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Clarion album will give fans what they want to hear

Fri., May 3, 2013

Clarion Brass, the Spokane-based brass ensemble, is giving fans the chance to help shape the group’s next holiday CD.

Not only is Clarion soliciting public suggestions on what to name the album, but the group is letting folks vote on which songs to include and what the cover art should look like.

The decision to go public this way was really about practicality, said Clarion leader William Berry.

“We have too much stuff to fit onto one CD,” he said. “I want to involve people, and I really want to hear what people like.

“Plus,” he added, “it’s a way to announce a Christmas CD in May.”

He’s also curious to know if fans prefer the ensemble work or songs that feature hot solos, or the sacred, serious stuff versus the quirkier material.

“We’ve got a fairly whacked-out version of ‘Jingle Bell Rock,’ which we call the wildest ride you’ll ever survive,” Berry said, adding that it’s become a signature tune. There’s also “Reindeer Games,” which is done in the style of a John Williams movie score, and a minimalist version of “Carol of the Bells.”

The soon-to-be-named record will be Clarion’s third collection of holiday tunes. The 14-member ensemble will record at the Salvation Army Kroc Center in Coeur d’Alene in June. The previous albums were called “Nutcracker Suite Dreams” and “A Partridge in a Pear Tree.”

Samples of the 22 songs under consideration are posted on the Clarion website, There, people can listen to a snippet of music, rank the pieces and send along a comment. Public input will be accepted until midnight May 31.

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