Thursday Morning Brass goes overtime

Elizabeth S. Lenna Hall sees its fair share of music throughout the summertime. From Mozart to music students, symphony rehearsals to solo recitals, there are few bases left uncovered by the Chautauqua scene.

At 4 p.m. today in Lenna Hall, Thursday Morning Brass will guide the audience through an afternoon of musical whimsy as they play everything from ragtime hits to tunes from famous Broadway shows.

Born out of the Chautauqua Community Band in 1998, Thursday Morning Brass features 15 members led by trumpet player Paul Weber.

“Some of us got to know each other playing those community concerts, and we figured ‘Hey, why not a community-based brass quintet?’ ” he said.

Now with a membership triple that of a standard quintet, Weber embraces the group’s unique sound as a way to play everything from classical transcriptions to “Little Brown Jug” by Joseph Winner.

“It’s kind of like having a backup band,” Weber said. “We can have a lot of fun playing all sorts of music, but it’s also nice to know that, if someone can’t make it for whatever reason, we’re not up a creek.”

Even at full strength today, the band will be down longtime member, Joe Prezio. A founding member of Thursday Morning Brass, Prezio also played in the the Dixie Lakesiders, Chautauqua Brass Ensemble and the Summer Strummers in Chautauqua before medical issues forced him to retire after last season.

Today’s concert is dedicated to Prezio, and the band will also have their customary donation boxes set up around Lenna Hall for people to contribute to a scholarship fund that Weber said can allow up to two music students to attend the Institution each season.

Above all though, Weber said, Thursday Morning Brass is about putting the “class” in class clown.

“It’s just a different kind of musical performance,” he said. “It’s much lighter and always fun. People can sing along with these tunes and put a smile into their afternoon.”