The new Thurmont band Morris Blake has been working on for a few short months, made its public debut on December 21, 2017.
A sneak preview of the band was held at the Thurmont Senior Center, and the band presented a Christmas Concert to a full house. The band started with the first member, Devon Shorb, a trumpeter, and shortly after that, five new brass members followed. At the beginning of the performance, Mayor John Kinnaird presented the band and delivered its official name, Gateway Brass Ensemble. The performance was filled with traditional Christmas music, such as “Hark, The Herald Angels Sing,” “Silent Night,” “Joy to the World,” and many others, leading up to the grand finale of “White Christmas.”
During a small intermission, Director Blake introduced each member and presented each of them with a Christmas gift. Each member received a sweatshirt, replicating the former Thurmont Train Station that the Thurmont Historical Society is selling as a fundraiser.
The Gateway Brass Band is under the direction of Morris Blake, and members include trumpeters, Rachel Murdorf, Devin Shorb, and David Fisher. On trombone is Alex Contraras, with Ed Price on Baritone and Gene Blum on the tuba.
Gateway Brass Ensemble will appear at various Thurmont events, and will be working on a July 4 concert at Memorial Park.
A contest was held for individuals to submit a name for the band, and the names received were put out to a vote, with Gateway Brass Ensemble receiving the most votes. The name was submitted by Susan Free, who will receive two tickets to the Maryland Symphony Orchestra and a dinner for two at a Thurmont Restaurant. The Thurmont Commissioners had the final approval for the name and it was approved on December 20, two nights before a delightful Christmas performance. Gateway Brass Ensemble will continue to grow. If you are interested in joining, contact Morris Blake at 301-271-4831.