Copper Street Brass Quintet to educate and entertain

Heightened musicality with an emphasis on education and community service – sounds like St. Olaf, right? But on Sept. 25, the Copper Street Brass Quintet CSBQ will embody these same ideals during their performance, set to take place in the Lion’s Pause at 8:15 p.m. At every performance, the group plays a variety of music types, ranging from the classical works of Mozart to more modern compositions by Adele and other bands from this decade.

While the group’s specialty is classical brass music, they do an exceptional job of integrating variations of modern hits into their repertoire. And they’re quite popular too – the group showcased their talents in over forty concerts and dozens of recitals in their 2012-2013 season alone.

The CSBQ was founded in Albuquerque, N.M., in 2007 and moved to Minneapolis, Minn. the following year. Once there, the group began to experiment, mixing old and new music. These experiments consisted of playing pieces by classical composers with modern electrical instruments and taking current-day songs to the next level by adding in classical brass instruments.

Photo courtesy of Cheesebrow Photography

Over the past five years, the members of the CSBQ have made a name for themselves here in Minnesota. They have recorded three albums in which they perform creative variations of everything from the ballet scores of Tchaikovsky to Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing.” There is a definite focus on innovative variations of 1980s hits by Queen, The Police, Toto, Michael Jackson and Guns N’ Roses, but recent shows even include classical music ranging from the 1780s to the 1880s, such as arias from operas like “The Magic Flute” by Mozart and “Carmen” by Bizet.

The members also take it upon themselves to sponsor educational events for children and adults alike wherever they may be performing. They believe that everyone with a love for music should be given the opportunity to learn more about the art. The group founded the Teaching Artistic Curiosity in Sound program TACS, which provides music students in the Twin Cities area the chance to develop their skills through private lessons and master classes. In these programs, they encourage students to compose and look for new ways to view music. The educators also teach their students how to incorporate old and new music into their compositions.

This week’s concert is just the beginning of the CSBQ’s time on campus. Later this fall, the group will hold sessions for students called Remote Arts Entrepreneurship Labs REAL. REAL was developed by two of the CSBQ’s musicians who are also St. Olaf graduates: Allison Hall ’04 and Tim Bradley ’04. “Our goal is to share our unique slice of what a career in the arts looks like so that future artists can benefit from our knowledge,” Hall said. The sessions will be held on Sept. 23, Oct. 7 and 21, Nov. 4 and Dec. 2 and are open to all students on campus, regardless of major.

There is a fear that young people of this decade subscribe to the philosophy that the arts are trivial and will not land them a lucrative job later in life. The fact that schools all across the country are cancelling music and art classes is only reinforcing this belief. But the mission of the CSBQ is to do away with the notion that the arts are unimportant, and with their innovative approach to music and educational programs for people of all ages, there is indeed a possibility for success.