Many bands in the past half century have chosen strange names that don't seem to mean anything — well, anything obvious. Animal Collective, Kings of Leon, Coldplay, even U2 have to be explained.
The name chosen for the musical group Barrage, on the other hand, is perfectly obvious: Eight high-powered musicians present a barrage of sound and sights when they take the stage.
"They are terrific," said Arla Altman, executive director of the Pasco-Hernando Community College Foundation, which is bringing the international group to New Port Richey tonight. "You have to see them," she added.
Ms. Altman first saw the group during a one-day ticket sales blitz at Ruth Eckerd Hall in August. Barrage had been hired to entertain those standing in line or just enjoying the day. She vowed then to bring them to PHCC as part of the series of shows sponsored by the foundation.
PHCC marketing coordinator Courtney Boettcher describes the group's sound as "a diverse fusion of cultures, musical styles and incredible performance vitality … combining contemporary world music influences, layered vocal arrangements, and pulsating modern beats and rhythms."
The five violinists, one percussionist, one guitarist and one bass player come from the United States, Canada and Europe and tour with the group 30 weeks out of the year. Auditions are constantly going on, as members come and go.
Several current players saw earlier versions of the group when they were in middle school and vowed to join one day.
Fiddler Taylor Morris, an Arizona native, discovered Barrage when he was in the seventh grade and was a member of the Metropolitan Youth Symphony. Jason Hurwitz, who began studying violin at age 5 after seeing Itzhak Perlman play for Oscar the Grouch on Sesame Street, saw Barrage when he was in high school and now says he's living his dream as a Barrage violinist.
Other Barrage members have eclectic backgrounds.
Kristina Bauch, the daughter of symphony musicians in Wisconsin, studied ballet for five years at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet before deciding her first love was music and winning a position with the Winnipeg Symphony.
Hidayat Honari, the group's guitarist, not only plays jazz guitar but is an accomplished Persian classical musician and plays the Iranian lute. He is co-leader of the Middle Eastern fusion bands Sangha and the Honari Family Ensemble.
Canadian Tim Harley of Calgary, the bassist, plays pop, country, jazz and funk; his countryman, drummer Charles Bullough of Edmonton, started with the group in 2000, left for a year in 2003 and is now back.
Violinist/singer Annette Homann comes from Germany and has performed with the New England Symphonic Ensemble at Carnegie Hall; singer Kiana Weber does jazz, bluegrass and Celtic music not only on the violin but on the mandolin.
"Barrage has entertained millions of people around the globe," Boettcher said.