By Bill Vaughan
Published September 24, 2019
If you’re planning to see AkaBlas, get ready to have an AkaBlast!
AkaBlas, “the big brass band” from Braunschweig, Germany visited UAlbany last Thursday as part of the artist-in-residence exchange program.
AkaBlas is short (and American) for Akademisch Bläservereinigung, or “Academic Brass Band.” In exchange, the Performing Arts Center will send “Capitol Trio” to Technische Universität Braunschweig, home of AkaBlas, next fall.
Billy Joel’s “Uptown Girl” opened the show, and it didn’t take long for the band to get people up and moving. The piece set a fun, upbeat tone for the rest of the performance.
The Pokémon theme song, Mary Poppins, movie scores, and rock music, are just a few of the highlights that this band presents.
“I really like to play Mary Poppins because it’s really up-taking,” says Benedikt Hamper, the conductor of AkaBlas. “It starts with this slow part where you can dream a little bit and then it starts with this up-taking part and everyone is smiling in the end.”
The 50 member band goes beyond strictly playing music.
Musicians dance on stage, wear costumes, and even leave the stage to interact with the audience, teaching them dance moves.
“We practice once a week for about 2 and a half hours,” Hamper says. “We have over 100 people who are playing with us and we have about 25 concerts a year and one large concert in Brunswick [Braunschweig, Germany].”
The band will continue its U.S. tour with performances in Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts.
If you speak German and would like more information on the band, you can visit https://akablas.de/. If not, you can find their performances on YouTube.