A fish toss, hot chocolate, and madcap not-marching band Mucca Pazza are on tap at ‘Winterlochen,’ the annual winter festival at Interlochen Center for the Arts.

MyNorth Media’s entertainment writer Ross Boissoneau tells us more about the Interlochen event and its featured highlight Mucca Pazza.


Interlochen Arts Academy’s annual salute to winter includes a compendium of events, featuring the eclectic sounds of Chicago band Mucca Pazza.

How they got their start

Name one group as comfortable at Lincoln Center as Lollapalooza. Okay, name one group besides Mucca Pazza. The group combines marching band traditions and street theater experience with rock band sensibilities. After forming in the parking lot of a steel mill alongside the river in Chicago, Mucca Pazza quickly found a home for its 30-odd members (emphasis apparently on odd) in the thriving Chicago underground music scene. The music moves from brass band groove to noise rock to avant-garde game show themes without blinking, taking the audience on a wild ride. Hang on tight.


It incorporates everything from Prokoviev and Morricone to funk-rock. Don’t forget to include Balkan folk brass and the golden age of television music.

Influences and Inspirations

Classical music, cinema verité, N’Awlins brass bands, ethnic music, rock

Additional Background

Despite the drums, horns, uniforms and cheerleaders, Mucca Pazza insists it is not a marching band. The sound is dynamic enough, but a closer look reveals that none of those uniforms match. And while there’s plenty of percussive power and brassy blare from the trumpets, trombones and saxophones, the band also features guitars, violin, even accordion. However, the force and presence of a marching band remain. True, the band might move from point A to point B during performance, but don’t expect any familiar formations from football halftimes. Mucca Pazza dances, flails, tumbles, and spins in circles. There are speaker helmets. The cheerleaders rouse, encourage and confound the audience with synchronized absurdity. Mucca Pazza is as comfortable in the fine arts and performance art world as the local rock club or parking lot.

While Mucca Pazza is the featured highlight, Winterlochen includes a host of other family activities. Music, dance, readings, hands-on visual art activities and acting workshops, a frozen fish toss, s’mores, and other snowy fun are on tap.


“A gypsy punk, New Orleans funk, mambo tango, rock and roll circus.” – John Schaefer, WNYC

“Some have called them ‘circus punk,’ some say they’re ‘geek love,’ but no one calls them dull.”– Schuba’s Tavern/Lincoln Hall


Interlochen Center for the Arts, Interlochen

Date & Time

Winterlochen is a day-long event on Feb. 20. Mucca Pazza performs at Corson Auditorium at 1 p.m.

Ticket information

All the events are free, not including local food concessions. However, the free tickets for Mucca Pazza need to be reserved by calling 276-7800 or visiting tickets.interlochen.org.

For more


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Photo(s) by Miranda Lange