As a longtime member of the Canadian Brass, and an active freelancer and teacher, Chris Coletti is one of the best-known trumpeters out there.
One of his trademarks as a performer is, funny enough, not playing the trumpet.
It's as a singer.
Singing like a girl.
When Chris first began touring with The Brass in 2009, he found himself in a bit of a dilemma.
The other members of the group were telling him, "Chris, you just need to let go and push the boundaries of what you can do as a trumpet player. Show us who the real Chris Coletti is."
Chris was 25 years old at the time and was a bit frustrated. There he was, night after night giving 100% effort, but it still wasn't enough for his new colleagues.
So one night on tour, while performing The Dreidel Song, Chris dug deep into his soul, and his bag of performing tricks.
The piece ended with a cadenza featuring Chris on the piccolo trumpet. But this night, it didn't end with Chris playing a high note on the picc.
Instead, he sang the note, in a perfect, operatic soprano voice!
The crowd went crazy.
They had never seen anything like it. I mean, Canadian Brass is known for being kind of off the cuff with their performing style, but this took it to a completely different level.
These days, you go to a Canadian Brass concert and it's almost expected that at some point there's going to be a piece that features Chris' unique vocal stylings.
But in 2009, this was pretty ground breaking stuff.
Adversity forces us to change our way of thinking, to try things we ordinarily wouldn't think of trying. I doubt that Chris was in danger of losing his job, but his colleagues were really challenging him in a way he hadn't been challenged before.
He was forced out of his comfort zone, and thankfully Chris was up to the task.
Necessity is the mother of invention, right?
In this week's episode of the Trumpet Dynamics podcast, Chris tells this story himself. We also do a deep dive into the aspects of being a performer in the modern era, including but certainly not limited to:
- How to balance humor and "being entertaining" and taking a "masterpiece" approach to performing.
- How classical music has changed to being more "audience friendly" over the course of time.
- Why it's important to form a group around the right people, rather than a set instrumentation.
- How it feels to arrange a piece written by J.S. Bach and see your name next to his name, as well as the Canadian Brass.
- Why other groups similar to yours are not your competition - and what really is.
- What kind of following would the Canadian Brass have if Facebook existed in 1980?
Give it a listen, fellow gig-getters!