Advocate Brass Band touring Europe this summer

April 06, 2004|BRENDA S. EDWARDS

The theme of this year's summer concert tour of Greece, Italy, Austria and Germany by The Advocate Brass Band is "Hands Across the Sea," reflecting music that brings people together on many different levels.

"That's what the Advocate Brass Band does here," said George Foreman, band director. "The band is a remarkable group that brings people of all ages and different backgrounds together. Our society is generally segregated with cultural differences in ages of people and activities. We have members from 14 years old to those somewhere in their 80s."

Foreman said music provides a common ground for everyone. "Music is a universal language. You can take people from anywhere and they can make music together. It's the same way with people in the audience."

Foreman was referring to a concert in Herforst, Germany, a couple of years ago when the Advocate band joined musicians from several small villages in a performance that drew more than 3,000 spectators.


"It was the most memorable music experience I've ever had. It was like a spiritual coming together."

He said the summer concert tours gives the local band an opportunity to unite with "people we know and people we don't know."

Band releasing new CD

"Hands Across the Sea" also is the theme of a new CD by the Advocate band that is scheduled to be released in time for the 2004 Great American Brass Band Festival in June. The CD includes 16 marches from 15 countries.

Foreman said the summer concert tour also will bring people together from across the United States to play with the Advocate band. It will feature the Millennium Brass Quintet in each of eight concerts.

"We're working to have a couple of special arrangements with the quintet and Advocate band that also will be featured in the brass band festival. Ten other guest professional musicians also will be on the tour.

"The band will be really good with the quality professionals," said Foreman. "It's a rare occasion when top notch professionals play with amateur musicians."

The professional musicians include Merrilee Elliott, a member of the Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra; Mike Acord, clarinet professor at Morehead State University; Adria Dowd, clarinet professor in Lexington; Rich Illman, trumpet professor at Michigan State University; John Laverty, director of bands at Syracuse University, and producer of the Advocate band CD; Lisa Bontrager, professor of horn at Penn State University; David Henderson, a member of the Lexington Philharmonic and recording engineer; Scott Hartman, professor at Boston University; Matt Moon, graduate of Morehead State; Marty Erickson, Appleton, Wisc.; Marty Hodapp and Steve Hayward, professional musicians from Indianapolis; Alison Shaw, college professor; and Brian Mason, professor at MSU, who graduated from Boyle County High School.

Concert in Greece highlighting tour

The highlight of the 2004 summer Advocate band tour will be a concert July 2 at the American Embassy in Athens, Greece. The reason for the early celebration is that most of the people leave the city and go to the islands for the summer, Foreman said.

"We are pleased to be part of the July 4 festivities at the American Embassy," he said. "It will be a big shindig in Athens this summer with more than 3,000 people from the embassy in attendance.

"If you call the American Embassy now and get put on hold, you get to hear The Advocate Brass Band play "My Old Kentucky Home," Foreman said.

The July 1-16 tour also includes concerts in Markopoulo and Kalavrita, Greece; Lana, Italy; Innsbruck, Austria; and Wurzburg and Herforst, Germany.

DiMartino is familiar with Kalavrita

Local trumpeter Vince DiMartino has taught and been a performer at Kalavrita music festivals for three summers, and the Millennium Brass has performed there two years. Kalavrita has a population of 1,500 and sits on top of a mountain near Athens. George Babarakos is the organizer of the Greece concerts.

Foreman said Kalavrita is the seat of the Greek nation, like Boston is to the United States. A march, "What Glory, What Grace," dedicated to the Greek Revolution, is on the Advocate band's new CD and will be played at the town's concert.

The concert in Wurzburg was arranged by Sepp Stengel, a trumpeter and band director, who came to the brass band festival in 2003. His band will be performing at the Danville festival again this summer.

The final concert will be in Herforst. An outdoor concert and barbecue are planned July 15.

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