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Symphony opens fourth season with 'Brilliant Brass'

The Rocky Mountain Symphony Orchestra (RMSO) will open its fourth season with plenty of brass.

On Oct. 18, the symphony will perform ‘Brilliant Brass’ – a concert featuring the symphony’s orchestral brass section, including five trumpeters, five horn players, four trombones, a tuba player and three percussionists.

“If you’ve never been to a classical concert before, this would certainly be an easy one to attend,” RMSO Director of Music Carlos Foggin said. “Who doesn’t like brass?”

This season, according to Foggin, the RMSO will highlight a different section of its orchestra with each concert, as part of its ‘chamber series.’ He added the symphony’s wind section will be featured in its spring performance.

The history of chamber music, according to Foggin, dates back hundreds of years, when a wealthy patron could invite dozens of his friends to his mansion – hence the word “chamber” – for a private concert. Chamber music typically highlights compositions arranged for a smaller number of performers. 

“They couldn’t have too many players, because it would fill the room,” Foggin said.  “Rather than a full orchestra, it can range from a couple of players up to smaller concerts like this one.”

The Oct. 18 show, which will be held at the Polaris Centre for the Performing Arts in Balzac, will feature a 12-piece program.

Foggin said some of the pieces will be familiar for attendees – even for those in the audience who do not typically listen to classical music.

“John Williams’ Olympic Fan Fare, most people would know, and [the theme song from] Back to the Future 3, when they go back to the Old West, will be in the concert,” he said.

“There will be lots of stuff you know and lots of stuff you might not know, but it’s still very accessible.”

Another piece that audience members will almost certainly recognize is a trumpet-heavy rendition of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

“Even the guitar solo – that ripping solo – is going to be played on a miniature, half-size trumpet that plays really, really high,” Foggin said.

While the RMSO features a mixture of professional and high-level amateur musicians, Foggin said the Oct. 18 show will also include a few select members of George McDougall High School’s band, who will perform Ave Maria with the RMSO.

“It gives them a good glimpse of what it’s like to have the compressed schedule of a professional musician,” Foggin said.

The nature of chamber music, according to Foggin, means all 18 performers will have their moment in the spotlight during the concert.

“The beautiful thing about chamber music is that every player is a soloist,” he said.

“What’s unique with brass, compared to strings or wind, is that they literally use their lips to make the sound. If you’re the lead player, fatigue eventually sets in. We’re switching the [leading] roles around, just to make it through the program.”

Tickets to Brilliant Brass are $30 for general admission, $25 for students and $5 for children under 12. Tickets are available for pre-purchase at or by calling 403-255-9368. Tickets will also be available at the door.


Scott Strasser

About the Author: Scott Strasser

Scott Strasser, acting editor
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