Joyful Noise

Alex Prezzano on August 30th, 2016

The Party Band Celebrates Music and Life With Its Lively Performances.

There is something timeless about the sound of a big, loud, high-energy brass band. Around the beginning of the 20th century, New Orleans-based jazz groups evolved into the marching bands that still romp in parades and at high school and college football games today. In the winter of 2013, UMass Lowell alumnus Seth Bailin put together a small New Orleans-style jazz band that quickly evolved into a 25-piece brass band (made up of mostly UMass Lowell alumni) and today goes by the more-than-appropriate name, The Party Band.

Bailin, who graduated from UMass Lowell in 2011, and The Party Band perform with an infectious groove and thrill that effortlessly captivates audiences. Since its birth, the band has amassed an impressive résumé opening for major acts such as Trombone Shorty, Dopapod, Consider the Source, and the Stooges Brass Band. The Party Band has performed at several festivals, as well, including the Madsummer Meltdown in Schuylkill, PA., Bella Terra in Stephentown, N.Y., and Honk! in Somerville’s Davis Square. This past March, Bailin flew 22 of the band’s members to Austin, Texas, for the city’s annual Honk!TX festival.

Bailin also has taken his band to numerous weddings, farmers markets, and parties of all kinds. The Party Band’s work ethic and relentless performance schedule have helped it become a staple in the community and, slowly but surely, across the nation, as well. This September, The Party Band will begin recording its second album, the follow-up to 2014’s debut “Transcendenta.”

Besides making fun, upbeat original music (as well as playing unique renditions of classic tunes), The Party Band has dedicated itself to helping the local community. Last fall, Bailin and his band held an instrument drive in support of Lowell Public Schools.

“We were able to donate more than 20 instruments to music programs in [Lowell],” Bailin says. In an era when music programs are often among the first to be cut from public school budgets, this initiative (along with the band’s reputation) has helped to keep music education alive and well in Lowell, one of the Valley’s cultural centers.

The Party Band also performs regularly at local schools for children of all ages, and it tries to make every show a unique experience. Bailin believes that keeping the band’s music fresh can help children become aware of, and grow to appreciate, all kinds of music, including popular music from the past. Bailin also hopes that The Party Band’s music will help inspire kids to pick up an instrument themselves. “It’s so important for us to give back to the community,” he says.

UMass Lowell has long been known for having one of the region’s richest and most diverse college music programs. It is no surprise, then, that such a well-rounded group of musicians would have originated from here and created something greater than the sum of their individual parts. The Party Band has earned a place among the Northeast’s best musical acts and has become a purveyor of music that spans generations and geography. More importantly, the band is helping to make music synonymous with culture and community again — something just as powerful and thrilling as the music itself.

The Party Band
Lowell, Mass.

Top photo by Mark Boncore, Stockholm Romance Photography


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