Vancouver Brass Quintet brings ‘Passion, Purpose & Promise’ to Whistler

Whistler Chamber Music Society performance set for Sunday (Nov. 5)

The Vancouver Brass Quintet wants to take you on a journey.

The group is set to play Our Lady of the Mountains Catholic Church on Sunday (Nov. 5) where they plan to show audiences early pieces written for brass instruments as well as popular, contemporary songs that many will recognize — from Victor Ewald to Frank Ticheli.

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Called “Passion, Purpose & Promise,” the one-hour performance, presented by the Whistler Chamber Music Society, will aim to demonstrate “a lot of seductive melodies,” while showing the purpose of brass instruments and offering an entertaining performance, said Greg Passmore, who plays tenor trombone in the group.

“It starts with some early music, goes to core music written for the ensemble and goes to (songs) that are popular, a Beatles tune or it could be a jazz standard thrown in or a tango — a lot of variety,” said Passmore, “I often find that the music (we) play is attractive to all ages. It’s just how you communicate to the audience between songs. It’s something we’ve all been doing for a while. We want to break down the barriers between audience and performer when we’re doing these things.”

The educational component of the performance comes naturally to the group — which, alongside Passmore, includes Mark D’Angelo and Kyle Axford on trumpet, Dawn Haylet on French horn and Drew Dumas on bass trombone and tuba — who are all music teachers.

“We have no trouble with communicating with people of all ages and demonstrating music to audiences because we do it on a regular basis,” Passmore said. “A lot of musicians don’t do a lot of teaching and don’t present in front of youth.”

Members of the quintet have played together or encountered each other in various ensembles and symphonies over the years, but it wasn’t until they were all invited to play a Christmas event at the West Vancouver United Church with the Pacific Spirit Choir three years ago that they first came together as a group. “We got along so well we thought, ‘well we should do a concert on our own,’” Passmore said. “As soon as we put the group together another society wanted to have us in. That led to other concerts, as these things usually do.”

To that end, the group has played for a wide range of audiences — many made up of people new to brass instruments. “There are a lot of stereotypes about what (a brass quintet) could be in a live performance,” Passmore added. “The exciting thing is those stereotypes get broken down when you play a concert. They go, ‘oh I didn’t realize brass could do that. I didn’t realize you could play such a beautiful, lyrical melody.’ It’s not just pep bands — or musicians playing loudly in the back row of an orchestra — there are all sorts of varieties a quintet like ours can bring.”

That’s why the group is looking forward to visiting Whistler for the upcoming show, he added. “I fully believe the future of music making is these small, not-for-profit concert societies that host music (concerts) and bring artists from other parts of the province to their community,” he said. “It’s a beautiful thing.”

Catch The Vancouver Brass Quintet at Our Lady of the Mountains Catholic Church on Sunday (Nov. 5) from 5 p.m. until 6 p.m. Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for youth (which is 34-years-old and younger). They can be purchased at the Whistler Museum or at the door.

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