Dallas Brass
The Dallas Brass is gearing up to create a nonprofit foundation that will help schools' music programs.

Trumpeter D.J. Barraclough thanks the movie "Star Wars" for inspiring him to play music.

"I was 9 and my family took me to the movie," said Barraclough during a telephone interview from his home in St. George. "When the blast of trumpets came out of the speakers during the opening line of the theme and I heard that melody, it was so gripping that I couldn't believe it.

"After the movie, I went home and figured out the melody on the piano and this little plastic recorder. The movie was cool, but the music was what made the impact."

Barraclough's father played the trumpet and he always had some music playing in the background, as well.

"He would listen to Maurice Andre and I think the music got into the back of my head, waiting for 'Star Wars' to open it up," said Barraclough. "So I made it my goal to become a musician."

Throughout school he studied to be a musician — focusing on brass instruments such as the trumpet and trombone. He attended Dixie State College and was the principal trumpet in the Utah Intercollegiate Band. And first-prize Intercollegiate Solo Competition honors landed him a performance with the Arapahoe Philharmonic in Denver.

While Barraclough is known throughout Utah for his performances with Lex de Azevedo and with the Lawrence Welk Orchestra, he rarely gets to play with the Dallas Brass in the state.

"It's exciting to me to be a part of this band and to be able to play here in Utah," he said. "Joining the Dallas Brass was an interesting event in my life."

After years of practicing and playing in various bands, Barraclough had given up the hope of playing full time.

"I enjoy practicing," he said. "But I was practicing three hours a day without being in an ensemble. My wife and I were raising a family — I had four young children at the time — and I figured that there were more

productive things to do with my time. So I worked at Summerhays Music repairing instruments."

In February 2005, the Dallas Brass played in St. George.

"I went to the show and it grabbed me just like when I saw 'Star Wars,"' he said. "It was amazing.

"The next day I went to a music convention where Summerhays had a booth. It just so happened that the booth was right next to the Dallas Brass booth, although I didn't really pay too much attention.

"Anyway, I was at the Summerhays booth and decided to pick up the instruments and play to my heart's content, like one last hurrah. I did, and (Dallas Brass founder) Michael Levine walked over."

The first words out of Levine's mouth were, "What else can you do?"

"I didn't realize, but the next pieces I played at that booth actually comprised an impromptu audition for the Dallas Brass."

Coming up on his third year with the band, Barraclough has already been a part of some significant events.

"We played in Moscow, Russia, at the U.S. Embassy as part of an event celebrating the 200 years of diplomacy between Russia and the United States," said Barraclough. "But the real enjoyment for me comes with playing in Smalltown, USA, at schools. When we play for kids and we see their faces light up, there is no other place we'd rather be."

These days, Barraclough is still raising his family — they welcomed their sixth child into the fold last month — and still touring with the band.

"It is hard being away from my family," he said. "I'm not there to see my kids throw their first glob of oatmeal over their shoulder, but my wife is a great videographer and sends me videos when I'm on the road."

As for the future of the Dallas Brass, which addresses music education on a regular basis, the group is gearing up to create a nonprofit foundation that will help the music programs in schools.

"We want to prevent the cutting of those programs," he said. "Music is usually the first thing on the chopping block when funding is low. But music is a way to bring people together, and we're working on plans to keep the programs alive."


If you go . . .

What: The Dallas Brass

Where: Kingsbury Hall, University of Utah

When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

How much: $19.50-$25.50

Phone: 581-7100

Web: www.kingsburyhall.org

Also: Monday and Tuesday, 7:30 p.m., Cox Performing Arts Center, Dixie College, St. George, $10 (435-652-7994 or www.dixie.edu/concerts)


E-mail: [email protected]