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Discovery Series gets Rhythm

By Used with permission from the Lowell Sun Online. By NANCYE TUTTLE Sun Staff

Like cookies and milk, music and the holidays go together naturally.

And next Sunday, the Family Discovery Series at UMass Lowell's Center for the Arts brings a lively musical offering to audiences with Christmas Time Is Here, a joyful concert presented by Rhythm & Brass, an ensemble of six young, talented musicians.

Performances are Sunday, Dec. 15, at 2 and 4 p.m. in Durgin Hall on the UMass Lowell South Campus. Arthur's Christmas Trees and Decorations of Lowell sponsors this show. And part of the revenue from ticket sales will benefit the The Sun Santa Fund.

The combo will capture the essence of the holiday season through diverse musical selections that span centuries of composition and a multitude of genres.

Children will hear the trumpet, tuba, trombone, French horn and piano in tunes that are both familiar and new. Venerable composers like Bach and Handel will remind people of the sacred nature of the season, juxtaposed with the fantasy world of the Nutcracker Suite.

But this isn't the traditional Nutcracker we're most familiar with. Instead, this is Duke Ellington's treatment of the classic, which retains the charm while adding a sublime, jazzy spin to the music.

Listen, too, for the haunting piano strains of Vince Guaraldi's theme from A Charlie Brown Christmas. And for sheer fun, a salsa rendition of "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" is tossed in.

Rounding out the program are "Greensleeves," "Joy to the World" and Beatles tunes to show off the sheer musical virtuosity of the talented sextet.

Players include Wiff Rudd, trumpet; Rex Richardson, trumpet; Alex Shuhan, horn and piano; Tom Brantley, trombone; Charles Villarrubia, tuba; and David Gluck, drums and percussion.

While the members of Rhythm & Brass maintain an active touring and recording schedule, they are actively involved in music education. They're often found in residence at major universities throughout the nation as well as at summer music camps and festivals. They've performed in Canada, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the Virgin Islands and have toured Japan three times.

The concerts will run approximately one hour without intermission. Tickets are $10 per person and subscriptions are still available for the remaining shows this season. Call 978-934-4444 between 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday. Also available in the theater lobby one hour prior to each show.