Offutt Brass collaborates with Canadian Brass

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Jacob Skovo
  • 55th Wing Public Affairs

The Heartland of America Band’s Offutt Brass hosted the Canadian Brass June 8, 2018, at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska.

Canadian Brass, formed in 1970, has won Juno, Grammy and Echo awards and are considered to be one of the most successful brass ensembles in the world with discography of more than 130 albums.

After the musicians exchanged introductions and completed their individual warm ups they began to go over a piece of music called “Echo” by the Baroque composer Samuel Scheidt in the HOAB’s rehearsal hall. Between each play-through they exchanged ideas and a feedback to adjust the feeling and pace of the song until they came to an arrangement they wanted to record.

“The quality of performance here is absolutely first rank,” said Chuck Daellenbach, Canadian Brass tuba player. “These are not only very well trained artists, but they’re also seasoned professionals. They were just telling us they do something like 100 performances a year.”

The HOAB is comprised of 15 members divided into a popular music group and a brass group. Offutt Brass typically performs music for ceremonies and community relations concerts so performing chamber music with the Canadian quintet was a great opportunity to sharpen their skills.

“This is a great opportunity for us to pair with industry,” said Chief Master Sgt. Craig LeDoux, HOAB chief enlisted manager. “The Canadian Brass are world renowned. Their history goes back 40 years when they began touring as a brass quintet.”

After playing together the two bands discussed performance techniques. The topics ranged from organization of concert sets to implementing storytelling and messaging in musical performance.

“We’re just honored to be brought in here and be able to share and collaborate and we are appreciative of what this group is doing in sharing music and messages,” said Jeff Nelson, Canadian Brass hornist.

The HOAB hopes to continue collaborating with more artists in the future, LeDoux said.

By sharing the Air Force mission with industry peers, the band is able to build public understanding, professional relationships and development of their own musicians.

 “One of the things I noticed right away was that our guys were hanging right with them,” LeDoux said. “It was a very challenging piece of music they had to play. They played it a number of times and our guys sounded as consistent as they did. What struck me the most was that they treated Offutt Brass like professional colleagues. It wasn’t a sort of a mentor-mentee relationship, and believe me our folks look up to them very much.”