DuPont Brass looks to take musical career beyond Metro
Latest News | October 06, 2015
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Dupont Circle Metro station is about to get a whole lot quieter. DuPont Brass — a brass band of mostly former and current Howard University students who have long performed outside…
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Dupont Circle Metro station is about to get a whole lot quieter.
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DuPont Brass — a brass band of mostly former and current Howard University students who have long performed outside Metro stations to raise money for tuition — says it’s leaving the busking profession to focus on bigger musical stages.
The classically trained group of musicians, which has grown to 15 men, has been busking at Metro stations during rush hour since 2011, displaying a sign saying donations would go straight to tuition bills. They started busking the Dupont Circle Metro station — hence the group’s name — and soon started playing at Metro stations throughout the city.
But now, many of them have graduated from school and are looking to make a career of their music beyond the city’s Metro stations.
“When we started we were just looking for tuition money, and it spun out of control in a good way. We didn’t even expect it to last this long,” said Jared Bailey, 24, one of the original members of the group who is now in graduate school at Rutgers and commutes on weekends to play with DuPont Brass. “We are trying to elevate ourselves, and in order to do that we need to take risks.”
DuPont Brass will be sticking together and are looking to book professional gigs, including at weddings, festivals and lounges. A few weekends ago, DuPont Brass played at the popular H Street NE festival.
Bailey said the group is planning a college tour, performing on campuses throughout the country and talking to students about how to form a successful musical ensemble.
“We want to put on seminars explaining exactly the steps we took to making DuPont Brass what it is today,” said Bailey. “We just accidentally made our own way. We put out that tuition sign and slowly developed a business plan without even meaning to. Now everything is intentional.”
Bailey wouldn’t disclose how much money DuPont Brass collected from busking, but said the money helped everyone pay for their Howard tuition.
“It helped all of us, it definitely helped me graduate, and it’s helping me pay for graduate school now,” he said.
DuPont Brass had a send-off concert last weekend in Shaw, and Bailey said many who discovered the brass band at Metro stations were in attendance.
The group, he said, will miss busking, recalling one poignant moment outside a Metro station when a homeless man donated money during a performance.
“He didn’t even have shoes. It wasn’t about him, it was about the community,” Bailey said. “Someone said that when they hear us, they walk into work feeling like a champion. That’s what it’s about to us.”