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2012-04-25 / Family

Cosby Titan Band to play with Letterman trumpeter

By Joan Tupponce
CONTRIBUTING WRITER


Members of the Cosby Concert Band, part of the Titan Band, performed last December at their holiday concert in Cosby Theater. Members of the Cosby Concert Band, part of the Titan Band, performed last December at their holiday concert in Cosby Theater. When Cosby High’s Titan Band takes the stage at its sixth annual concert next month, it will have something in common with late night television host David Letterman. The band will feature trumpet player Alan Chez, who plays for Letterman’s late night show on CBS.

And the May performance will mark the second time that Chez has joined the Titan Band for a concert. He performed with the band in 2010.

“Alan had a great time the first time he performed,” said Earl Shaffer Jr., director of bands at Cosby. “He relates to the kids so well. It’s great to see that. He’s a good person and a marvelous talent.”

The concert on May 18 will be a Hollywood-styled production. The band will perform a variety of musical selections and styles, everything from the fiery “Danse Bacchanale,” by Saint-Saens, to the band’s traditional patriotic finale, featuring the “Service Songs of the Armed Forces of the United States.”


Trumpet players Elizabeth Bowen, Helena D’Amico, Jaclyn Bricker and Brent Doeren warmed up before last December’s Titan Band holiday performance. 
Steve Church Trumpet players Elizabeth Bowen, Helena D’Amico, Jaclyn Bricker and Brent Doeren warmed up before last December’s Titan Band holiday performance. Steve Church During the concert, the band will be presented with plaques for superior ratings at both the Virginia marching band festival (the band’s third consecutive honor), and the state’s concert festival (the band’s sixth consecutive honor). The Titans also will receive their third honor band plaque.

Landing Chez as a repeat guest soloist was serendipitous.

Shaffer met the trumpet player at a University of Virginia football game a few years ago. After striking up a conversation, he asked Chez if he would come to Cosby and perform with the band.

“He is very student centered,” Shaffer said. “He is very much an educator.”

In May, The Titans will provide accompaniment when Chez performs his three solos which include “Georgia on My Mind,” and “Saints Hallelujah.”

“He will appear on David Letterman the night before the concert and on the Cosby stage on Friday,” Shaffer said. “Our [band members] will have the opportunity to back up one of the biggest names in music.”

Hosting a high-profile guest soloist has become a tradition with The Titans. Last year, actor and vocalist Ivan Rutherford, the male lead in the Broadway production of “Les Miserables,” performed with the band.

“Our kids do get to play with some pretty big heavyweights,” Shaffer said, noting that Rutherford researched the band before agreeing to perform. “He was pleasantly surprised. He told the audience ‘these kids are the real deal. They have really done their homework.’”

The Titans’ 140 members also had the opportunity to play for crowds at Walt Disney World Resort on March 30 when the band led the Main Street Electrical Parade.

“It’s Disney’s most prestigious performance opportunity,” Shaffer said. “It’s the cream of the crop. We were really excited to be a part of that.”

The band started practicing for the parade in January.

“We put a lot of detail and finesse into it,” Shaffer said.

The band was selected after applying for the performance. The band’s last appearance at Disney World was in the Share a Dream Come True Parade in 2008.

“The parades are very well attended and have enthusiastic audiences,” Shaffer said. “It’s a highlight for the kids. It’s a good fit. Our kids were thrilled when they finished the parade.”

The Titan’s sixth annual concert will be held Friday, May 18 at 7:30 p.m. in the Cosby Theater. Tickets are available at the school beginning on May 9 and sell for $7 a seat. Due to previous sellouts, getting tickets early is recommended.

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