Winsome, wacky, and wonderful: the ACE Brass Trio

The ACE Brass Trio is capable of playing demurely at a wedding reception, yet I have seen the members wearing horned helmets and playing tunes on a 30 foot garden hose. Who are these people, what are they smoking, and what did they do in front of my camera?

Who are these people?

Huw Dann, Emma Richards, and John Gluyas primarily play the trumpet, French horn, and trombone, respectively.

What are they smoking?

Nothing, probably, because when you play wind instruments you need all the puff you can get :-).

What did they do in front of my camera?

The usual image of musicians playing classical music is a bunch of old fogeys getting up on stage and playing wordlessly. Huw, Emma, and John can impersonate such people, but they are clearly happier giving a mixture of performance and education that has a dash of theatre. They not only played for the audience, they also told us about the themes in the music, what makes brass instruments work, and some of the instruments’ history. The talk was directed at the numerous children present, but was interesting for adults and very funny. What makes it work so well is their personalities and their ability to engage the audience. When did you last go to a brass performance that had audience participation? This participation was a great photo opportunity, and I’d like to the thank the trio for allowing me to make photos.

Click on any photo to enlarge it, then click again.

What better way to illustrate the hunting theme of Mozart’s 4th Horn Concerto?

She doesn’t bite 🙂

ACE Brass

First we learnt about the three essential ingredients of a brass instrument, then Emma showed that combining those ingredients also allows her to play a tune on a garden hose (i.e. brass isn’t essential in a wind instrument, but control of air flow is). The kids were having a ball, and I was too.

ACE Brass

ACE Brass Trio

Note the girl holding the hose to her ear.

ACE Brass Trio

Finally, the trio assembled a “marching band” who played the air brass (modelled on the air guitar). The adults lined the “street” and prepared to clap the beat in lieu of a bass drum.

ACE Brass Trio

The bandmaster is horned.

ACE Brass Trio

The adults clapped the beat. Sadly this was the end of the children’s careers and the end of the ACE Brass Trio’s very memorable educational performance.


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