Band Member Bios
Our Inspiration and Experience
Blending unique experiene and perspectives of each player makes this band special. The explosive energy on stage is rooted in the passion each member has for music.
"Big Mike" Michael Mothershed
Big Mike Mothershed has been singing for audiences since 1972, after being a church conductor at the young age of 16. He was inspired by the confident style of James Brown and the cool style of Andy Williams, but it was Mr. Manfor, his high school choral instructor, who inspired him most. He taught him the mechanics of singing, such as breath control, singing through vowels and phrasing, while encouraging Mike to develop his own style. Even though Mike’s musical taste did not appeal to him, he understood its place in Mike’s learning, and he worked with him on stage presence to hold and capture an audience.
Mike’s musical experience is rich, having established his roots in Southern Gospel, 70/80's R&B, Blues, Jazz, Funk, and Swing, singing for bands such as Billy Club Snyder & the Snitch Boyz, Funktion Junction, The UnderGroove, 2 of a Kind, The Flatfoot Rollers, The No Limits Band.
His dream is for Brass Menagerie to be recognized as a stage show leader in musicianship and entertainment value. He is thrilled to be a part of an ensemble that can go from Bruno Mars to Bobby Darrin in a drum beat
Lead Female Vocalist
Brass Menagerie has been together for over 20 years.
Craig Mesenbring has been playing since he was 10 years old. He started his musical career as a school band “nerd”…hardly…then started playing in horn bands, and eventually became seriously interested in classical playing with a brass quintet. His most influential mentor in music was his college trumpet professor, Al Moore. Bands that influenced him the most include Blood, Sweat, and Tears, Chicago, Tower of Power and Maurice Andre.
Craig’s impressive background includes playing for several great bands, including Top Brass, Open Road, Octopus, Chance, and even played a gig with Smokey Robinson and the Miracles.
Today the tunes he enjoys most are Uptown Funk, any Chicago tune, and any of the four Victor Ewald quintets.
If he could go back in time, he would either be a professional orchestral trumpet player or college trumpet professor, but he is forever our teacher, for which we are grateful.
Autumn Toussaint came into the world singing. She began formal training in voice and piano at age 5, and sang lead in her first band at age 7. She is an Accidental Minnesotan from the deep south (Alabama) and cut her teeth in the world of country music, even appearing on the TV show Hee-Haw at age 8.
A Baptist preacher's daughter, church music and leading worship soon became a staple in her life, and is to this day.
She holds a B.A. in Musical Theater from Samford University where she sang in several performing ensemble and jazz groups when not on stage in theatrical productions.
After graduation she began touring the U.S. and Europe performing professionally in the musical theater realm. Highlights include Buddy Holly, The Odd Couple, Evita (U.S.) Cabaret, Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita, My Fair Lady & West Side Story (Europe). She also appeared in the Sci-Fi Series Astrobots, Industrial Films and National TV commercials (Ford, IBM, Books A Million) and in Germany with USO tours backing headlinersGarth Brooks, and Billy Joel. Still actively involved in musical theater, she directs/choreographs full scale productions frequently.
By day you can find her immersed in the world of church music at Wayzata Community Church where she is Director of Engagement, Good Works Community Theater, and 4 choirs including children, youth, and adults.
Besides Brass Menagerie, she also performs with Twin Cities based bands PowerTap, Gas Station Turkeys, and Tribute shows "One World - Sting & The Police Tribute", and "Candy Oh - A Tribute To The Cars".