BY TOM LAVIS
It is quite a feat to step on the stage and duplicate the sounds of one of America’s most legendary horn bands.
Brass Transit, which is comprised of eight of Canada’s most in-demand musicians and singers, will do just that when it presents the best of Chicago at 7:30 p.m. March 21 at Arcadia Theater, Windber.
“The band’s show includes all the hits from Chicago’s early years and some of their best,” said Amy Moore, public relations director for the theater. “People will be amazed at the spot-on sound that Brass Transit will deliver.”
With a world-class horn section, a rocking rhythm section and vocals stacked sky-high, Brass Transit will transport the audience back to the freewheeling days of the 1970s.
With Chicago’s years of hits from 1969 to 1976, it’s hard to decide what songs to put in the 90-minute show.
Hits from that era include “25 or 6 to 4,” “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?” “Colour My World,” “Just You ’n’ Me,” “Saturday In The Park,” “Feelin’ Stronger Every Day,” “Make Me Smile,” “Wishing You Were Here,” “Call on Me,” “(I’ve Been) Searchin’ So Long” and “Beginnings.”
“This is going to be loud and fun,” Moore said. “The horn section moves around all over the stage, and the trumpeter finds his way into the audience.”
The band includes veterans who have performed with Hall of Fame rock and soul acts like the Drifters, Sam and Dave, Aretha Franklin, Ben E. King, the Marvelettes, Frankie Valli, Mary Wilson, Martha Reeves, Little Anthony & the Imperials, Del Shannon and the Mamas and the Papas.
Lead vocalist Neil Donel has been called Canada’s most-recorded voice.
Originally hailing from Montreal, Donel has established himself as the premiere session vocalist in Canada.
“He is introduced as ‘the man of a thousand voices’ at the dozens of pop symphony concerts he performs annually across North America,” Moore said. “The music of Chicago has had a big influence on their careers.”
Moore said the goup has an Emmy Award-winner among its members.
Don Breithaupt, keyboardist and backup vocalist, grew up surrounded by music, including jazz from his piano-playing father, classical from his soprano mother and rock, funk and soul from the world around him.
“The keyboard performances are instantly recognizable and are a huge part of Chicago’s signature sound,” Moore said.
“In 2009, Breithaupt won an Emmy for outstanding orignal song for Nickelodeon’s ‘6teen,’ an animated sitcom.”
Moore is anticipating an energetic show “with some fantastic showmen.”
“Following the concert, the audience is encouraged to stay and meet the musicians in our lobby,” Moore said.
“There’s plenty of time to get a photo or autograph.”
What: Brass Transit: ”Tribute To Chicago.”
Where: Arcadia Theater, 1418 Graham Ave., Windber.
When: 7:30 p.m. March 21.
Tickets: Available from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays at the box office, by calling 467-9070 or visiting www.arcadiatheater.net.
Cost: $34, $36 and $39.
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