Last week the ULM Brass Faculty presented our annual holiday concert. This is always a fun concert, but this year there were a number of things that made the event special. First, our concert was part of a new chamber music series for the Monroe Symphony Orchestra, called “MSO Presents.” Second, we were joined by some special guests, turning our brass trio (Black Bayou Brass) into a full brass quintet, the Lagniappe Brass. The term “lagniappe” is derived from a Louisiana French Creole word meaning “something given as a bonus or extra gift.” We thought it a fitting name for this ad hoc ensemble, and we hope to schedule more performances in the future. Our extra players included Steven Cunningham (trumpet) from Grambling State University, Cory Mixdorf (trombone) from the University of Arkansas, and a few ULM students who helped out on percussion parts for Sleigh Ride. For several pieces on the program we were also joined by ULM keyboard professor Richard Seiler on the organ. It was a really fun concert, with great attendance and an appreciative audience, for which we are extremely grateful! Special thanks to Steven and Cory; Craig West, Executive Director of the MSO; and Grace Episcopal Church in Monroe, LA. This concert would not have been possible without their efforts. And now, here are some brief excerpts from the concert. Hopefully they will put you in the holiday spirit!
*For those interested in the technical side of these things, see additional note at the bottom of this post.
We recorded this performance using several different methods: two Zoom Q2n recorders set up in front and behind the ensemble (primarily for video, but also recording audio), a pair of Cascade ribbon microphones set up in a Blumlein configuration directly in front of the quintet, and a Zoom H4 set up in the balcony at the rear of the sanctuary. All of these audio sources gave us a variety of ways to mix the sound, which I did using Logic Pro X after the fact. It would have been easier to run everything into the same audio interface, but we didn’t have the capability to do that for this particular performance. The video switching was created using Final Cut Pro, which has a very handy tool for syncing audio and video from various sources. Looking at the various videos back to back, you can tell that I was experimenting with (or rather fumbling around with) different lighting effects and color balances. This was my first experience with combining video and audio from so many different sources, but I think the end product is more visually engaging than a single camera. Look for more videos like this from us in the future!