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Real Music - Honk! - January 2017

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Real Music - Honk! - January 2017

by Robert Feuer

The Sonoma County marching band, the Hubbub Club, which has been compared to a Fellini movie, will be part of a Jan. 16 Martin Luther King Day event, “A Day On, Not a Day Off,” at Santa Rosa’s Community Baptist Church. The event will include “traditional folk/spirituals and New Orleans-type songs,” says baritone horn player, Dan Bosch.

Bosch joined the band in 2008, with his daughter, then a high school freshman. After having played baritone horn, a member of the tuba family, in his public school band, he dropped it for 20 years, before renewing his interest at an annual Villa Grande Fourth of July parade. 

He describes the Hubbub Club’s beginnings in 2007, founded by Jesse Olsen Bay and Frida Kipar Bay, who are no longer members. The first show occurred at Graton’s Ace in the Hole Pub. The following year, they began an ongoing streak of marching in Occidental’s Fools Day Parade.

The Hubbub Club states on their website, “We believe that music is a powerful tool for social change, and strive to help heal the earth and her people in all aspects of our art.”

They’re a “consensus, egalitarian group,” says Bosch. “No one is indispensable. We have several people who can Doodah,” (become the bandleader at any given moment). The event coordinator is the Poobah. Individual members refer to each other as “bubs.”

A core of about a dozen players can increase to 20 or more at some events, he says. “We have a range of musical abilities and experience. The band has developed to the strengths of the members. You have to know how to play.” 

The Hubbub Club draws from “expected traditional sources,” Bosch adds, including New Orleans, Balkan, Mexican, Cuban, Italian, and even some Rolling Stones or Michael Jackson pop. Instruments vary, but come from “three main sections – percussion, bass, and melody.” There’s no amplification. Look for almost every possible horn instrument and lots of drumming, sometimes a flute, accordion, or banjo, occasionally vocals.

Then there’s the second line, consisting of dancers, hula hoops, stiltwalkers, and puppeteers, who “expand the spectacle,” says Bosch. Onlookers, like moths to a flame, join in the parade, sometimes with their own instruments. 

The Hubbub Club has performed at the Cotati Accordion Festival (with five accordions), the Apple Blossom and Guerneville Pride parades, the Progressive Festival, the Gravenstein Apple Fair, and numerous farmers markets, benefits, and rallies. They rely on donations, usually expecting compensation only for private events. All participants are volunteers, and money collected goes into a common fund for purchasing and repairing instruments, and travel expenses.

The Hubbub Club has attended Seattle’s HONK! Fest West – an annual street band convergence - several times. Bosch describes it as “a huge, free event,” involving 20-30 “activist bands” from all over, playing in parks and marching in the streets, “dovetailing” with each other. “The seeds of some of these bands were in the political struggle. The constant music lifts everybody’s spirits.”

More info at: hubbubclub.org/  

For MLK event: cbcsr.org/default.asp?sec_id=180019014.