When Mike Olander of the Jack Brass Band learned that his group would replace "Olympia Brass" for the first time in 19 years as the headliner for the Great American Brass Band Festival, he offered a one-word response.
"Unbelievable," said Olander, who founded Jack Brass nine years ago in Minneapolis, Minn.
"I guess we will just start our own string this year. Hopefully, we can meet people's expectations."
Olander, a native Minnesotan, who started his music career on saxophone, started the group - all Midwesterners - with high expectations established through "exposure to and becoming students of all things New Orleans," he said. He realized the band met those expectations when it got asked to open for the legendary Rebirth Brass Band during The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.
"They said, 'Can you play until we get there?'" Olander said. "I guess our music was spot on. People were asking if we were from uptown or downtown (New Orleans). I told them, 'No, we're from Minnesota.' Hearing that kind of question led us to believe we have done our due diligence. We learned to play (New Orleans brass) the way it's supposed to be played."