The celestial sounds of Seraph Brass will fill Trinity Episcopal Church Sunday afternoon when the all-female quintet performs as part of its national tour.
Seraph Brass draws from a roster of America’s top female brass players. It was formed in 2014 by trumpet player Mary Elizabeth Bowden and French horn player Katy Ambrose. Sunday’s concert is part of the 2016-17 Trinity Concert Series.
“We had this idea at graduate school at Yale that we wanted to form a female brass ensemble,” said Ms. Bowden. “It’s not something you see very much.”
The quintet’s name refers to an angelic being of the highest order.
Ms. Bowden spoke on the phone last Friday, as the quintet was finishing up its fourth week on tour. She spoke as the group’s van was journeying between shows in North Dakota.
The members find that they are inspiring to young female musicians. Ms. Bowden recalled the previous night’s show in Crosby, N.D.
“There was a handful of really young female brass players,” she said. “They were so happy and excited and that was great to see.”
After the concert, quintet members posed for photos with the students.
“I’m glad we can be an inspiration to the next generation of brass players,” Ms. Bowden said.
Even though there are five in the touring quintet, Seraph Brass draws from a roster of eight musicians.
“We get to know each other well and call ourselves the Seraph family,” Ms. Bowden said. “It creates a little bit of flexibility in our schedules.”
For example, she said Ms. Ambrose is expecting twin boys.
“I don’t think being in a van for five weeks would have worked out,” Ms. Bowden said.
Ms. Bowden is traveling with six trumpets on the tour. Each, she said, has a different “color.”
“Throughout the show, we love talking to the audience about the different trumpets and other instruments,” she said.
For example, Ms. Bowden will perform Mozart’s “Queen of the Night” aria on her rotary valve piccolo trumpet.
A popular set the quintet performs, which they plan to do in Watertown, is one featuring medieval and Renaissance music.
“It deconstructs the brass quintet,” Ms. Bowden said. “It starts with solo tuba, then it adds each instrument, one by one. It’s a really nice way for the audience to hear the different colors of the quintet.”
Also for Sunday’s Watertown concert, there will be selections from “West Side Story” and part of the popular “William Tell Overture.”
“It’ll be a diverse selection of music,” Ms. Bowden said.
The trumpet player performed last season at the Trinity Concert Series as part of The Brass Hoppers. She frequently performs in recital both in solo programs and in a duo with her husband, David Dash, a professional trumpet player with the Naples (Fla.) Philharmonic. The couple also make their home in that city.
Ms. Bowden has performed nationally and internationally, including serving as principal trumpet of the Sarasota Opera Orchestra, New Zealand’s Auckland Philharmonia and the Daejeon Philharmonic in South Korea. At the Lucerne Festival in Switzerland, she held the principal trumpet chair in Pierre Boulez’s performance of Mahler’s Symphony No. 6, which was released on CD in 2011.
Ms. Bowden released her debut album, “Radiance,” last year. All tracks on the album, except for one, were written by living, “innovative” American composers.
“I wanted to showcase the new works being written for trumpet and I wanted to choose works that I found compelling,” she said.
Ms. Bowden, who grew up in a suburb of Chicago, earned her master of music degree in 2006 from the Yale School of Music, New Haven, Conn., where she studied on a full scholarship with trumpeter Allan Dean.
She originally was inspired to pick up the trumpet because of her two older brothers. When it was time for them to join the school band, one picked the trombone and the other brother selected the French horn.
“I heard the sound of the brass in the house with my brothers practicing,” she said. “When it was my turn, I wanted to stay in the brass family. I picked the trumpet.”
Rounding out Seraph on Sunday at its Watertown concert: Katie Miller on trumpet, Alexis Smith on trombone, Rachel Velvikis on French horn and Beth McDonald on tuba.
WHAT: Seraph Brass as part of the 2016-17 Trinity Concert Series.
WHEN/WHERE: 3 p.m. Sunday at Trinity Episcopal Church, 227 Sherman St., Watertown.
COST: Ticket prices range from $9 to $16, with discounts available for senior citizens and members of the military. The concert is free for students in kindergarten through college.
MORE INFO: On the web at trinityconcerts.org or call the church at 788-6290.