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brass players on stage
brass players on stage

The River City Brass performs “Holiday Brasstacular” on Friday, Dec. 8 at 7:30 p.m. in King Concert Hall.

  • November 20, 2023
  • Doug Osborne-Coy

An ensemble often referred to as “the Boston Pops of brass bands” will take the stage of King Concert Hall for Rockefeller Arts Center’s annual Christmas Pops event.

“River City Brass: Holiday Brasstacular” will take place on Friday, Dec. 8 at 7:30 p.m. in King Concert Hall. The concert will feature holiday classics like “Sleigh Ride” and “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch,” plus favorite carols like “O Holy Night” and many more.

Tickets are available 24/7 online, by phone at (716) 673-3501 or in person at the Fredonia Ticket Office in the Williams Center. The hours for phone and in-person sales are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

The River City Brass Band is a Pittsburgh-based ensemble that has set the standard for brass for more than 40 years now.

It was November of 1981 when “something special happened” in the River City of Pittsburgh, Pa. River City Brass (RCB), under the baton of conductor Robert Bernat, took the stage at Carnegie Music Hall in for its inaugural concert. The group was the first of its kind to be formed in America in 25 years.

Brass bands have a rich tradition and history, with roots dating back to the early 19th century in Europe, particularly in the United Kingdom. Brass bands are known for their powerful and vibrant sound. These ensembles consist of brass instruments, along with percussion instruments. The River City Brass Band’s instrumentation includes cornet, flugelhorn, French horn, euphonium, trombone and tuba.

The 1981 premiere was a moment of musical excellence and determination to revive the tradition of American brass bands. Critics called the band “most sensational” and stated that they “brought a different facet of the world of music to Pittsburgh audiences.” Today, the group is still dedicated to bringing the world of music to audiences.

Each year, River City Brass presents 25 to 35 regional concerts at five venues across Pittsburgh and the surrounding area. It allows for RCB to introduce a diverse repertoire while engaging audiences in their home communities. The concerts provide patrons with options to customize their experience by choosing the venue they attend and the choice between purchasing single tickets or a series subscription.

Aside from the annual concert series, RCB performs dozens of concerts on tour each year for community arts series, corporate events, major music festivals, and more.

“Holiday Brasstacular” is a DFT Communications Pops Series event sponsored by Bahgat & Laurito-Bahgat, CPAs as part of the Lake Shore Savings Season.