Gramercy Brass Orchestra to host annual summer camp online for free in August

Gramercy Brass Band Camp 15th Anniversary-72
Photo courtesy of John Lambert

Brass musicians can get a free week of playing and learning during a week-long virtual summer camp next month.

From Aug. 3-9, the Gramercy Brass Orchestra will host their annual Gramercy Brass Band Camp for players and spectators alike for free online. Brass and percussion students, teachers and performers will gather for a full week of intense “brass boot camp,” covering everything from proper daily warm-up techniques to recording several performance videos.

Since 2005, the Gramercy Brass Orchestra has hosted the Gramercy Brass Band Camp for brass players in the tri-state area and beyond. However, with the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic closing down gatherings, there was almost no summer camp this year.

“Our first inclination was to cancel it, but I thought it could be a great opportunity to have the camp online,” said John Lambert, Founder and Music Director of the Gramercy Brass Orchestra. “By opening it virtually, we have students from all over the country now. We have one from California, some from Canada – we’re reaching a broader terrain than we were when we were doing this live. We usually get people within driving range of New York, Now we are getting people from all over the country, which is really exciting.”

Though the camp is virtual this year, the camp will hold a similar schedule compared to past years. The day will start off with a warm-up session, followed by practice sessions as well as sessions with guest performers and educators. Students will also be given pieces of music that instructors will go over.

“The goal for the week is to get three pieces recorded,” said Lambert. “We’ll spend the week teaching this music to the folks that are coming in. By Sunday we’ll have a recording session where campers get off the video, record their parts and send it in. At the end of camp, we’ll have a huge video of what we’re working on.”

To celebrate the camp’s 16th anniversary, Gramercy Brass Band Camp is celebrating the 100th birthday of acclaimed jazz pianist and composer Dave Brubeck. Brubeck’s son, Chris Brubeck, will host a session talking about his father’s life, music and involvement in the civil rights movement as portrayed through his music. Chris will also discuss his own compositional successes, including music recorded by Gramercy Brass Orchestra on “Brubeck: Bold & Brassy!”

Sessions and masterclasses will also be hosted by Josh Landress (Owner of J. Landress Brass), Joseph Anderer (Veteran co-Principal Horn of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra), and Wayne Dillon (Trumpeter and DCI Adjudicator), to name a few.

For those who don’t want to play or just want to watch along, they can register as an observer rather than as a player. 

For more information, register for the camp, or to donate to Gramercy Brass Orchestra, visit www.gramercybrass.org.