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April 6, 2007

Brass quintet explores American history through music with concert at CW's Wallace Museum

Eastern Virginia Brass, a professional chamber music ensemble based in Hampton Roads, tells the story of the founding of Jamestown in the concert, “Threshold to America,” 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 13 at Colonial Williamsburg’s DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum.

A concert for both music and history lovers, “Threshold to America” combines the music of trumpets, horn, trombone and tuba with poetry and theater to commemorate Jamestown’s 400th anniversary. Created for brass quintet and narrator by Virginia composer Leigh Baxter and Virginia poet Robert Arthur, the concert recounts the facts and feelings of the arduous journey faced by Jamestown’s founders.

The ensemble will play a variety of music by American composers. Spanning four centuries of dances, marches, jazz and whimsy the members of the quintet include selections from the patriotic “Excerpts from the Battle of Trenton” by James Hewitt, movements of the virtuosic “American Brass Band Journal,” G.W.E. Friederich from the Civil War era, as well as a witty work by Leonard Bernstein titled “Dance Suite for Brass Quintet.” Another work that especially remembers those first settlers of 1607 is a musical and regal bow to the Old World culture in a collection of dances, “Elizabethan Consort Music.”

Eastern Virginia Brass, which has been together for 25 years and performed in such places as the Center for Contemporary Arts in Virginia Beach and Williamsburg’s Kimball Theatre, consists of members Lawrence Clemens, Robert Spaeth, Marlene Ford, Robert Ford and James Cipriano.

Leigh Baxter teaches music at John Tyler Community College in Richmond, Va., and recently had a work, “Lewis and Clark: A Symphonic Poem,” premiered by the Richmond Symphony.

Robert Arthur teaches creative writing at Tidewater Community College. He is known for his award-winning book of poetry, “Hymn to the Chesapeake,” which has been made into a musical play of the same name and performed in St. Petersburg, Russia, Washington, New York, Maryland and Virginia.

Funding for this event has been made possible by several generous donors, including the Williamsburg Community Trust, Williamsburg Area Arts Commission and York County Arts Commission.

Tickets are $10 general admission and $7.50 for Colonial Williamsburg Good Neighbors, Freedom Pass and Independence Pass holders. For more information and
reservations, call 1-800-HISTORY or the Museum Store at 757-220-7693.

The Museums of Colonial Williamsburg include the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum and the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum. Admission is included in
any Colonial Williamsburg admission ticket or by separate museums ticket. For information call (757) 220-7724.

Media Contact:
Penna Rogers
(757) 220-7121