The rise and rise of the English Brass Band

October 27, 2014

the composer/arranger

The English-style brass band is unique in its origins and instrumentation. Men who performed heavy duty work in hostile environments found it easier to pick up brass instruments than orchestral instruments such as violins and woodwinds and their employers often encouraged them to do so, providing rehearsal facilities and sponsorship. High-achieving bands were associated with the company, often sharing its name, and helped to promote an image of commercial success and philanthropy. Musical activities also diverted employees’ energies away from trade union and political interests.

In recent times many bands have lost their sponsorship, especially those associated with the mining industry. In the nineteen seventies, Prime Minister Edward Heath’s Conservative government was effectively brought down by the miners which created a determination in the Party that it must never happen again. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was so incensed that Conservative ideology could be thwarted in this way that she set…

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