‘A love letter to Philadelphia’: Brass band Snacktime releases its first album

WHYY’s Priyanka Tewari spoke to Snacktime founder Sam Gellerstein at the band’s album release party. Gellerstein calls “Sounds from the Street: Live” a love letter to Philly.

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Philadelphia brass band Snacktime perform at the Philadelphia Flower Show. (Courtesy of Sam Gellerstein)

Philadelphia brass band Snacktime perform at the Philadelphia Flower Show. (Courtesy of Sam Gellerstein)

Since its inception in 2020, when the country went into a pademic lockdown, Philadelphia brass band Snacktime has provided much needed live entertainment.

Sousaphone player Sam Gellerstein founded the group when his friend, Jennifer Zavala, chef and owner of South Philly’s Juana Tamale, asked him to put together entertainment for an outdoor pop-up. The first dinner and show was a hit.

Sam Gellerstein, founder of Snacktime, performs at a Philadelphia 76ers halftime show. (Hannah Snyder)

Gellerstein then called up a few musician friends, and they started busking at Rittenhouse.

While an entertainment-starved audience was grateful, Rittenhouse residents weren’t so happy with the noise. The police were called a few times, but thanks to pro bono legal representation, an agreement was worked out.

Philadelphia brass band Snacktime perform at Rittenhouse Park during lockdown. (Courtesy Sam Gellerstein)
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The band’s infectious energy, tight sets, and uncanny ability to work the crowd into a happy frenzy has made them hugely popular in Philadelphia.

They’ve performed at major festivals, concerts, and even the 76ers halftime shows.

Now, Snacktime has released its first studio album, “Sounds from the Street: Live.”

WHYY’s Priyanka Tewari spoke to Sam Gellerstein at the album launch, which was held at Brooklyn Bowl on Canal Street.

Snacktime perform at the Brooklyn Bowl. (Jordan August)
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The majority of the album’s tracks are original compositions born out of street performance improvisations or quarantine-inspired voice notes.

Even the album’s live recording was akin to attending one of Snacktime’s curated picnics, with the audience enjoying food and drinks handpicked by the group.

With track names like “Littenhouse,” “Tipbucket Luvr,” and “Junkyard fire,” and “Shittalk,” Gellerstein calls the album “a love letter to Philadelphia.”

Sounds from the Street: Live is available on vinyl and music streaming platforms.

Saturdays just got more interesting.

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