CSU Horn Professor, Dr. John McGuire is traveling in Russia as a member of Fortress Brass. The quintet is performing and teaching masterclasses for the Wind Music Seasons International project, held throughout the year since 2003, as a component of the annual Romantic Trumpet International Festival. As the festival grew, it added traditional concerts of American soloists and brass quintets, called American Brass Autumn, to its offerings. We are enjoying Dr. McGuire’s blog entries from Russia!
10.10.14 – Tonight we performed at the Beloselsky-Belozersky Palace in the heart of Saint Petersburg, a 200 year old palace that has also served as a hospital and now a concert hall. We shared the concert with a local band called The Defílé Brass, a group that specializes is popular music arranged for brass ensemble. They really got the crowd going with their exciting performance!
The Fortress Brass’ part of the show was just as exciting, focused on popular music of an older generation – Dixieland and the Roaring 20s! This was by far the largest audience we have had in Saint Petersburg and moreso than anything else, what I noticed was that it was such a varied crowd. There were families with young children who were clapping along with our tunes, elderly people who were just grinning from ear to ear with our standards from a bygone era, and every age in between.
In fact, there was one lovely elderly lady that came. She only spoke a few words of English, but it was quite clear what she was there to see. It was us! She comes to hear us perform every year when we are in Saint Petersburg, and she always comes up to say hi, and let us know how much she has been looking forward to hearing us. How utterly beautiful is that?! She even brought each of us a gift, a wonderful calendar with pictures from Russia. Somehow, I think I may keep that calendar well beyond its date of expiration!
The sights and history of Saint Petersburg are astounding (like a visit to Catherine’s Palace), but the reason I have every intention of returning to perform here is simply for the people. Politics are nothing. People are people. And these wonderful Russian people welcome us, and embrace what we do with open arms and open hearts. Music expresses what words cannot.
Tomorrow is an off day, then on to Moscow! We will have a couple of rehearsal days and will teach masterclasses at the Moscow Conservatory before performing as part of the annual Brass Days music festival! More soon!
~ submitted by Dr. John McGuire, Assistant Professor of Horn