Warren Gerds/Critic at Large: Review: Weidner Philharmonic brass serve a smorgasbord

Critic At Large

University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Music’s ‘6:30 Concert Series’

Performing, from left, are Michelle McQuade Dewhirst, Andrew Zipperer, Steve Wilda, Jamie Waroff and Adam Gaines. (Warren Gerds screenshot)

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – A buffet is a lot of different food. A smorgasbord is a lot of different food made with a flair.

The definitions are right here in my dictionary.

Served Monday evening in a special livestream concert was a varied menu of music for brass quintet.

The smorgasbord included, in order in the program below, works that could be labeled regal, inventive, sweet, sacred, jaunty and mucho gusto.

Versatility marked the concert “Brass Musicians of the Weidner Philharmonic” – versatility in programming and performing.

The event was part of University of Wisconsin-Green Bay’s “6:30 Concert Series,” which has become a virtual offering since the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic has throttled most live, in-person performances.

Aside from the music, really interesting was the protocol the musicians followed.

All were spaced more than six feet from one another in Fort Howard Hall of the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts on campus. All wore formal concert black clothing, which would be expected. All wore masks (also black), which is not the norm for brass musicians. Each slipped his or her instrument’s mouthpiece under the mask to play.

Trumpeter Adam Gaines of the UWGB faculty explained some of the finer points of the extras the players observed. They included towels descending from music stands for the trumpet players and bell covers for all but the horn – to catch any spray. And using towels as part of clearing valves. Adam Gaines noted that sometimes the requirements of how a piece is to be played was affected.

A more common drawback was sound – an oops when a microphone didn’t work for an introduction and an odd interlude when a rasp became evident, as if there were a searching for volume.

Mostly, the smorgasbord was tasty with the players embracing the material well. These members of the orchestra got to do what they normally would not do in a concert setting of the Weidner Philharmonic – be featured as a quintet.

They adventured with Jessica Meyer’s and Evan Williams’s stretches of imagination in recent works and caught the flow of traditional styles. A bit of fun was added by trombonist Andrew Zipperer’s adaptation of the rip-roarin’ rockin’ blues classic “Kansas City,” which happens to have a couple of dashes of spice for trombone.

The program lasted 35 or so minutes, but a lot went into it.


Program: “Brass Musicians of the Weidner Philharmonic”

Brass Quintet

Andrew Gaines and Jamie Waroff, trumpet

Michelle McQuade Dewhirst, horn

Andrew Zipperer, trombone

Steve Wilda, tuba

+ “Canzon 2” from “Weltspiegel” (1613) – Paul Peuerl, arranged by Jay Lichtmann

+ “Luminosity” (2016) – Jessica Meyer

+ “To a Wild Rose” from “Ten Woodland Sketches, Opus 51” (1896) – Edward MacDowell, arranged by Anne Christopherson

+ “Lux Aetema” (2013) – Evan Williams

+ “Kansas City” (1952) – Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller, arranged by Andrew Zipperer

+ “Aparito Roca” (1925) – Jaime Teixidor Dalmau, edited by Jay Lichtman


NEXT for “6:30 Concert Series:” Virtual: 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 16: “Swing for the Holidays.”


+ Virtual, 4-5 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 18: “The Land was Never Some of Ours: Sustainability and Ecopoetic Perspectives on the Future.”

Chris McAllister Williams (UWGB assistant professor, English and Humanities) will draw upon notable works to situate the concerns of the Anthropocene, the name for a new epoch when human activity is the dominant force reshaping the planet, alongside poetic approaches that seek to explore those concerns, in a discussion about the interwoven nature of ecological location and sustainability.

+ Virtual, 6-7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 30: “Conference Plenary with David Voelker: Beyond Sustainability: Imagining an Ecological Future.”

David Voelker (UWGB professor, Humanities and History) will speak on complexities of unsustainability as he reconsiders our roles on this living planet as human beings to stop environmental crisis from happening.

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