Detroit Party Marching Band brings revolution in its infectious music

• Detroit Party Marching Band

• 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug 8

• Ferndale Area District Library, 222 E. Nine Mile Road

• Free Summer Concert Series

• 248-546-2504

The Detroit Party Marching Band always brings its music into spaces you might not expect, getting face-to-face with the audience.

This brass band with rock ’n’ roll energy and up to 30 instrumentalists built a reputation for crashing venues or random events, making their way through an astonished crowd with impromptu parades. Detroit Party Marching Band can get loud. The band is in constant motion, with an expansive repertoire that lets the members improvise and solo.

DPMB broke on the scene in 2010 with adrenaline-rush revelries that “felt raw, immediate and spontaneous,” recalls co-founder John Notarianni. They came complete with striking uniforms, plumed cylindrical hats, glitter war paint and infectious exertions of musical enthusiasm.

Tuesday evening, the DPMB will close the Ferndale Library’s Summer Concert Series with a free performance at 6:30 p.m. in the courtyard off Troy Street.


Notarianni, with his sister Molly and Rachel Harkai, founded the DPMB in 2009, inspired by New Orleans street band culture they saw at Mardi Gras that year.

“The rough idea was to start an amateur band and parade through the streets of Detroit,” he says.

The first cast of marchers either used their own instruments from school days, or found used horns and drums at Detroit Public Schools auctions. Notarianni wound up departing the group a few years ago, when his career moved him out of state, but the momentum he helped start has only increased.

“It’s definitely grown in size,” says trombonist Max Majoros, “and overall we’ve learned how to self-manage an ensemble of this size. As our reputation builds, we’ve gotten offers to do a lot more.”

The band has since been invited to play around the world — the Netherlands, Quebec, Austin and Toledo — and gone from crashing to formal concerts, jubilantly smashing the boundary between performer and audience. It’s hard to resist moving with the kinetic constituents of DPMB.

They fuse funk, soul, hip-hop and dance into the marching-band aesthetic. The overarching theme of these “brash, but upbeat” performances, Majoros says, is freedom and celebration. In other words: PARTY.

“We still find time to ‘crash,’” Majoros says, “and still perform…

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