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Brassfire lights two audiences in Cortez concerts

Band, trumpeter wrap up concert series on M-CHS stage

BrassFire, led by internationally renowned trumpeter Jens Lindemann entertained audiences at two shows Sunday and Monday, at the Ralph E. Vavak Memorial Auditorium at the Montezuma-Cortez High School.

The final concert of SouthWest Colorado Concerts 2015-2016 season had many audience members declaring it was the best concert yet, with one couple comparing it to “the two jazz concerts we attended at the Lincoln Center in New York City.”

An audience of 320 people, including about 50 youths, was enthusiastic throughout the two-hour program. Lindemann took some questions from the audience, and delighted in focusing on students.

The band played through a variety of genres, including swing and Latin jazz and even two classical pieces. Local trumpeter Bob Newnam, when asked for his thoughts during intermission said, “I’m in complete euphoria.” He noted after the concert that it is “rare to hear a trumpet player with such a classical training have that kind of jazz conception.”

Lindemann met with 15 middle school students just before the concert, and gave them “tubes” to spin during one piece. The spinning tubes added an ethereal sound to the piece and earned the students the applause of the unsuspecting audience.

The band performed a rousing final number with Bill Whelan’s “Riverdance.” After a thunderous standing ovation, the band returned to play the tender and enduring “What a Wonderful World,” by Bob Thiele.

Wendy Watkins, local piano teacher, said the concert truly epitomized what SouthWest Colorado Concerts performances are all about: the opportunity to hear world class music played by approachable musicians who truly enjoy engaging the audience and sharing their knowledge with students and adults alike.

The next morning, 350 students from Children’s Kiva Montessori School, Cortez Middle School and M-CHS were treated to a 60-minute mini-concert and master class presented by members of BrassFire in the M-CHS auditorium.

At the beginning of the concert, the students enthusiastically applauded their appreciation for all involved in making the concert available to them: the musicians, funding supporter Onward! A Legacy Foundation, concert organizer SouthWest Colorado Concerts and numerous school personnel.

Once the performance began, the students appeared to be under Lindeman’s spell. German-born Canadian Lindemann not only had the students’ ears, but also had their minds, as he taught them German words for “thank you” and “you’re welcome,” and how to pronounce “Johann Sebastian Bach,” and what the musical term “ostinato” means.

The band played music designed to demonstrate to the students a number of different genres and rhythms, with each style introduced succinctly and interestingly by Lindemann.

Students gave an enthusiastic standing ovation at the end of their concert. Many went on stage and asked for autographs, and musicians happily complied.

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