Synergy Brass Quintet Achieves Rock Idol Status With Young Audiences

Synergy evokes raves of the rock idol variety wherever the dynamic brass quintet performs. Their “Christmas in Brass” concert imparts a unique flavor to Bach choral works, Handel’s “Messiah,” classic Christmas carols and seasonal favorites.

Trombonist Jordan Witt from bluegrass country in Big Stone Gap, Virginia emphasizes that he and his four colleagues were trained as classical musicians, but they share the musical zest of the teens and twenty-somethings attending their shows.

Audiences react enthusiastically because all five members are very young and passionate about presenting a different perspective of classical music all around the world to people who might not even like it. They tour at least ten months of the year and spend part of that time performing for students and giving master classes. Because they bring humor to the stage and get everyone involved, audiences discover that classical music can be fun.

Witt’s colleagues are first trumpeter Bobby Thorp, second trumpeter Eric Braunstein, French hornist Jon Hurrell and tuba player Tristan Eggener. All studied with noted teachers and have advanced degrees from major conservatories and universities. Although they are known primarily as classical musicians, all have performed and recorded with major artists in styles ranging from jazz, blues and swing to bop, funk and ska which they incorporate in their concerts.

They are based in Boston where two members studied at Boston University under members of the celebrated Empire Brass, but their schedule keeps them on the road most of the year. During a recent tour to Germany and Austria, they made videos of their performances in historic halls that will be out in late summer.

Witt, like the other members of Synergy Bass, discovered his love of music as a youngster. For this reason, they like to include visits to local schools wherever they perform and will present a program for Fairfax students while in town. Growing up in Southwest Virginia, Witt gravitated to blues and soul music, but did not care for the twangy country vocalizations. He was playing the saxophone in his high school band when the teacher asked him to switch to trombone to make up for the lack of low brass instruments.

In addition to their concerts and educational outreach visits to schools and colleges, Synergy was the quintet-in-residence at the Boston Tanglewood Institute and has performed on NPR and at major music festivals, among them the Ravinia Festival, Bethlehem Musikfest, the Festival de Musica de Camara de Aguascalientes in Mexico and the Tanglewood Music Festival. Each summer they conduct a Brass Camp in Dallas, Texas

Emily Cary is a prize-winning teacher and novelist whose articles about entertainers appear regularly in the DC Examiner. She is a genealogist, an avid traveler, and a researcher who incorporates landscapes, cultures and the power of music in her books and articles.

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