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Lone Star Brass performed classical music at the Fredericksburg Music Club’s concert series at the Methodist Church. The quintet is known for its quality of performance and wide-ranging repertoire. Pictured left to right: Giraffe; Michael Santorelli, trumpet; Scott Roeder, Tuba; Carol Deats, horn; Ted Hale, trombone; and Jean Christoph Dobrzelewski, trumpet.

The Fredericksburg Music Club presents monthly concerts beginning at 3 p.m. Sunday afternoon at Fredericksburg United Methodist Church. Admission is free and donations are gladly accepted. More information about performers is available by contacting Patsy Hejl at 830-997-5413.

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Classical blast

by Phil Houseal
Nov 16, 2005

Sure, it’s good for you. But if you spend a Sunday afternoon at any of the Fredericksburg Music Club’s concerts, you might be surprised to discover it’s just good.

“A lot of people walk away when you start talking about classical music,” Hejl observed. “We just want them to give it a try.”

Hejl is president - and passionate about - the Fredericksburg Music Club. This organization reflects Fredericksburg’s history of artistic and intellectual enlightenment. Established in 1937 by Mrs. William Dietel, the group first met in homes to learn about composers and their music. Some members would perform the pieces for each other. Over the years this evolved into presenting concerts to the public.

Sixty-eight years later, the club still offers monthly concerts, drawing on a surprising variety of top-notch talent from around the world.

Hejl pointed out that Fredericksburg is one of the smallest organizations selected to present finalists for the Van Cliburn Foundation. For the past five years the club has been able to kick off the season with a Van Cliburn International Piano Competition finalist, including 2000 Gold medalist Olga Kern.

The Music Club has earned such a reputation, Hejl noted the Russian Orchestra called them to ask about playing in Fredericksburg.

“Musicians like to come here,” Hejl said. “They always are impressed with the hospitality and the city itself. We have a great venue in the Methodist Church sanctuary with the Baldwin grand piano. Musicians just have a great time.”

The Music Club is also unique in that it never charges admission to any of its concerts.

“Our mission is to bring classical music to Fredericksburg and the Hill Country,” Hejl said. “We want to make good music available to anyone who would like to come, without worrying about buying a ticket. We hope they like it and come back.”

This Sunday’s performers are the Lone Star Brass, a quintet based in Midland-Odessa. The group features trombone, trumpet, horn, and tuba playing a variety of music ranging from a Western fanfare, to polka, tango,  Armed Forces medley, Suite Mexicana, and Tuba Tiger Rag. Ted Hale, trombonist, wants all comers to give their music a try.

“They will be surprised how much fun they’ll have,” Hale said.

Hale promises a few surprises and funny “bits,” but never at the expense of the music.

“We do throw in some humor, but we back it up with outstanding musicianship,” Hale said. “We have to play impeccably, in tune, and with musical integrity. We work very hard getting this together.”

Hale, who also conducts Pops concerts for the Midland-Odessa Symphony, sees his group’s job as getting people off the couch and into the concert hall.

“Beethoven said music is like wine. It is meant to lift our spirits and transport us to another place away from ourselves. That’s really our job. That’s what all of us in the arts really do.”

“And we have a blast when we play,” Hale added. “The audience will get high art, but it’s going to be fun.”

That attitude meshes with Hejl’s desire to spread a better appreciation of good music to a wider range of interests and ages.

“Give it a try,” Hejl said. “At least one of the concerts every year should appeal to everyone!”