Mainstreet Brass formed in 1986, inspired by a musical camaraderie, a passion for brass quintet literature and performance and a goal to present interesting and entertaining music to its audiences. The quintet has performed for enthusiastic audiences at arts festivals colleges and concert series in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, New England, the Midwest and the United Kingdom.
Described by concert presenters as “marvelously delightful,” “magical, balanced and alive,” a “journey of emotion and imagination” and showing “exquisite artistry” and “sonorous magnificence,” Mainstreet Brass presents varied repertoire spanning the centuries — from florid 17th century canzons and Bach transcriptions to memorable show tunes and blues classics from Jelly Roll Morton, W.C. Handy and Fats Waller.
A Mainstreet Brass concert is always full of surprises. You just might get a toe-tapping rendition of “St. Louis Blues” or “Darktown Strutters Ball” right after a rich performance of a German Baroque sonata or Gabrieli canzona.
It’s part of what this unique ensemble is about — flexibility, artistic range, accessibility and reaching out to listeners of all ages.
The ensemble is recognized for its refined playing and for commissioning new literature and arrangements, maintaining an active performance schedule and cultivating new audiences at home and in the United Kingdom, where the group made a successful concert tour in the summer of 2004. The Mainstreet Brass performed at Cambridge University, St. Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh, Lyonsdown Hall in London and other cathedrals and venues throughout Scotland and Great Britain.
In September 2005, the Mainstreet Brass toured Vermont, performing in concert series in the Green Mountain state’s picturesque Northeast Kingdom as well as at the historic Old First Church in Bennington.
In 2007, Mainstreet Brass helped premiere a series of Christmas programs at Central Moravian Church in Bethlehem, Pa., which told the story of the Moravians, their rich musical heritage and how they found their way to the wilderness of eastern Pennsylvania in the mid-1700s. Presented by Central Moravian Church and the nonprofit arts organization ArtsQuest, the programs attracted thousands of people from around the world.
Education is also a big part of the Mainstreet Brass mission. Most of the members of the Mainstreet Brass are full-time music educators who bring years of experience when the ensemble presents music programs at schools. Children learn about how brass instruments were made long ago and hear examples of how they are used today.
Mainstreet Brass is also on the forefront of discovering new repertoire for the brass quintet. The group actively commissions arrangements and new literature from leading composers from around the world to enhance its own concert programs and expand the brass quintet repertoire.
Audiences and the press have praised the camaraderie and music making shared by the members of the Mainstreet Brass. The group works hard perfecting and polishing its repertoire and always considers what its audiences may enjoy.
The Mainstreet Brass spirit creates a contagious on stage energy from the opening downbeat to the final chord — a memorable experience that’s enthusiastically shared with others.
Attend a Mainstreet Brass concert, and you’ll discover why its music making can be an uplifting, magical escape from the routine.
Besides its concert schedule, the group also performs regularly for church services in Pennsylvania and New Jersey and provides ceremonial music for academic ceremonies at regional colleges and universities.
Mainstreet Brass is on the artist roster for the Pennsylvania Performing Arts on Tour (PennPAT) program, which supports touring engagements with presenting organizations in the mid-Atlantic region.
Mainstreet Brass is an MSR Classics recording artist, the guest brass quintet at Central Moravian Church in Bethlehem, Pa., and a member of the Lehigh Valley Arts Council.