Arts and Entertainment

Slide into spring with the Peninsula Trombone Choir

The trombone choir is made up of local community members.  - Courtesy of Peninsula Trombone Choir
The trombone choir is made up of local community members.
— image credit: Courtesy of Peninsula Trombone Choir

Question: What do you get when you mix 16 trombones and a couple of toilet plungers together?

Answer: a spring concert celebrating International Trombone Week.

Don’t worry if you are not a trombone aficionado. Wade Demmert, the musical director for the Peninsula Trombone Choir, said the concert will include a bit of music for everyone’s taste.

The performance set-list includes a wide range of songs covering a time period of 400 years. From sacred chorales to rock and roll,  jazz and movie themes, the choir will put on an hour performance on April 10.

With all 16 members performing, and using trombones varying in size from smaller altos to the extra-large contra-bass, you could say it’s a long-winded show with a lot of deep breaths.

Demmert, who has taught beginning band for 16 years in the Central Kitsap School District, has always been attracted to the sound of the trombone and the different range of pitches it can produce.

The versatility of the instrument allows it to be used in many different ways.

“Trombone choirs can perform almost every musical genre because they are the instruments most similar to the human voice,” Demmert said.

He cited ancient choirs who used trombones to help reinforce vocal singing.  In orchestral movements, trombones are often used during dramatic and climatic parts, for added emphasis.

Demmert said you don’t see trombones used a lot in modern music, however.

“Why? I don’t know,” he said. “Trombones are usually used in performing music from the past.”

He laughed while recalling a recent skit on “The Conan O’Brien Show” that claimed trombone players were becoming extinct.

But with members performing in Sunday’s concert, the music will sound anything but prehistoric.

And where do the toilet plungers come in?

During the song “Ghost Riders in the Sky,” plungers are used to make the “waa-waa” sound, Demmert said. Anyone who grew up watching “Peanuts” cartoons will recognize

the sound as the unintelligible voices of the off-screen adults.

Surely “plunger” is a nickname for a special musical device, right?

“Nope,” said Demmert. “They are straight from the hardware store.”

Peninsula Trombone Choir Concert: April 10 at 2 p.m.  at Silverdale Lutheran Church, 11701 Ridgepoint Drive, NW.  Admission is free and donations are accepted. Info: (360) 860-1673.

 

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