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Holmes Theatre offers free tix for Dallas Brass

You know the old adage, the best things in life are free?

That theory will be demonstrated on Thursday, Feb. 18, as Detroit Lakes' Historic Holmes Theatre presents a special performance by the world-renowned brass ensemble, the Dallas Brass -- with no admission fee.

Though the 7:30 p.m. performance is free, seating is limited, so tickets must still be reserved in advance by calling 218-844-SHOW or visiting the Historic Holmes Theatre Box Office, located at 806 Summit Ave, Detroit Lakes.

The Historic Holmes Theatre was recently awarded a grant through the Lake Region Arts Council via funding provided by the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund to cover the full cost of bringing The Dallas Brass to Detroit Lakes.

This Heritage Fund was set up after the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment was passed by Minnesota voters in November 2008, creating new resources for the arts as well as land conservation, water conservation and parks.

"We are so excited and thankful to be able to offer a performance of this caliber to the people of our region, free of charge," said Amy Stearns, executive director of the Historic Holmes Theatre. "We can be proud to live in a state where the citizens recognize the value that the arts have in our everyday lives."

The Historic Holmes Theatre received the grant to provide access to the arts for the people of rural Minnesota. More than 800 people, many of which do not attend theater performances regularly, will have the opportunity to see the Dallas Brass show for free.

"There are 837 seats available -- but they're going fast!" Stearns said, adding that the Dallas Brass concert will be "fun, lively and crazy -- great for the whole family. They play everything from patriotic music to Gershwin, Broadway and today's music, and they interact with the audience."

Also, the musicians of the Dallas Brass will be working with about 280 area middle and high school band students in one-on-one and large group rehearsals and clinics during their time in Detroit Lakes.

The band will rehearse one song with Detroit Lakes Middle School students in the morning, and another with Detroit Lakes High School students in the afternoon. Each group will then perform the songs with the Dallas Brass during their evening performance.

In between the two rehearsals, the six musicians will be holding a master clinic for not only the Detroit Lakes students, but students from Waubun and the surrounding area. Stearns said there are still a few openings for the master clinic; interested middle and high school students should contact the theater to sign up.

According to Dallas Brass founder and director Michael Levine, bringing their music to the students in the communities they visit is an essential part of what they do.

"It's kind of our trademark that whenever we come into a community and do a concert, we get the kids involved," Levine said in a telephone interview. "It's a win-win situation.

"Seeing these kids get so excited by the music is so worth it," he added. "It's magic."

Since its founding by Levine in 1983, the Dallas Brass has become one of America's foremost musical ensembles.  The group has established a unique blend of traditional brass instruments with a full complement of drums and percussion, which creates a performing entity of extraordinary range and musical challenges.  The Dallas Brass repertoire includes classical masterpieces, Dixieland, swing, Broadway, Hollywood and patriotic music.

"This concert is called 'American Musical Journey,' and it's all American music, going back to (the time of) George Washington all the way up to the present day, more or less," Levine said. "We try to give people an overview of American musical history."

A native of St. Louis Park, Minn., Levine attended the University of Minnesota and then the Juilliard School of Music in New York, before taking his first gig as assistant principal trombone in the Jerusalem (Israel) Symphony Orchestra.

After four years overseas, he came back to find that his parents had moved to Dallas.

"I started a brass quintet there 28 years ago, and I'm still doing it," he said. "You'd think after 28 years, it would get old, but it's actually the opposite."

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454