Take three music teachers who play in the same orchestra, mix their instruments together and you have the recipe for Newton's newest band — Brain Flowers.
The trio is made up of violinist Rebecca Schloneger, cellist Seth Girton and flutist Kenna Graber. All three play in the Newton Mid-Kansas Symphony Orchestra.
"NMKSO is definitely a place that brings people together," Schloneger said. "...It's just great to be connected to friends and neighbors."
Brain Flowers recently played their first public gig at Norm's Coffee Bar. Girton said it had been a goal of his for a while to bring music into the space and running across a special classical piece was the lynchpin of his endeavor.
"I rediscovered Bach's 'The Musical Offering,' which is a cool piece and it has a chunk of it for cello, flute and violin," Girton said. "I said 'ah ha! I can sucker these people into playing and then we can throw in whatever else we want.'"
With their common backgrounds, the three musicians had an instant bond.
"We had enough experience that when we sat down to play, even though it was the first time ... you could just kind of feel each other, musically," Graber said.
As Brain Flowers, the trio can trade the formality of playing in an orchestra for a more relaxed atmosphere.
"Less formal is less intimidating for me; it's more fun," Graber said.
"I love playing at parks, coffee shops and farmer's markets," Girton said. "I really like venues where the wall between the audience and the performers is not there."
"I don't think we would have come this far with (music) in our careers if we didn't have a desire to connect with people and share those gifts," Schloneger said.
Brain Flowers plans to include a variety of music in its repertoire.
"There is a lot of music that involves two higher instruments and a lower instrument," Girton said.
The three musicians are working around busy schedules — Schloneger plays in the Wichita Symphony and teaches violin at Bethel College, Hesston College and Tabor College while Graber teaches in the Newton school district and teaches flute at Bethel College Academy of Performing Arts. Girton not only teaches cello at Bethel College, Tabor College, Newman University and Hesston College, he also repairs the instruments.
"I spend my days with my hands in their guts," Girton laughed.
All three think performing live music is an important component of the arts.
"There's a lot to what the arts bring," Schloneger said. "It makes you, I would dare to say, better people, more noble humans, to be connected to the arts in your own way. ...Analytical brains are important, but so are brains that have flowers in them."