By Royal Bonde-Griggs, Special to   Published Apr 26, 2011 at 1:02 PM

Andrew Anastasia has a vision. Since 2007, Anastasia wanted to commit "random acts of band" all over Milwaukee, which means get people in the streets with a host of instruments, make some noise, have some fun and raise the collective consciousness of the city.

This year, Anastasia is getting his chance with the Milwaukee Molotov Marchers. The Marchers, who bill themselves as "Milwaukee's premier radical street band and pleasure society," are organizing musicians and noise makers of various sorts to take to the streets in conjunction with rallies, protests and other events.

"(The Marchers) see music as a form of direct action that has the potential to bridge divides in the nation's most geographically segregated urban city," says Anastasia. "We want to have fun, and form relationships with other groups and cooperative businesses in Milwaukee. We're also looking forward to providing a space for musicians to get together and make some noise."

Sometimes referred to as "radical brass bands," street bands are not a new idea, but have gained in strength and popularity following the successes of San Francisco's Brass Liberation Orchestra and its flash mob-style events that were recorded and put on the Internet.

Anastasia, a PhD student at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, has played trumpet since 1987. He says the Marchers have a "confluence of influences," including the 10 folks who accompanied Aytan Luck – activist and owner of Truly Spoken Cycles in Riverwest – at Milwaukee Public Theater's All-City People's Parade in 2009.

The Molotov Marchers is a collaborative effort. A group of people came together on Sunday, April 10 at the Riverwest Public House to see what kind of interest there would be in putting together a street band. Apparently, there was enough, and the following Friday, the band had its first rehearsal.

Due to rain, the rehearsal took place in the basement of the Cream City Collectives, 732 E. Clarke St., but under dryer conditions, will be held outdoors in Riverwest's Gordon Park.

Instruments in the band thus far include tenor sax, baritone, two trumpets, alto sax, bongos, tambourine, two flutes and a tuba.

Anastasia currently arranges the music and hopes someone else will step up in this role, too.

"I'm doing this entirely through dictation," says Anastasia.

At the band's second rehearsal they practiced Michael Jackson's "Beat It." Band member Michelle Sanchez had the idea of a marching band "color guard" that would carry banners reading, "Beat It" on one, and "Scott Walker" on another.

At a recent organizational meeting in the Riverwest Public House, 815 E. Locust St., the Marchers worked on some fundraising ideas and there was some talk of uniforms, perhaps with Marchers going out thrifting. They also worked on a statement of purpose.

"We talked about elements that will comprise our manifesto, but it's not finalized. We talked about how we saw ourselves filling a need in the greater Milwaukee community," says Anastasia.

The Marchers are preparing for their first gig during the May Day March, organized by Voces de la Frontera. But will they be ready?

"The test is if people return to rehearsals," Anastasia says.