Brass group Masterworks 6 performs at Zionsville Performing Arts Center

The members of Masterworks 6; Daniel Golando, Ericka Tyner Grodrian, John Grodrian, Glen Dimick, Larry Powell and Craig Hetrick. (Submitted photo)
The members of Masterworks 6; Daniel Golando, Ericka Tyner Grodrian, John Grodrian, Glen Dimick, Larry Powell and Craig Hetrick. (Submitted photo)

By Heather Lusk

Take two trumpets and a tuba, a french horn and trombone, plus some drums. Mix in a healthy dose of Queen, a dash of Jimi Hendrix and a dab of Duke Ellington. The result is Masterworks 6, which consists of six members who jump from classic rock to classic swing. Their brass instruments simulate guitar solos and vocal measures from popular as well as classical pieces.

Masterworks 6 will appear at the Zionsville Performing Arts Center at 7 p.m., Feb. 6 as part of a fundraiser by Zionsville Band and Orchestra Patrons – a parent support group for the high school’s instrumental music program – along with local group Willoughby Sprig.

“It’s incredible that they can make the music they do without guitars and other traditional instruments,” said ZBOP parent Erika Revercomb. “I think adults will be more familiar with the class rock tunes, but students will have a blast seeing how rock music is performed with traditional brass instruments.”

Masterworks 6 members have master or doctorate degrees in their respective instruments, with many receiving their degrees from various Indiana universities. Some members also perform with professional orchestras while others teach at the collegiate level. Part of their mission statement is to “motivate, educate and entertain students with the hope they will be inspired to express themselves through the art of music.” Through this they plan to spend time with high school instrumental students during the school day and make a connection with the students.

The first half of the feature length concert will showcase Masterwork 6 performing tunes from the big band era with classic rock in the second half of the program. The second half will also feature Zionsville Community High School music students on stage performing two classic rock selections.

Preceding the 7 p.m. performance will be folk group Willoughby Sprig. The four-piece ensemble has special ties to Zionsville with all members being ZCHS graduates, even meeting when they were at Eagle Elementary School together.

“The performing arts center was being built when we were in high school and we had a chance to perform there as part of the school orchestra,” said band member Nicholas Burrus, who initially formed the group with his twin brother Chris. “To come back as a professional on that stage and in that facility is very gratifying.”

Thanks to a Kickstarter campaign, Willoughby Sprig was able to record their first professionally recorded album a year ago. “It was the right time to do it. We were getting a lot of support,” Burrus said.

He appreciates the support of fans as well as his former teacher Tom Landrum, ZCHS director of bands. “He was always about making the most of our talent and has always been keeping an eye on us, trying to get our musical career going,” Burrus said.

Landrum recalled the Burrus brothers’ first efforts and described their current style as “a combination of music from the Renaissance with bluegrass and their own twist.”

With the performances by two groups, Landrum hopes to bring some variety to the evening. “Masterworks 6 instrumentation is like a brass quintet; brass with a percussionist performing rock and roll.”

Willoughby Sprig provides a completely different style utilizing several more obscure instruments such as the mountain dulcimer and the mandolin.

Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for students. Tickets are available via the website.