The brilliance of big brass

The Vancouver Symphony goes all out for Christmas

By Erin Middlewood, Columbian special projects reporter

Published:

 

For some, holly says Christmas. For others, sugar cookies symbolize the season. If brass music sets the holiday mood for you, a concert presented by the Vancouver Symphony offers a chance to fill your ears.

The Vancouver Symphony is producing a Christmas concert by Big Horn Brass, with vocals by Valerie Day, formerly of the 1980s Portland dance band Nu Shooz.

“This is the first time something like this has been played in Vancouver,” said Doug Peebles, who plays trombone in both Big Horn Brass and the Vancouver Symphony.

“Christmas being a traditional brass time anyway, we hope this is really well-received and could become an annual event.”

If you go

• What: Vancouver Symphony presents a Christmas concert by Big Horn Brass, featuring Valerie Day.

• When: 7:30 p.m. Dec. 19.

• Where: LifePoint Church, 305 N.E. 192nd Ave., Vancouver.

• Cost: $15 for adults and seniors; children younger than 12 are free.

• Information: 360-735-7278 or vancouver

symphony.org.

Peebles, who lives in Vancouver, is one of three Vancouver Symphony members who play in the 16-piece brass band.

Bringing the group to Vancouver was also the goal of Big Horn Brass conductor and founder, Andrew Harris of West Linn, Ore.

“We’ve been looking for new places to play,” Harris said.

Meanwhile, the symphony plays six concerts in a nine-month season, and saw opportunity in the empty months, said Rich Brase, the symphony’s marketing director.

In September, the symphony produced a concert by choral group Chor Anno, which drew 225 people. Saturday’s concert is the organization’s second nonorchestral offering, to which it hopes to draw 700 to 900 people.

“There are two demands we got,” Brase said. “People were asking if we would do something on the east side, and people were asking for something Christmassy.”

He called LifePoint Church “acoustically perfect.” It also is high-tech enough that Saturday’s show will include a video presentation, as well.

The audience can expect traditional brass arrangements of Christmas tunes such as “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” and “The First Noel.”

“We have some arrangements that are more swing,” Peebles said. “Then we take the swing level up with Valerie’s arrangements.” Those include “Let It Snow” and “I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm.”

“We try to get a mix of stuff,” Harris said.

Be prepared to exercise your vocal pipes, too.

“We do a little singalong at the end,” Peebles said.