New York-based brass quartet The Westerlies recently returned to Parker for an encore appearance as Parker’s fifth annual Joan W. Harris Visiting Music Scholars in Residence.
During their visit, the musicians were at last able to meet in person with many music faculty and instrumental students they Zoomed with last year as part of their initial engagement with the school, which was all remote due to COVID-19. While at the school this year, The Westerlies also had opportunities to share with Upper School Concert Band students, the entire 5th grade for a special gathering and students from Junior Kindergarten through 4th grade for a Morning Ex experience.
At each of these events, the visiting musicians spoke about their longstanding friendship and that making music together has only made that friendship stronger. They talked about their unique instrumentation—two trumpets and two trombones—and composing original works or adapting others’ pieces for their own performances.
Younger students learned how to make sounds on brass instruments; the musicians took turns demonstrating the range of sounds, speeds and volumes that each could produce. The musicians commented on the power of music to convey emotion and demonstrated examples based on audience suggestions. Fifth grade students discovered a new instrument as part of the time they spent with the group—injection-molded plastic bugles—which The Westerlies demonstrated by performing an improvised piece on the spot. These students will be learning to play the bugles during the coming weeks with the hope of including them as part of this year’s 5th grade Medieval Presentation and Dubbing Ceremony!
The Westerlies capped off their visit to Parker with an intimate public performance in the Heller Auditorium, where the audience joined them on the Francine C. Rosenberg stage to enjoy their talents.
You can view photos from The Westerlies’ visit to Parker here or through the public performance below.