Best Surprise

Red and Black Brass Band

Staff Pick

In these dark days, many of us haven’t been able to conjure up a smile for weeks at a time. But all of that changes when the Red and Black Brass Band comes strolling into your neighborhood. The New Orleans-style brass band has taken to the streets during the pandemic to get people out of their houses and enjoying life. They just arrive unannounced around town and walk the neighborhoods playing classic songs that everybody knows (“Lovely Day,” “Little Liza Jane,” “When the Saints Go Marching In”) to the thrill and surprise of onlookers. It goes like this: You’ll just be chilling in your house and then start to hear the faint bursts of a tuba in the distance. After a minute or so, you realize that somebody outside is playing “Stand By Me” so you head outside to investigate. By the time you get out there, you and all of your neighbors are standing on your porches cheering the band as they come through. After this, the entire street is transformed from solitary neighbors to a community of people all experiencing the same joy. If you’re lucky enough to have the band come to your neighborhood, take the opportunity to show them some love right back. You can tip them on Venmo, PayPal or the Cash App. — Jaime Lees

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