For a pre-Christmas musical treat, thousands of shoppers - and motorists - are enjoying the music of "Poor Richard's Brass Quintet" in downtown Salt Lake City and in Sandy.
Attired in Shakespearean-era costumes, the musicians - trumpeters Jeff Gurr, Bountiful, and Keith Davis, West Jordan; tuba player Ken Wright, Ogden; trombonist Jeff Steffen, Fruit Heights, Davis County; and Lyric Montgomery, Salt Lake City, on the French horn - play all the traditional Christmas carols.And their jazzy arrangements of favorites such as "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and "Winter Wonderland" add zest to the Christmas season as shoppers busily wind up their preparations for the holiday.
"It's a blast. It's fun," said Wright, a Weber State College student who is the informal leader of the group, now in its sixth year and sponsored by Millford Managers. The firm manages the Walker Center, 175 S. Main, and the Sandy Mall, 9400 S. 700 East.
Megan Rosser, Millfordoffice manager, said the quintet plays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday in front of Walker Center and early afternoon on Saturday at the Sandy Mall.
Adults and children and even bus drivers get into the spirit of the music as it rolls from the instruments.
One Utah Transit Authority bus driver has been observed stopping his bus, opening the doors and directing the quintet. And he's done it more than once on Main.
Colleen Cohne, a life insurance agent who Wednesday tapped her toe to the musical rhythms, said too much Christmas music tends to be "mournful. It's time to rejoice, to have fun. This (group) makes you want to tap your feet," she said.
Lynne O'Brien and her her sons, Seth, 7, and Scott, 3, of Gardenia, Calif., also stopped for a musical interlude to the Christmas season.
"We love it. It really makes Christmas for us. They don't do (things like) this in L.A.," said O'Brien, who beamed as the musicians gladly responded Wednesday to the family's request for a rendition of "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen." It was the O'Briens' second stop in as many days at the Main Street site.
"This music puts a little bounce in your step. I saw you bouncing and so am I," said John Urban, Salt Lake City, told a Deseret News reporter as he leaned against a utility pole at 200 South and Main.
Ross Howells, a New York Life insurance agent at the First Interstate Bank building across from the show, was sitting on a sidewalk planter, listening to the music as he waited for a luncheon appointment.
"It puts me in the season. It's a real nice touch," said Howells as the costumed artists continued with "O Come All Ye Faithful" and "Angels From the Realms of Glory."