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Composer: 'Sorta Samba' definitely fits

Over the course of its 23-year existence, the Sheldon Theatre Brass Band has introduced many new compositions and brass band arrangements to the world.

Among the most recent was "Christmas is Just 'Round the Corner," Glen Newton, one of the band's two euphonium players, composed and arranged the piece.

In their concert at 7 p.m. Saturday April 27 at the Sheldon Theatre, band members will introduce another of Newton's compositions for brass band, "Sorta Samba."

"The piece starts out with a Brazilian samba feel, but in the middle, the rhythm shifts to a funk rock style with a trombone solo over an ostinato in the low brass before returning to the samba style. That's why it's just 'sort of samba,'" he said.

When creating music for the band, Newton said he takes a tip from the great composers of the past, who wrote for specific individuals and ensembles rather than for a generic ensemble.

"I had a number of options for solos in the middle section of the piece, but since Bruce Alpern is such an outstanding trombonist, I wrote the solo for him," Newton said. "If another brass band plays 'Sorta Samba,' I might have to simplify the solo."

Cornetist Tom Wentzler and soprano cornetist Mike Fuller also have solos during the piece.

Among his other musical activities, Newton directs the Roseville Big Band and plays in the Minneapolis Trombone Choir. The two organizations also have premiered his original works under his direction, he said, but having his music performed by the Sheldon ensemble is especially thrilling.

"Any composer is delighted to have his creations performed in public, but when they are performed by a musical organization as excellent as the Sheldon Theatre Brass Band under the direction of a superb conductor like Jim Kurschner, the results surpass any ordinary musical premiere," Newton said.

If you go ...

Who: The Sheldon Theatre Brass Band

When: 7 p.m. Saturday April 27

Where: Sheldon Theatre, 443 W. Third St.

Cost: $17.50 adults, $11.50 students

More info: 651-388-8700, 800-899-5759 or