July 3, 2014

A lot of brass at First Thursdays on Main

Go Columbia for July 3: SC Philharmonic’s Palmetto Brass in Sunset Series Thursday

Free outdoor concerts are a wonderful thing, especially in the city, where stumbling upon a group of musicians can add a few minutes of pure pleasure to an otherwise unremarkable day.

But here’s a free concert you’ll want to plan to attend: Thursday, July 3, from 5-7 p.m., the South Carolina Philharmonic’s Palmetto Brass players, a quintet made up of two trumpets, a French horn, a trombone and a tuba, will perform the second of three concerts in the Sunset Series at Lady & Main Presented by CertusBank.

Expect an eclectic program that will run through the Baroque and Renaissance eras to modern jazz. The concert will be held in conjunction with the First Thursdays on Main festival.

In a world where saxophones tend to get a lot of love, brass instruments are sometimes overlooked. It wasn’t always that way. According to Palmetto Brass member and trumpet player David Allison, during the Renaissance, trumpets announced the time of day in towns and cities each hour by playing a tune written for that particular hour. Here are a few other facts about the brass family.

1. The highest pitched brass instrument is the piccolo trumpet. When he heard it in one of Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos, Paul McCartney liked the sound of it so much that he wrote a place for it in the song “Penny Lane”.

2. Curving the tubes of a brass instrument makes them easier to play. Even a small trumpet would be 6 feet long if it were stretched out.

3. The average tuba weighs between 25 and 30 pounds. Marching band players tend to use a Sousaphone, which is smaller and lighter and designed to be wrapped around the body and supported by the left shoulder.

Katie McElveen, Special to The State

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