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Chit Chat: Northside Brass Co. to perform at Water Street Studios

Ryan Hobbs
Ryan Hobbs

Geneva musician Ryan Hobbs understands how some people might find it intimidating to go to a concert hall to hear music.

He believes in bringing the music to the people.

Hobbs is the owner of Northside Brass Co., a professional brass quintet that provides music for different occasions. Northside Brass will perform at 7 p.m. Saturday, March 15, at Water Street Studios, 160 S. Water St., in downtown Batavia, as part of its Brass Chamber Series.

Dancers from the Mayer School of Irish Dancing also will perform as part of the event. Gracious Hall Catering in Geneva will provide food, and Geneva’s new brewery – Penrose Brewery – will serve beer. Hobbs’ older brother, Eric Hobbs, is the co-founder of Penrose Brewery. More information about the event is available at

Kane County Chronicle reporter Eric Schelkopf had the chance to talk to trumpet player Ryan Hobbs about the upcoming show.

Eric Schelkopf: Is Northside Brass more of a business or a group?
Ryan Hobbs:
The group is the company, basically. We’re a professional brass quintet.

ES: Of course, this is going to be a special event, with your brother’s new brewery serving beer.
Oh, yeah, definitely. I’m very excited to be putting this concert on for a lot of reasons. For one, it’s one of Northside Brass’ first collaborative chamber concerts.

I’m hoping to do a lot more of these events around the Chicago area.

ES: So, what should people expect from the show?
Eighty percent of the music is going to be Irish music. The other 20 percent will be jazz and popular music. The dancers will perform before us.

The goal of the Brass Chamber Series is to take concert hall music and make it accessible and break down the barrier of the concert hall. That tends to be intimidating to people, because they feel they have to get dressed up.

By bringing it to Water Street Studios and collaborating across artistic disciplines, we’re hoping to draw a nice crowd.

ES: What was the idea behind starting Northside Brass Co.? How long have you been playing the trumpet, and what drew you to the instrument in the first place?
The name stems from the fact we all have ties to DePaul University School of Music. I’ve been playing the trumpet for 20 years. I started when I was 10.

I’ve always loved music, in general, but I fell in love with the sound of the trumpet and I fell in love with chamber music, classical musical and jazz, so I decided to pursue it as a career.

I feel extremely lucky to get to do what I do.

ES: As a musician on your own, you’ve played with such acts as Doc Severinsen and the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. What do you learn from experiences like that?
It’s something new every time. It’s kind of a lifelong learning process.

There’s always something to strive for. There’s always another level to push yourself towards.

I’m just inspired to keep working, because each of these players and these groups have been doing it even longer than I have, and they are even better.

It inspires me to keep pushing myself.

If you go

• What: Northside Brass Co. featuring Geneva musician Ryan Hobbs
• When: 7 p.m. Saturday, March 15
• Where: Water Street Studios, 160 S. Water St., Batavia
• Information:

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