New band; last PSK of 2019

This past Sunday was the last Pedestrian Sunday in Kensington Market (PSK) for the 2019 season.

Part of the day’s festivities featured the debut of a new band that has emerged from the murky drama of the Toronto brass community.  We don’t know what to officially call ourselves but we’re going by Hiatus Brass for now.  And that’s because the members come from Street Brass, which has been put on hold by leader Chris Butcher.

Hiatus is going to be an “invitation only” community band and I’ve been invited to be Musical Director.  I like that there’s a group of core members that do all the non-musical organizing so I can focus on leading and arranging.

On Sunday we played old Street Brass chestnuts like “I’m Walkin'”, “Saints” and “Liza Jane”.  I think the overall feeling now is to dig into some new repertoire not only to freshen things up but also to foster an independent identity.  One of our musicians said he’s more or less hoping that he doesn’t have to play these songs ever again!  For most of the musicians, the Street Brass repertoire, while absolutely vital to the street band tradition, has gotten to be a bit ‘old hat’ and needs to be put on the back burner for a bit.  We can always refresh if a gig comes up or when it’s time to support the springtime Street Brass initiative, which includes preparing for the Dundas Street Festival in June.

Next rehearsal we’ll start taking a look at “Blue Bossa” and “King of the Road” among others.  This week I’m working on a new arrangement of the former, featuring some funky tuba lines, four-part harmony and a catchy interlude.  Having an in-house arranger will definitely contribute to a unique sound.

Hopefully, we can manage to get some gigs before the PSK season starts up again next May.  As of now though, our next public appearance is scheduled for that time, the last Sunday afternoon in May 2020.

Here’s a still from Steve Lederman’s video set-up. Steve (sousaphone) and Alison (trumpet) are into the Halloween spirit!  And dig Judith’s cool green boots!