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Published: Friday, 4/8/2005

Quintet on road to recognition


How do you get to Carnegie Hall?

"Practice, practice, practice," goes the old joke, but "play, play, play," may be closer to the truth. And that means playing at every opportunity.

Consider the case of the Synergy Quintet, a Boston-based brass ensemble whose touring schedule might be mistaken for a Greyhound bus timetable. Cities and towns change with the day. What with school concerts by day and formal programs by night, the venues change far more quickly still.

The Synergy Quintet performs at the Toledo School for the Arts during the school day on Monday, then gives a 7:30 concert that night at the Collingwood Arts Center.

There will be little rest on Tuesday when the musicians drive to Sturgeon Bay, Wis., before heading off to Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, and points further west.

Despite all those concerts, most people probably have never heard of the Synergy Quintet. They, like so many other nose-to-the-grindstone ensembles, have yet to make much of a dent in the broader public consciousness.

Such is the harsh reality of the music business, where promoters and presenters highlight the work of a tiny minority while the rest plod along in relative obscurity. It's a self-perpetuating system. Name-brand artists sell tickets, unknowns have a difficult time being noticed at all. Groups like the Synergy Quintet wear out countless sets of tires along anonymous highways before finally (hopefully) blooming into the public consciousness.

Founded in 1996, the Synergy Quintet has served as the brass quintet in residence at Boston University's Tanglewood Institute.

Monday's program will cover four centuries of music, from the Renaissance to jazz.

The Synergy Quintet performs at 7:30 p.m. Monday at the Collingwood Arts Center, 2413 Collingwood Boulevard. Tickets are $10. Information:419-244-2787.

Contact Steven Cornelius at: scornelius@theblade.com

or 419-724-6152.

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