News & Events

Day of Brass

4th Annual "Day of Brass"—Saturday, March 23, 2015

Each spring, dozens of brass players from public and private schools, colleges, and the Greater Rochester community come together for a day-long celebration of all things brass. In just four years, the University of Rochester's "Day of Brass" has become the premier FREE educational event for brass musicians in Western New York. A combination of workshops, lectures, demonstrations, and rehearsals complements the final festival performance, which always features a special guest group. Past presenters and participants have included the Excelsior Cornet Band, Thomas Music Inc., the 198th Army Reserve Band Brass Quintet, and the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra's low brass section.

Participants should be accomplished trumpet, horn, trombone, euphonium, or tuba players who can perform at an intermediate level and are 13 years of age or older. There is no audition or enrollment fee required to participate! Band directors and other adult musicians are certainly welcome.

Potential participants can RSVP, obtain additional details, and request PDF versions of the sheet music by sending an e-mail to or calling (585) 273-5157.

SAMPLE SCHEDULE (9 a.m. - 4 p.m.)

(subject to change)

9 a.m. Arrival and warm-ups
9:30 a.m. GENJAM (an interactive genetic algorithm that learns to improvise music)with RIT professor and trumpeter Al Biles!
10 a.m. Festival group rehearsal-- featuring movie music arranged for large brass ensemble
11:30 a.m. Jazz improvisation, even for French horn! with professional hornist and brass historian Jeff Stockham!
12:30 p.m. LUNCH
1:15 p.m. Keys to healthy brass playing with Susanne Callan-Harris, a specialist in brass ergonomics!
2:15 p.m. Warm-ups
3 p.m. Final Concert with Rochester NY's own Prime Time Brass!

The host ensemble for the “Day of Brass” is the UR Brass Choir, a River Campus performing group made up of brass players pursuing diverse majors, including everything from music to mechanical engineering.

What is planned for the “Day of Brass"?

A combination of a festival brass ensemble experience (where participants will join together to play brass arrangements of movie music) and workshops/demonstrations where participants can sit back, relax, and learn something new about brass performance. The “Day of Brass” begins at 9 a.m., and the final concert starts at 3 p.m. and will end between 4 - 4:15 p.m.

Where is it taking place?

At the Alumni and Advancement Center (formerly St. Agnes High School), which is located at 300 E. River Road across Interstate 390 from the UR River Campus. This complex is in the vicinity of the UR Laser Lab and Genesee Valley Park. Directions are available here: Look for the “Day of Brass” signs!

What are the parking arrangements?

Plenty of free parking is available in the lots behind the Alumni and Advancement Center (enter around the right hand side of the building). Participants can park for free all day, and parents and friends can use the same free lots to park for the final concert at 3 p.m. Once you’ve parked behind the building, enter through Door A and follow the signs that lead upstairs to the auditorium.

What do I need to bring?

Your instrument, music (that you’ve printed in advance), a folder to keep your music organized, and a pencil. Optional items to bring include a change of clothes (all black for the concert), a cell phone, a bottle of water to drink, and your lunch (if you don't want free pizza!).

What shouldn't I bring?

Music stands and chairs will be provided, so don’t bring those!

Lunch details:

A 45-minute lunch break will occur between 12:30 and 1:15 p.m. Visitors can pack a lunch, drive off campus to eat lunch at a local restaurant, or enjoy complimentary pizza and soda that will be delivered to the Advancement Center.

Concert details:

The final concert at 3 p.m. is completely free and open to the public—friends and family are invited and encouraged to attend and support the participants, and no tickets are required. The first half of the concert will consist of the festival brass ensemble playing music from the silver screen. Then, the Prime Time Brass will play the second half of the concert, and we can sit and enjoy! The final concert should end by 4:15 at the latest. Concert dress is all black. Either bring a change of clothes, or come wearing black. Jackets, sport coats, or dresses are unnecessary—just a black shirt and black pants will do.


Music from Transformers by Steve Jablonsky/arr. S. Morabito
"Skyfall" by Adele, featuring vocalist Jamie Wilson

Is an audition required? What does it cost?

No audition is required; parts will be assigned somewhat randomly based on a balanced instrumentation. The “Day of Brass” is completely free of charge!