One of the biggest names in brass, Mr. Rodney Marsalis, is bringing his dazzling dream team to St. Johnsbury. The Rodney Marsalis Philadelphia Big Brass will perform a thrilling program of holiday music and New Orleans-style jazz standards on Friday, December 21, at St. Johnsbury Academy’s Fuller Hall as part of the KCP Presents Performing Arts Series produced by Catamount Arts. Thanks to support from the National Endowment for the Arts, students may attend the concert free of charge.
Composed of some of the hottest brass virtuosos in the country, Marsalis’s 11-piece ensemble includes five trumpets, three trombones, French horn, tuba, percussion, and a narrator for a special reading of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas with full, lush musical accompaniment. The program will include holiday favorites ranging from “God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen,” to Handel’s “Messiah,” and excerpts from “The Nutcracker,” as well as big brass favorites “A Closer Walk,” “When the Saints Go Marching In”, and a few contemporary surprises.
Mr. Marsalis was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, where he began his musical studies at the age of six. When he was eleven years of age, he began taking classical trumpet lessons with his cousin, Wynton Marsalis. Referred to as a “trumpet prodigy,” he debuted as a soloist at the age of fifteen with the New Orleans Symphony. After having won various solo competitions, he received national attention at the age of nineteen performing as a soloist with the Boston Pops Orchestra. He has also performed as soloist with the San Diego Symphony, the Tenerife Symphony, the Orquestra Sinfonica de Barcelona i Nacional de Catalunya, The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, and many orchestras throughout the United States and Europe.
Rodney Marsalis Philadelphia Big Brass band members have performed with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, the Baltimore Symphony, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the São Paolo State Symphony Orchestra, the Imani Winds, Canadian Brass, Empire Brass, Dallas Brass, and Boston Brass. Recent performances include Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center, China’s National Center for the Performing Arts, Tanglewood’s Seiji Ozawa Hall, a residency for the Mann Center for the Performing Arts, and a special feature on the National Public Radio show, “All Things Considered.”
Opening for Philadelphia Big Brass on Friday, December 21, is Vermont’s own Newark Balkan Chorus, a youth chorus based out of the Newark Street School. Specializing in traditional music from Eastern Europe, the chorus sings in several languages and was featured in the 2002 film, “In the Bedroom,” which was nominated for four Academy Awards.
The KCP Presents Performing Arts Series is produced by Catamount Arts working in association with Kingdom Country Productions and is supported by generous local sponsors with grant funding from The National Endowment for the Arts and the Vermont Arts Council. For more information on upcoming shows or to purchase tickets to see Rodney Marsalis Philadelphia Big Brass in St. Johnsbury on Friday, December 21, call 802-748-2600 or visit www.kcppresents.org.