The Moanin’ Frogs were formed in 2011 by two University of Michigan students with a passion for Vaudeville and older styles of music. Their names are Edward Goodman and Jonathan Hulting-Cohen. Since then, the group has evolved from their humble beginnings as a small group attending University, to the nationwide venues they attend. The group now consists of professionals who have won the 2018 M-Prize Chamber Arts Competition and have received more recognition through the years.
The Moanin’ Frogs are a saxophone sextet, which represents a rare ensemble that had lost its popularity in the early 1900s. They believe that by adding a bass and an extra tenor extends the sound and allows for the ability to perform a wider variety of musical arrangements. They’ve taken advantage of these additions and their abilities to play songs that are unconventional for a saxophone group.
The Moanin’ Frogs perform a variety of musical genres from classical to pop. “"What we really like to do [is] showcase a variety and show everything that the saxophone can do, and just kind of have something for everybody,” said Lucas Hopkins, the bass player of the group. The band has a few ways of adding music to their setlists such as, commissioning pieces from other artists or performing popular classical pieces. Additionally, some of the band members will write pieces for them to play. They’ve performed a variety of songs from “Bohemian Rhapsody” to “Malagueña” and routinely perform mashups that show the true power and flexibility of the saxophone.
The group consists of Edward Goodman on the soprano saxophone, Sean Hurlburt on the alto saxophone, Jonathan Hostottle and Jonathan Hulting-Cohen on the tenor saxophones, Andy Hall on the baritone saxophone, and Lucas Hopkins on the bass saxophone.
Each member has an impressive resume of past accolades and achievements. Goodman performed “Pierre Boulez' Dialogue de l'ombre double” in a live performance. Hurlburt co-founded the Amethyst Quartet, which is an award winning saxophone quartet. Hostottle was a national finalist in the Music Teachers National Association 2016 Young Artists Competition. Hulting-Cohen co-founded the Admiral Launch Duo, which is a notable harp and saxophone duo with Jennifer R. Ellis. Hall founded the mixed-chamber musical ensemble Latitude 49. Hopkins has taken first prize in the Yamaha Young Performing Artists Competition. Each member has come a long way to get to where they are today.
The Moanin’ Frogs have a bright future ahead of them. The band has started transitioning towards performing more concert series, such as the one they had come to UNR to perform. They have a concert series and events planned through 2021, and have performances planned all over the United States from Wisconsin to New York to Texas. The band has travelled far from their University of Michigan roots, but with so much planned and accomplished it seems they can only go higher from here.