Cobb brothers put together who’s who concert series
by Lindsay Field
June 08, 2012 12:40 AM | 7847 views | 2 2 comments | 24 24 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Brothers Chris, left, and Michael Martin, who both graduated from Sprayberry High School in east Cobb, have helped organize and will perform in the National Brass Symposium at Kennesaw State University.<br>Staff/Jon-Michael Sullivan
Brothers Chris, left, and Michael Martin, who both graduated from Sprayberry High School in east Cobb, have helped organize and will perform in the National Brass Symposium at Kennesaw State University.
Staff/Jon-Michael Sullivan
A pair of trumpet-playing brothers who graduated from Sprayberry High School have invited 20 of the nation’s best brass musicians to perform with them during a weekend concert series in Kennesaw.

Chris Martin and his younger brother, Michael, recruited musicians from the Boston Pops Orchestra, where Michael Martin plays, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, where Chris Martin plays, as well as the New York Philharmonic, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Atlanta Symphony, the San Francisco Symphony and the Los Angeles Philharmonic to perform in the second annual National Brass Symposium at Kennesaw State University this weekend.

“It’s kind of like an all-star game because all these guys are great,” Chris Martin said. “We want the weekend to be an intense experience, a concentrated experience, but at the highest level.”

The seven shows will begin at 7 p.m. tonight at the Bailey Center on the KSU campus and run through 4 p.m. on Sunday. A list of the show times and ticket prices, which range between $10 and $15, are listed on the event’s website,

“We wanted to give kids just like us exposure to this because it’s one thing to hear a record or see a YouTube video of the Boston Pops … but it’s totally different to be in the same room and hear and feel it — because with brass, you feel it,” Chris Martin said.

The symposium is the brainchild of Michael Martin, who is also organizing it.

“We always talk about how much we love our jobs and where we live, but every time we come home we wish our orchestras could just move here so we could have the best of all possible worlds,” he said. “Being around by our family and friends and mentors that we grew up with and perform with them is very special.”

Chris Martin, 36, said he first picked up a trumpet when he was 9 but figured out that playing was what he wanted to do for the rest of his life when he was 15.

“We went to see an Atlanta Symphony concert … it was an amazing dramatic piece called Symphony No. 2 of Mahler, and that changed my life,” he said.

He has performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for the past seven years and played with the Atlanta Symphony for five years before that.

Michael Martin, 26, said that “it” moment for him was when he first heard a CD recording of the Boston Pops — where is has been playing trumpet since 2010 — under the direction of John Williams.

“I think it’s what made me know that I wanted to perform for a living,” he said. “That’s what inspires me and gets me going. Ironically, I just happened to end up in that orchestra.”

He and his brother were both very active in the middle and high school bands in Cobb before graduating from Sprayberry — Chris Martin in 1993 and Michael Martin in 2003 — and following their musical dreams on to college.

Chris Martin studied music in the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester in New York. Michael Martin attended Northwestern University outside of Chicago and also studied music.

The brothers’ talent and love for music did not come as a surprise to friends and family.

Their father, Freddy Martin, who lives in east Cobb with their mother, Lynda, has been teaching music for 43 years, most recently at The Westminster Schools in Atlanta. Lynda Martin sings with the Atlanta Symphony

On top of that, Chris and Michael Martin’s uncle, Dan Martin, was the band director at Sprayberry for 29 years.

“We treated them so that they could have varied interest and make up their own minds about what they wanted and what they wanted to do,” Freddy Martin said. “There was a long period of time where the principal trumpet player (Chris Martin) in Chicago wanted to be an astronaut.”

Freddy Martin said he is very proud of his two sons.

“It’s the only brothers in major symphony work that play the same instrument,’ he said. “They are the Manning brothers of the trumpet. It’s a feeling that’s indescribable, to watch them perform, especially to watch them to perform together and more especially since they are at home.”

The father said he hopes the metro Atlanta music community will show up in droves to support his sons and the other performers who will be at the Bailey Center.

“It’s an opportunity for a kid to see that this is who I am or for an adult to just go and be excited, thrilled or enthralled with amazing music at a level that it’s impossible to describe it,” he said. “They get to hear pieces played by some of the finest brass players in the country.”
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Stan and Carolin
June 08, 2012
Bravos to the Martins for two generations of dedication to band,

orchestral and choral music. Excellence is their nature.
June 08, 2012
The Martin brothers are the epitome of what Cobb County produces in the way of musical talent.
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