sousaphone and whit friday

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by BASEMANIAN, Jun 4, 2009.



    does anyone know if your allowed to use a sousaphone at whit friday
  2. ronnie_the_lizard

    ronnie_the_lizard Active Member

    Depends on the individual contests rules, for example HERE

    For most it would be acceptable to use one, and not unusual on the 'road march' BUT you are unlikely to win a prize if you use (and sound like you're using) a sousaphone on the contest stage.


    not playing it myself my niece is playing for lancaster uni and she asked the question ,Tried to talk them out of it but not listening
  4. iancwilx

    iancwilx Well-Known Member

    I agree with Ron.
    I have played a sousaphone professionally for over 30 years and I don't think the "blurpy" tone from the high, forward facing bell would do a band any favours on a contest platform.
    The distinctive tone is evident throughout the register and at all dynamic levels.
    But you can do no more than advise your niece that it's not looking spectacular that counts, it's winning prizes.
    I would add that they are magnificent for actually physical marching when positioned in the rear rank of the band.

    I wish her luck !

    - Wilkie
  5. lets have all marching bands invovled, anything with legs.
  6. Al

    Al Member

    Did you use the sousaphone?

    This picture was taken of an English salvation army band in the late nineteenth century, when apparently the instrument was quite popular. So it seems the instrument isn't foreign to British brass bands.

  7. deave

    deave Member

    popular? really?
  8. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    Erm, that's actually a helicon ;)
  9. We as bandsmen have turned this into a carnival(farce)with cheating, it will at least be a giggle attitude. its a brassband contest, it would be even better if bands turned up with only their own players instead of this free for all.
  10. Al

    Al Member

    I found the original clip which suggests the instrument was popular in the late nineteenth century, albeit for a short time.

    Cheers brassneck. I hadn't intended to suggest it was an actual sousaphone or anything. More that there used to be a brass instrument thingy like a sousaphone used in British brass bands.

    Whether it should be used on Whit Friday? It depends on how traditional we as bandsmen want to keep it. I have to admit that I was originally a little horrified at the likes of Chav Brass and Pirate Brass appearing at what is essentially a religious based festival, but I soon realised that this was all part of the atmosphere and attraction for the day. As long as the majority are serious brass bands then all is well and good.

    fatstickmanslim has made a few good points in one sentence. The Whit Friday Marches will be what they will be, (with rather small) warts and all. What ever it is and becomes, it is unique.

    See ya'all next year !
  11. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    I think it would be more fun playing with the "over the shoulder" period instruments shown on this site here. :rolleyes:
  12. Brian Kelly

    Brian Kelly Active Member

    Sousaphones were quite popular for a time with British Salvation Army bands. Coventry City and Regent Hall SA Bands used sousaphones into the 1970s, and I think odd ones (Tunbridge Wells and Birmingham Sparkhill, I think) used them even later.

    I have also seen photographs of American SA bands using sousaphones, looking very impressive.

    Perhaps Peter Bale can provide more information?
  13. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    Not much to say, really, except that one of Coventry City's sousaphones belonged to my Dad until recently, doing sterling serivce at Bier Keller evenings and at Alton Towers, including an appearance on "What's my line" on TV ;)

    I also remember seeing George Crooks (?) using his on the march at the Rink, as well as one of the Sheringham bandsmen playing sousaphone as a novelty item quite recently.
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2009
  14. Al

    Al Member

    I could never understand the link between Sousaphones and Bier Keller type music.

    The traditional bass instrument of the Bavarian Bier Swilling band is the big Saxhorn surely, albeit possibly rotary valve operated.

    Perhaps it is just in Britain that we think sousaphones are of Germanic origin?
  15. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    I know that from a practical point of view, the sousaphone is quite handy as you can just leave it sitting round your neck when encouraging the punters to clap along etc.
  16. iancwilx

    iancwilx Well-Known Member

    Exactly !
    It also frees you up for singing, tambourine playing and generally inciting crowds to fever pitch.
    AND - you can also grab a quick sip of your own sherbet now and then !!
    At Sports Club gigs they just love to try and lob their bread rolls down your bell end !!

    - Wilkie ( 33 years a Bavarian Oompah Bandleader - and it shows !!)
  17. Independent Silver Band

    Independent Silver Band Active Member

    Having marched with both sousaphones, and tubas, I can say that the sousaphone is much easier to handle on the march. They , as a rule, don't have a tone quality equal to that of a tuba, but there are degrees of quality in the sousaphones as there are in all instruments. I own three helicons. One BB flat, one E flat, and one in F, all over one hundred years old.

    A friend of mine uses a helicon with a bracket soldered to the instrument to hold his beer stein.
  18. Maestro

    Maestro Active Member

    That would have been Brian Pegg Peter. He usually played Shepherd of Israel or Tuba Smarties on it, then for his encore he would play Amazing Grace on an old gas pipe lamplight he rigged up. He originally used the sousaphone when the local SA band used to dress up as buskers and lead the local carnival.
  19. T Winch

    T Winch Member

    I might be wrong, but I have some recollection of Regent Hall band reintroducing Sousaphones in the late 80's. I'm sure I remember them being presented with 2 new ones.
  20. Red Elvis

    Red Elvis Active Member

    I certainly remember coming up to town doing the touristy bit with my parents in the 80's ( early rather than late ) and watching Regent Hall marching along Oxford Street back to the rink , and they had sousaphones then .

    When I came to London to work at the old Middlesex Hospital in 2000 they were using "proper" basses on the march - they regularly used to hold open air meetings in the forecourt of the hospital , right below the windows of the ITU where I worked.

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