For example, the respected group, which has been performing and recording classical masterpieces for the last 35 years, currently sits among the top recording artists on Canada's adult contemporary Top 40 list, with their version of "Silent Night," sung by popular Canadian recording artist Zoe Bentley. It almost makes the group an overnight pop sensation in their native land.
"I think we're always finding ways to broaden our audiences," said Canadian Brass tuba virtuoso Chuck Daellenbach, who will lead the group in a free concert Monday afternoon as the first of the Hudson Riverfront Performing Arts Center's series of performances in the atrium of the UBS Financial Center in Weehawken.
The concert is scheduled to begin at 12:30 p.m.
"In an era where there is musical deflation instead of inflation, we have to expand our base a little," said Daellenbach, who, with trumpeter Stuart Laughton and trombonist Gene Watts, has been performing classical music with the Canadian Brass since the early 1970s. "We want to perform music that we could enjoy as a listener as well as a performer. Most classical music aficionados couldn't tell you what the AC (adult contemporary) list is all about."
The group recently added trumpeter Justin Emerich and horn player Bernhard Scully as new members to the prestigious quintet.
The Canadian Brass has a rich history of classical recordings and performances, doing elaborate works by great composers like Vivaldi, Gabrieli, Pachelbel, Wagner, Bach and Beethoven. They have a special interest in Baroque music, which focuses on the powerful horn instruments.
Over the years, the Canadian Brass has been featured on such popular shows as "The Tonight Show," "Today" and "Entertainment Tonight." They have performed as guest artists on PBS shows like "Evening at Pops with John Williams and the Boston Pops," and "Beverly Sills' Music around the World." They have been invited by the Canadian government to play for visiting heads of states on numerous official occasions.
In classical circles, their latest CD, entitled "Three Nights with Canadian Brass," has been sold worldwide. They have also performed in concert halls all over the world and will have just concluded two shows at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center over the weekend before playing in Weehawken on Monday.
After the holidays, the group will go on an extended tour throughout Germany for the entire month of January.
Filling concert halls With all the grand concert halls and venues that the group has performed in over the years, it's amazing that they would consider doing a free concert in an atrium of an office complex. But Daellenbach says that the Canadian Brass' roots are in such venues.
"We actually got our start playing in smaller places, like shopping centers and malls," Daellenbach said. "Those places were like our laboratory. We tried out things in those venues and we never expected to end up on grand concert stages."
Of course, the concert Monday will feature many classical pieces, but there will also be a touch of Christmas in the air.
"It's a logical time of year to do Christmas songs," Daellenbach said. "Christmas music is so approachable and so identifiable with everyone."
Monthly concerts The Canadian Brass will perform the first of a series of monthly concerts called the UBS Atrium Series, sponsored by UBS Financial Services, Hartz Mountain Industries, and the Hudson Reporter newspaper chain.
HRPAC Executive Director Bruce Sherman is looking forward to another season of great music at the UBS Atrium.
"We're very honored to present the Canadian Brass, which is one of classical music's most popular groups," Sherman said. "They are considered to be one of the very best, if not the best brass quintet in the world. Just before coming to the atrium, they will have played at NJPAC with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and at Avery Fisher Hall with the New York Philharmonic. It will be a pleasure to hear them in the atrium with its high ceilings and glass. The acoustics there are quite nice for classical music. And there is something particularly festive about the sound of a brass quintet."
The HRPAC presents concerts in the UBS Atrium while the organization is making plans to construct a state of the art performing arts center on the waterfront.
A planning study was recently completed by an outside consultant and, based on the study's findings, the HRPAC Board of Trustees has decided to move forward with a capital fundraising campaign.
"Building an arts center from scratch is a major undertaking which takes a great deal of preparation, planning and time," Sherman said. "But we are confident that the momentum that has been built will stand us in good stead as we move to this next crucial step."
Part of HRPAC's mission is educational, and the organization provides outreach programs to area schools. Just this past week, it presented programs at Union City's Woodrow Wilson School and Weehawken's Roosevelt School.
"It's so important to expose them to the arts at a young age," Sherman said. "The program introduced them to string instruments and music from the Baroque age to the present. The students and teachers were very appreciative."
The HRPAC plans to take the educational program to Kennedy School in North Bergen later this week. Daellenbach said that the Canadian Brass was happy to help HRPAC's cause to bring an arts center to the Hudson River waterfront.
"We're all for it," Daellenbach said. "The components are all there. There isn't exactly a dearth of concert halls in the United States. But there is a rebirth of old theaters, being restored and refurbished. We're happy to support this cause and it should be supported by all."
The Hudson Riverfront Performing Arts Center's presentation of the classical quintet Canadian Brass will be held Monday, Dec. 12 at the Atrium inside the UBS Financial Services headquarters in Weehawken at 1000 Harbor Boulevard. The concert is free and will begin at 12:30 p.m. For further information, contact the HRPAC's concert hotline at (201) 716-4540 or visit the HRPAC's Web site at www.hrpac.org.