Symphony plans musical journey

Published 5:00 am Monday, April 27, 2009

The Ole Brook Wind Symphony’s upcoming spring concert will offerlisteners a chance to travel to some of the world’s most exoticlocations and back again – all in about 45 minutes.

Symphony Director Dr. Jim Brewer said his band’s Tuesday nightperformance at 7 p.m. inside Copiah-Lincoln Community College’sEwing Fine Arts Auditorium would be a “musical vacation,” takinglisteners to places like Ireland, the Caribbean and Broadway beforea patriotic trip back home.

“It’s just kind of a musical journey,” he said.

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To accomplish the journey, Brewer said the symphony will performseven pieces, including destination-themed songs like “IrishTunes,” “Caribbean Hideaway” and “Stars and Stripes Forever.”

The Co-Lin Jazz Band will precede the symphony in performance.Admission to the concert is free.

Brewer said the journey-like theme of the symphony’s springconcert has evolved over time since the approximately 30-memberband began practicing in late January.

“The music is considered light music,” he said. “It’s not reallyheavy classical music this time because, traditionally, our springconcert is more light in nature.”

The music is light, but not weightless. The Ole Brook WindSymphony is composed of students, professionals and retirees whorange in age from high school freshmen to 76 years old, and themusic it performs is advanced.

“We play a little bit more advanced music than what you findusually in high schools – it’s more equivalent of college-levelmusic,” Brewer said. “‘Yankee Doodle’ is one of the more difficultpieces we’re playing because of its arrangement. Morton Gould, whoarranged it, threw in the kitchen sink. Even the tuba has asolo.”

With such a hodge-podge of musicians of varying ages and musicalbackgrounds, the symphony is able to play advanced music for onereason – practice. The members, who come from six counties inSouthwest Mississippi, gather every Tuesday at 7 p.m. at theAlexander Junior High School band hall and practice for two hoursinto the night.

Brewer said some of the band’s members joined after a 40-yearabsence from their instruments and learned their skills all overagain. Lately, however, the band has enjoyed an influx of young,talented musicians from nearby Brookhaven High School, and evenfrom as far away as Lawrence and Franklin county high schools.

“We have more young members this time than we’ve ever had,”Brewer said. “For the most part, they’re more advanced players whofeel comfortable playing the kind of music we play.”