De Soto Brass Band unites generations with music

The De Soto Brass Band is comprised of musicians of all ages and musical levels. Students as young as 13 play alongside those in their 70s. "It's awesome for all of us to have this opportunity but especially so for the kids," said the band's Artistic Director and De Soto school music instructor Rob Foster. "The older players are role models for the students and really help coach them."

The De Soto Brass Band is comprised of musicians of all ages and musical levels. Students as young as 13 play alongside those in their 70s. "It's awesome for all of us to have this opportunity but especially so for the kids," said the band's Artistic Director and De Soto school music instructor Rob Foster. "The older players are role models for the students and really help coach them." by Laura Herring

The De Soto Brass Band follows in the tradition of brass bands over the past several centuries: young musicians play alongside older, more seasoned musicians, almost in an apprenticeship fashion, to keep the music alive.

Under the direction of Robert Foster, Sr., the approximately 60-member band is in it's third season and has members as young as 13 and as old as 70. Their performance on Thursday, Oct. 13, showcased three world premieres, two of which were composed by band members and the third an original arrangement by a band member.

"It's incredibly helpful to have members in the band who are such accomplished composers as well as musicians," said the band's Artistic Director and De Soto school music instructor Rob Foster, son of the director. "It can be difficult to find good music for a band like this and it's really special to have the composer be able to conduct his own piece."

Band members Gavin Lendt and Stuart O'Neil conducted the band for their original compositions "Archaeopteryx" and "Comic March" respectively.

Even the band's musical selection for Thursday's concert showed they had something for everyone. From Rob Foster's original arrangement of "Amazing Grace" to the jazzy "Brooklyn," which even featured some cow bell, every piece kept the audience entertained.

"They sounded terrific," said Dave Wilkerson, whose daughter Meg is in the band. "It's also such a great experience for the younger members and gives them a model to strive for."

"There's so much more talent in this band than I'm used to," said Meg Wilkerson, a 14 year-old who also plays in the band at Lexington Trails. "It's definitely some harder music than I'm used to playing but I think it's helped my music a lot."

More photos from the concert can be viewed here.

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