My parents were officers in The Salvation Army and while I no longer follow the fold their British brass band tradition gave me my start on tuba. I combined those bands with a pile of high school and college groups – concert bands, orchestras, jazz bands – but the marching bands and pep bands were where my bass-y heart got its beat: simple, driving music with a bit of funk, and ever-blessed by the Bb Blues Scale.
In 2013, after a decade and a half in the (figurative) wilderness, I finally got hold of a sousaphone but still had nowhere to go. I ran into the Second Line Social Aid and Pleasure Society Brass Band doing a gig at Harvard Square, and from there Shaunalynn played matchmaker and set me up with The Jamaica Plain Honkband, a community-oriented, open-membership street band with whom I am still very active. Folks from the JP band joined up with School of HONK for a march on Cambridge City Hall, and I’ve been attending ever since. (I think I dig how the School’s every Sunday parade and concert echoes The Salvation Army’s old “Open Air Meeting” tradition…)