After a four-year hiatus, the Tarnished Brass will return to Cortez for a free concert at the Cultural Center on Saturday, Aug. 4, at 7 p.m.
Everyone is welcome to attend, a press release said.
The music chosen for the Cultural Center Plaza will be lighthearted, said Bob Waggoner. The performance also promises many recognizable tunes including “Ashokan Farewell,” a melody woven through the well-known Ken Burns documentary film “The Civil War.”
American folk musician Jay Ungar, who composed the waltz in D major in 1982 in the style of a Scottish lament, has described the song as coming out of “a sense of loss and longing,” and it heralded the end of the night at the annual Ashokan Music and Dance Camps in upstate New York. The arrangement typically begins with a solo violin, accompanied by guitar and upright bass. The Tarnished Brass gives it a new life when arranged for brass.
Concertgoers also might enjoy recognizing and naming a number of melodies associated with the Southwest in a medley of tunes put together for the Tarnished Brass by Thomas Root, who is an “in-house” composer and arranger for the group, Waggoner said. Root, a recently retired professor of composition and band director at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah, was one of the five original members of the group when it began playing brass music 51 years ago in Minnesota. At that time, all five were recent graduates of the University of Minnesota and its band program, and all were directing school bands around the state.
Also included in the program will be an original composition that was written for the occasion. The new piece is a collaboration between Root and Pagosa Springs artist Jessica Peterson, who makes and plays Native American flutes. The composition is built around melodies she has created, with the brass setting added by Root. Peterson will join the Tarnished Brass to perform “Nighteagle Suite,” named after her mentor, Lakota storyteller David Nighteagle.
The Tarnished Brass get together twice a year, in December in Minneapolis for holiday performances, and in the summer at various locations.
The band will be in Cortez this summer to help celebrate the retirement of the Rev. Reverend Leigh Waggoner, priest at St Barnabas Episcopal Church and wife of Bob Waggoner, one of the members of the group.
Because one of the trumpet players lives and works in Boston, the group gathered there two summers ago and was honored to play at the historic Trinity Church. The group has also been privileged to play the past several years for an Advent service at the Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis.