DuPont Brass from Ryan Weisser on Vimeo.
DuPont Circle. In the morning, people can be seen walking with a purpose, either to make it to work on time or to grab their morning cup of caffeine. People are irritable and in a rush.
But not this summer. This summer, DuPont Brass, a brass band comprised of Howard University students, is sharing their passion for music and brotherhood with D.C., making people stop and chill for a few minutes of their day.
DuPont Brass has been performing at metro stops such as McPherson Square, Farragut West and DuPont Circle for the past two years. The group’s original reason for playing at metro stations: earn money for tuition.
Brent Gosset, the co-founder and manager of DuPont Brass said that even though Howard University and HU’s marching band offered great scholarships, it still wasn’t enough.
“The amount of money, at least that I was getting through scholarships, wasn’t enough to live off of. When you broke it down, it was like I was earning less than minimum wage, and that was supposed to get me through,” said Gossett, the original sousaphone player.
Other student musicians were having similar financial issues, and with their jam-packed schedules dedicated to rehearsals, practices and their studies, they didn’t have the time for a part-time job.
The solution was DuPont Brass.
“Basically, DuPont Brass was the easiest way we could think of earning some cash,” said Gosset. “We used that time to practice and get better as musicians while earning money. And over some time, as people started recognizing us, it really helped get our names out there.”
The side-effect of DuPont Brass was a close-knit group of guys who grew to become brothers.
“A lot of us already knew each other before DuPont,” said Anthony Daniel, first trumpet and music director. “Some of us went to high school together and ended up here together. DuPont just brought us closer and bonded us together through music.”
DuPont Brass has grown into a small business for young, aspiring musicians. The group not only performs at metro stations, but now they have gigs at weddings, beer fests and D.C. events and parades, and they plan on continuing their growth so that DuPont Brass can be an everlasting venture for future young musicians who may need financial assistance for college.
Though some of the older members are earning their Master’s degrees outside of the D.C. area, they still plan on coming back during the summers to perform with the group. They hope that eventually, DuPont Brass will become something where they can focus on performing gigs and at venues and occasionally do street performances.
“I mean, I’m in this for the long haul,” said Stanley Banks, the drummer for DuPont Brass. “As long as the group’s around, I’ll be around with them.”