Nearly 300 trumpet players filled Fontana Field at Southington High School last April as Southington Brass hosted their first annual “Brass Blast.” If the group is to obtain the Guinness world record they seek, they are going to need a lot more than that during their second attempt in 2013.
And all of Cheshire's talented trumpeters will be needed.
The event will return for a second straight year on April 27 when the group will once again look to bring nearly 1,200 trumpeters to the high school, putting on a four-song ensemble in an effort to make it into the Guinness Book of World Records.
While aiming for a record may be part of the fun, however, Southington Brass member Erik Semmel said the event is about the love of the music and bringing generations of musicians together in support of the community.
“It’s an event for all ages and really, it is all about bringing together music lovers from across the region for a good cause,” Semmel said. “Last year, we had multi-generational families coming; grandparents and grandsons playing together. That’s what this is all about.”
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Southington Brass, a group that was created several years ago by musicians across the community, was formed by Semmel in 2010 as a way to share his love of music and bring people together to make a difference in the community.
Semmel, whose three sons also play the trumpet, said he was looking for a way to play along with them and with his brother, Southington High School Principal Martin Semmel, and friend Tim Johnson, Music Director at Kennedy Middle School.
The group quickly grew in size and in 2011, Semmel said they were looking for a way to reach beyond town lines in an effort to share their love of music. That’s when the “Brass Blast” was born.
"The Connecticut Music Educators Association is proud to support the Brass Blast for a second year,” said CMEA President Dale D. Griffa. “CMEA strives to support programs and activities such as this, for students, professional educators, and future music educators which in turn enhances the quality of music education for all children in Connecticut."
Southington Brass has already made a major difference.
Although the group saw just 297 trumpeters at their annual event in 2012 – well short of the current record set in 2006 by Bolivia with 1,166 – the first-ever event managed to help raise more than $9,000 for The Mill Foundation for Kids, Southington Band Backers and the CMEA.
It was an impressive showing for a small group that formed for the love of music, Southington School Superintendent Joseph V. Erardi Jr. said, and shows what a community can do with a little passion and determination.
“The Brass Blast represents everything that is right in a healthy community,” Erardi said. “The event showcases high quality professionals working and volunteering with today's youth for the good of others. It doesn’t get better than that.”
In order to show stronger gains in 2013, organizers said there will be a need to reach well beyond Southington and get participants from not only Connecticut, but across the northeast. The group is appealing to organizations as far away as Boston and New York to try and set the record.
"This would be a way to show the kids that we can do it bigger and better," he said. "If we get 1,200 players, we may be able to raise $30,000."