ShowMe Brass Band visits, delights a longtime fan

Friday, July 25, 2014 | 5:40 p.m. CDT; updated 4:34 p.m. CDT, Saturday, July 26, 2014
From left, Marc Lewis, bass trombone; Lisa Sattenspiel, horn; Steve Fair, cornet; and Jeff Miner, cornet, play as part of the ShowMe Brass Band during a small concert for a longtime local music supporter, Robert Spier and his wife, Carolyn, in the Spiers' home on Friday.

COLUMBIA — Nine friends gathered in a small sunroom in a cozy east campus home Thursday evening: two cornets, two trombones, two horns, a trumpet, a tuba and a euphonium.

When the ShowMe Brass Band started up W.C. Handy's "Beale Street Blues," it was as if a switched was flipped. Suddenly, music, the kind you tap your foot to, rang off the walls.

Their audience was longtime local music supporter Robert Spier and his wife, Carolyn. Because Robert Spier's health concerns make it difficult to attend concerts, ShowMe Brass brought the concert to him.

Horn player and MU anthropology professor Lisa Sattenspiel came up with the idea. She and Spier, a professor emeritus in the MU Department of Anthropology, have known each other since she joined the faculty in 1987.

Like about half the players in the ShowMe Brass, Sattenspiel plays in the Columbia Community Band. For almost 30 years, Spier attended their concerts and supported the band as well as enjoying concerts at Jesse Hall.

But the community band has some 70 people, too many to fit in the sunroom. So Sattenspiel turned to her ShowMe Brass friends.

There was no hesitation in accepting the gig. Anytime one of the members needs the band to play at family functions or birthday parties, they are there for each other.

"We have a history of going ahead and doing things like this," Sattenspiel said. "That's the kind of group it is — it's a really special group, and I'm so happy to be a part of it."

Marc Lewis, musical director of the ShowMe Brass Band and a bass trombonist, said the band has been playing for about 15 years or so.

"It's just been a long time," he said, unable to give an exact count. "We are just a bunch of friends playing together. We are very tight."

At the concert for the Spiers, the mood after every song was easy-going, one of camaraderie in music and in friendship. Band members laughed and told jokes, laughed some more and told stories. Then they re-tuned their instruments and started playing again for their special audience.

Supervising editor is Elizabeth Brixey.

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