Members of Seraph Brass perform, teach students


Olivia Swenson-Hultz | The Daily Eastern News

Seraph Brass performs at the Doudna Recital Hall on Monday evening.

Olivia Swenson-Hultz  , Associate News Editor

Seraph Brass performed an assortment of musical selections at a free event inside the Recital Hall of the Doudna Fine Arts Center thanks to a $3,000 grant from the Jack and Margaret Redden Fund for the Improvement of Undergraduate Research.

The Coles County Arts Council also helped to provide funding, said Alicia Neal, director of bands at Eastern.

Neal had attended school with Jean Laurenz, a trumpet player in Seraph Brass, and was interested in providing students with the opportunity to work with the group.

Tyrese Patterson, a freshman studio art major, attended a master class put on by Seraph Brass on Monday afternoon.

He said he was able to get some good insight from the group and appreciated that the class was open to majors other than music.

The class provided students with the opportunity to perform their instruments in front of the group for critiques, and Seraph Brass also performed a brief piece of their own.

Olivia Swenson-Hultz | The Daily Eastern News
Seraph Brass looks upon the audience after a performance inside of the Doudna Recital Hall on Monday evening.

Patterson said he appreciated the fact that Eastern invited an all-woman ensemble.

“With a male-dominated music family like brass, it’s nice to see an all-woman group,” he said.

Brianna Koerner, a freshman computer and information sciences major, appreciated that the group featured all women as well.

“I enjoy watching ensembles and like the fact that this group is interactive with students,” she said.

Mary Elizabeth Bowen, a trumpet player for the group, founded Seraph Brass in 2014.

Growing up, she enjoyed listening to brass groups such as Canadian Brass, but she wanted to be able to hear more female options.

“I really wanted to create an all-woman brass group so that I could provide young women with role models within the genre,” she said.

She described the group’s style as being all-encompassing, saying the group does not want to limit itself.

“We address all sorts of different styles, from Mozart to Greek,” she said.

During the evening performance at the Doudna, an arrangement of popular classical notes was provided to students.

Featured pieces included “Asteria,”which is about Greek gods and goddesses.

Laurenz said growing up as the middle child, she was compared to the goddess of justice and fairness when she had to serve as the moderator among her siblings and wanted to perform this piece centered around the interactions of the different mythological figures.

The recital hall’s lights were dimmed for “Clair de Lune,” which was inspired by a melancholic poem and took the composer from the ages of 27 to 43 to complete.

Two pieces from “Suite Española” were featured, which were originally written for the queen of Spain.

Six different trumpets were included in the performance as well as the French horn, trombone and tuba.

The group has performed across the country from New York to Chicago and will be playing a show in Denver tomorrow.

Their international debut was made in Finland last year.

“Asteria,” their debut album, was released in January, and featured tracks were performed at the Doudna show.

Olivia Swenson-Hultz can be reached at 581-282 or [email protected].