Westwind Brass opens Border Concert series

A new season of Border Concerts was launched last Monday (Sept. 25) when Westwind Brass appeared at Backus Auditorium in International Falls.
Hailing from San Diego, Calif., this brass quintet has achieved critical acclaim and won several international brass competitions.
Monday’s concert was titled, “Americana,” and featured a diverse set of musical styles and composers–ranging from Civil War marches to the jazz melodies of Duke Ellington.
With Barry Perkins and John Wilds on trumpet, Barry Toombs on French horn, Richard Gordon on trombone, and Brent Dutton on tuba, Westwind Brass warmed the hearts of the audience with flawless technique and virtuosity.
The dynamic range of this group is certainly impressive. They were soft and subtle in their hauntingly beautiful renditions of Aaron Copland’s “Simple Gifts” and Scott Joplin’s “Solace.”
But they let out all the stops and produced a big band sound in “American Patrol” and “Take the A Train.”
Monday’s program also included “Suite of the Americas,” a humorous arrangement of familiar American, Canadian, and Mexican songs arranged by tubist Dutton.
The concluding movement, entitled “Joplisousiana,” was a delightful and witty merging of the ragtime tunes of Scott Joplin and the marches of John Phillip Sousa.
Westwind Brass is a group with great musical depth.
Whether playing blues, big band music, or a Gershwin melody, this quintet showed an appreciative Border Concert audience why it has come to be widely acclaimed as one of North America’s premier brass ensembles.