For many years, the brass ensemble formed from members of the Venables family has been a staple of the Singers' holiday concert. And our audience is happy about that! "The choir is great, but my sister and I come each year for Venabrass," says one long-time season subscriber. "Nothing beats a brass band for getting me in the Christmas spirit," she adds.
The audience is in good hands with the experienced Venabrass ensemble. Originally, the group was a quintet composed exclusively of Venables and close relations, with Marcus Venables as its self-proclaimed leader. Marcus, a trumpeter with over 100 compositions to his credit, has been a guest soloist in both North America and Europe, and his piece "Lord of My Youth" won the famous UniBrass Composition Competition.
Currently, Venabrass has expanded to include excellent musicians from outside the family, but the ensemble is still, at its core, an undertaking of the Venables, who have been blessed with a rich background in musical training and performance--especially owing to the Salvation Army. Venabrass members have been active in both the North York Temple Corps and the Canadian Staff Band of the SA--for many years. And they perform with the Hannaford Street Silver Band, as well as with other professional groups and orchestras.
Whether it's playing around the Christmas kettles in Toronto or performing at Roy Thomson Hall in the annual Christmas with the Salvation Army concert, Venabrass goes full tilt at this time of the year. Still, according to Marcus, coming to Peterborough is a special part of the band's Christmas celebrations.
The thing we love about this concert in Peterborough is that there is this great support from the crowd. Everyone seems to be in the Christmas spirit. When we show up to play, we are brought to another level because of the Singers and the audience.
There are many videos of Venabrass performing at Singers' concerts. These are very amateur recordings, but the amazing musicianship of the group shines through.
Check out a few! And come out to hear Venabrass in person on Saturday, November 24, 7:30 pm.