Air Force brass ensemble to present concert

Brass in Blue, a pioneering symphonic brass ensemble presented by the U.S. Air Force Heartland of America Band, will perform in concert at Northwestern College’s Christ Chapel on Monday, Sept. 8, at 7 p.m.

Admission is free, but concert-goers are asked to obtain tickets in advance. They are available at the Northwestern College music department in DeWitt Music Hall, Monday through Thursday between 8:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.; Orange City offices in Town Hall; and at the Dove Bookstore, Orange City.

With 10 brass players, a percussionist and a vocalist, Brass in Blue performs a diverse repertoire featuring orchestral transcriptions, patriotic favorites, jazz standards and new compositions. The musicians are full-time active duty members of the Air Force, based at Omaha’s Offutt Air Force Base, with advanced degrees in music performance and a combined total of more than 300 years of playing experience.

The concert will include works by Morton Gould, Gioacchino Rossini, John Philip Sousa, Dmitri Shostakovich and many more.  The program will close with a piece featuring some members of Northwestern’s Symphonic Band and organist MaryLou Wielenga, conducted by Dr. Tim McGarvey, professor of music.

Brass in Blue is directed by Staff Sgt. Matthew Erickson, who also plays bass trombone. A native of Marcus, Iowa, he earned a bachelor’s degree in music education at the University of South Dakota. Erickson graduated from Airman Leadership School with the highest leadership and academic honor, the John Levitow Award. He was also chosen as the Heartland of America Band’s 2004 Airman of the Year and the U.S. Air Force Band and Music Program’s 2004 Airman of the Year.

Brass in Blue maintains a rigorous performance schedule, touring annually in a region that includes Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.