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  • Writer's pictureChurch Muse

Finding Balance - All Star Brass - “Nice and Calm” and “Sway”

Updated: Apr 20, 2020

Even in the best of times, I struggle to achieve a balance in my life…balance between work and play, calories and activity, wake and sleep. In fact, I have failed miserably in all the above. I don’t seem to know when to stop working, I love food too much, and I don’t get enough sleep. Of course, this has gotten worse since mid-March. For me to post about this subject in any authoritative manner is somewhat hypocritical. Maybe I just need to hear it for myself, and I’m dragging you readers along….

I know that some of us can’t go to work, and are frustrated or bored without it. I am fortunate that my work with churches and my online course have not stopped. But they’re not like they were before! For instance, I have realized that in order to combat my being nervous for the livestreams, I have to practice twice as much. I never thought I’d say this, but I miss y’all talking during my preludes and postludes! (Don’t quote me on that! 😉) It’s unnerving to play for an empty sanctuary, yet knowing that my music is “out there” and people may actually be listening. As always, I try to choose music that is appropriate for the season, but I also make an effort for it to be familiar, inspiring, or comforting.

I first heard “Nice and Calm” on a shuttle bus from Calgary to the Banff Center in Alberta. Not on the radio - on my iPod. Just the day before, Marty had Dropboxed me the finished tracks to the newest All Star Brass CD, but there were no titles - just track numbers. I started at the top of the list as soon as I found my seat and we started the journey to Banff. The ASB was the brass faculty at Banff for several summers, and occasionally I got to fly up to see Marty for a week of relaxation and copious picture taking. Just near sunset, the bus was travelling through beautiful rolling fields of yellow and lavender in Alberta. That’s about when I got to Track 12. Though everything on the CD is fantastic - these guys are some of the best brass players in the world - there was something special about Track 12. I now know it as “Nice and Calm.”

I know we’re getting a lot of recommendations for how to handle our health during this difficult time, and meditation, or “meditative thought” has been a common suggestion for our emotional well-being. I prefer silence for meditation, because being a musician, listening to music is very active for me - I instinctively analyze it. That said, each time I hear this piece, I close my eyes and picture those glorious fields of Alberta. I hope you will be touched by it as much as I was and it helps you feel nice and calm!

Why “Sway,” you ask? We need to find balance for our minds and hearts, but what about our bodies? Meditation is good, but we need to move! The ASB recorded “Sway” the following summer, and it features a very special horn player. 😊❤️

Especially as we’re busy eating our way toward the “Covid 19,” …pounds, that is… we need to create some balance with movement other than fork lifting. What is the most fun way to exercise? DANCING! My sister, Kristi, will tell you that - she’s a Jazzercise instructor. And she’s right. Combining music with body movement creates all sorts of positive mood-altering chemistry for our well-being.

So find your partner and dance to “Sway.” Or just dance by yourself! I just did, and I feel better already.

These two tracks alone show the jaw-dropping talent and versatility of these 5 guys. If you like what you hear - go find more!

“Nice and Calm”


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