by Robert Upchurch*

On Sunday afternoon, February 19, the Triangle Brass Band’s own Connie Varner wrapped up both the celebration of her birthday weekend and the birth of a grand new contribution of her own for the wind ensemble repertoire. Reportedly laboring almost daily into the wee small hours after her day job since September, Varner succeeded in defining a rewarding translation of Mozart’s Requiem for brass players and vocalists. The band was joined by the Meredith College Chorale and the UNC Glee Club, and the performance featured solo appearances by soprano Kathryn Godwin, a Meredith sophomore music major, mezzo-soprano Rachel Stenbuck, a Meredith music program graduate student, tenor Pablo Vega, a UNC-CH music composition sophomore, and baritone Brian Parks, a UNC-CH senior music major.

The band’s Music Director, Michael Votta, Jr., effectively modulated the brass musicians’ performance in Meymandi Concert Hall, successfully insuring a solid and never-overwhelming instrumental foundation for the assembled voices throughout the performance. The choral groups melded well and evidenced solid preparation, cleanly negotiating long, demanding, and extended passages. The young soloists demonstrated firm command of their parts, and each projected well throughout the hall. (These soloists and choral ensembles had performed the Requiem with orchestra in January; click here for CVNC’s review of that performance.)

Concluding in just an hour, and presented without intermission, the program might have been enhanced by the addition of an appropriately complementary short work as an opening, to provide a fuller afternoon outing for attendees.

After frequently enjoying the excellent work of our many local collegiate choral organizations as well as the TBB’s ongoing successes at exhibiting the “serious” music repertoire for wind ensembles throughout the Triangle, one can only express surprise that larger audiences have yet to discover these musical gems in our own backyard!

*This “appreciation” was furnished by guest contributor Bob Upchurch in the stead of under-the-weather critic John Lambert, who was originally slated to review this event.