C Street Brass plays shows across Steamboat in Strings’ 1st spring residency

Brass quintet C Street Bass will return to Steamboat Springs for Strings Music Festival’s first-ever springtime residency from May 18 to 22.
courtesy of C Street Bass

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Lace up your dancing shoes and hold onto your hat: brass quintet C Street Brass is back in Steamboat Springs for its seventh visit. For the next few days, whenever you turn a corner or pop into a local business, there’s a decent chance these musicians will be right there, feet tapping, bodies grooving, horns blazing, mouths smiling behind their mouthpieces.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based C Street is hosted by Strings Music Festival as part of Strings’ first-ever springtime artist residency from May 18 to 23.

“We wanted to serve the community during mud season when there’s less going on,” Strings Marketing Director Kristine Kilbourne said.

The brass quintet’s schedule that’s open to the public includes a double set in the Storm Peak Brewing Company taproom, an open mic night at The Corner Slice and on the Strings Music Pavilion stage, as well as accompanying an Old Town Hot Springs yoga class and two sets at Love Climbing Adventures’ climbing area.

“We’re putting great music into community spaces that are more unusual, more unexpected,” Kilbourne said. “We wanted to be in some interesting places where people will naturally be showing up and remove as many barriers as we can to people getting to hear the music.”

“We have 95% of our music memorized, so we’re very mobile,” C Street trombonist Gabriel Colby said. “We can sort of be anywhere.”

This collaboration marks the first time that Strings has partnered with LCA, Storm Peak or Corner Slice, according to Kilbourne, and the first time that C Street will play at a climbing gym or in a yoga studio — “although we’ve played for an outdoor yoga class,” Colby said.

“With that, we’re trying to match the vibe of what’s already going on and put our own spin on it,” Colby added.

Playing along with Colby will be Scott Nadelson and John Ehrenburg on trumpet, Jon Carroll on horn and Hakeem Bilal on bass trombone.

If you go

Saturday, May 18 — 4 to 6 p.m.
Storm Peak Brewing Company, 1885 Elk River Road

Sunday, May 19 — 10 to 11:15 a.m.
Old Town Hot Springs yoga, 136 S. Lincoln Ave.

Sunday, May 19 — 5 to 7 p.m.
Love Climbing Adventures Climbing Center, 2673 Jacob Circle

Tuesday, May 21 — 8 to 10 p.m.
Corner Slice for Open Mic Night

Wednesday, May 22 — 7 to 8:15 pm.
Strings Music Pavilion stage, 900 Strings Road

The musicians also play in Beauty Slap, a group that combines classic horn with electronic dance music to form the genre “thunder-funk.”

“Since our music has more of a band vibe than straight classical music, people feel more relaxed about it,” Colby said. “We’re all about that because we think chamber music is the coolest, and this is such a good way to introduce people to it. They just need their way in, and we’re hoping to be that.”

Beyond the festivities in Steamboat’s establishments, the brass quintet will also be visiting seven band classes in local schools. There, they’ll play a set for the students, then open up the event to a conversation.

The members of C Street Brass, from left: horn player Jon Carroll, bass trombonist Hakeem Bilal, trumpeter Scott Nadelson, trumpeter John Ehrenburg and trombonist Gabriel Colby.
courtesy of C Street Bass

“When I was a student, Dallas Brass came and toured my school and performed,” Colby said. “The trombone player was a really nice guy and gave me a short lesson after his performance, which he didn’t have to do.

“Pretty much all of us (C Street members), individually, have a story like that, that just totally inspired us, and that’s a reason why we’re professional musicians today,” Colby said. “We feel very lucky that we’re able to do that now. Being able to play for a kid, and then make a connection and say, ‘Hi, I’m Gabe, and I started out just like you,’ — it makes kids realize we’re not all that different.”

The quintet will also offer the student musicians recommendations about how to continue practicing throughout the summer, when students often struggle to progress without a structured music class.

“We see music as a part of the holistic wellness of our whole community,” Kilbourne said. “This is a way we’re contributing to that.”

When the C Street musicians aren’t busy playing their horns or leading workshops, they’re looking forward to hiking and eating lots of Creekside breakfast burritos and Taco Cabo tacos.

Julia Ben-Asher is a contributing writer for Steamboat Pilot & Today.

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