If you go
What: "A Very Boulder Mardi Gras" with Boulder Chorale, Guerrilla Fanfare and Kyle 'KJ' Liss
When: 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
Where: First United Methodist Church, 1421 Spruce St., Boulder
More info: boulderchorale.org
Boulder Concert Chorale is famous for its genre-blending shows that infuse world music with powerful vocals. In the past, the group has paid homage to the zesty beats of Cuba, Zimbabwe — and has even collaborated with bluegrassers. This weekend, the innovative choral group will join forces with Guerrilla Fanfare, an 11-member brass band known for its high-energy showmanship and hard-hitting funk, to deliver a memorable experience.
"A Very Boulder Mardi Gras," was inspired by a New Orleans trip taken by Boulder Concert Chorale artistic director Vicki Burrichter. In The Big Easy for a conference, she spontaneously decided to follow a second line band through the vibrant streets of NOLA.
"At one point, as we passed a cemetery, people got up and started dancing on the tombs — a perfect metaphor for how African-Americans have created some of our greatest American music in the face of slavery, displacement and death," said Burrichter. "That day was one of the most moving artistic experiences of my life, and I decided that if I ever programmed a Mardi Gras/New Orleans concert, I would want to do it with a second line brass band and not the usual 'Dixieland' band. I'm hoping this concert will have an authentic feel to it, and Guerrilla Fanfare supplies that with their party atmosphere and real New Orleans groove music."
Performing at Arise Music Festival in Loveland — and most recently outside Boulder Theater at Boulder International Film Festival's opening night last week — Guerrilla Fanfare seems to get the party started, regardless of the venue.
"This is certainly a collaboration on a scale we have never previously undertaken," said Guerrilla Fanfare founder, manager and sousaphonist Zachary Brake. "Rehearsals have been going well. Audiences should expect a concert that pays homage to the traditional New Orleans jazz of the past century, as well as celebrates and highlights the vibrant culture and energy of New Orleans. The program is diverse, featuring music written across the span of over 100 years, and flexible instrumentation that will change over the course of the concert."
Musical offerings by legends such as Dr. John, Louis Armstrong, Wynton Marsalis and Trombone Shorty will be included in the productions.
"We're in the business of entertaining our audiences, so that's first and foremost," said Ethan Hecht, executive director of Boulder Concert Chorale. "If we can educate them, or open their ears to new music, that's an extra bonus that we're happy for."
A jazz trio, featuring skilled pianist Kyle "KJ" Liss, will also take the stage this weekend.
"Even more than rethinking the concept of choir music, I hope that people will rethink the idea of genre classification in music at all," said Hecht. "As an orchestral musician myself, I've played concerts with jazz pianists, rock guitarists, folk musicians and singer-songwriters. I hope we're breaking down the old days of finding your genre and sticking to it. Judge the music on the music, not on some pre-set notion of what that music is based on ---- some title."
While this is the first time Guerrilla Fanfare will be joined by more than 100 voices, the band looks forward to exploring more out-of-the box partnerships with local artists.
"We have collaborated with other local bands in the past, and it is not uncommon in our world of music to have impromptu collaborations in performance," said Brake. "That said, you can bet that we were really excited when we were first approached about this collaboration, as well as the scale and intricacies it demanded. This concert is coming together in a really beautiful way. This experience has been positive and influential. In the future, we will certainly continue to be open to these types of opportunities. After all, a key component of music is pushing oneself to try new things."
Kalene McCort: 303-473-1107, email@example.com