The Santa Clara Vanguard Youth Brass Ensemble held two concerts at the Santa Clara Convention Center this year on May 17 and May 19. These were the first two concerts of their type.
Earlier this year, the Santa Clara Vanguard held a Lesson Studio Recital also at the Convention Center where pairs of musicians were on stage at a time. With the Youth Brass Ensemble, a larger selection of the ensemble, which would normally be seen performing on their field show, entertained the attendees.
The Youth Brass Ensemble played for about an hour and performed seven musical numbers. Due to a conflicting high school concert, some special guests performed with the Vanguard. However, if there hadn’t been an announcement of that, no one would have known.
According to Charles Frost, the Vanguard Crops Director, the performances weren’t easy. “This is the most difficult to play since it’s all brass, all the time. There aren’t any woodwind instruments to hide behind,” explained Frost. The instruments consisted of trumpets, french horns, trombones, bass trombones, euphoniums, tubas and percussion instruments.
Like all Vanguard shows, the evening was filled with flawless performances. The musical numbers performed were Canzon XVI for 12 Parts by Giovanni Gabrieli, Elsa’s Procession to the Cathedral by Richard Wagner, Fanfare Esprit by Ty Watson, Song for Japan by Steve Verhelst, Cousins by Herbert L. Clarke, Three Ring by Josh Hobbs and Music of America arranged by Wayne Scott.
It would be difficult to pick a favorite performance for the night since they were all performed equally well but Song for Japan, composed in 2011 by brass player Steve Verhelst, was a fan favorite. Guest composer Ken Nakamoto explained, “Song for Japan was composed for the earthquake. It was a global thing that never could have happened without technology. Professional trombonists originally recorded the beautiful melody and they strung it together into one beautiful piece with different people from all over the world. Also, there are tons of free versions of the piece of music online. It’s meant to be free. It’s meant to be played; meant to honor and remember the folks that may have been lost in that earthquake.”
For more information on the Santa Clara Vanguard, please visit their webpage, www.scvanguard.org.