Brass Band Builds New Fan Base On Brooklyn Streets Amid Pandemic

By WCBS Newsradio 880

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — The coronavirus pandemic has forced some musicians to take to the streets, which has developed a whole new audience for some.

The Brass Queens are an all female brass band, a New Orleans Second Line, who have found a second career not by choice.

The band saw all their gigs disappear when the virus spread, but the Brass Queens fought back and have found a new fan base on the streets of New York City, performing around the neighborhood for birthdays, anniversaries and surprises.

“We’re just here to spread the joy. Everyone's been in lockdown and people have been enjoying the music,” said trumpeter Alex Harris. “Before the pandemic this is not something we had done much of, so to be a part of people’s personal lives like this, rather than just performing in a club where they're in the audience so far away from us, it’s cool to play in this kind of setting.”

They recently put on a show on a crowded Brooklyn sidewalk for one of their news fans — Georgie who for his fifth birthday couldn't wait to watch the Brass Queens perform after seeing the band outside his window in Brooklyn marching in the protests.

“Every time we come down with our signs and banners he says,’Where’s the band?'" his mother, Jaime Caldwell, said.

She made sure the Brass Queens were there for his big day.

“It was good!” he said.

Mom had the same rave review.

“I loved that we got to share them with the neighborhood, with our neighbors, and our friends in a very socially distanced, safe setting," Caldwell said.

During these dark times, the band has not only been spreading joy with their music. Saxophone player Jessa Murdoch said the band has also been donating money they've been getting in.

"Making sure to spread the love because everyone is sort of struggling right now," Murdoch said.

As venues remained closed due to the pandemic, the Brass Queens will continue using the streets as their stage.

“As long as it keeps positivity in the world we’ll keep doing it," said bandmate Elizabeth Arce.

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