CHS Brass Quintet opens annual holiday concert |

CHS Brass Quintet opens annual holiday concert

BRAD HORN/Nevada Appeal The Carson High School Holiday Brass Quintet from bottom left clockwise, Andrew Chicvara, Jon Holloway, Mandy Fleming, Steve Maples and John Akerley.

Backstage under a blue light, the lonely sounds of a oboe blurt alternately smooth and sour tones from an empty, yellow-lit room while director Judy Monson gently scolds the choir on stage.

“You get to the end, you have to burst with joy!” she instructs.

Stage whispers creak and pop from behind as the cellist discusses matters with music director and conductor of the Carson City Symphony, David Bugli.

Adjusting to Bugli’s suggestion, the choir begins the next segment of music. First, the boom of a few voices, then a mass rise into a singular note like an empire before disintegrating into precise parts. All 33 voices on stage belt and burst with holiday joy.

“That’s it,” says Monson. “What a total joy to see all your faces!”

The agony of preparation meets the expectation of perfection in false starts and open choruses. Monson wants it to be perfect, as would any conductor.

Out in the lobby, the Carson High School Holiday Brass Quintet is beginning a tight medley of Christmas classics.

They are Mandy Fleming, 17 on first trumpet; Jon Holloway, 17, on horn; Andrew Chicvara, 16, on tuba; John Akerley, 18 on euphonium; and Stephen Maples, 17, on second trumpet.

They start off with an enchanting display of brass technique. The Christmas carols peel off in rubber bursts amid the popping and chattering of ticket-holders waving and fanning themselves with their programs, waiting to get in to the concert.

The quintet’s sound is a pure and molten brass; the tuba slides back and forth underneath in rhythm, while the horns flirt with a range of octaves.

They play the standards: “Silent Night,” “We Three Kings” and “Jingle Bells,” raising perky applause from the standing gallery.

Holloway, spiritual leader of the group, says the quintet has played some holiday gigs and have more planned around the area, including playing outside of Wal-Mart. He tries to think of the schedule. They’re pretty much booked for the holidays.

Holloway is s also in the midst of considering colleges. He flinches a little when the J-word comes up (The Julliard Conservatory in New York).

“I really want to teach,” he says. He’s considering the University of Nevada, Reno and maybe Southern Illinois.

They’re a talented group.

But the people have come for the Carson City Symphony’s 21st annual “Holiday Treat Concert,” and the quintet is just the appetizer.

Inside the double doors, the chamber singers are ready.

The orchestra is ready.

A note is struck like a spark in the dark.

Twinkling white Christmas lights decorate the stage.

The hall darkens as the musicians begin to play.

The spirit of the holidays is struck like a golden railroad spike with the voices of the angels.

Contact reporter Peter Thompson at or 881-1215.

sounds of the season


n Carson Middle School’s free annual Winter Holiday Concert, 7 p.m. at the school gymnasium, 1140 W. King St. Features Singing Solons’ combined choirs, CMS Honor Choir and Red Hot Bell Peppers handbell choirs. Call 283-2800.


n Holiday Choir and Orchestra benefit concert, 7 p.m. at the Carson City Community Center, 851 E. William St. Free with new, unwrapped toy for Toys for Tots. Call 887-0535.

n Mile High Jazz Band presents “A Jazzy Christmas,” 8-10 p.m. at Comma Coffee, 312 S. Carson St. Admission $5 general, $4 members of Mile High Jazz Band Association, free 18-younger. Swing-dance lessons 6-7:30 p.m. for $5. Call 883-2662.