With St. Louisans stuck in their homes as they comply with stay-at-home orders to prevent the coronavirus from spreading, the city’s musicians are disconnected from music-loving fans.
But a couple of horn players have found a way to reach an audience — from a safe distance. For the last week, trombone player Dominique Burton and tuba player Benjamin Kosberg have hit the streets of the Tower Grove South neighborhood to deliver homebound neighbors some New Orleans-style brass.
“This whole lockdown’s got everybody going stir-crazy,” Burton said while walking down Juniata Street. “It’s just good to get out, stretch your legs and do what you love.”
Burton, a music teacher at Sumner High School, and Kosberg, a carpenter, had no idea their impromptu performance would become a viral internet sensation. But a video of the duo posted to social media became a sensation with more than 150,000 likes — and has Tower Grove residents taking to sidewalks to hear them play. The audiences bring joy to the musicians’ hearts.
“When [Dominique] and I went out, it was just such a lovely response, you know, we get to the end of the street and you just hear the whole street clapping, and it just feels great,” Kosberg said.
Listen: St. Louis on the Air host Sarah Fenske talks with the founding members of Red and Black Brass Band
When the group goes outside now, they’re joined by four friends who play saxophone, drums and trumpet. The ensemble played together as the Red and Black Brass Band for the first time Sunday. The stay-at-home order inspired all six members to form a band.
“All of us are really really good friends,” said Ravie Junior, a drummer for the band. “It gives us an opportunity to walk about the streets of St. Louis and really dig into the thing that we love and watch other people fall in love with it as well.”
When the band performs on the streets, they often play the Ben E. King song “Stand By Me.”
“It’s good for the people to sing,” Burton said. “The message behind it is pretty nice — not literally stand by me, but stand by me in these times of hardships.”
He said they’ll keep hitting the streets to keep the music going. They want everyone to know that St. Louisans are getting through the crisis together.
Follow Chad on Twitter: @iamcdavis
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