The Tiffin University funk-fusion band, Word on the Street, performed with the Roosevelt High School jazz band on Monday, February 28 in the RHS auditorium during their Move on up the Mitten tour.
Word on the Street is a funk band from Tiffin, Ohio that was formed approximately 26 years ago by the Dean of Creative Arts at Tiffin, Brad Rees. The band was more of a street band when they first formed, but as time went on, current director Andrew Parent made it his own.
“When I took the job, I kind of morphed it a little bit into more of a funk, straight-up funk, kind of fusion type of group,” Parent said. “But I kept the name like, Word on the street is the name of the group, we’re not going to change that. Keep the legacy there.”
Parent mentioned that he contacted multiple school directors around Michigan in hopes of performing for or with their students.
“We’re in Michigan the whole time and we’re calling our tour, the move on up the mitten tour, just because we play the song move on up. And we’re in the mitten,” Parent said.
Roosevelt was the second stop on the list of many other schools. Parent and RHS band director Mark D’Angelo have worked together before. D’Angelo was more than happy to work with him again.
The band has toured almost as long as they have existed. According to Parent, the band toured New Orleans a few years before he began working there. Word on the Street is actively trying to get the word out about their school and give experience for their students that are interested in this as a career field. This band is a group of some of the best musicians at Tiffin and is audition-based.
Touring also gives the band experience with working with sound and other technical difficulties.
“We’ve already kind of run into some issues with our equipment, making sure we got enough cords. Just overall, staying healthy,” Word on the Street band member, Carter Bennett said.
Shortly before the show, Bennett had mono. This caused the band to be worried and almost resulted in a canceled show. Luckily, he was able to recover in time. Bennett mentioned that he takes shots of honey before shows to take care of his voice.
“It’s really a rewarding experience, you know, knowing Drew Parent, and having a chance to know him as a performer as a musician,” D’Angelo said.
D’Angelo continues to explain that it has been inspiring working with the band. It has given D’Angelo the idea to try new approaches to jazz and not always stick to the traditional approach. Working with RHS, the jazz and funk-fusion band have also had benefits working together.
“They’re [Tiffin] benefiting from getting out and performing for other students and other schools and other community events and we’re [RHS jazz band] benefiting from hearing them and watching their program grow,” D’Angelo said.
According to Word on the Street band member, Colton Fleure, touring is a great way to explore and leave Ohio. The band enjoyed the RHS auditorium. They mentioned that it was an upgrade compared to other venues they have played at.
This will not be the only tour of the year. Parent mentioned that the band is planning to go to Chicago at the end of the year.