IF YOU GO

What: Best Brass of Christmas

When: 7 p.m. Sunday

Where: Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 414 N Allen Ave. in Farmington

Cost: Free

More info: Call 505-325-9743, extension 4.

FARMINGTON — Sacred Heart Catholic Church is offering an opportunity for the community to hear Christmas music during a free concert.

For the seventh annual year, Best Brass of Christmas, an 11-member brass ensemble, will play at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Farmington. Following the concert on Sunday, refreshments will be served in the Family Center at the church.

The ensemble consists of four trumpets, two French horns, three trombones, a euphonium and a tuba. The members are from New Mexico and Colorado.

The ensemble has played at various venues, including places in Santa Fe and St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Durango, Colo.

"It always starts here in Farmington at Sacred Heart," said Mick Hesse, one of the trumpet players.

While the 11 members are from various locations in New Mexico and Colorado, four of the members, including Hesse, are from Farmington.

"We pulled in the best players we could find," Hesse said.

Hesse said Father Timothy Farrell, a priest at Sacred Heart, and Connie Schultz, the group's euphonium player and Sacred Heart's music director, wanted a family-friendly, community-oriented concert to celebrate the Christmas season.

Hesse said the ensemble consists of talented musicians.

"When you put together a good brass group, good players want to be involved," he said.

However, 11-piece ensembles are unusual, and there are very few pieces written for them. Don Allen, the ensemble's trombonist, does a lot of the arrangements, including arranging a version of the Hallelujah chorus from George Frideric Handel's "Messiah" oratoria.

"He's just a wonderful, talented arranger," Hesse said.

Having Allen arrange the pieces also enables him to work the music based on the group's strengths.

Best Brass of Christmas, an 11-member brass ensemble, will play at Sacred Heart Catholic Church on Sunday.
Best Brass of Christmas, an 11-member brass ensemble, will play at Sacred Heart Catholic Church on Sunday. (Courtesy of Tim Farrell)

The ensemble will perform seasonal favorites, such as "O Come All Ye Faithful," "I Wonder As I Wander" and "Adeste Fideles," as well as "O Magnum Mysterium."

Hesse said the concert has filled the chapel each year. The program always ends with a performance of "Pacem" and the audience sings along.

"We end quietly and kind of pensively to start the holiday season," Hesse said.

Hannah Grover covers news, arts and religion for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 and hgrover@daily-times.com. Follow her @hmgrover on Twitter.