A new frontier for the Copper Street Brass Quintet

by Luke Taylor, Minnesota Public Radio
August 29, 2014

St. Paul, Minn. — The Copper Street Brass Quintet have performed at the MPR booth at the State Fair before, but Friday's performance will be something quite different.

"Getting the chance to perform on this stage and live on MPR is something we've never done as an ensemble," says Alex Wolff, CSBQ's trombonist. "We've never been live on the radio."

You read that correctly; Friday, Aug. 29, is MPR Day at the Minnesota State Fair, and at 2 p.m., the Copper Street Brass Quintet will be John Birge's guests for a concert in Carousel Park that will simultaneously be broadcast live on Classical MPR's statewide network.

The Copper Street Brass Quintet are Wolff along with Allison Hall and Corbin Dillon, trumpets; Tim Bradley, horn; and Nick Adragna , tuba. They've just completed their fourth full-length album, The Evolution of the Brass Quintet, Vol. 2. The CD features original brass-ensemble arrangements of music the quintet members love to play, spanning styles and genres, including works by artists as varied as Adele, Lorde and Sting — to artists with two names like Henry Mancini, Astor Piazzolla and Edgar Meyer. "We're trying to be able to provide something for everyone," Wolff says. "We try to make sure that there's something that everybody is going to enjoy, which is a big part of our mission, and we did the same thing on this new CD."

Selections from the new album will find their way into the CSBQ's live set on Classical MPR, as well as some pieces that will be included in the CSBQ's upcoming concert season; in particular, their first show that's scheduled for the end of September, "That '70s Show," which will spotlight music from three decades — the 1970s, the 1870 and the 1770s. "It's everything from a little 'Yankee Doodle' all the way to Styx," Wolff says. "We're really trying to give a good view of history in those three decades."

It's not surprising this fun-loving group of musicians have their State Fair plans ready. "We always do the bucket of cookies and the unlimited milk thing, and we have to eat Pronto Pups," Wolff says. "And then for me, personally, I always get one of the Minneapple Pies right across from the MPR booth. Those are my favorite."

But before all the treats comes the performance.

"It's something that we are really, really excited for," Wolff says. "It's going to be great for us and we hope that it's great for MPR as well."

The Copper Street Brass Quintet perform on Friday, Aug. 29, at 2 p.m., in Carousel Park at the Minnesota State Fair. The concert will be broadcast live on Classical MPR. John Birge hosts.

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