Have you ever been walking past the Moab Information Center and heard 90s hip-hop being played as a swing tune? Or waltzed through downtown to brassy pop ditties?
If you’re wondering where these rich melodies are coming from, look no further. It’s the Fiery Furnace Marching Band, Moab’s only mobile musical entertainment. The band is composed of Jeff Brennan on the bass drum, Ryan Barnum on the snare drum, Chris Canning on the sousaphone, Jeff Gutierrez on the saxophone, Bobby Hollahan on the trombone and Casey Lawson on the trumpet.
The group plays Moab’s downtown scene quite a bit.
“We play a lot of gigs and most of the people walking around town are only here for a few days and don’t expect a marching band to be playing,” Hollahan said. “We enhance the Moab experience unexpectedly.”
“We are a mobile dance party,” Canning added.
The next time you can catch a performance by the Fiery Furnace Marching Band will be on Friday, April 28, at the Moab Valley Multicultural Center’s 10th anniversary party. The party will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. at the multicultural center, 156 N. 100 West. This event is free to the public.
The band was formed approximately five years ago, but this incarnation of the group has been around for about two years. Like much of the population of Moab, none of the group’s members are originally from Grand County. The members were drawn together by their love of music.
“It’s hard to find people to play with in the middle of the desert,” Barnum said.
Luckily, they get along famously. Each member of this colorful ensemble moved to the desert for individual reasons, but they all love playing gigs in this cultural oasis.
“For a small town, Moab has a vibrant music scene,” Canning said.
“It’s great that I can walk from my house to our shows,” Barnum added.
The group marches around town literally to the beat of their own drums, playing a wide selection of musical styles. During their performances, they play everything from pop, hip-hop and Motown to jazz, old marching band anthems and even the occasional Balkan folk tune.
“If someone has an idea, they bring it to the table and we all listen to it together, pick it apart and see if it works,” Lawson said.
“The only songs we wouldn’t play would be anti-dance music,” Gutierrez added. “If you can’t dance to it, we are not having it!”
An ideal set with everyone’s favorite numbers would include Joe Zawinul’s “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy,” Lady Gaga’s “A-Yo,” “I Want You Back” by The Jackson 5, “The Teddy Bear’s Picnic” by Henry Hall & His Orchestra, the Youngblood Brass Band’s “V.I.P.” and Äl Jawala’s “Electric Cocek.”
In addition to possessing wickedly good musical skills, each member of the group is a multi-faceted entertainer.
“Part of our shtick is that our brass players switch around – by the end of the show, everyone is playing everyone else’s instruments,” Lawson said.
Audience members are encouraged to dance, move and bring the fun in a variety of ways. Once, while the band was playing “Teddy Bear’s Picnic,” a man from Alaska was dancing in a grizzly bear costume on roller skates.
“The beauty of this band is that the magic comes on the spot,” Brennan added. “It is ethereal.”
The band’s consensus is that their mission is to make people dance and enjoy life.
“We like to put a smile on people’s faces,” Lawson said.
“We will show up anywhere at any time and make you dance!” Gutierrez added.
The Fiery Furnace Marching Band is dynamic, never static. To find them downtown, simply follow your ears to the sweet sounds of brass and banging rhythmic beats all season long. Or, if you are computer literate, check out their Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/FieryFurnaceMarchingBand, or follow @fieryfurnacemarchingband on Instagram.
Marching band brings “mobile dance party” downtown all spring and summer long
We play a lot of gigs and most of the people walking around town are only here for a few days and don’t expect a marching band to be playing. We enhance the Moab experience unexpectedly.
What: Fiery Furnace Marching Band performs at the Moab Valley Multicultural Center’s 10th Anniversary Party
When: Friday, April 28, from 5 to 7 p.m.; additional performances in downtown Moab this spring and summer
Where: Moab Valley Multicultural Center, 156 N. 100 West