School of Music

USM Spotlight Concert of top brass poses an interesting math problem

Due to the weather predictions, and in sensitivity to traveling artists and patrons, the "British Brass" concert for this weekend has been cancelled. We hope to reschedule this concert in the future. Stay safe; stay warm.

To commemorate a British trumpeter and his unique brass ensemble, Betty Rines has once again assembled top-of-the-line professional brass musicians for the USM School of Music's next Spotlight Series concert. Peter Martin will conduct the ensemble which include trumpeters Betty Rines, Mark Tipton, Alan Kaschub and Matthew Lagarde; trombonists Brian Diehl, Mark Manduca, Chris Oberholtzer, and Thomas Michaud; Andrew Pelletier on horn; Dan Hunter on tuba; and percussionists Nancy Smith and Joshua Champagne.

The concert will be held at 8 p.m. on Friday, February 8, 2013 in Corthell Concert Hall, on the USM Gorham campus.  Tickets are $15 general public, $10 seniors/USM employees/alums and $5 for students and children. For reservations, contact the Music Box Office at (207) 780-5555, or visit

Rines recalls a time in her life when as a young trumpet player she was delighted and inspired to listen to the full, rich sound of the brass section of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. "As brass musicians we sit in the orchestra and wait for our few moments of glory--grand, fantastic and brief," Rines admits. Yet, in the next breath she recounts how in 1951 Phillip Jones changed that. "Jones took the brass from the back row to the forefront." 

The Phillip Jones Brass Ensemble started off merely as a basic brass quintet before it eventually transformed into a much larger ensemble, complete with ten brass solo musicians. The most important feature of Jones' influence on arrangements and compositions for these ensembles is that it recognized brass musicians as chamber players, providing unlimited new possibilities for contemporary composers. From arrangements of pieces from the Baroque and Renaissance periods, to contemporary works, what will be heard in this performance will be an ensemble of soloists.

Now for the interesting math problem: of the eleven professionals performing in this concert, six are USM faculty, six are USM alumni, and one is a USM student. You just may have to attend the concert to figure that one out.

Those needing special accommodations to participate fully in this program, contact Lori Arsenault, (207) 780-5142, Hearing impaired: call USM's telex / TDD number (207) 780-5646