Brass Ensemble performs at Night of Firsts

Audience members received an intimate performance of Eastern’s first brass-only ensemble when they were asked to join the musicians on stage Thursday in the Dvorak Concert Hall.

Jemmie Robertson, music professor and organizer of the event, wanted to integrate the audience with the performers after seeing it done in a concert in Chicago.

“I really wanted the audience to feel like that they were part of the sound on stage,” Roberts said.

The concert featured a piano accompaniment by Kent Conrad, which created a sound unique with Eastern’s Brass Ensemble.

In the seat of every chair on the stage was an audience member eager to become part of the show.

Sarah Tucker, freshman music education major, said that the musicians’ reputations motivated her to attend.

“Eastern is known for having a really good brass quintet, so I definitely wanted to hear them play,” Tucker said.

She said because she was in such close contact with the musicians, it created a full sound and showcased a large group of people.

Not only was the experience rewarding for the viewers, but musicians were excited to feel personally connected to the audience while they played.

Danielle McKenzie, senior music education major and French horn player, said that having the audience up close made for a relaxing environment.

“It was a nice, intimate setting.” McKenzie said, “It was almost less intimidating to me.”

She said that she has never experienced a show similar to this one.

“This is not a common occurrence,” she said.

Although it may be uncommon, Robertson believes that the show was ultimately a positive experience.

“It should be something that happens every semester,” he said.

The performance was an experiment for stage seating and the first brass-only performance, but it was also an opportunity for Robertson to announce that Eastern’s Brass Ensemble will play at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Chamber Music Institution.

This will not be Eastern’s first time at the institution, since members of the school’s music program were chosen to attend last year.

A composer will write an original piece for the group to perform at the institution.

Of the few groups chosen to attend, Eastern’s was the only brass group that will be presenting in 2012

“Our goal is to really get brass on the map,” Robertson said.

Katie Smith can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].