Ensemble ushers in the green and spring

By MIKE CHAIKEN

EDITIONS EDITOR

There will be a little spring and green in the air next Tuesday.

And there will be some birthday cake as well.

The Bristol Brass and Wind Ensemble set up the orchestra section on March 14 at Prospect United Methodist Church in Bristol for their spring concert.

The upcoming performance is an annual event for the local group, explained its conductor Richard Theriault. In addition to music that reflects the season, he said, there will be an Irish flair to the program since the performance comes hard on the heels of St. Patrick’s Day.

Among the numbers, the ensemble will perform are “Gaelic Rhapsody,” said Theriault. Additionally, as part of the Celtic feel of the afternoon, Theriault said one of the ensemble members—Elizabeth Wilson—will march through the auditorium, playing the bag pipes, accompanied by the orchestra.  There will be other Irish flavored pieces as well.

In addition, the concert will pay tribute to the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, said Theriault. The group will perform “Eternal Father Strong to Save,” a Naval hymn. “It’s a very moving piece, and challenging to play.” The hope is to have a speaker from the Bristol Veteran’s Council come to the performance to speak as well regarding the attack.

The concert also will offer some lighter moments such as “The Saints Hallelujah,” which is probably best known for its performance by the Canadian Brass. It is a mash-up of “When the Saints Come Marching in” and the “Hallelujah Chorus.” For this number, Theriault said, the piece will be introduced using a little bit of humor.

Additionally, the Brass and Wind Ensemble will perform the Norwegian March “Valdres.”

And besides all of that, said Theriault, someone had the idea of celebrating his 70th birthday at the concert. So he will play his jazz alto sax— accompanied by a bassist, drummer and pianist— to a jazz bossa nova version of “Danny Boy.”

Besides the ensemble, Theriault said local tenor Ken Ferris, the director of the Bristol Choral Society, will sing with the ensemble. And a small group from the choral society will sing “The Irish Blessing.”

During the performances, Theriault said the ensemble also tries to give some lessons about the music they are performing. Greg Hahn, the ensemble president, does a little research on the numbers and shares what he found with the audience, said Theriault.

“He does a super job,” said Theriault. “When people come to the show, they know more about the piece (then when they came),” said Theriault.

The Bristol Brass and Wind Ensemble, which has about 70 members, has been around for nearly 25 years. Theriault, a former band director at Bristol Eastern High School, has served as its director for 10 of those years.

The members of the ensemble—which performs five to six times a year — are part-time musicians. “They love playing this type of music. Some just like to play.”

The membership comes from more than just the city of Bristol, said Theriault. Some come from as far away as West Haven, as well as Farmington, Simsbury, and Southington. “There’s a big representation of the area,” said Theriault. “It’s a great group.”

For audiences thinking about turning out for the performance, Theriault said, “The band is very professional.”

“They’re going to hear some great, great music,” said Theriault. “There’s a lot of variety. There’s something for everyone.”

Bristol Brass and Wind Ensemble presents “A Spring Concert and Rich Theriault’s 70th Birthday Celebration!” on Tuesday, March 14 at 7 p.m.

A birthday celebration, complete with cake, will follow the concert.

The concert is at Prospect United Methodist Church, 99 Summer St., Bristol.

The concert is free, but monetary donations will be accepted.

For more information, call Greg Hahn at (860) 965-7178.

Comments? Email mchaiken@BristolObserver.com.

Richard Theriault conducts the Bristol Brass and Wind Ensemble next Tuesday.

The Bristol Brass and Wind Ensemble performs in Bristol next week.