Brass band ‘great opportunity’ for non-music majors

Bo Gemmell

The Flasher Brass Basketball Band practices at least four hours a week and performs during men’s and women’s basketball games. BRIAN MARKS | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: DKS Editors

The men’s basketball team isn’t the only group preparing for the game against Northern Illinois on Saturday.

“Add a little volume. Try to make it light,” graduate assistant Will Kish said while about 35 musicians rehearsed Friday in the Music and Speech Building.

“This is going to sound really good.”

The Flasher Brass Basketball Band practices at least four hours a week and performs during men’s and women’s basketball games, director of athletic bands Scott Curfman said.

Curfman, who has directed the athletic bands for four years, said most students in the band are not music majors, but they participate “because they love it.” The students receive one credit hour in the Basketball Band course and can repeat the course annually.

“It’s a great LER for non-majors,” he said. “(The students) put in a lot of time and effort for one credit-hour.”

He said the band uses a “special” combination of instruments that include saxophone, trumpet, trombone and tuba.

Senior computer animation and design major Jeff Bertleff has performed with the band for five years.

He said the band’s sound “greatly improved” since Curfman arrived and established traditions such as performing the alma mater at the end of each game.

“It’s demanding because unlike marching band it can be two or three performances a week plus practices” he said.

Bertleff, a saxophonist, said the band uses practices to fine-tune songs and fix trouble spots from the previous game.

Kish assists the athletic bands and runs outside practices. He said the band improves as the season progresses and the sound gets cleaner.

“(The Flasher Brass Basketball Band) is an outlet for people who enjoyed band in high school but want to major in something else,” Kish said.

Junior math and physics major Bob Vokac said it wasn’t hard to adapt to the band. Vokac transferred from Cuyahoga Community College this year and plays drums for the band.

He said the band is adapting to the crowd by moving toward mainstream songs but “not sacrificing our quality for popular music.”

“It’s good when people enjoy something that you enjoy doing,” he said.

Trumpet player and senior music education major Nick Blazek said the audience has an “obvious appreciation” for the band. He said alumni appreciate the alma mater at the end of games.

“It’s been great, especially during the MAC tournament,” Blazek said.

Blazek went to Michigan for the NCAA tournament last year and said the band will probably travel with the team if it goes to a tournament this year.

“We’re looking forward to following (the team) all the way through the tournament,” Kish said.

Contact performing arts reporter Bo Gemmell at [email protected].