tMP Newbie

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by JustinM, Jan 2, 2015.

  1. JustinM

    JustinM New Member

    Hi all, I'm a trombonist from the western side of the Atlantic, where I play in the Allegheny Brass Band (among other things) based in the great city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. We don't contest, so I have no idea where we'd fit in the British section classifications, but we do have quite a wide variety of skill levels in the group. Not that I have much hope of this, but it would be really nice if someday the North American brass band scene got to where it is overseas.
  2. DS2014

    DS2014 Active Member

    Welcome, Justin. Hope you enjoy the forum. Lots of interesting people on here who all share a love for brass banding.
  3. 2nd tenor

    2nd tenor Active Member

    I'll second that.

    Brass Bands might be few in number in the US but, IMHO, there are some high quality groups. Whilst I'm no longer a member of the US (The) Trombone Forum I know from reading there just how seriously music is taken in the US. If you (the US) can put a man on the Moon then given your resources and drive anything is possible - Fountain City Brass Band is one example ( and if you only looked at the pictures on their website you wouldn't know they weren't Brititish.

    I hope that you will post again; some words and phrases mean different things here than they do in the US and like most sites we have a few posters who might be better elsewhere - nothing's perfect and, to quote DS2014, "Do not feed the Trolls".
  4. John Brooks

    John Brooks Well-Known Member

    Hi Justin and welcome. I live in Cambridge, Ontario which is about 60 miles west of Toronto; so just about 300 miles north east of Pittsburgh. I used to play cornet and trumpet but retired from playing a couple of years ago and now limit my "playing" to my extensive digital music collection :) I agree with the previous post, there are several very good bands in the U.S. and it's good to see the ongoing evolution.
  5. JustinM

    JustinM New Member

    We do have a group based in Pittsburgh that pays per service, and they do not use tenor horns, both of which I understand to be a bit of a touchy subject on your side of the pond. Of course, they're also able to attract people like Dr. James Gourlay, so perhaps they're doing something right.

    Brass bands used to be a very big deal here at the turn of the last century, but now they seem to be little more than a curiosity. The large geographical spaces between major cities also puts a damper on the competitive scene. When it takes five hours to fly from one coast to the other, it's hard to get bands and/or their members to pony up for the experience.
  6. 2nd tenor

    2nd tenor Active Member

    I guess you are referring to River City Brass (, and I guess that if you have French Horns (in F) readily available and no Tenor Horn (in Eb) players you make do somehow ...... a technicality. 'Pays per service', not sure what that means in 'UK' English. Dr G is no doubt brilliant but I suspect the funding model for RCB is not one that would work well here. Some professional conductors are paid something for the concerts and contests they do but many very able people gift their time and get little back in expenses so that ticket sales can cover the cost of their hobby.

    Contesting can't be big in the US for the simple reasons you give but I wonder whether, in the not too distant future, it will become more practical to remotely contest via a local TV/recording studio. In the mean time you have the US open ( and the likes of the Band of Central Florida ( who come over to the UK and wave the (your) flag. Some of your States (e.g. California, 38 Million; Florida, 20 Million, have large populations compared to some European countries so being a State Champion could be a very worthy title gained with bearable (in State) travel. I understand that rather than contesting 'local' Brass Band Festivals are popular (, but maybe I've not understood that correctly.

    As in the US Brass Bands used to be much more popular in the UK around 1900. I don't know what the popularity of brass music making will be in the future but suspect that Brass Banding is better positioned to grow in the US than the UK as music making seems to have a greater value in your school systems.
  7. JustinM

    JustinM New Member

    Yes indeed, the River City Brass. It appears that their funding is mostly corporate sponsorship and public/private grants, which is de rigueur for ensembles of all sorts here. Groups from the lowly community orchestras I play with up through the big-name symphonies pull from the same sorts of funding streams. I can't even begin to imagine, though, what it must be like to play over 70 engagements a year. ABB does about 25 and that seems like a lot.

    "Per service" pay is common here in professional groups that aren't big enough to sustain actual salaries for their musicians. I don't know how it works for RCB exactly, but typically a "service" is a 2.5 hour rehearsal or concert of any length. So, given that, in many groups it's possible to get counted for more than one service in the same day. LOTS of orchestras here are like that. For example, from the Symphony Orchestra Augusta's website:

  8. Bbmad

    Bbmad Active Member

    2T, It would be wrong of me to point out the obvious error in your statement there.....;-)
    Justin, welcome to tmp :)
  9. JustinM

    JustinM New Member

    Indeed, he's more complimentary of us than I am! :D

    And thanks!
  10. Bbmad

    Bbmad Active Member

    My friend, having briefly visited the USA, I have a great deal of admiration for its people. I just have my doubts about the moon landings.
  11. 2nd tenor

    2nd tenor Active Member

    Thinking of the above, and it's a real shame it's needed, you might find the following thread of interest - we've had a bit of trouble recently. I particularly liked response #77, see: .
  12. JustinM

    JustinM New Member

    I've already read that thread before my account was activated.

    It's endemic, but I still refuse to believe the common justification of, "It's the Internet, get used to it," to be valid. Aside from being a (very) active musician, I am also a geek who spends a great deal of time on said Internet, and while I do think that trolls are endemic (i.e., self sustaining without any need for external inputs), I don't believe that means we should simply suck it up and deal with it as if it is an unsolvable problem.

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