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British Brass Band plays season’s greetings

There’s a way to Brass ring in the holidays. All you need is ears.

The Ohio Valley British Brass Band’s holiday concert series begins in Springfield with horns, trombones, tubas, percussion and other such instruments to offer a different take on seasonal and a mix of other music showcasing the group’s versatility.

The show will be 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4, at Covenant Presbyterian Church. Admission is free, but donations will be accepted.

British brass music is based on instrumentation stemming from the 1800s in Great Britain. Its popularity spread to the U.S. in the 1960s and boomed in Ohio in the 1980s.

Ohio Valley formed in 1992, co-founded by Springfield resident Francis Laws. There are more than 40 musicians from all over the Miami Valley, including several from Clark County such as Robert Miller and Denny Seifried; all previously worked as educators.

“It’s a variety of music — marches, overtures, solo music, folk, hymns, pop, jazz — virtually any kind of music you’d hear at an orchestral concert,” said Michael Gallehue, Ohio Valley conductor.

Miller, a cornet player, said one of the biggest differences between this Brass Band and an orchestra is where some musicians in an orchestra have a rest period as another section takes over, the brass band is continuously playing.

Seifried is a tuba player and longtime member of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra and several other groups. He’s the newcomer of the local players in Ohio Valley.

This is the band’s first performance at Covenant in several years.

“There’s a great sound in Covenant and older churches like it,” said Gallehue. “We’re always happy to return to an appreciative audience.”

Expect a unique form of surround sound at the Covenant concert will be smaller bass choirs situated around the performance area to enhance certain instruments.

While there will be a good amount of holiday music, also expect marches and a medley of Gilbert and Sullivan music.

“You’ll recognize a lot of these and even if you don’t know it, it’s tuneful and melodic you’ll still enjoy it,” said Laws.

One of the unique aspects of Ohio Valley is the camaraderie and commitment of the participants. The musicians are as varied as the tunes, with young people up to people in their 80s, and 18 different professions are represented.

The Ohio Valley British Brass Band holiday concert series will continue 3 p.m. Dec. 11 at Christ Church United Methodist in Kettering and 7 p.m. Dec. 12 at First United Methodist Church in Troy.

Contact this contributing writer at

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