Northwestern Press

Friday, August 23, 2019
CONTRIBUTED PHOTOBig Boy Brass, performs at Musikfest, 5 p.m. Aug, 9, Guardian Insurance Company of America Zinzenplatz, Bethlehem. CONTRIBUTED PHOTOBig Boy Brass, performs at Musikfest, 5 p.m. Aug, 9, Guardian Insurance Company of America Zinzenplatz, Bethlehem.

Lancaster’s Big Boy Brass to hold forth at Zinzenplatz

Friday, August 9, 2019 by GEORGE VANDOREN Special to The Press in Focus

Big Boy Brass, a Lancaster-based brass band, performs at Musikfest, 5 p.m. Aug, 9, Guardian Insurance Company of America Zinzenplatz, Main and Lehigh streets, Bethlehem.

Big Boy Brass plays an eclectic genre-bending blend of high-energy rock, pop, funk and traditional jazz with a twist.

The ensemble includes Connor Devlin, sousaphone; Vincent Shickora, Ben Ewing, Nolan Wible, trumpets; Dominic Mascaro, trombone; Sam Yoder, trombone and guitar; Nick Franks and Paul Berry, saxophones, and Matt Woodson, drums.

Big Boy Brass often performs with different instrumentation, depending on the event and venue. The group morphed into a 24-piece marching unit for the Mummer’s Parade in Philadelphia.

Says Connor Devlin, “We started with three trumpets, three trombones, and three saxes, plus tuba and drum.

“Six of us are Millersville [University] grads and two from Lebanon Valley College. We’re all music-ed or music business majors.

“We started playing at Herseypark. We took an extra gig outside of West Chester. Afterwards, we started heading for our cars. People stopped us, wanting us to play more. They gave us twenty bucks to keep playing. So, we thought maybe we should give it a shot.

“We did some busking in Lancaster and then went official in the fall of 2016.”

Big Boy Brass has a steady gig every Sunday at Tellus 360, Lancaster; a CD, “Breaking the Busker’s Code,” and recently finished a tour that included Baltimore, Trenton, Charlottesville and Washington, D.C.

Says Matt Woodson, “We play a collection of New Orleans jazz, pop, fusion, dance music ... shake your booty music.”

Asked about influences, Woodson cites the Rebirth Brass Band, Lucky Chops, No BS! Brass, and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band.

“We share a lot of the work,” Woodson says. “Connor does the booking and scheduling. We split other things like merchandise and social media. Three of the guys do arranging. Originals we do together, some of it by ear. A lot of our songs evolve.”