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Low Brass Collective Gala Spotlights The Bass Trombone

Low brass is underappreciated. The St. Louis Low Brass Collective wants to change.

“Our goal is to improve the music performance level by offering opportunities for people to play, giving concerts (and) workshops,” B.J. Fullenkamp, a trombonist with Missouri Baptist University and St. Louis Cathedral Brass, told “CityScape” host Steve Potter.

“We do all kinds of things beyond just concerts,” said Gerry Pagano, bass trombonist with the St. Louis Symphony. “We’re trying really to, as well as educate, really give people a chance to understand what it is low brass is all about and get an experience outside of just marching band and orchestra.

Low brass includes the trombone, tuba and euphonium — the shiny brass instruments that are lower in register than the trumpet or French horn. In arrangements, they’re also usually the instruments with less stage time.

“There’s a lot of skill in learning how to sit around for so long, and then having to come in and be right on when you’ve been sitting cold for 20 (or) 30 minutes,” joked Pagano. “We’re capable of a lot of wonderful sounds and I think it’s a great color.”

Jazz often offers trombone players a chance to shine, Pagano said. “Trombone is in a register that’s kind of like the human voice.”

This year’s Low Brass Collective gala will spotlight the bass trombone. The free concert will include musicians from the St. Louis Symphony, the U.S. Air Force Band of Mid-America and faculty members from numerous local universities. It also will premiere a commission by composer and trombonist Jim Pugh. The concert will end with the “St. Louis Blues March.”

At the gala, the group also will raffle off a new Getzen trombone to a high school or college student.

“There’s a lot to be said for the modern instrument makers,” Pagano said. “If you want a violin, you want one that was probably made (200 to) 300 years ago, but the brass instruments are being made better now than they ever were before.”

Related Event

St. Louis Low Brass Collective gala concert

  • When: 7:30 p.m. Jan. 20, 2015
  • Where: Sheldon Concert Hall, 3648 Washington Blvd., St. Louis
  • More information