Office of Public Affairs
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Jan. 22, 2003
OSWEGO -- When the River City Brass Band performs at SUNY Oswego on Feb. 7, it will have some help -- in the form of 28 local high school and college musicians.
The local players will join the band for a finale of "76 Trombones" and "Stars and Stripes Forever," said Terry Caviness of the SUNY Oswego music department. The concert, part of the Artswego Performing Arts Series, will begin at 8 p.m. in Tyler Hall's Waterman Theatre.
Denis Colwell, the conductor and music director of the River City Brass Band, describes the band as an upbeat revival of a musical tradition that was popular a century ago. "There were over 20,000 brass bands in the U.S.A. then," he noted, while today there are only about 100 such ensembles in North America.
Mary Avrakotos, the Artswego coordinator, approached Caviness about community outreach ideas for when the band came to town. "We just started brainstorming ways to provide outreach into arts programs in the surrounding areas," Caviness recalled. "One of the things we explored was the possibility of having students perform as part of the finale."
Caviness sent mailers to local high school band directors to recruit student performers. "They sent us names and qualifications, and we made selections based on instrumental needs and recommendations," he said.
Participating students will represent SUNY Oswego and high schools in Fulton, Hannibal, Mexico and Phoenix.
Students will rehearse with the conductor at 4 p.m. Feb. 7, Caviness said, with pizza and soda provided for the student musicians.
Conductor Colwell will lead a clinic on how to conduct brass musicians and how to form a brass band at 5 p.m. in Room 41 of Tyler Hall. "We've invited area band conductors to this session, but any interested members of the public are welcome as well," Caviness said.
Before those sessions, a quintet from the River City Brass Band will offer an admission-free interactive informance at 3 p.m. in Room 41 of Tyler Hall. Caviness will facilitate the session, which will include pieces from the band's repertoire and a question-and-answer session.
Tickets for the evening performance are $15 for the general public, $12 for seniors and students, and $7 for SUNY Oswego students. A special family package, with two adult and two student tickets, is available for $49. For information or reservations, call the Tyler Hall box office at 312-2141 or e-mail
The concert is supported by a grant from Pennsylvania Performing Arts on Tour, a program developed and funded by the Vira I. Heinz Endowment; the William Penn Foundation; the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency; and The Pew Charitable Trusts; and administered by the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation.
WCNY and ClearChannel Radio, through its affiliate 570-WSYR AM, provide media support.
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