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World record attempt promotes Southington music education


SOUTHINGTON — While participants in the third annual Brass Blast will be trying for a world record, promoting music education and raising money for local organizations is more important, said Erik Semmel, creator of the event.

Brass Blast attracted nearly 300 trumpet players in each of the past two years to try to break the record for the largest trumpet ensemble. The record was set in Oruro, Bolivia, in 2006 with 1,166 trumpet players.

“The main goal of the event is to raise awareness of music education,” said Semmel. “The world record is a neat thing to get if you can get it.”

Last year the event raised $6,000 for the Southington High School Band Backers, the Mill Foundation for Kids, and the Connecticut Music Educators Association. Since the event started two years ago, more than $15,000 has been donated to the three groups.

Tim Johnson, a music teacher at Kennedy Middle School, has assisted Semmel.

This year the fight song for UConn and a “revamped Rocky melody” will be featured at the April 26 event at Southington High School. The Brass Blast, which starts at 3 p.m., will be followed by a 7 p.m. concert by No BS! Brass, a group from Virginia.

“What’s different this year is instead of just trumpets, we’ve invited all brass instruments,” Johnson said. “It allows me to write for a bigger group.”

“Anyone can come who plays an instrument, or played an instrument,” said Jeff Shaw, Southington High School band director.

SHS Principal Marty Semmel, Erik Semmel’s brother, said people of all ages from all over the state participated last year.

“It’s just an awesome day,” he said.

“It’s a huge number,” Johnson said of the world record. “Even a good strong representation, several hundred, will still be a phenomenal sound. If I were a player, and wasn’t conducting, I’d be looking forward to the sound more than just the number.”

Erik Semmel encourages people to register for the event by April 14 at www.southingtonbrass.com.

fduffany@record-journal.com (203) 317-2212 Twitter: @FollowingFarrah



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