Early last Thursday morning, as a solemn worship service occupied the Amphitheater and the Hall of Philosophy reveled in peaceful conversations, the Hall of Christ was filled with the bold sound of Thursday Morning Brass rehearsal.
At 8:15 p.m. tonight in the Amphitheater, Neubauer will perform the Chautauqua premiere of renowned American composer Aaron Jay Kernis’ “Concerto for Violin and Orchestra” with the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra under the direction of guest conductor Christof Perick.
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.
At 4 p.m. today, Thursday Morning Brass and the Junior Guilders of Jamestown will perform together in Elizabeth S. Lenna Hall in a program of singing and dancing.
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.
On a Thursday morning in the Hall of Christ, trumpet player Paul Weber stood from his chair to conduct the brass ensemble he started almost 14 years ago, snapping his fingers to keep up their tempo. Joe Prezio, co-founder of the ensemble and other Chautauqua Amateur Music Program groups, called out, “Italians don’t march to 120.”
It was another Thursday morning rehearsal and another march rehearsed for Chautauqua’s Thursday Morning Brass, the first amateur music group founded on the grounds, whose spirit has added a whimsy and lightheartedness to the season that impacts the members as much as the Chautauqua community.
Tuesday afternoon at 4 p.m. in Elizabeth S. Lenna Hall, the Thursday Morning Brass will perform their annual concert, but this year, the ensemble will also feature its fellow amateur music groups the Summer Strummers and the Dixie Lakesiders, as well as a tuba-euphonium quartet that has never performed before.
When trumpet player Larry Katz thought about college, he could not dream of studying anything but music. Years later, as a member of the Thursday Morning Brass band, he helps to raise money for college students with that same dream who come to participate in Chautauqua’s School of Music.
Chautauqua’s Thursday Morning Brass band will play its semi-annual Bestor Plaza concert at 12:15 p.m. Sunday on Bestor Plaza.
The brass band will play for donations, all of which will contribute to the fund for School of Music scholarships. Last season, the Chautauqua Amateur Music Program (CAMP) raised more than $4,000 to sponsor students.
“Paul Weber and Friends” will present a musical program for the pre-vespers program at 4:30 p.m. Sunday in the Hall of Philosophy.
Paul Weber is a founding member and music director of the Thursday Morning Brass at Chautauqua. They perform throughout the season, and monies raised provide scholarship support for the brass instrumental students of the Music School Festival Orchestra. He is the principal trumpet of the Pittsburgh Civic Orchestra and the Washington Symphony Orchestra in Pennsylvania. He received his degrees in performance and education from Carnegie Mellon University and the New England Conservatory in Boston.
This Sunday after the morning worship crowd leaves the Amphitheater, the sounds of Thursday Morning Brass will draw it to Bestor Plaza. The brass ensemble will play its semi-annual plaza concert on the steps of the Colonnade beginning at about 11:45 a.m.
Thursday Morning Brass was founded in 1998 by Joe Prezio and Paul Weber, the latter of whom is also rehearsal leader.
The group numbers approximately 12 players and includes longtime Chautauquans, lifelong musicians and those who picked up playing later in life.
Now that they’ve been together for several years, the musicians of Thursday Morning Brass are like family, said French horn player Nancy Waasdorp.
“You get to know everybody’s little whatevers; who’s going to crack the joke, and who’s going to make a correction,” she said. “It’s just special, in that respect.”