As welcome brisk weather settled in, the evening was set for audiences to appreciate a beautiful Fine Arts Series concert. Students, staff, faculty, and guests made their way to their seats, excitedly chattering with those around them. Once the lights dimmed and the audience recited the Lord’s Prayer, a spotlight illuminated a brass quintet as they entered the auditorium—the Canadian Brass. Each instrumentalist marched down the center aisle, steadily playing a melodious tune as they took their places onstage. Filled to the brim with fine art culture and social experiences, this formal event couldn’t get any classier!
A Masterful Brass Performance
The Canadian Brass, the “world’s most famous brass group,” last performed at Pensacola Christian College in 2018. The quintet was first founded in 1970 by Chuck Daellenbach and Gene Watts. Their goal in forming the group: popularizing the neglected instrument family by developing an audience and repertoire for brass music. Altogether, Canadian Brass now offers over 130 albums in their discography, published over 1,500 songbooks, and has gained an international reputation as one of the most popular brass ensembles today.
On October 8, the brass quintet delighted audiences with a variety of songs such as Holborne’s “Muy Linda,” Pryor’s “Thoughts of Love,” and Chesky’s “Central Park Morning.” “I remembered [Canadian Brass] from last time [they were here], and I remembered how fun they were. They met that expectation again,” said Liz Zarrazola (CO), a senior graduating this December. “I hope they come back. I won’t be here, but I hope other people will get to experience and have as much fun as I did.”
Because he and his dad have connected over watching the brass ensemble’s YouTube videos, Josiah Tyler (So., Brazil) had anticipated seeing them live in concert. His favorite performances were “Tuba Tiger Rag,” arranged by Henderson, and “Scheherazade” by Rimsky-Korsakov. “I didn’t ever think I would actually get to [see them perform in person], and I was surprised when it was announced that they were coming. I’ve been super excited for the last four or five months,” he said.
As a group, the Canadian Brass members looked forward to hearing from and investing in the students. Earlier in the day, they presented comments and instruction to a trumpet soloist and brass quintet during a master class. “We heard some really talented students today,” said Achilles Liarmakopoulos, trombone. “It’s amazing to be here. This is one of our favorite places to perform, and it’s always very exciting to meet the students.”
The Canadian Brass appreciated the student body’s attentiveness throughout the evening. “The reactions always seemed appropriate to the music,” said Daellenbach, who plays tuba. “When we played the Gabrieli piece, for example, it was very quiet, and you could feel a real connection with that music. Then we played ‘Tuba Tiger Rag,’ and everybody was having fun. I felt like people were really listening and trying to be part of the process with us. For a performer, nothing’s better than that. And to come here and see everybody is so nicely dressed, appropriate for a concert—it takes me back years to when people paid more attention to attire and how they present themselves. It’s just really, really wonderful.”
Red Carpet Event
After the concert concluded, many students made their way to MacKenzie Great Hall for Red Carpet Event (RCE). The exclusive and optional black-tie reception was first introduced in spring 2021. This fall, students mingled in the high-class formal setting, enjoyed a selection of hors d’oeuvres and live piano music, and browsed selected pieces from PCC’s professional art collection. “RCE creates an additional formal experience that is less structured than typical Fine Arts,” said Liz Thomason, event coordinator. “It gives the students the opportunity to enjoy an evening with friends as well as develop their networking, intellectual discussion, and social skills in a modern, formal setting.”
“[At RCE], it’s encouraged to walk around, mingle. It makes Fine Arts a bigger experience than just the one performance,” shared Coda Owens (So., FL). “You can talk with friends, meet new people, take pictures; it really brings a whole new atmosphere to what Fine Arts is.”
As someone who is studying political science, Emmanuel Ruiz (So., VA) appreciated Red Carpet Event as a place to practice social skills he’ll use professionally. “It’s very good training for us,” he said. “Those who are [studying] humanities majors are going to need to know their way around these events. Something like this really gives you that first look into what that life is going to be like.”
Eva Noll (Fr., PA) spent her time at the event with her date and their friends. “The food is really good and fancy, and it’s not something you get to do every day,” she said. “I think it should be something everybody should have to experience—a formal event or something to dress up and be proper for.”
Having successfully concluded their third guest performance at PCC, Chuck Daellenbach recognized how the students get to enjoy something special while they’re here. “This is a remarkable setting,” he said. “I think the students are very fortunate because they [have] a quality of life [here] that’s going to be hard to replicate when they’re gone.”