Crews prepare for Brass Band Festival

DANVILLE — Crews have begun setting up for the Great American Brass Band Festival next month in Danville, and the Advocate-Messenger reports that officials are using modern technology to bring out the best sound from the old-fashioned instruments.

The annual festival features old-time brass band concerts to capture the nostalgia of early-1900s America. It is held in downtown Danville and on the campus of Centre College.

Blake Harris with Louisville event-production company Axxis Inc. said the technical side of the festival has grown with the size of the audience during the past 20 years.

"It has grown immensely since the first year, when we only had speakers supported by scaffolding at the front by the stage," Harris said. "After that year, we started suspending equipment further out on the lawn in order to reach back to Old Centre."

The job remains the same: to capture the natural acoustics of the instruments.

Mark de Araujo, technical director for the Norton Center for the Arts, has a team that works with the musicians to make sure they are in proper position for optimum sound.

They are busiest before and in between performances.

"We usually have about 10 minutes to get things set up in between," de Araujo said. "The first day has traditionally been busier for us because we are communicating constantly with the musicians before their first performance, making sure that our seating diagrams are correct and that we have mikes positioned for soloists."

The event runs June 11 to 14 and includes free concerts, a hot-air balloon race, a parade and arts and crafts.