Copper Street Brass | Music

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Copper Street Brass | Music


Copper Street Brass (CSB) is the premier brass chamber ensemble in Minnesota, and one of only a handful of self-sustaining, full-time brass groups in the country. Our mission is to bring a fresh perspective to instrumental music through inventive concerts, original educational presentations, and enduring community outreach programming. We express our artistic voice by using a dazzling fusion of brass, guitar, keyboard, percussion, and electronic instruments to appeal to a universal audience and go beyond ordinary.

Founded in 2008, we present over 40 concerts and 100 outreach programs every year, reaching more than 14,000 people annually from ages five to ninety-five. We perform exclusively our own musical arrangements and compositions, featuring an authentic blend of styles from Mozart to Madonna, jazz to folk, and Bach to The Beatles.

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Each of CSB’s artists is a master of his or her craft - our five core musicians have a combined 9 professional music and education degrees and have performed or recorded with Prince, Davina and the Vagabonds, Big Walter Smith, Minnesota Orchestra, and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. Our artistic excellence was recognized in 2013 when Copper Street was chosen as a finalist for the prestigious McKnight Artist Fellowship, and CSB has been artist-in-residence for Classical Minnesota Public Radio and The Schubert Club.

CSB’s Teaching Artist vision is to create powerful and lasting musical experiences for people ranging from kindergarten to memory-care seniors. We do this through our innovative musical arrangements, creative performances, and original programming. We meet audiences and students where they are - whether we are performing as a full group for a gymnasium of 300 elementary school students, presenting a masterclass in a high school band room, or performing as a small group with older adults facing dementia.

Any day that my students and I get to share with the Copper Street Brass is a great day. They are wonderful teachers, outstanding musicians, and are all around great people. I am lucky to know and work with them.
— Charles Preis, partner teacher at Northeast Middle School in Minneapolis

Sample Programs: Customizable To Site’s Needs


Tools of the Trade: Building Music with Brass

The musicians in Copper Street Brass use tools called “Brass Instruments” to build songs. Using each brass instrument as a tool, our musicians use the building blocks of music as the raw material to create songs. In the same way our builder needs different materials to build her house - like wood, nails, pipes, and cement - we need different musical materials to make songs. For example: a melody (the main part of a song), the harmony (the music that supports the melody), and the rhythm (the pulse that holds the song together). For example, we can use the trumpet as the tool to make the melody for a song. We can then add more building blocks with other instruments - like the trombone for harmony and percussion for rhythm - to make the song stronger and memorable.

During our presentation, the CSB leads children and teachers through the exploration of each of the three building blocks of music: Melody, Harmony, and Rhythm. Throughout the presentation, children will demonstrate their understanding of each building block by singing, moving their bodies in a musical way, or responding verbally to questions. Along the way, the CSB will perform a wide variety of fun and energetic music from classical to jazz, and rock tunes to familiar movie music.


Big Ears and the Blue Ox

“Big Ears and the Blue Ox” is a 40-minute interactive concert presentation with brass instruments, drums, and narrator. We will take kids on a musical journey through the Minnesota woods while they help Big Ears the Rabbit build the perfect song for Paul Bunyan’s birthday party. Along the way, students will:

  • Discover what “active listening” means and have many opportunities to practice it,
  • Have basic music concepts reinforced such as melody, rhythm and harmony,
  • Be singing and moving their bodies in a musical way,
  • Enjoy a fun, interactive concert experience with professional artists in a comfortable setting.

Evening Performances

In addition to our local Twin Cities Concert Series, CSB offers evening performances of our signature concert programs throughout the Midwest. Our entertaining shows are best described as a mix of music that inspires emotion, excitement, learning, and a whole lot of fun! Our current show roster includes three offerings, and current programs from each season’s Concert Series may be available as well:

Evolution of the Brass Quintet: This is our quintessential concert: a mix of classical, jazz, folk, rock and pop music for brass, guitar, and keyboard. If you’re looking for the “something for everyone” program, this is it. This performance is typically one hour with no intermission, or 1.5 hours with an intermission.

That ‘70s Show: Always a fan favorite, CSB’s “That ‘70s Show” program makes a twist on what you'd expect: we'll be showcasing music from the 1970’ well as the 1870’s and 1770’s!  Think a Mozart Sonata mashed up with Styx, and you’ve got the idea. This program runs 1.5 to 2 hours with an intermission and requires 6 total musicians, plus our sound engineer.

Christmas on Copper Street: The name says it all - “Christmas on Copper Street” is a favorite tradition of families across the metro area. Our most traditional program, “Christmas on Copper Street” features holiday favorites from Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker and classic carols like “I Saw Three Ships” to holiday movie favorites from The Grinch Who Stole Christmas and Home Alone. This program can be adapted to any length and is perfect for the entire family.




Soundtracks is a person-centered creative aging program designed to enrich the lives of older adults living with dementia. The program explores how music runs through our entire lives - like the soundtrack in a movie. Each activity features interactive live music performances brought directly to residents (eliminating the need to bus residents to an arts event). The program’s goal is to provide services that are rooted in high-quality musical performances, are socially engaging and draw upon the rich life experiences of participants, and enrich quality of life using the power of music to spark joy.

Soundtracks brought our residents out of their shell - their spirits just came to life. When you see moments like that, everything is worth it. Copper Street Brass playing for our residents was absolutely the best performance we’ve ever had in our building.
— T Hanson, Active Life Manager, The Waters Senior Living

Most Soundtracks programs are built using a combination of the following types of services to best serve resident needs. Programs may have one or multiple services of each type in a given time frame.

Concert: This one-hour Soundtracks Concert features the CSB’s unique blend of music - from classical to folk to popular songs - along with lively audience interaction, designed to spark memories for all residents. Bringing the concert hall experience to the spaces where older adults live eliminates the need for bussing and gives all residents and staff the opportunity to experience a fun, professional arts event in a comfortable, familiar setting. Soundtracks Concerts require all five CSB brass musicians and need to be held in a large community space. Concert themes vary based on the season, total number of program visits planned, and preferences shared by each residential facility.

Small Group Session: Small Group Sessions are small-group creative music activities designed specifically for smaller groups of residents facing dementia. These sessions feature a small group of CSB musicians (2-3 musicians depending on the group size) and may occur in any community space within any residential facility - a large space is not essential. Each Small Group Session explores a common Movie Theme through music, such as “Love Stories”, paired with a Music Theme such as “Melody”. During each session, residents will have the opportunity to sing and move along with familiar music that relates to each Movie Theme, explore and learn about the Music Theme alongside professional musicians, and exercise their creativity by helping to choose a melody, move their body, play a rhythm, or share a story.

Small Group Sessions are non-sequential, meaning a resident may attend any or all of the sessions and does not need to carry learning from a previous session to the next. Sessions are designed with flexibility to accommodate residents at various stages of cognitive and physical ability so everyone can experience enjoyment and success in the way that feels comfortable for them.



Brass Master Class

Copper Street Brass visits dozens of school band rooms every season with the goal to invigorate your program with fresh ways of thinking about making music. Often school bands are looking for extra help getting young brass players started or keeping high school musicians on the right track. That’s where our roster of experienced Teaching Artists come in. CSB musicians have thousands of hours of teaching experience in our own studios as well as at MacPhail Center for Music and St. Olaf College, and have led masterclasses in schools and colleges across the country. Just let us know what your students need and we’ll be happy to craft a plan to work specifically with your group.