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Explore! New Mexico searches the state for interesting stories to tell our listeners and readers - and now our blog followers! We are currently producing a series of multi-media podcasts for the Las Cruces Convention and Visitors Bureau about interesting events and places to visit. You can view them at our YouTube channel. Be sure to visit our website where you can get even more ideas about where to travel in the Land of Enchantment.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Spanish Brass Kicks Off Mesilla Valley Music Arts Program

Sitting at my computer this evening trying to decide wether to finish work or listen to the Spanish Brass. I chose the latter and I’m glad I did. Five men: tuba, trombone, French horn, and two musicians who played trumpet, flugelhorn, and piccolo horn, played music dating to 18th century and a composition finished three years ago. Trumpeter Carlos Grau said the most recent piece was done by a friend. After playing Caballeros Andantes, a complex and difficult piece, he said the composer wasn’t a friend any more. [Just joking].

They did dance numbers from Spain, Brazil, Mexico: a waltz, samba, and other Spanish rhythms. After intermission they turned to jazz, playing Lee Morgan’s The Sidewinder, Duke Ellington’s Caravan, and even a New Orleans rendition of Just A Closer Walk With Thee ... but at a much faster tempo than we usually hear at New Orleans funerals.

I happened to sit next to Allan Kaplan, principal trombone at the Las Cruces Symphony. He and I discussed the music ... actually he talked and I listened. He told me this quintette not only performs and rehearses together, they actually practice together ... running scales, practicing technique. In performance, it’s as if they are a single musical organism. Great communication between the players.

Light hearted and humorous, the earned the standing ovations from the SRO audience at the Sonoma Presbyterian Church. Crowd filled the assembly hall and most of the lobby.

Kudos to Barbara Toth, who recently founded Mesilla Valley Musical Arts to make sure Las Cruces continues to enjoy rich musical experiences. Check out the website: mvmusarts.org.

Posted by Bud Russo

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