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Presidio Brass out of the classroom

Nationally-recognized quintet kicks off local concert series

Nationally-recognized quintet kicks off local concert series

September 12, 2009|By TIFFANY ARNOLD

Tuba player Scott Sutherland realized the time for change had arrived for Presidio Brass when he found himself honoring requests for the SpongeBob SquarePants song at school assemblies, Presidio's main stomping ground at the time.

"We started off as an education-based ensemble," Sutherland says.

But instead of offering inspiring music, they found they were merely offering a break from times tables. They thought they could be doing more.

"If you asked the kid when they get home what they learned, it's, 'Um, I learned that the trumpet could play the theme from Star Wars,'" Sutherland says.

Today Presidio Brass is doing more.

Presidio opens Hagerstown Community Concert Association's 2009-10 season with a concert Wednesday night at The Maryland Theatre in downtown Hagerstown. Presidio's concert is the first of four concerts scheduled through April, says Helen Hubbard, the association's membership co-chair.


Formed in the spring of 2006, Presidio is a nationally recognized brass quintet - two trumpets, a trombone, a French horn and a tuba - with three albums and a touring schedule viable enough for the guys to make it their main source of income.

The quintet, Sutherland says, still makes time to teach, doing free clinics and shows for the local schools while they're on the road. They also coordinate seminars for fledgling musicians and they have downloadable PDFs of sheet music for trumpet, trombone, horn and tuba online.

Lately, Presidio has been toying with the incorporation of piano and light percussion at its live shows, drawing from Sutherland's skills as a piano man and broadening the musical opportunities they are able to offer.

Sutherland, 31, of Carlsbad, Calif., attended a small high school in Los Angeles. The trombone was his instrument of choice, though he was already taking piano lessons.

"The band was all of 30 students," Sutherland says.

By 11th grade, his band director approached him to play tuba, since there was no tuba player. He didn't like the instrument. "It's just cumbersome," Sutherland says. "It's heavy."

But the disappointment only lasted a few months.

"Once you start learning how to create sound with it, you're hooked," Sutherland says.

Sutherland now splits his time as a professional musician playing in ensembles like the Riverside Philharmonic and sharing his passion for music with others.

On Wednesday, Presidio will perform music off its latest album, "Sounds of the Cinema," with songs from "Pirates of the Caribbean," "Bohemian Rhapsody" and the main theme from "Star Wars."

Hagerstown Community Concert Association 2009-10 schedule

Concerts are at The Maryland Theatre, 21 S. Potomac St., downtown Hagerstown.

Presidio Brass - 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 16

Daniel Rodriguez - 7:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 26

Hunt Family Fiddlers - 7:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 22

The Canadian Tenors - 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 28

Ticket prices and subscriptions

Subscriptions permit concertgoers to attend all of the Hagerstown Community Concert Association shows plus the shows offered by community concert associations in Chambersburg, Pa.; Waynesboro, Pa.; Gettysburg, Pa.; and Westminster, Md.

For tickets or subscriptions, call the Hagerstown Community Concert Association, 301-790-0980.

Single-concert ticket - $20

Adult subscription - $45

Student subscription - $10

Family subscription - $55. Good for one adult and all the school-age children and grandchildren in the household.

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