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SEE IT: Brooklyn’s Brass Queens headline Village Halloween Parade

November 4, 2022 Beth Eisgrau-Heller
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Brooklyn’s own Brass Queens, an eight-piece ensemble with an all-female horn section, performed at this year’s Village Halloween Parade. The band is deeply inspired by the New Orleans tradition which influences their sound that spans various genres. Their goal is to expand the space for women in a male-dominated industry. Brass Queens has performed at the Brooklyn Public Library’s 125th Gala Celebration, the 2021 Met Gala, Governor’s Ball Music Festival, and for notable clients including Chanel, Facebook, Instagram, Mattell, New Balance, Saks Fifth Avenue, Tiffany & Co., and many more. The members live in Fort Greene, Bed-Stuy, Bushwick, Crown Heights, and Park Slope, among other Brooklyn neighborhoods.

On being invited to headline New York City’s 49th annual Halloween Village Parade, Co-Founder and trumpet player Alex Joseph shared, “Being invited to lead the parade was a huge honor. The parade is a cultural institution that many of us have participated in over the years with different groups, so to have them recognize our band in particular and the impact we’ve had in the community means so much to us. We hope that having a female-led band leading the parade will inspire others to keep making music and making space for themselves and their art.”

Say it with us, “YASSS QUEENS!”

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Parade Grand Marshall and long-time volunteer, Peter Chriswell. Photo by Beth Eisgrau-Heller
Self-proclaimed “Celebration Artist” Jeanne Fleming takes one of many 11th-hour phone calls in the parade staging area. Jeanne has been the Village Halloween Parade’s Artistic and Production Director since 1985. She maintained this calm, joyful demeanor throughout the entire evening. Photo by Beth Eisgrau-Heller
Parade Musical Director Matthew Fass Photo by Beth Eisgrau-Heller
A job well done. The Brass Queens pose with a new fan (center in a skeletal bat costume) at the end of the parade route. From left to right: Elizabeth Arce (trombone), Ally Chapel (alto sax), Marc Basch (snare drum), Joe Fusca (base drum), Alex Joseph (trumpet), Heather Ewer (tuba), Jenna Murdoch (tenor sax), Minerva Johnson (trumpet), and Stephanie King (trumpet). Photo by Beth Eisgrau-Heller
Float like a butterfly, buzz like a tuba! From left to right Heather Ewer (tuba), Elizabeth Arce (trombone), and Marc Basch (snare drum). Photo by Beth Eisgrau-Heller
NY1’s Dean Meminger dressed as Eddie Murphy’s character Maximillian from Vampire in Brooklyn. Photo by Beth Eisgrau-Heller
Brass Queens Halloween 2022 Photo: Beth Heller Photo
Brass Queens dancin’ in the streets. From left to right: Co-Founders Ally Chapel and Alex Johnson, Jenna Murdoch, Marc Basch, and Minerva Johnson. Photo by Beth Eisgrau-Heller
Time to shine! Brass Queens belt out a number before NY1’s cameras and thousands of spectators lining Sixth Avenue and the intersection of West 8th Street. Photo by Beth Eisgrau-Heller
Turn on the bright lights. Brass Queens pause and prepare for their appearance on NY1. The station has covered NYC’s Village Halloween Parade for decades. Photo by Beth Eisgrau-Heller
Scared Silly. Some parade spectators truly got into the spirit of Halloween. Photo by Beth Eisgrau-Heller
Brass Queens perform as they lead the procession of ghosts and ghouls north on Sixth Avenue toward 15th Street. From left to right: Stephanie King (trumpet), Alex Johnson (trumpet), Ally Chapel (alto sax), Jenna Murdoch (tenor sax), Heather Ewer (tuba), Minerva Johnson (trumpet), Elizabeth Arce (trombone). Photo by Beth Eisgrau-Heller
Spectators eagerly delight in the puppeteer’s performance and eagerly snap cell phone pictures as they make their skeletons dance. Photo by Beth Eisgrau-Heller
The freaks come out at night. “Chuckie” ogles the parade route from a distance as a pair of dapper costumed skeletons pause to listen to the Brass Queens. Photo by Beth Eisgrau-Heller
Bone party. From left to right trombonist Elizabeth Arce and trumpet player Minerva Johnson. Photo by Beth Eisgrau-Heller

Boogie down. Brass Queens’ trumpet player Stephanie King sashays her way up Sixth Avenue. Co-Founder Ally Chapel dances behind her. Photo by Beth Eisgrau-Heller
Artistic and Producing Director Jeanne Fleming carefully set the pace for the parade. Here she pauses Brass Queens near the intersection of Sixth Avenue and Bleecker Street, providing the group an opportunity to showcase their talents. Photo by Beth Eisgrau-Heller
One of the signature attractions of the parade is the large-scale puppets. Here puppeteers manipulate skeletons for thousands of spectators their bones knocking together as they danced up Sixth Avenue. Photo by Beth Eisgrau-Heller
Stephanie King (left) and Co-Founder Alex Johnson give their all on trumpet. Photo by Beth Eisgrau-Heller
Sing it Sisters! Brass Queens chant as they march along Sixth Avenue toward 15th Street. Photo by Beth Eisgrau-Heller
Yeah Baby, Yeah! Halloween revelers dressed as Austin Powers and a Fem-bot march in the Village Halloween Parade. Photo by Beth Eisgrau-Heller
Brass Queens Halloween 2022 Photo: Beth Heller Photo
Artistic and Producing Director Jeanne Fleming is the picture of serene calm and joy. NYC’s Village Halloween Parade has resided in her capable hands since 1985. Photo by Beth Eisgrau-Heller

Brass Queens’ trombonist Elizabeth Arce. Photo by Beth Eisgrau-Heller
From left to right: Brass Queens’ Co-founder Ally Chapel plays alto saxophone. Center Jenna Murdoch on tenor sax. Right: Elizabeth Arce on trombone. Photo by Beth Eisgrau-Heller
Brass Queens tune and warm up their instruments in the staging area before the commencement of NYC’s 49th Annual Village Halloween Parade. Photo by Beth Eisgrau-Heller
U.S. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D12), in part, represents Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Here she waits patiently in a pedicab for the procession to begin. In the late-August primary, she lost her bid for re-election to 10th district incumbent Jerry Nadler after redistricting drew them both into the 12th district. Her defeat ends a thirty-year career. Photo by Beth Eisgrau-Heller
A tuba and snare drum belonging to the Brass Queens. Photo by Beth Eisgrau-Heller
You’ve got to dress up at least a little bit if you are working at the NYC Village Halloween Parade! The theme for this year’s event was “Freedom.” Our photographer utilized a paper shopping bag, Sharpie marker, and duct tape for stability to create her last-minute First Amendment costume. Photo by Beth Eisgrau-Heller

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