Five men clad in all black and gripping their instruments, took the stage of the G. M. Savage Memorial Chapel Tuesday night under the name “St. Louis Brass,” sounding the first notes on the last stop of their tour.
Far from a stuffy classical concert, St. Louis Brass performed a lively repertoire interspersed with history lessons, show and tell and a few well-placed puns. With each performer demonstrating a technical mastery, the group exuded comfort and chemistry, playing each note perfectly in sync and balanced.
Band members brought historical brass instruments to show the evolution of the way music was made and demonstrated each one by playing familiar tunes. Even illustrating the most primitive of brass instruments, each band member took out a large conch shell and proceeded to play “Happy Birthday.”
Different band members brought other outrageous instruments, including a garden hose that could be played like a trumpet and a trombone that had not been folded, standing nearly twice as tall as the man who played it.
Adding more variety to the performance, the group also performed “Animal Ditties No. 8” written by Anthony Plog to be accompanied by narrators reading Ogden Nash poetry about different animals. Children in the audience giggled as the musicians played along to rhymes about the rhinoceros, the duck and the wasp.
W. C. Handy’s “St. Louis Blues” was a big hit as the swing tune bounced around the salmon walls of the chapel. For a fun-loving group based out of St. Louis, the piece seemed to hit close to home, both literally and figuratively.
“We have always felt it should be our theme song,” said Allan Dean, band member.
Audience members tapped their toes along with the bluesy mood, smiling and nodding as band members took turns singing along with the music.
“My soul was running on empty,” said Abbey Peecher, sophomore music major, “But then I heard the ‘St. Louis Blues.'”
St. Louis Brass kept the audience engaged from the moment they stepped on stage until they took their final bow.
The show wrapped up with a hearty round of applause followed by a single encore because, “We are not young men,” Dean said.