CommunityConcert ExperienceEducation

CMA Studio: Canadian Brass Masterclass

By December 20, 2021 No Comments

CMA’s 2021-2022 season is off to a great start. Our most recent concert featured the remarkable Canadian Brass. Canadian Brass is a brass quintet featuring Achilles Liarmakopoulos on trombone, Jeff Nelsen on french horn, Caleb Hudson on trumpet, Brandon Ridenour on trumpet, and Chuck Daellenbach on tuba. The ensemble was first formed by Chuck Daellenbach and Gene Watts in 1970, and has spent over 50 years dazzling audiences with virtuosity and spontaneity. They perform a mix of classical and contemporary pieces, including new compositions written especially for them.  Canadian Brass is no stranger to the CMA stage, and while their 2021 visit to Des Moines wowed our audience, it also had a lasting impact on area students. 

Canadian Brass is passionate about teaching the next generation of players, and they often do masterclasses with students and young audiences as they tour. CMA also strives to create educational opportunities for students and young musicians in the area, and has worked with Canadian Brass before to connect with local schools. This year was no different. Through CMA Studio, Canadian Brass held a masterclass with Drake University students and Valley High School students. Several Civic Music Association board members and staff were fortunate to attend, as well as Valley band conductor, Josh Waymire, and Drake band conductor, Vince Kenney. Each school selected a small group of brass students to attend the masterclass – a low brass ensemble from Drake and a brass quintet from Valley. 

When reflecting on the experience, Josh Waymire remarked, “I thought the Canadian Brass experience was an incredible opportunity for our students. They were starstruck at the thought of playing for Canadian Brass, and when they got on stage, they loved the experience. I personally appreciated the fact that the Canadian Brass were very willing to meet the kids at their level and work with them in a way that built confidence, skill, and musicianship. By the end, the students had achieved noticeable improvement, and could not say enough great things about the experience. Thank you to the Civic Music Association for providing this opportunity. It’s been so great to have this level of performance opportunity being brought to Des Moines!”

Vince Kenney, the conductor from Drake University, also had great things to say about the experience and the impact on his students. Kenney commented, “The Drake University Tuba Euphonium Quartet had a wonderful time working with the Canadian Brass. The group improved greatly through the masterclass, and more importantly, they have been inspired to work towards a full recital of chamber music for the next semester. We at Drake are very grateful to the Canadian Brass for working with our students, and we look forward to the musical growth our students are making (and will continue to make) as a result of this masterclass.”

They were starstruck at the thought of playing for Canadian Brass, and when they got on stage, they loved the experience. – Josh Waymire, Valley High School band director

CMA appreciates having Canadian Brass not only return to our stage, but also provide an incredible educational opportunity for local students. We love seeing the impact that these masterclasses have on young musicians. Both conductors agreed that this was a positive experience for their students, saying the experience “re-lit a flame to continue growing” and “increased confidence in their chamber group.”  CMA can’t wait to provide more opportunities like this to Des Moines’ area schools! 

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