Arts Council offers music to munch on

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By Kirsten Laskey

It’s a rather unusual lunch, participants can sample morsels of trombone, trumpet and piano music; they can savor classical, Brazilian and ragtime sounds. While there will not be anything edible for people to sink their teeth into, the Los Alamos Arts Council’s upcoming Brown Bag concert will definitely satisfy people’s appetite for music.

The concert, which will be held at 12:30 p.m. Jan. 7 at Fuller Lodge, will feature Donna Smith on piano and Jan McDonald on trumpet.

Bruce Warren, trombone; Cindy Little, piano; and Mike Burns, trumpet; will also make an appearance.

“(We’re) going to be playing classical pieces,” McDonald said. “I’ll be playing a Brazilian piece for trumpet and piano that is really unusual.”

Plus, there will be some operatic music and ragtime pieces.

This program will be the first of the Arts Council’s spring series and Marlane Hamilton, executive director of the arts council, thinks the new series is off to a good start.

“I think it’s going to be a great first for our spring season because Donna Smith and Jan McDonald are great performers,” she said. “People will not be disappointed in this performance. The two of them have put together a wonderful program that is sure to delight the audience. Charlene Cox-Clifton, chair of the Brown Bag, has put together a nice variety of programs for our spring series, which runs January through June.”

Smith and McDonald are also looking forward to the noon concert.

“I always look forward to doing a recital with Jan,” Smith said. “We’ve been doing recitals together for such a long time … he’s such a great musician.”

“I enjoy playing and having an opportunity to have a good audience,” McDonald said.

He added he is looking forward to performing with his friends.

Besides the Brown Bag concert, Smith and McDonald are active in the local music scene.

Smith, who graduated from Warren Conservatory in Pennsylvania, plays all styles of music and is the pianist for the Los Alamos Big Band. She also soloed with all Los Alamos music groups as well as in Santa Fe, Las Vegas and Taos. She toured the country in the Horace Heidt Show, soloed at the International Piano Teachers Association Convention in Chicago and was official accompanist for Wright State University for 12 years.

McDonald received doctorates in Boston and Indiana Universities, and directed the Los Alamos High School bands for 29 years. He was awarded Outstanding New Mexico Secondary Educator, Outstanding New Mexico Jazz Educator, and led his groups to numerous state awards. McDonald continues to conduct, which has included the Santa Fe Youth Orchestra with Bobbie McFarren and the Los Alamos Big Band; he plays in the Santa Fe Opera Orchestra, Pro Musica and Santa Fe Chamber Music, and McDonald was the lead trumpet in the Rotterdam Orchestra World Cruise

Much like its performers, the Brown Bag concerts have provided a lot of music to Los Alamos.

Once called Noontime Free Sack Lunch Musicales, the Brown Bags have entertained Los Alamos audiences since 1967. All Brown Bag concerts are free and open to the public.