By Brittany Llorente
BREVARD - With a passion for music that spans more than half his lifetime, trombonist William Connell hopes to strike a chord this month with a Brevard County audience.
An opportunity he has dreamed of for years, Mr. Connell, a Titusville resident, will bring to life Henri Tomasi's Concerto for Trombone and Orchestra Saturday, July 21 at Melbourne's Scott Center for Performing Arts - one of several pieces performed that evening by the Space Coast Symphony Orchestra.
Mr. Connell, who has been playing since the seventh grade, has devoted many hours to preparing and building endurance specifically for this performance.
"This Concerto is one of the most difficult pieces that the repertoire has," Mr. Connell said. "I used to say, 'One day I'm going to play this with a real orchestra.' This opportunity has been really great for me."
Mr. Connell first developed his passion for the trombone as a student at Titusville High School, under the direction of Ian Schwindt.
While still in high school, he began performing with the Brevard Symphony Youth Orchestra, a role that earned him the principal trombone position of the Florida All-State 11-12 Band, as well as an opportunity to perform with the Brevard County Honors Band and Orchestra.
After graduation, Mr. Connell went on to study at the New England Conservatory in Boston and earned a bachelor's degree in trombone performance from the University of Central Florida in Orlando this spring.
Throughout his musical background, Mr. Connell has seen his fair share of performances, but said Henri Tomasi's piece had always intimidated him from a young age.
"When I was younger, I thought it was too difficult," he said. "I started really working on the piece more than a year ago. I had to get my endurance up because the range of the piece stays in the high register. It's very taxing on the lungs and lips."
The difficulty of the piece also lies in the performance itself, including what Mr. Connell described as the strong melody and the subtle nuances.
"I really had to work to bring the emotions out in the piece," he said.
For a full 15 minutes, the piece is his to play, and while 15 minutes may not seem like long to some, the pressure and constant use of the lungs and the preciseness of the notes, can make it seem like a lifetime for the performer.
In addition to Henri Tomasi's Concerto, the Symphony Orchestra will first perform the musically explosive, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Overture of the Marriage of Figaro, and then close with the romantic and passionate sounds of Sergei Rachmaninoff's Symphony No. 2.
Mr. Connell said he is both anxious and exciting to work alongside such talented musicians in the upcoming performance.
"You're afraid of messing up, but you practice to take that away," he said. "I love to perform in front of people, but I guarantee I will be nervous. I'm usually the guy who sits in the back and lets the violins get the fame. I just want to make the symphony proud."
The Scott Center for the Performing Arts is at Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy, 5625 Holy Trinity Drive, Melbourne.
Admission is $20, and students 18 and younger are free.
For more information, visit www.spacecoastsymphony.org.