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Thread: Brass Band megathread

  1. Quote Originally Posted by Magikarp View Post
    My suggestions for what make a brass band the best choice for euphonium players would be:

    Philip Wilby's Paganini Variations, Masquerade, Dove Descending, and Revelation
    Edward Gregson's Connotations, and Variations On Laudate Dominium
    Peter Graham's The Essence Of Time, and The Torchbearer
    Gilbert Vinter's Spectrum, Variations On A Ninth, Symphony Of Marches

    Also Frank Wright's arrangements of Berlioz' Le Carnaval Romain, Lalo's Le Roi d'Ys etc

    So much to get your teeth into! And that's even starting on classic repertoire by the likes of Goff Richards, Howard Snell, Ray Farr et al.
    One of my favorites is Eric Ball's "Resurgam". What a wonderful piece for the whole band as well as euphonium. I have performed Vintner's "Spectrum" (Not one of my favs) in competition (but I was on 1st baritone), and "The Essence of Time" with Peter Graham conducting (I was assistant solo euphonium along with Lars Otto Torsvik of Eikanger)
    Sterling Virtuoso 1065HGS & Adams E3 Prototype 0.70 Top Sprung valves
    Sterling Virtuoso 1050HGS baritone
    New England Brass Band
    Winchendon Winds/Townsend Military Band

  2. #22
    I'd love to respond that I'm currently playing with a brass band, but that is not the case.

    I started out in Germany in the mid-80s and played in several pickup SA groups. More fun than music, frankly.

    Upon returning to the US in the mid-90s, I looked for opportunities but didn't find one until I got to Salt Lake City, UT in 2001. Played 2nd Euph, then Principal Euph with the Utah Premiere Brass until 2003 when my job search overrided my ability to practice.

    Played 2nd Euph with the Brass Band of the Western Reserve for about a year in 2004, then moved to Principal in 2005 for about a year. Then a job move forced me to give up that gig, which killed me -- but ya gotta eat, yunno?

    Tried to form a brass band in Columbia, MO in about 2008, but that simply did not work for lots of reasons.

    Played 2nd BBb tuba with the Natural State Brass Band, beginning in 2017 for about a year. But as I just don't want to play tuba on a regular basis, I resigned my position and since then have been "scuffling." I'm now fully retired from the work force and thus have time to "start" something, but there is a dearth of players in my area - unfortunately.

    One thing is clear -- there is NO better gig than playing euph in a British-style brass band. I've loved it for 35 years now.
    U.S. Army, Retired (built mid-1950s)
    Adams E2 Euph (built 2017)
    Boosey & Co. Imperial Euph (built 1941)
    Edwards B454 Bass Trombone (built 2012)
    Boosey & Hawkes Imperial Eb tuba (built 1958)
    Kanstul 33-T lBBb tuba (built 2010)

  3. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by anadmai View Post
    If youíre going Elsaís itís the Bill Himes arrangement or bust. Some of my earliest band memories are this piece and the camp caretaker, former NYSB percussionist almost deafening me. Good times. I was probably 13 at the time.

    Better than this?!!

    This is Howard Snell's arrangement. He also did March from Respighi's Pines Of Rome which is monumental, and a wonderful version of You'll Never Walk Alone amongst many others.
    Adams E2 0.80 Yellow Brass, Satin Lacquer, Blue Abalone Buttons
    AR Resonance M Top / L Backbore Gold Plated Phosphor Bronze

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Summerfield, Florida
    My experience with brass bands has been:

    A little bit on trombone in the Spokane Brass Band
    A wee little bit with the Las Vegas Brass Band on euphonium

    I love playing this type of music and in this type of group. It is without question, especially in the upper-section bands, the most difficult music overall that you will ever play in an ensemble setting. And the principal cornet and solo euphonium are definitely two key players. It doesn't get much better than that.

    I am really struggling with a decision right now as there is an opening for solo euphonium in the Brass Band of Central Florida (BBCF), a championship level band. I live about an hour and a half away. I met a trombone player in a community band I joined recently after moving to Florida in May (2022), and his wife plays tenor horn in the BBCF. She told me about the opening and sent some introductory comments about myself to the MD of the band. He has contacted me and asked about commitment level and such as they are very much getting prepped up to play at the next NABBA championships in Alabama (April 2023 I think). I checked out the test piece and it is a humdinger "Titan’s Progress" by Hermann Pallhuber. I believe this was the test piece in the UK a couple years or so ago. Do a search on YouTube and you will find the Cory Band playing it.

    I think there are three euphonium players including me so far who are interested. I just am not sure that I want to or can devote the amount of time and energy (and money - you pay your way for everything, including air fare, hotels, etc. when traveling and you don't get a penny for playing in the group - just for the love of it for sure) that this band would require. I already am in one, maybe two concert bands, and was just recently invited to join a performing brass quintet on trombone which I have decided to do. Plus, at my age, and I hate to admit it, my best playing days are probably behind me.

    I am happy that I still seem pretty competent and decent, but it takes me longer to warm up and be ready than before, and it takes me longer to learn new hard stuff than it used to. And it seems I have to play more scales for a longer period of time each day to keep up my skills. Bummer, wish you could keep getting better indefinitely. So, I have to reckon with the reality that I might not even make it into this band. They are a really awesome group of musicians, and you have to be at the top of your game for this band. The previous solo euphonium player is an incredible talent, won many contests, and is on his way to stardom for sure.

    So, this may just be a wish that goes unfulfilled, time will tell. But there is another brass band close by that I might just really jump at if the opportunity arises.
    John Morgan
    The U.S. Army Band (Pershing's Own) 1971-1976
    Adams E3 Custom Series Euphonium, Wessex EP-100 Dolce Euphonium, 1956 B&H Imperial Euphonium
    Adams TB1 Tenor Trombone, Yamaha YBL-822G Bass Trombone
    Kingdom of the Sun Concert Band, Ocala, FL (Euphonium)

  5. Brass Banding as we get older

    John Morgan,

    I completely understand the conundrum you are facing. I began to stare down the "when is brass banding too much for me" issues one year prior to the pandemic. All of the issues you discuss are exactly the ones I pondered. I had been in the New England Brass Band for 11 years, approaching age 70, and was wondering how long my tenure should continue. I found I have to spend more time practicing the repertoire, particularly since my reading (eye to brain to fingers/embouchure to sound) is not as good as it used to be. If I have memorized the passage, I do much better. so the basic mechanics are not the biggest issue, but vision/reaction time is an issue for me. Endurance and range also had become an issue.

    Faced with this decision, and also the time commitment as a director, treasurer, and librarian of the non-profit the runs the NEBB, I decided that the end of the 2019-2020 season was the right time to retire. Of course, the abrupt end in March of 2020 to the season made that decision easier. I also left the Metropolitan Wind Symphony where I had played solo euphonium for 2 years as a long time sub. I do continue to substitute on occasion for both, but instead have committed myself to one year-round community band and two other summer-only groups, one of which is the Winchendon Winds, a professional wind ensemble. This schedule meant that I never was in more than two groups at a time and that the rep would be more suitable to my somewhat diminishing skills.

    During the 2 year pandemic hiatus, I had pretty much convinced myself that my playing skills had degraded to the point that I would likely have to also leave the "occasional sub" role for the top two performing groups in the greater Boston area (Met Winds and NEBB). However, by happenstance, in March of 2022, I was asked to sub for the NEBB in their May concert series for the new solo euphonium performer who had gotten a DCI job requiring he be out of town for the scheduled concert dates. Also, all three of my regular groups ended up with May/June/July schedules. So all of a sudden, I am back to playing very demanding rep (though not in competition), and with a crazy 4-6 engagement/week schedule.

    I am almost through the far side of this crazy three months and found three things that have made it bearable.

    1. I started practicing my ass off with the planned brass band rep in early April. I got just two rehearsals before the 1st performance. The rep included Eric Ball's Resurgam and the Philip Sparke trumpet/cornet Conccerto. The time it takes to learn rep is still more than I would like.
    2. I adjusted my equipment by committing myself 100% to my Adams E3 and switching to the David Childs DC4 (see Dave Werden's write up and experience). I will write more on this topic, but the change to the DC4 on the Adams gave back the range and endurance that I had been gradually losing due to age. My sound and ability to do 2 hour rehearsals/concerts was transfomed.
    3. The professional wind ensemble had a stellar year and everyone in it stepped up this year. The quality of performance was so good that my motivation to perform went over the top.

    So I have no great words of wisdom for you, but rest assured that you are not alone!

    Your friend in music,
    Sterling Virtuoso 1065HGS & Adams E3 Prototype 0.70 Top Sprung valves
    Sterling Virtuoso 1050HGS baritone
    New England Brass Band
    Winchendon Winds/Townsend Military Band

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Farmington Hills, MI
    John I have the same concerns about competition brass banding. I did this for years in First Section bands and the number of rehearsals not to mention the intense pressure can be overwhelming. First Section test pieces are now extremely difficult and Championship phenomenally so. Circumstances moved me from brass banding to a very good community band and in many ways Iím thankful.

  7. #27
    This thread makes me realize that as a person starting up again in his 70s after 50 years hiatus, I must set realistic goals! I am lucky enough to play in a VFW band (trombone) and a newly formed community band (Euphonium) until they come to their senses!!! For that, I will also be thankful! But I still need to work on playing that Prestige in tune on high notes!!!

  8. #28
    That’s a nice arrangement.

    Still like the Hime’s arrangement for sentimental reasons.

    Quote Originally Posted by Magikarp View Post
    Better than this?!!

    This is Howard Snell's arrangement. He also did March from Respighi's Pines Of Rome which is monumental, and a wonderful version of You'll Never Walk Alone amongst many others.

    Meet the Family
    Junior - Euphonium - 1906 - Henry Distin Mfg.
    Hastings - Trombone - 1952 - Boosey and Hawkes
    Bramwell - Euphonium - 1988 - Besson/Boosey and Hawkes (BE967)
    Donna - Baritone - 2012 - Dillon Music
    Margaret - Baritone - 2015 - Sterling1050HGS

    New York Staff Band :1991-1994
    Philadelphia Freedom Band - 2022-
    Lancaster British Brass Band (all hail the 2nd baritone) - 2022-

  9. #29
    Missed this thread, but all of you Philly people need to check out Atlantic Brass Band - they rehearse at Rowan University in Glassboro, NJ and are a championship NABBA band. My first brass band experience was as a founding member of the original Silicon Valley Brass Band (San Jose, CA), created by former members of Chicago and Illinois. This was in 2008? 2009? I knew nothing of brass bands, the role of Euphonium in brass band and basically had no idea what I was doing. In 2010 my wife was accepted to medical school at Penn State Hershey and we moved across the country. I settled playing in a local private college music department (2 wind ensembles, a brass choir and tuba ensemble while working full time) and one day had had a visitor, Dr. Bryan Appleby-Wineberg, Principal Cornet of the Atlantic Brass Band. He heard me playing on stage during a dress rehearsal with the freshman concert band, introduced himself afterwards and invited me to audition for the 2nd Euphonium spot Atlantic had. My life was forever changed in that moment, even with a twice weekly 100 mile drive. I passed the audition and spent the next 2 years sitting in the best seat on the planet, with Dr. Amy Schumaker Bliss playing into my ear twice a week. I competed at two NABBAs, the 2013 WMC in Kerkrade, NL and so many concerts and performances. I had found my calling as a euphonium player. Wife was accepted into residency back in San Jose and so in 2014 we moved back across the country. A new brass band had splintered from Silicon Valley and became Mission Peak and then Silicon Valley went belly-up. Mission Peak is a community group and upon returning I found that it did not fill the niche that I had missed playing with Atlantic. I vowed to start my own competitive brass band and did so in 2019, the San Francisco Brass Band. We became the first brass band ever from the state of CA to compete at NABBA this past year with excellent results - while the band finished 5/6 in 2nd Section, we had three soloists place in the solo competition and our cornets won the small ensemble contest! We are trying to show the world what CA can offer and bring that commitment to excellence found in NABBA groups to our community. Next on our list is to host a regional festival and invite other CA and west coast bands to participate in a NABBA like event who cannot afford to make the official trek annually.

    And John - Margie and Neil are good people, tell them I said Hello!
    Adams E3 0.6 with SS Bell
    K&G 3.5D
    Founder and Solo Euphonium
    San Francisco Brass Band

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Summerfield, Florida
    Doug and Jake,

    Thanks for the nice message, Doug. I can really sense the "second wind" you seem to have gotten lately. And good for you for doing what you did. I am practicing now as much as I can daily so that I can be in some sort of decent shape should an invite come calling.

    And it looks like both of you know Margie and Neil, what a small world we're in indeed. Yes, they are good people and they have had both Linda and me over to their place and made us feel welcome in our new spot in the world.

    Good luck with the San Francisco Brass Band, Jake!

    I am fortunate to have landed in several ensembles already. Just not quite sure if the Brass Band of Central Florida is in the cards or not. We will see. I am leaning on giving it a go to see if I can make it if given the opportunity...
    John Morgan
    The U.S. Army Band (Pershing's Own) 1971-1976
    Adams E3 Custom Series Euphonium, Wessex EP-100 Dolce Euphonium, 1956 B&H Imperial Euphonium
    Adams TB1 Tenor Trombone, Yamaha YBL-822G Bass Trombone
    Kingdom of the Sun Concert Band, Ocala, FL (Euphonium)

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