Brass Arts Quintet concert on Feb. 24 to benefit organization assisting New Orleans musicians

Want to celebrate Mardi Gras in Cookeville by helping out traditional jazz musicians in New Orleans whose livelihoods were impacted by Hurricane Katrina?

The Tennessee Tech University Brass Arts Quintet will be in concert at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 24, in the Wattenbarger Auditorium of the Bryan Fine Arts Building.

The concert is free and open to the public, but an opportunity will be provided at the show to donate to Sweet Home New Orleans, a non-profit agency that provides housing, financial, performance and other assistance to New Orleans musicians.

“The idea for a Mardi Gras benefit concert for New Orleans musicians came about almost by accident,” said Joshua Hauser, trombone professor at TTU and a member of the BAQ.

“Last year, the Brass Arts Quintet scheduled a performance on Mardi Gras — and included no jazz on its program,” he said. “A couple of days before the performance, we realized the opportunity we’d missed, so this year, we purposely scheduled our concert on Mardi Gras.”

This year’s program will also include some traditional brass band and New Orleans-style jazz numbers. The show will feature works by Scott Joplin, as well as Civil War brass band music and traditional New Orleans tunes like “Just a Closer Walk With Thee,” “When the Saints Go Marching In,” and “Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans?”

According to Sweet Home New Orleans’ report, music bookings in the city are down by nearly half since Hurricane Katrina and average wages for musicians are down by 18 percent, while the cost of living has risen more than 10 percent.

In addition to Hauser, TTU’s Brass Arts Quintet includes Greg Danner, horn; Winston Morris, tuba; and Charles Decker and Chris McCormick, trumpets. McCormick also serves as director of jazz studies at TTU.

Several special guests will join them for portions of the show. Those guests include alto and soprano saxophone professor Phil Barham and students Matt Tidwell, drums; Roy Adams and Kyle Chaulk, trumpets; and Weston Demonbreun and Joey Blackwell, trombones.

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