Nelton Palma marches with the KP Brass Band at the Homer Farmers Market for opening day on May 26, 2018. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

Nelton Palma marches with the KP Brass Band at the Homer Farmers Market for opening day on May 26, 2018. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

KP Brass Band celebrates 1-year anniversary with May the Fourth Be With You gig

One of Homer’s newest musical groups, the KP (Kenai Peninsula) Brass Band, celebrates its first year of performance with a May the Fourth Be With You anniversary show at 10 p.m. Saturday, May 4, at The Alibi Bar and Cafe.

The Krewe of Gambrinus will open the show, and Pier One Theatre is the concert benefactor.

The KP Brass Band formed when its core founding members met as “pit” musicians for the Pier One Theatre production of “Chicago” in June of 2017. After hearing the Lowdown Brass Band perform that summer in Homer, founding member Nelton Palma Jr. got the pit musicians and others together with the goal of creating a brass band sound in Homer.

Palma said members Eric Simondsen and Sterling Strickler said they would join if Palma arranged the music. Now with 11 members, KP Brass Band held its first performance on May 5, 2018, at The Alibi as a benefit for South Peninsula Haven House.

“One of the core foundations of our group is we all love music … for us to like what we do on stage and give back to the town we’re all part of,” Palma said. “We all live, eat, breathe and are part of this community.”

The current band members are Scott Bartlett and Cody Davidson on drums; Strickler on tuba; Eric and Mary Simondsen on trombone; Cal Loomer, John Mink and John Sharp on saxophone; and Palma and Emily Thiem on trumpets. The group comes from diverse backgrounds and occupations.

Palma owns and operates The Alibi, and other musicians are educators, business owners, counselors and nonprofit administrators.

With some members living in Soldotna and Clam Gulch, Palma joked that they practice “very carefully,” and meet about once a week.

They’re all seasoned musicians, Palma said, which makes rehearsals easier.

“It allows us to not have to worry about mundane little things,” he said. “We’re able to learn a new song within two rehearsals and have it performance ready in four rehearsals.”

KP Brass Band are fans of the New Orleans Second Line style of brass, a tradition that includes spontaneous performances and parades. At a Homer Farmers Market performance in June 2018, for the band, that meant marching into the market to start their performance. Palma said over the summer KP Brass Band will do “pop up” shows announced a day or two in advance at locations like WKFL Park, the Boathouse on the Homer Spit and other locations.

“We’ll put up (a notice) the day before,” Palma said. “Hang out and party with us for an hour. … We want it to be a social club, like what Krewe of Gambrinius does. We can have these impromptu parties anywhere.”

Planned shows this summer include several weddings, the Homer Farmers Market in June and July, Salmonfest in Ninlchik in August, the World Arts Fair in September and Fright Night Late Night in October.

For exact dates and times, follow KP Brass Band on Facebook at www.facebook.com/kpbrass.

Reach Michael Armstrong at marmstrong@homernews.com.

Members of the KP Brass Band perform at Salmonfest in 2018. (Photo provided)

Members of the KP Brass Band perform at Salmonfest in 2018. (Photo provided)

Members of the KP Brass Band pose in an undated photo. (Photo provided)

Members of the KP Brass Band pose in an undated photo. (Photo provided)

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