Members of the St. Louis Brass Quintet lead a private class for the BRHS band Friday morning. | Austin Nelson

Archived Story

Quintet makes music with master class

Published 12:02pm Saturday, January 26, 2013

More than 300 Alexander City middle and high school music students Friday morning laughed, cheered and applauded through a master class presented by the St. Louis Brass Quintet at the Benjamin Russell High School auditorium.

Thursday evening the quintet performed a concert at the auditorium as part of the Alexander City Arts 2012-2013 season, and ACA president Karen Kison said arts council money that is reserved for educational purposes funded the hour-long class.

Quintet members discussed the history of brass instruments and demonstrated several, from conch shell and cow horn pre-cursors to modern playing techniques on today’s horns.

The group played “Happy Birthday” on conch shells with broken tips, varying the notes with different sized shells, and demonstrated the use of replicas of trumpets found in the tomb of Egyptian pharaoh King Tutankhamun, the time of Christ and instruments used in the 1500s.

The band also answered students’ questions about life as professional musicians and instrument alterations and innovations. Trombone player and quintet founder Mel Jernigan demonstrated the adaptability of everyday materials for music making by playing a garden hose fitted with a plastic funnel.

BRHS band director Dale Bloodworth said the quintet members are icons in the industry, and he appreciates the ACA’s gift of the class to area students.