Brass band brings funky sounds to lake area
by Staff Writer
by Melissa Gute
DENVER – The eclectic tunes of the Half Dozen Brass Band will have the feet of Lake Norman residents tapping when it visits the area Feb. 10.
The Athens, Ga.-based band will showcase its New Orleans-style musical skills as part of the Alexander Community Concert Series presented by the Episcopal Church of St. Peter by-the-Lake in Denver. The concert will start at 2 p.m. at the church, located at 8433 Fairfield Forest Road.
“When you hear them play, you practically want to get up and dance,” said Ben Benoit, co-chairman of the concert series team. “Everybody’s tapping their foot, keeping beat. They are just full of energy, and it’s really fun music.”
The group was formed by North Carolina native and tuba player Josh Cutchin in May 2008 and was named for its founding six members. It has since grown to seven with the addition of experienced trumpet player Chuck Arnold.
For the Feb. 10 show, trombonist Bernon Weygandt, drummer Dwayne Holloway and bass saxophonist Will Serrand will perform as guest musicians.
The band quickly gained local acclaim in Athens for its unique blend of jazz, hip-hop, funk and Dixieland melodies and was named Best Jazz Band at the 2009 Flagpole Athens Music Awards, according to the band’s website. The group released its first album, “Easy Street,” in September 2010 and will soon release its second album, “Cold Six.”
Along with entertaining audiences in venues in Athens, the band has been a featured act at festivals in Wisconsin, Florida, North Carolina and Georgia.
Cutchin said he hopes people who experience the Half Dozen Brass Band fall in love with a music genre they may not have been familiar with.
“Like it was something that was in them the whole time, and they just didn’t know that they had a love for this particular type of music,” he said. “When I first discovered this music, that’s definitely how I felt.”
The Alexander Community Concert Series is an outreach ministry of the Episcopal Church of St. Peter By-the-Lake and was established in 2010 as a memorial to the late church member Richard Alexander and a tribute to his wife Clara, Benoit explained. The couple has been long-time members of the church and supporters of the arts.
“Our mission is to provide diverse musical experiences that engage, entertain and inspire,” he said of the concert series team.
In its two and a half seasons, the concert series has provided diverse performances including the traditional Celtic music of Earl’s Chair, the classical flute melodies of Jessica Sherer and the Jewish jazz tunes of Viva Klezmer.
The Charlotte Bronze Handbell Choir will close out the Alexander Community Concert Series’ third season with a performance April 21.