Cows get jazzy in professor’s viral video

Cows like jazz apparently — at least French cows do.

Steve Call, a BYU professor in the school of music, plays tuba in a jazz ensemble whose video has gone viral. The video, which received more than 600,000 hits in its first 10 days, features Call and his band, The New Hot 5, playing “When the Saints Go Marching In” for a different type of audience: cows.

The New Hot 5 formed two years ago when Call contacted four of his former BYU students to join him for the Jazz en Vercors Festival in France. It consists of Call, Will Kimball, Clark Burnside, Daniel Henderson and Joshua Payne. They named themselves The New Hot 5 after Louis Armstrong’s band, The Hot Five.

[media-credit name=”Michelle Henderson” align=”alignleft” width=”300″][/media-credit]

BYU professor of music Steve Call, second from left, and his band recently had a video go viral, which shows them playing jazz for a herd of cows in Autrans, France.

The video starts with Call alone, standing at a pasture’s gate playing his tuba. The previously grazing cows came quickly to the gate to hear Call play. The rest of the band joined in, and the cows — as well as a crowd of people — gathered to listen. Call’s son took out his camera and recorded the event. The video would never have made it to YouTube without the help of Call’s wife, who convinced him to put it online for the world to see.

You can view the viral video here:

According to Call, the event was spontaneous. The band was playing the festival in the French Alps, and while eating dinner on Aug. 8, he noticed a field of cows outside the restaurant.

“I thought, ‘You know, I’m going to go play a song for them, they’re so beautiful,'” Call said. “And so I just started playing and I noticed they were all clearing out in the field coming towards me, and then the trumpet player got his horn out and played, and gradually the other guys came over with their instruments.”

Call said he hopes the large attention they have received will help promote the band’s shows for humans, as well as their new CD, which will be released soon.

The video has garnered attention from different news outlets such as Good Morning America, Today and Conan O’Brien’s late night show, Conan.

“I was looking at the video, and I thought, the cows really seem to love it!” O’Brien said on his show. “They really love the jazz!”`

Will Kimball, another professor at BYU, and the band’s trombone player, said he was just as incredulous as O’Brien.

“I felt a little like I was in a Gary Larson ‘Far Side’ cartoon,” Kimball said. “The one thing I was a little surprised at was the way the cows hung around. I thought they had probably initially come over because they hoped they were going to be fed, but I expected them to disperse once they saw there was no food. They just kind of hung around and took it in.”

Although the band has received much attention for this video, Kimball’s life has not been changed too much. He said Call has been affected the most, because he put up the video, and made the band a website. Call agreed, saying his email is now flooded constantly, and he has received many calls from reporters and news organizations. However, even with the attention, the band remains grounded.

“I was bragging a little to my wife that I was kind of famous now,” Kimball said, “And she replied, ‘It’s not about you, it’s about the cows!'”

Megan Adams

Megan Adams is the Life section editor. She's from El Segundo, a small town in the heart of Los Angeles, and will graduate in June 2013.

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