A horn quartet from New York, whose musicians have studied at Juilliard and other prestigious schools, is coming to Youngstown Tuesday for a guest artist recital on the Dana School of Music concert calendar.
That sentence conjures up images of tuxedos and floor-length gowns and a repertoire drawn from the masters.
Not this time.
Quartets like that don't have a musician who goes by Attila the Horn.
Genghis Barbie has been defying expectations since the idea was hatched about three years ago - at a bachelorette party.
''We were all hanging out, young freelance horn players in New York City,'' said Danielle Kuhlmann, who performs under the name Velvet Barbie. ''We were all friends and finding four horn players that get along is not easy. The idea sort of came after that. It was my idea, I guess. It just popped into my head.''
WHO: Genghis Barbie
WHERE: Trinity United Methodist Church, 30 W. Front St., Youngstown
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday
HOW MUCH: Admission is free.
For more information, call the Dana School of Music at 330-941-3636.
Genghis Barbie was born. And like any pop act, the foursome went about crafting an image.
''(In the beginning), Our friends said we had more photo shoots than concerts,'' Kuhlmann said.
There's Velvet Barbie (Kuhlmann), Cosmic Barbie (Leelanee Sterrett), Freedom Barbie (Alana Vegter) and Attila the Horn (Rachel Drehmann). Each of the women picked her own name except for Freedom Barbie (the group gave away a T-shirt at one of its first concerts to the audience member who suggested the best name).
''We all grew up with the Spice Girls,'' Kuhlmann said. ''We thought it would be fun to have stage names, let loose and be a persona instead of it being tied to who we really are.''
It may sound like a gimmick, but the Barbies have impressive resumes. Kuhlmann studied at Juilliard and Rice University, and Vegter also is a Juilliard grad, while Sterrett has degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Yale School of Music and Drehmann has degrees from University of Minnesota and the Manhattan School. Kuhlmann didn't start out on the French horn.
''I used to play flute and a lot of other instruments, she said. ''I don't know if I thought there were too many flute players, but someone suggested the horn, and once I started playing it, I really fell in love with it. It's something that came to me kind of randomly, and now I can't imagine playing anything else.''
When the Barbies aren't together, its members can be heard playing with the New York Philharmonic and the Seattle Symphony, touring with David Byrne or playing in traditional quartets.
However, none of those groups play ''The Thong Song.''
Sisqo's ode to bikini bottoms - or bottoms in bikinis - was one of the first arrangements Kuhlmann crafted for the group (several videos of Genghis Barbie playing it can be found on YouTube). And it turns out to be surprisingly melodic.
''It's not just playing the 'Thong Song','' she said. ''It becomes our own music after awhile. You put four horns together, it's not going to sound like a pop song.''
The group has tossed everything from Queen's ''Somebody to Love'' to Lady Gaga's ''Bad Romance'' onto the Barbie for horn-driven arrangements. The band always is on the lookout that hot pop single that will lend itself to the group's style, but Kuhlmann said they mostly pick songs they like.
That means ''Call Me Maybe'' didn't get the call, but Kuhlmann is working on an arrangement of Taylor Swift's new single, ''We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.''
''I picked it because I like it, and it's going to work really well,'' she said.
Expect to hear a mix of contemporary and classical pieces when the quartet performs Tuesday at Trinity United Methodist Church as well as songs from its next album, which will be a collection of lullabies.
The group is playing a lot of colleges on its current tour, and the musicians have to juggle Genghis Barbie dates among their other commitments.
''We love this group so much, we're willing to put as much time in as we have. This is sort of our thing. We do all of the book, all of the arranging. We do everything.''