Holiday-themed brass band concert

  • The Pioneer Valley Brass. Contributed photo

Staff Writer
Published: 12/5/2019 10:22:46 AM
Modified: 12/5/2019 10:22:36 AM

Ring in the season with a free holiday-themed brass band concert next week. The Pioneer Valley Brass will return to St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Greenfield beginning at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Dec.15, for the 793rd vespers program sponsored by the First Universalist Parish of North Dana. In longstanding tradition, St. Paul’s is the venue for the band’s annual performance of traditional and modern holiday music.

The free show is made possible through a trust fund of the First Universalist Parish of North Dana, which was forced to close when the Quabbin Reservoir flooded five towns in the Swift River Valley. The trust fund was created to set up vespers programs to keep alive the memory of the Parish.

Sunday’s program will include “Fanfare for an Angel”; “Christmas Carol Festival”; “Riu, Riu, Chiu”; “For Unto Us a Child is Born”; “Christmas Fanfare”; “Jesus Child”; “The First Noel”; “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas”; “Jingle Y’All Bells”; “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year”; and “Feliz Navidad. The program is subject to change.

The Pioneer Valley Brass is a group of musicians from throughout the area and has been performing for over 40 years. Dick Tandy and Melissa Griffin play trumpet; Jim Engele plays horn; Jeri Bannister performs on trombone; and Joe Hoye is featured on tuba. These musicians have performed and are well known throughout the region. Tandy holds a bachelor’s degree in music education from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He has performed with many area groups including the Orange Community Band, the Petersham Brass Band and the Narragansett Community Band. He also sang with The Grace Notes barbershop quartet.

Griffin also received her bachelor of music degree in trumpet performance from UMass and holds a master’s degree in trumpet performance from Penn State. She plays with the Pioneer Valley Symphony, Windham Orchestra, Fanfare Brass Choir and the Shelburne Falls Military Band. Previously, she played principal trumpet with the Connecticut River Valley Orchestra in Claremont, N.H. She is a dairy farmer and lives in Buckland.

Bannister holds a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree from Ithaca College School of Music, and has a certificate of advanced graduate studies in interdisciplinary studies from Fitchburg State College. She is a member of the Keene Chamber Orchestra, the Flamingo All-Female Swing Band, the Northampton Concert Band and the Westfield American Legion Band. She is a former member of Pioneer Valley Symphony.

Engele studied horn with Jane Houlden while pursuing a degree in music education in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. He has performed with the North Shore Philharmonic, the Berkshire Symphony Orchestra, Leite Concert Winds, and the Orange Community Band. He repairs brass instruments for professional musicians from all over the world.

Hoye attended Westfield State University and studied music performance. Since that time, he has performed with a number of area ensembles, the Pioneer Valley Symphony, and has appeared on many local artist recordings. He is currently a member of the Fanfare Brass Choir and is the Principle Tuba for the Holyoke Civic Symphony. He resides in New Hampshire with his wife Jodie, who is the principle oboist for the Holyoke Civic Symphony.

The Pioneer Valley Brass is also scheduled to perform a memorial Dana Vespers programs in Orange on Dec. 7 and at the First Parish Unitarian in Hubbardston at 5:30 on Dec. 14. Contact Music Coordinator Maureen Riendeau at 978-413-6867 for information about First Universalist Parish of North Dana or to schedule a vespers program.


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