A Very Brassy Christmas – The Heritage Brass Quintet


We had a chance to see a really great concert Saturday night thanks to our son, Andy.  Despite the snowy weather, we headed out to Lakeland Community College to hear the Heritage Brass Quintet’s annual Christmas concert.  Now, I have a soft spot in my heart for the brass section, having spent 8 years playing the trombone in elementary, junior high, and high school.  I played in everything, marching band, concert band, pep band.  Even went to regional contests a couple of years in a brass quartet, where our group did very well thank you very much.

Andy and friend taking tickets and passing out programs (Andy on the right)

So we were thrilled when Andy was asked to be an usher at this concert since that got us all in for free.  He ushered last year too with his school class.    He’s not in school now but we ran into his teacher at another function and she asked if he would like to usher again and he of course said yes.  This teacher is one of his favorite people so we knew he would want to work with her again.

Despite their formal appearance, in bow ties and tails, this is an informal concert for the group.  They joke with the audience between songs and with each other during and between songs.  For this set they played traditional and pop holiday songs.  The tuba player is also an instrument technician and he brought out a some “oddball” instruments –  a contra-bass trombone , pitched a fourth lower than a regular trombone;  an odd instrument called an “offenclyde.”   I have no idea how to spell it but it looked like a cross between a saxophone and a horn.  He also brought out some kind of very low pitched tuba.  One of the trumpet players also had an old instrument called a “keyed trumpet” that was used in the 1800’s.  They used these instruments to play renaissance pieces.  That plus their relating the history of the music made us feel transported back in time.  They are all excellent musicians and their great personalities make this concert one of the best of the year.  Next year will be their 30th year performing a Christmas concert at Lakeland.

Their version of “Sleigh Ride” had us all tapping our feet and near the end we were led in a sing-a-long of traditional Christmas carols.  They finished big with Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus.”

Everybody left in a happy holiday mood.  We had fun and got to see some friends we don’t see very often.  Andy enjoyed working with his teacher’s and classmates again. 

If you live in our area, visit the quintet’s web site to see where they will be performing.  CD’s of their performances are also available.

I had to include this photo of Andy as he waited for his job to begin.  He was so proud of his Christmas tie!

Merry Christmas from all of us in the Kennedy house!


About SallyK

A little blog about the ordinary and not so ordinary things our family does, places we travel, things we see. Like travel, cooking, family stories, book reviews, music? You will find it all here - comments welcome!
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One Response to A Very Brassy Christmas – The Heritage Brass Quintet

  1. Jeff Stockham says:

    The correct spelling is “ophicleide”, which translates from Latin to mean “keyed serpent”, as the instrument was seen as the successor to the serpent for playing the bass line, and it had keys. It was developed in the early 1800s, before the valve had been invented. Adolphe Sax’s experiments with fitting a bass clarinet mouthpiece to an ophicleide eventually led to his invention of the Saxophone.

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