By Caitlin Knox ‘14
Georgetown, KY – Year Two of “Noteworthy: A Faculty and Guest Artist Concert Series” is coming to a close on Sunday, April 22, wrapping up on a good note with a performance at 3 p.m. in John L. Hill Chapel by the Bluegrass Brass Trio entitled “1+1+1=141.” The three are Georgetown College’s very own band director, Dr. Pete LaRue, on trombone, music teacher Cheryl Burgess Amstutz on French horn and engineer Peter Pickett on trumpet.
The group’s name (Bluegrass Brass Trio) was inspired by the beautiful Bluegrass State in which they work and reside – not the musical genre ‘bluegrass.’
“We’re going to be playing examples of brass music through the centuries; starting with the Renaissance and going through the 20th century,” said Dr. LaRue, assuring patrons they will be hearing classical music. “We’re not going to be doing any hoedowns.”
The three came to know each other through a group that LaRue conducts called the Central Kentucky Concert Band. Amstutz and Pickett were both members, and they developed a friendship that led to creating the Bluegrass Brass Trio – which has been around for 10 years now.
For each band member, music is more than a hobby. Dr. LaRue conducts all over the southeast U.S., and has been an influential part of the College’s music department for the past 19 years. Cheryl Amstutz teaches music in Fayette County Public Schools and Asbury University. She also plays all over town, whenever she has the opportunity. Peter Pickett is currently an engineer at Lexmark, but he is also the owner and founder of Pickett Brass, one of the leading trumpet accessory manufacturers in the U.S.
The show’s title – “1+1+1=141” – signifies the members’ ages added together (141). “We’re all about the same age, but I’m the oldest one,” confessed LaRue.
He said that working with the same two people for such a long time has been a great experience, and it is something that the audience will be able to sense when they perform. “Cheryl and Peter and I play together and make music together so regularly, things like phrasing and this kind of stuff…we don’t have to talk about where we’re going to breathe, we just sense it with each other.”
LaRue says that this cannot happen with just anyone. “Any three people can learn music and sit on the same stage and play, but in terms of communication and really bringing a full ensemble experience, you’ve really got to have a situation like this.”
Dr. LaRue said that being with the Bluegrass Brass Trio has opened up many fun opportunities to play. “This joy of music-making has enabled us to perform at Transylvania University, Asbury College, ArtsPlace, The Cathedral of Christ the King, retirement centers, local schools and many other venues in the greater Lexington area.”
There will be guest appearances by two friends of the Bluegrass Brass – recent 2011 grad Dewey Creech on tuba and T.J. Thomas on trumpet.