If you attended the recent Tres de Mayo party at DMC's office, you hopefully walked out with tunes like “Basin Street Blues” or “Muskrat Ramble” stuck in your head. As one of the founding members of the DMC brassband, I’m proud to announce that our first “gig” was a hit! We played a set of six songs during the peak of the party and filled the southern half of the office with swingin’ traditional Dixieland and brassband music.
Credit for founding the DMC band goes to our tuba player, Ashley Enderlin. Shortly after I started at DMC, she found out that I play the trombone and was excited about the prospect of starting a band. We had bounced the idea around a few times, but hadn’t taken any steps to actually do it. Leading up to DMC’s Oktoberfest party last year, Ashley and our Technical Director, Ken Brey, had planned on playing some polka duets together on tuba. Unfortunately, Ken had to be onsite with a client at the last minute, so I agreed to play the part on trombone. We only played three short songs, but the reaction was very positive. Frank encouraged us to play at any and all DMC functions in the future and gave us his blessing to use DMC’s space on the first floor of our building as a rehearsal space. Well, since we had a potentially limitless supply of gigs lined up in the future, we figured we had to make a real band.
Polka music was fun for the Oktoberfest theme, but there are only so many times you can hear “Beer Barrel Polka” in your life. Ashley practically eats and breathes funky music from New Orleans brassbands like “Rebirth Brassband,” “Dirty Dozen Brassband,” and “Youngblood Brassband,” so we decided that we wanted our band to strive for a sound similar to these great bands. Now it was time to find some great musicians.
Ashley asked around the office, and discovered that Deborah’s husband, Sean Brennan, plays the drums, and that he and his high school friend, Tom Oleszczuk, were interested in playing the snare and bass drums with our band. Great, we had rhythm and bass, but we needed to fill out the horns section. Taking a page out of Frank’s book, we turned to Craigslist. We eventually found saxophone extraordinaire Cyrille Laurens and we have been lucky that he is such a great fit for our group. After more ads on Craigslist, we found two trumpets – Kimberly Mershon and Chris Piskule – and we finally had a full band! Now, all we need is a name… Please make suggestions in the comments!
If you missed our performance at the Tres de Mayo party, you can see a video of one of our songs here:
At our weekly rehearsals we practice old time arrangements of traditional Dixieland music and Ashley has arranged a couple of songs based on her favorite recordings. Busy work and travel schedules sometimes make it tough for the whole band to assemble, but we try our best to groove together. The band is still looking to grow, so if you play an instrument typically found in a Dixieland or brassband, and you’re interested in sitting in with us at our office sometime, just let us know! We’re particularly looking for banjo/guitar, clarinet, or another trumpet/trombone.
Finally, as a shameless self-promotion, if you liked what you heard at Tres de Mayo and you’re interested in having a brassband rock out at your next event, drop me or Ashley a line. We’re cheap, as Frank can attest.