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An acclaimed New York City trombone quartet, The Guidonian Hand, is returning to Lancaster.
This performance will be the 19th Vivian Major Robinson Classical Concert, sponsored by the Lancaster County Council of the Arts. The purpose of the concert series is to promote appreciation for – and enjoyment of – classical music in a variety of styles.
The traditional spring performance, under the shelter of the tent and pavilion at Historic Craig Farm, is at 2:30 p.m., Sunday, April 28.
The Guidonian Hand performed here in May 2011 and were a hit with the audience, so organizers are bringing them back for a return engagement.
For those who missed the last performance, here’s a refresher on how the group got its name.
The members believe classical music is for everyone, so they were looking for a name that reflected both classical roots and accessibility.
They found the answer in music history.
Guido of Arezzo, a 12th-century Italian church musician, developed a memory aid for sight-singing, using the hand’s joints and fingertips to correspond to music notes, known as “the Guidonian Hand.”
Today, Guido is considered the father of music notation, because he also developed the five-line staff still used today. Thanks to him, anyone could learn to recognize and sing notes, and composers could write their music on paper as it was to be played or sung.
Founding member Mark Broschinsky said The Guidonian Hand is looking forward to their return to Lancaster. He said working together regularly as a quartet gives them a balance, since they are all freelance musicians. Playing in the group gives the musicians the chance to concentrate on overall sound and style, rather than focus on individual performance.
Selections for this year’s program, “Oddyssey,” span 200 years of classical music. Masterpieces by Bach, Haydn, Debussy and Mozart have fresh perspective as arranged for trombone.
Included in the program are also selected new works from living composers. Broschinsky said the group tries to balance music by familiar composers with some interesting finds that are “off the beaten path.”
“The well-known composers are deserving of being famous,” he said. “But at the same time others deserve to be heard.”
Broschinsky and fellow member James Rogers do most of the musical arranging for the group, but also perform arrangements done by other notable composers and arrangers.
One program selection is by Galen Brown.
“He went to school with me in Boston, and I got to work with him to help with the arrangements on this piece,” he said.
The Guidonian Hand is widely recognized as one of the country’s leading trombone quartets, skillfully demonstrating the trombone’s versatility. They have commissioned over a dozen new works, collaborating with several composers and have received a number of grants for their work from Chamber Music America, The Barlow Foundation and New Music USA.
True to their “user friendly” approach, the quartet’s concerts are interspersed with entertaining and educational comments about the music, composers or the instrument itself. They all enjoy teaching.
“All of us do a fair amount of teaching,” Broschinsky said. “We owe it to others to share what we’ve learned. We hope you’ll come with an open mind and hear something you like and enjoy.”
The Guidonian Hand’s last appearance in Lancaster was one of the most popular of the Vivian Major Robinson Concerts to date.
Historic Craig Farm is located at 1859 Craig Farm Road in Lancaster.
Thanks to endowment funding, admission is free. For details, call the LCCA office at (803) 285-7451.