On Friday afternoon, the rainy weather was nothing short of dull at Fairfield University. But in the Lower Level BCC, the atmosphere couldn’t have been more lively thanks to the Hot 8 Brass Band surprising students with a 30-minute concert.
The Hot 8 brass band members are originally from New Orleans, and became known nationwide after Hurricane Katrina, according to the band’s official website. Since then, they’ve been featured on “CNN” and “Nightline,” in the New York Times and in Spike Lee’s Katrina documentary.
The band was performing that night at the Quick Center, and wanted to get the word out to students in the afternoon. The eight men walked into the campus center around noon and starting warming up while students sat in the chairs doing homework.
“Come on man, it’s raining, and we coming [sic] to make some noise,” said one of the band members as everyone in the area took notice of the band.
“They’re so lively,” said Jordan Freeman ’13 as the band continued to play. “I just think it’s such a wonderful surprise on such a rainy day.”
For the next 30 minutes, the band played their tunes for the surrounding audience in the campus center. As the band performed, Fairfield students and employees started running on and off of the dance floor that was cleared in front of the brass brand.
One particular student, Kathryn Dennen ’15, jumped right onto the dancefloor at one point, dancing solo with enthusiasm as strong as the band behind her.
“This is my favorite type of music,” said Dennen after dancing. “I was having a bad day, and this just made it so much better.”
Bennie Pete, one of the founders of the brass band, talked about how great it was that Dennen went up to him after their performance and told him that she really enjoyed it, along with her feeling better about her day.
When asked what he likes about being in a brass band, Pete said, “Just being able to play my instrument, people enjoying it…and they can feel it. I have a good time doing it.”
Director Gary Wood, Assistant Director Adrienne Bryant, and other staff members of the Quick Center helped set up the band in the Lower Level BCC space, as well as support the performance that afternoon and the one that was occurring that night.
“We danced around to the drum of students’ interest,” said Wood. “They [the band] were fun, had energy, and it’s a good way to take away stress.”
“It was fun, exciting, there was a lot of energy – it really makes you want to dance,” said Valentina Stefanidis, a Fairfield graduate who was helping out with the event.