VPR Classical welcomes guest host Eric Brooks
Montpelier native Eric Brooks will be filling in as guest host of the VPR Choral Hour while VPR Classical host Linda Radtke takes some time away from the program.
Eric is a versatile musician who is very acquainted with the classical music scene here in the state—having performed with many vocal and instrumental groups around the region.
Eric Brooks spoke with VPR's Karen Anderson about his love for music, and how he plans to share it with VPR Classical listeners. Their conversation below has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Karen Anderson: Would you tell our listeners a little bit about yourself? What is your musical background and what are your primary instruments?
Eric Brooks: I, like many Vermonters, began playing instrumental music in middle school with the trumpet and clarinet and moved into choral music and music festivals by the time high school came around. I'm primarily a vocalist. I sing as a bass, and I also play woodwind instruments. I play the bass clarinet in the Vermont symphonic winds ensemble.
Do you happen to have a favorite instrument?
I am particularly enamored of the bass clarinet. It has always been a favorite of mine, and it's been a lifelong delight to play that instrument in various ensembles.
Eric, what ensembles have you performed with and who has been an inspiration to you?
Most notably, I was the one of the founding members of a group called Counterpoint, which is a professional a cappella ensemble here in Vermont that was founded by Vermont Symphony Orchestra conductor emeritus Robert De Cormier, who has also been the biggest influence on my musical life. I'm very grateful to have been able to work closely with Robert De Cormier over the last several decades, and he's absolutely shaped me into the choral and overall musician that I am today. He's greatly missed. He left us in 2017. But the impressions that he left on the scene in Vermont and on the world are forever.
Eric, what are you most excited to bring to our listeners?
I'm really excited to bring choral works that I feel maybe haven't been heard by a lot of listeners. I'm particularly excited to present the work, Secheresses, by Francis Poulenc. Secheresses in French means drought. It's a four movement, choral and orchestral work that I am guessing is not familiar to a lot of listeners, but it is definitely a favorite of mine. And I can't wait to share it with the audience.
And listeners will be able to hear that piece in June. Is that right?
Yes, that will be coming up on on a show in June. It's approximately a 23 minute work. It's really delightful and is really emblematic of Poulenc's style. And again, I don't think it's familiar to a lot of listeners. So I'm really excited to debut that
You can hear The VPR Choral Hour Sunday mornings at 11 a.m., with a rebroadcast Tuesday evenings at 8 p.m. on VPR Classical.