Trombonist Michael Kaskiewicz helped establish the Party Band back in 2013. There has been a natural evolution, and scores of musicians have come and gone. But Kaskiewicz said one thing has remained consistent (in words immortalized by Kool and The Gang), “What we do best is celebrate and have a good time.”
Around 15 trumpeters, trombonists, bass and snare drummers, and saxophone and Sousaphone players will descend on the fields near Town Center Thursday, as the Party Band opens the 2021 Recreation Department summer concert series at 7 p.m.
They will present almost entirely original music with a philosophy of enjoying “a collective experience together.” Kaskiewicz urged, “Come if you’re vaccinated, if you’re comfortable,”
“We started as a Dixieland quintet, playing coffeehouses, kind of a ragtag group,” Kaskiewicz recounted. “Now we are a band that does a lot of outreach. Young audience shows, especially in disadvantaged areas, are really important to us. We are not an activist band, but we are a band that likes to do good things. Just like any other art, it evolves and reflects of what’s going on in society.”
The Bedford gig is either the first or the second for the band since coronavirus restrictions relaxed – Kaskiewicz wasn’t certain.
The Party Band has expanded to as many as 32 members at full strength. Many musicians were students at or otherwise connected with the music department at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, and the band still rehearses outside on the campus. Kaskiewicz received a degree in music performance from UMass Lowell in 2013 and long-time Party Band member Savannah Marshall is on the adjunct music faculty.
Kaskiewicz said about 90 percent of the repertoire is original music, written individually and collectively by band members. The Party Band, he observed, can be “a place to take artistic risks, to bring an idea and turn it into a song.” He said one way to define the band’s unique sound is “a punk/folk/booty-shaking brass band.”
The Party Band is “a community of a multitude of things outside of music,” he said. “Like every family or organization, we have our ups and downs. But we are an example of how we can work together and bring people together.”
The pandemic period was tough on Kaskiewicz as it was on almost all artists. “I do a lot of weddings so I lost all of my business,” he said, noting that “freelancing was difficult, especially on trombone.” Kaskiewicz is also part of the horn section with Felix Cavaliere’s Rascals.
“It is a privilege for me to have a community of professionals that I can count on,” Kaskiewicz declared. “Having this community for life is really something special.”
Mike Rosenberg can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 781-983-1763