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Calling all musicians for brass ensemble and choir

Danielle Ryan

(10/25) Thurmont local, Morris Blake, is still looking for musicians to participate in the new brass ensemble and choir. Blake has had a vision for several years to assemble a brass band in Thurmont, and now that vision is finally coming to fruition. Blake noted a desire to form a brass band in Thurmont because a group of this kind doesn’t exist in the area. Anyone interested in playing with a group has to travel to Frederick or beyond, so he wanted to bring the opportunity closer to home. "There are many wonderfully gifted and talented players locally, and hopefully this will give them a chance to share their musical talent with others, while having a great time," stated Blake.

Apart from being the barber at Here’s Clyde’s Family Hair Care, Blake keeps busy serving as the organist at Harriet Chapel. He also teaches handbells, choir and violin. Blake has over 30 years of musical experience, citing a passion for music that has followed him throughout his life thus far, and will surely continue to follow him and inspire him for many years to come. He has learned several instruments himself, including the piano, violin, mellophone, and trumpet, just to name a few, and has taught many students how to play or sing.

The brass band is half way to their goal, as there are currently four members participating. However, Blake would like to have at least eight players before they start performing, but will certainly welcome more. He is looking for horn instruments such as the trumpet, French horn, baritone horn and trombone in order to fulfill the four-part harmony a small brass band warrants. He is also looking for any interested vocalists: sopranos, altos, tenors and bass singers, male and female welcome.

Blake plans on bringing a New Orleans swing style to the music he chooses, which is a style that will set the band apart from other music groups in the surrounding areas, and will give them a unique sound. In fact, he already has a piece of music picked out for the Christmas season that brings a swing style to a favorite Christmas classic. Blake will be choosing more modern selections in the future, all while putting a swing stylistic spin on the pieces.

For now, Blake noted that he will be keeping events local, playing for Thurmont town events. Hopefully, the brass choir will be ready to perform for the Christmas season, bringing the joy of Christmas music to everyone in town through Christmas caroling.

Band practices are being held at the Main Street Center every Sunday from 3 p.m. – 4 p.m, and choral practices are being held right after from 5 p.m. – 6 p.m. If you play a brass instrument, or love singing, this is a perfect opportunity to get together with a group of like-minded individuals all looking to have fun while playing music. Anyone who may be interested can contact Blake at 301-271-4831 or email Vickie Grinder at

In addition to seeking more musicians, a contest to name the band and choir is currently underway. All those who believe they have a great name for either the band or chorus can email before November 15. Once all the names are compiled, they will be placed on social media for a vote and the top votes for both groups will go to the Commissioners for final approval.

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