Atlantic Brass Band blasts off with ‘The Moon Over Metropolis’ concert

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The audience in Pfleeger Concert Hall was blasted off to the moon this past Sunday.

Musically speaking.

The Atlantic Brass Band presented “The Moon Over Metropolis,” with the first half of the concert consisting of the band’s program for the upcoming U.S. Open Brass Band Championships.

The group, which serves as Rowan’s ensemble-in-residence, is a three-time North American Brass Band Association champion, and currently holds the title.

Conductor Salvatore Scarpa noted that the upcoming performance at the competition would be the band’s first time there.

Conductor Salvatore Scarpa with his band. -Assistant Photo Editor/Miguel Martinez

“The U.S. Open is what is called an entertainment contest, and since this is our first experience in such an event, we have borrowed most of our program from one created for the Grimethorpe Colliery Band in England,” Scarpa said. “We’re still in the process of making changes and refining our presentation.”

Joe Sino, a Rowan alumnus and baritone horn player for the band, expanded on the group’s many connections abroad that aid in their creative process.

“We’re really fortunate to know a lot of people because of our success we’ve had with a bunch of different competitions throughout the country,” Sino said. “People across in Europe know us a lot. They help us out and they help us get really cool music.”

While the band has a polished and extremely professional sound, Sino pointed out that many of the members have non-musical occupations.

“All of us have played music, and it has had a huge impact on our lives,” Sino said.

The first half of the program, covering the lunar aspect of “The Moon Over Metropolis,” was the same set they will play at the U.S. Open in November. The musical style reflected in the performance was meant to aurally replicate the lunar maria, which are the dark, basaltic plains on the moon’s surface. The six brass compositions chosen were meant to highlight the characteristics of the lunar maria.

These pieces clearly displayed the band’s range and versatility. “Lake of Tenderness” by Ben Hollings showcased a softer brass sound, while “Ocean of Storms” featured thundering narration with the words of Shakespeare, paired with music meant to replicate a storm followed by the sight of a serene Earth from the vantage point of the moon.

“Everyone in the band was very pleased with our first run-through of our program for the U.S. Open,” Scarpa said following the performance.

Audience members were also pleased.

Senior music education major Valerie Hamburg came out to support her trumpet teacher, Dr. Bryan Appleby-Wineberg, who plays solo cornet for the band.

Dr. Bryan Appleby-Wineberg on the cornet. -Assistant Photo Editor/Miguel Martinez

“They’re all extremely amazing musicians and it’s a lot of fun music,” Hamburg said.

Freshman music industry major Samantha Ferrara appreciated one song in particular.

“My favorite song was ‘Serenade,’” she said. “That was their most impressive song because of the mixed meter.”

With the Rowan concert under their belt, the group is well-practiced and ready for the upcoming competition.

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