Alumni and Lexington Brass Band combine to create, “Bold as Brass”

By Joel Sams
Senior News Writer

Tonight, Nov. 8, the “Bold as Brass” Artist Series concert will feature performances from four music alumni in collaboration with the Lexington Brass Band. The free concert will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Hughes, with doors opening at 7 p.m. for early seating. 

The alumni performers will be trumpeter Mark Ridenour ‘81 of the Chicago Symphony; Shawn Okpebholo ‘03, a professor at Wheaton Conservatory; tuba soloist Tom Bratten ‘95, a member of the U.S. Army Band; and organist Stanley Pelkey ‘94, dean at Roberts Wesleyan. 

The program will include music ranging from John Williams to Vaughan Williams, as well as the world premiere of a composition by Shawn Okpebholo. In a campus-wide email about Artist Series, Dr. Donald Zent, Asbury music professor, described the new composition: “Taking a 19th-century hymn tune called Repton, [Okpepholo] has shaped a fascinating, challenging work that interfaces the subdued Victorian hymn with 21st century sounds, including hip-hop and hard rock rhythms.”

Another unique feature of the concert will be tuba solos by Tom Bratten. He will play the second movement of Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Tuba Concerto and a solo for tuba and brass band called “Celestial Morn.”

“Students probably don’t know that the tuba is a soloistic intstrument,” Bratten said, laughing. “They’ve probably never heard a tuba solo before.”

For Bratten, Friday night’s concert will be a way to reconnect with his formative musical training.

“A lot of my early experience with brass playing was with the Lexington Brass Band, and I have very strong memories of playing with and being a member of the Lexington Brass,” he said. “At the same time, I have lots of amazing memories about all sorts things in Hughes Auditorium — chapel services, performing with the concert band, so I’m really looking forward to it. It’s going to be a real treat.”