British style Brass Bands are quite active in the United Kingdom and other parts of Europe. There are many competitive events to challenge the musical ability of these groups.
In the United States, there is a growing interest in the British Brass Band style of music. The Fountain City Brass Band in Kansas City competes internationally in brass band competition. More information can be found at: http://fcbb.net/
In Virginia, James Madison University has had a well-known British style Brass Band for some time, under the direction of Kevin Sties. More information can be found here: http://www.jmubrassband.org/
British Brass Band History
Today’s British Brass Bands primarily evolved from one of three band types dating from the 1800’s:
1) Patronage Bands—formed from a particular workplace using professional musician supplemented by volunteers;
2) Subscription Bands—a band formed to support a particular cause or goal, primarily comprised of community volunteers; and
3) Volunteer Bands—these bands were developed to indirectly support the military.
Since the brass band music is written in treble clef, it was not difficult to fill particular instruments needs, since the fingering for all brass valve instruments would be the same.
British Brass Band Instruments
The traditional British Brass Band has only brass instruments, no reeds—no clarinets or saxophones—and no strings—no violins.
Instrumentation is set such that there are a certain number of each instrument and no more. For example, there are to be two BBb tubas and two EEb tubas; two euphoniums; two baritones; one bass trombone; and so on. The other instruments are cornets and tenor trombones. All of this is supplemented with a percussion section of one to five players.