Thursday Morning Brass plays music for a good cause

At 12:15 p.m. Sunday during the Crafts Alliance craft show on Bestor Plaza, the players of the Thursday Morning Brass will perform in front of the Colonnade. Their mission is to raise money for a scholarship fund that helps students in the Music School Festival Orchestra.

Trumpet player Paul Weber is the director of Thursday Morning Brass. He said the idea to fundraise for student musicians came to the ensemble more than 10 years ago.

“We realized how important [music] is in our lives,” Weber said, “and we want to do something for somebody who has the talent.”

Weber said he hopes that Sunday’s musical selections from Strike Up the Band, West Side Story and other crowd-pleasers will catch the interest of Chautauquans attending the craft show. Weber said the group scheduled its performance to attract craftsmen, art enthusiasts and Chautauquans exploring to the grounds after church services.

The ensemble has had some bad luck this summer. Earlier this year, tuba player Joe Prezio fell twice and cracked his pelvis. After two months of bed rest, Prezio is up and doing physical therapy, Weber said, but he won’t be performing with the ensemble this summer.

“He plays tuba, and the darn thing weighs about 65 pounds,” Weber said. “He’s doing well, but it’s slow going.”

Despite these complications, Thursday Morning Brass continues to dedicate themselves to “just having fun” performing on the grounds, as well as helping future generations achieve their music dreams. Weber said that because many of the players went to school for music or played in high school band and orchestra, they’ve experienced firsthand the power and importance of music.

“Our backgrounds have proven to us that it’s very worthwhile,” Weber said. “It’s a pleasure [to raise money]. It means we can carry on [the tradition of music], even at our tender age of 60, 70, 80.”

Thursday Morning Brass is the oldest ensemble of the Chautauqua Amateur Music Program. The other groups in the program are the Summer Strummers, Brass Ensemble, Dixie Lakesiders and the Fairpointe Brass Quintet. All of the ensembles contribute to fundraising efforts throughout the season.