Tuba Bach will begin its next concert series soon

DRESSED AND READY: Ed Mallett, founder of Tuba Bach, stands in his Bach outfit. "It's hot," he said. "It's like wearing a couch." The Tuba Bach Chamber music Festival will begin on Sept. 10. (Pioneer photo/Meghan Haas)

DRESSED AND READY: Ed Mallett, founder of Tuba Bach, stands in his Bach outfit. “It’s hot,” he said. “It’s like wearing a couch.” The Tuba Bach Chamber music Festival will begin on Sept. 10. (Pioneer photo/Meghan Haas)

BIG RAPIDS — In January, while driving to Detroit for a rehearsal, Ed Mallett, founder of Tuba Bach, heard Cam Newton on the radio say, “Music can bring about different vibes on the field, off the field, urban life, going to church, leaving church. Everything the world may bring, there’s a song for it to put you in the right frame of mind.”

Mallett said the phrase made sense and stuck with him. Getting into the right frame of mind is the the theme for this season’s Tuba Bach Chamber Music Festival.

Now Tuba Bach is entering its 11th year of presenting.

“I think people had a preconceived notion of what chamber music was,” Mallett said. “Even as the chamber music festival, the idea is twofold.

“One, it puts the tuba, or euphonium, into a different setting that you normally wouldn’t imagine it in, and show it’s not just an oompa music. Two, the variety of music at each concert is different from the others, and each year is different from the last.”

Even as an official nonprofit organization, the Tuba Bach Board of Directors is able to put on each of the fall festival concerts free thanks to donations from individuals and businesses in the Big Rapids area, Mallett said.

New this year, concerts can be enjoyed at 7 p.m. on Saturdays, as well as standard 4 p.m. on Sundays. Every fall concert will be at Big Rapids High School. The first two concerts will be different from what they originally were.

“When we sent out our first round of publicity, the first two concerts were different from what they are now,” Mallett said. “It took 11 years for this to happen, roughly 75 to 80 concerts, but I’ve never had anybody get sick and have to cancel.”

This summer, performers from the first and second concerts called after getting out the hospital to tell Mallett they would be unable to play this year. So, the first two concerts are new. Bob Milne, from the first concert, put together a musical tribute to the city of New York after 9/11. The first half of that concert is old ragtime music, Mallett said then play the Milne tribune.

Practices can be sporadic and take up to 10 hours, he said. Some concerts may only have a day or two to practice, such as the concert including circus routines on stage. Dynamite the Clown will be at the concert.

“My guess is the circus band will have a chance to rehearse, probably Thursday or Friday,” Mallett said. “So, hopefully we can get together and have a quick rehearsal to find out how the concert is going to go. Everyone will have the music ahead of time, but we need to be able to put the music with the circus performers so we know timing.

“We should get a chance to rehearse on Saturday afternoon, then do the show that night. One of the perks of working with professional musicians is they are used to doing that. For 10 years, it’s worked. It’s a lot of work, but it’s a lot of fun.”

Right Frame of Mind schedule:

  • Sept. 10 and 11 — A Nostalgic Frame of Mind: Mallett will be joined by ragtime pianist Bob Milne, soprano Kathryn Drake and cornet virtuoso David Greenhoe.
  • Sept. 17 and 18 — A Luxuriant Frame of Mind: Mallet, cellist Carl Donakowski and pianist Yevgeny Morozov play.
  • Sept. 24 and 25 — A Glorious Frame of Mind: This event, running during Ferris State University’s homecoming weekend, features Mallett, tenor Rodrick Dixon and pianist Alvin Waddles.
  • Oct. 1 and 2 — A Groovy Frame of Mind: Mallett and friends will be joined by the jazz trio Organissimo!, made of Jim Alfredson, Larry Barris and Randy Marsh.
  • Oct. 8 and 9 — A Resonant Frame of Mind: Mallett is joined by Charles Guy, Gail Robertson and Phil Sinder to form the Tuba Bach Quartet. This is a yearly occurrence.
  • Oct. 15 and 16 — A Spellbound Frame of Mind: Mallett and the Cirque du Baque Circus Band will be joined by circus performers for the final concert of the season.
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Posted by Meghan Gunther-Haas

Meghan is the education reporter for the Pioneer and Herald Review. She can be reached at (231) 592-8382 or by email at mhaas@pioneergroup.com.

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