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Take a musical ride with Dallas Brass
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BY KRISTEN MORALES

kmorales@gainesvilletimes.com

Michael Levine, the founding member of the Dallas Brass, believes there is one instrument that has profoundly changed how we live our lives: The remote control.

"With all the inventions that have come up in the last 20-30 years, the most powerful invention of them all is the remote control," he said. "Kids are now growing up with the sense that in the palm of their hand they’ve got hundreds of choice. And if you don’t like it, in a microsecond you can zap it."

Thus the challenge Dallas Brass faces when they roll into town on Thursday. They have just one show, one chance to grab the attention of kids and adults alike.

So, how do you compete? Well, Levine said, you can start by getting the kids involved.

Formed in 1983, the group of six travel the country and the world making the music of bold brass instruments, like the trombone and tuba, accessible to the masses.

When the renowned group performs one week from today, they won’t be on the stage by themselves — they’ll also feature more than 150 middle and high schoolers in two numbers during the lively performance.

"I narrate the concert, we have a little bit of humor, a little choreography, most of the show is memorized, we have lighting. We try to make it a fun show," he said. "The appealing side about brass is brass is exciting; it’s bold, its not subdued, its not quiet or subtle.

"I just can’t picture a string quartet coming out and opening with a (John Phillip) Sousa march."

David Jones, band director at Johnson High School, has been organizing the students for the concert. He said everyone has been practicing their songs for the big performance, and the students are looking forward to the experience to be on stage at the Georgia Mountains Center.

"It’s going to be a very entertaining show," he said. "We’re trying to encourage everyone to invite family and friends to come to the concert."

April 3 will be a busy day for the Dallas Brass members. They start with a performance clinic at 1 p.m. for middle schoolers, then the middle and high schoolers have a rehearsal for their performance with the band an hour later, followed by another performance clinic for the high school band members.

"(We) try to prime them for later on when they want to be in a band, so we have a lot of components that we can tap into," Levine said of the day-of clinics for the students.

"The primary purpose is just to bring music into more people’s lives, and they can choose how to make that fit into their life," he added. "If it’s listening to the radio, listening to NPR stations, joining the community band or if it means being a professional, but we’re trying to introduce music into peoples’ lives because we realize they’re inundated with so many other influences that are not music."

Levine said the fun performance of the Dallas Brass is one way he hopes more people can be exposed to different kinds of music.

"We want to reach average people who watch football and watch TV and play video games and people who are just caught up in popular culture and have no interest in going to the symphony, the ballet, the opera, chamber music, any of that."

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