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Life’s music lesson

The Dallas Brass will invite the Eagle Valley High School band onto the Vilar Center stage during Tuesday's concert.
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BEAVER CREEK, Colorado – Music is like skiing. You can be a professional, or you can have a great time skiing greens and blues, said Michael Levine, with the Dallas Brass.

And with that, the Dallas Brass, one of the most renowned brass groups to combine breath and metal, is inviting the Eagle Valley High School band onto the Vilar Center stage for part of Tuesday’s performance.

OK, it’s one song, but if you’re a high school basketball player, how many times do you get to run up and down the court with the Lakers?



The band will join the Dallas Brass right after the intermission to play “American Tableau,” a medley of American tunes you’ll likely know.

“It’s our passion,” Levine said. “It doesn’t matter if we’re playing Carnegie Hall or a local high school. We always bring kids up on stage.”

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That’s their roots.

“We got our start in school bands,” Levine said.

The goal is not to get more kids to go into music careers. It’s about getting the arts into their lives, Levine said.



“They can play forever. We had a great grandfather of a band kid who had been playing his whole life, and we brought him up on stage to play,” Levine said. “He was 101 years old.”

Eagle Valley music teacher Pat Sheehy is an inquisitive sort. He wondered what sorts of opportunities a place like the Vilar Center might have for his fledgling musicians, so he called.

Would his players like to play with the Dallas Brass? And have them put on a clinic? And rehearse? And perform on the Vilar stage?

Why yes, they would, Sheehy replied in less time than elapses in your average theoretical physics experiment.

And so they are.

“It’s a good way to encourage young musicians to stay with it,” Sheehy said.

“It is not every day that young band students get the chance to perform alongside professional musicians,” said Mindee Birnstiehl, the Dallas Brass education coordinator.

The Dallas Brass does this all around the country, with high school and middle school bands.

“Kids have so many distractions,” Levine said. “This is one way to keep music and the love for performance in their lives.”

A Dallas Brass show is entertaining and interactive.

Usually, it’s an American musical journey, tracing American musical history from the country’s founding to now. This one will have a lot of holiday music added to the mix, Levine said.

“It’s not just about kids; it’s about family. We really make a push to get the parents there,” Levine said. “In this day and age, anything we can do to nurture the family is worthwhile.

“There’s nothing more rewarding than having 5-year-olds leave the concert with huge smiles on their faces and their grandparents wearing that same smile.”

And while you’re enjoying the music, don’t forget that Eagle Valley’s holiday concert is the next day, Wednesday, featuring the band, choir, jazz band and drum line.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or rwyrick@vaildaily.com.


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