Last week in my blog post about the Brass Extravaganza, I identified Principal Horn Roger Kaza as conductor of the combined St. Louis Symphony, St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra, and a walk-on guest brass ensemble that gave generous performances of a Richard Strauss song and W.C. Handy’s “Saint Louis Blues.”
I was in error. Kaza had the baton for the March from Aida, but it was Associate Principal Horn Thomas Jöstlein who led the Strauss and Handy. I was also informed that Jöstlein’s conducting style included notable “booty shakin'” during the “Saint Louis Blues.” As great as the music of Strauss is, it rarely calls for a booty shake from the conductor.
On Wednesday night the On Stage at Powell community concert series gave it up for brass. The concert featured not only St. Louis Symphony brass musicians, but also members of the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra brass section. The true extravaganza component of the evening was the addition of close to 50 amateur brass players who came ready to perform. Principal Horn Roger Kaza conducted a full stage of 80 brass players through music by Richard Strauss and W.C. Handy’s “Saint Louis Blues.” What became immediately obvious to those in the ensemble–who ranged in age from 11 to 80–and to those in the audience was that everybody had practiced–a lot.
Maureen Byrne, Director of Community Programs, managed a folder-full of logistics to make this event happen. In the end, the On Stage at Powell audience and a lot of brass players went home smiling. The Urban Chestnut beer at the post-show party in the foyer was a part of that too.