Arts » Classical Music & Opera

Fall coming, Redwood City's free concerts going


Singing brass instruments and singers performing opera make up the two concluding concerts of Redwood City's varied and generous free Music on the Square program, a kind of Stern Grove South.

This weekend, Travis Brass takes the downtown stage Saturday and Bay Shore Lyric Opera performs Sunday to close out the series. The concerts began in June and included performances by local pop groups as well as classical offerings by the Redwood Symphony, Opera San José and West Bay Community Band.

Travis Brass is part of the Air Force Band of the Golden West from Travis Air Force Base. Featuring 47 musicians, it is the only active-duty Air Force band west of the Rockies.

In addition to playing for civilian communities throughout the West, the band supports 13 Air Force bases, eight Air Force Reserve wings and six recruiting squadrons in more than 250 annual performances for 1.5 million listeners.

Travis Brass, an ensemble with a brass quintet plus a percussionist, performs many musical styles. Members are featured as soloists on multiple instruments: trumpets, French horn, euphonium, trombone and tuba.

Tech. Sgt. Christi McGowan, the percussionist in charge of the Travis Brass, calls it “a very eclectic group with a wide variety of repertoire.”

On any given week, the Brass will play marches, band or orchestra transcriptions, ragtime, jazz, funk and contemporary works written for brass quintet.

“We try to put a spin on all of these styles to make it enjoyable and relatable to audiences of all ages,” she said. Pieces ranging from “Contrapunctus IX” by J.S. Bach, “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen and “Dead Man Blues” by Jelly Roll Morton exemplify the group’s diversity.

In addition to Saturday’s concert, Travis Brass’ busy September schedule has included appearances in San Francisco and San Jose. It will also play a free concert at the Los Altos United Methodist Church at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

On Sunday, the Bay Shore Lyric Opera presents a program of arias and duets from “Carmen,” “Rigoletto,” “La Traviata,” “The Marriage of Figaro,” “Lakme,” “La Boheme” and “Madama Butterfly.”

Featured singers are soprano Jennifer Der Torossian, mezzos Marsha Sims and Liliane Cromer, and baritone Christopher Wells. Karina Ambartsumova is the accompanist.

The Saratoga-based group, founded by the late Claire E. Der Torossian with a mission to bring opera to all ages and communities with a commitment to quality at affordable prices, has produced more than 40 operas in Bay Area locations.


Redwood City Music on the Square Classical Series

Where: Courthouse Square, 2200 Broadway, Redwood City

Tickets: Free

Contact: (650) 780-7311,

Closing concerts

Travis Brass: 6 p.m. Saturday

Bay Shore Lyric Opera: 5 p.m. Sunday