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Tuesday, October 20, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Clarion Brass blow up holiday tunes

Clarion Brass, the Spokane-based brass ensemble for a quarter of a century has been mixing it up for the holidays, bringing a different vibe to the holiday classics we’ve known our whole life.

Tuneful seasonal celebrations

The moment the last of the Thanksgiving leftovers are stuffed in the refrigerator, a switch flips and the Christmas season comes roaring back in full force: Trees go up, light displays illuminate the neighborhood, holiday music fills the air and family events fill up our calendars. This is by no means a master list – there’s

Clarion Brass, a tradition of creativity

Every year around Christmas, it seems radio stations and department stores are playing the same batch of traditional holiday songs over and over. How many reverential versions of “Silent Night” and “The Little Drummer Boy” do you have to endure before you never want to listen to a single note of them ever again? Since 1992, Spokane’s Clarion Brass Choir has been taking those yuletide chestnuts and spinning them into something unexpected. William Berry, who founded the 13-member group, has been writing original arrangements of classic Christmas tunes since the group’s inception.

Holiday classics with a twist

For the past 22 years, Spokane’s Clarion Brass Choir has carved out a special niche with its unpredictable interpretations of holiday classics. Featuring original arrangements by founder William Berry and led by conductor Adam Wallstein, this 13-person ensemble (a dozen brass players and one percussionist) takes classic carols and Christmas traditionals and reinvents them from the ground up. On its newest full-length CD “Reindeer Games,” Clarion gives such standards as “Good King Wenceslas,” “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” and “Silent Night” a musical facelift; you’ve heard these songs countless times before, maybe even to the point of exhaustion, but you’ve never heard versions quite like these. They’ve polished up these old chestnuts, making the overly familiar sound brand new.

Holiday album reflects Clarion’s top brass

This past summer, Clarion Brass decided to crowd-source its newest album. Not only were fans allowed to help pick the record’s name, but they could help decide which tracks to include. And on Nov. 17, Clarion fans will hear the end result of their voting during a CD release party in which the 13-piece brass ensemble will play the CD live.

Clarion album will give fans what they want to hear

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.

World-class Clarion Brass returns for holiday concerts

William Berry, artistic director of Clarion Brass, is the equivalent of a standup comic in the brass music world. Check out his lines about the Clarion Brass holiday concert, “This Is What Christmas Sounds Like”: • “This is the first time we’ve added a Coeur d’Alene performance. The concerts will be the same, but we’re planning to miss different notes.”

Spotlight: Holiday season offers bevy of events

The holidays are nearly upon us, with dozens of related arts events on the way. When I say dozens, that’s no exaggeration. Yet I wanted to pick out a few events and give you a start on your holiday arts planning:

Annual Christmas concerts offer new twists on classics

The Clarion Brass “Reindeer Games” tour wowed ’em in Portland, Seattle and Yakima. And now it’s coming home to Spokane, where audiences will have two chances to hear, for instance, “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer,” “Frosty the Snowman” and other kids’ favorites arranged in the manner of Hollywood adventure movie music.

Elwes, Clemens headline Spokane’s Manhattan project

Cary Elwes of “Princess Bride” fame is in town as one of the stars of “Camilla Dickinson,” the movie based on the Madeleine L’Engle young adult novel that’s being filmed in Spokane. The cast also includes Adelaide Clemens (“X Men Origins: Wolverine”) as the young title character and Gregg Sulkin (“Wizards of Waverly Place”) as the boy who comes into her life.

Classical music season looks promising despite financial woes

The Spokane Symphony informally launched the local classical music season with a Labor Day weekend performance at Liberty Lake – but not its traditional concert at Comstock Park, canceled for budget reasons. Still, despite budget pressures affecting all arts organizations, area audiences can look forward to plenty of classical music this fall.