City | 8:05 pm | September 12, 2011 | By Alon Harish

New Orleans-style brass booms on Broadway

The Kings of Harmony, a church-based brass band from Dixwell, entertained passersby on Broadway Monday night with New Orleans-style music.
The Kings of Harmony, a church-based brass band from Dixwell, entertained passersby on Broadway Monday night with New Orleans-style music. Photo by Alon Harish.

Yalies and New Haven locals alike were first befuddled and then enthralled by the blasting horns of a brass band’s impromptu concert on Broadway Monday night.

The band, a church ensemble called the Kings of Harmony, came from the United House of Prayer for All People just a few blocks north up Dixwell Avenue. Starting at 6 p.m., the group, whose members included two drummers, a sousaphonist and about ten trombonists, served up boisterous New Orleans blues that never paused until the music finally stopped two hours later.

Bandleader Norman Smith said the group decided a few days ago that performing in the middle of Broadway’s commercial strip, an area frequented by students, would be a good way to “bring everyone together from the community.”

By 6:30 p.m., passersby stopped to dance on the sidewalk across the street, and by 7 p.m., several onlookers in the growing audience had been swept into the band both as dancers and percussionists.

“I hope this is the start of a trend that engulfs the entire city,” Nathan Robinson LAW ’14 said as Coleen Donlon, a New Haven resident, danced with Smith.

Donlon, a Connecticut native and a resident of the city for seven years, said the band had chosen the “perfect place to round up the whole community.”

In case you missed it, the Kings of Harmony will perform again on Broadway Wednesday evening at 6 p.m.

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