anton Art Center, based in Mount Clemens, and the Motor City Brass Band. Taylor said the grant was for $3,600.

And the concert’s special guests will have a special guest. The show will feature David Ammer, who is the principal trumpet of the Michigan Opera Theatre Orchestra at the Detroit Opera House. Baseball fans might recognize him from televised Detroit Tigers’ games. Ammer will take his talent into the classroom March 8 to conduct a class clinic with the LHS students.

The concert will give the LMS and LHS students the opportunity to perform music they will take to their upcoming Michigan School Band & Orchestra Association festivals. In fact, Wednesday’s concert has been deemed as a “pre-festival.”

“We play our music as we know it now,” Taylor said. “We have people that listen to us and give us feedback.”

Taylor will take that back to his students who will work to refine their performances.

The middle school band will perform at the MSBOA festival set for March 9 at Anchor Bay High School. On March 15, the LHS band members will keep their harmonies in tune at the MSBOA festival at Lamphere High School in Madison Heights. A variety of styles will set the tone.

“Every band has to play a march and a piece of music from a required list,” Taylor said. In addition, each band can choose a piece of music to play.

The Lincoln High School auditorium is located at 22900 Federal, off Nine Mile Road.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Maria Allard at allard@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1045.