What is a "Progressive Brass Band" ?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Richard N., Dec 10, 2014.

  1. Richard N.

    Richard N. New Member

    I've been reading the discussions on the demise of brass bands, the rise of the professional bandsman, etc., with interest - and as a follow up have been looking at a number of brass band websites, which has raised a few questions for me.

    I'll start with this one.....

    Many bands describe themselves on their websites as a "Progressive Brass Band" - what does this actually mean?
  2. Bbmad

    Bbmad Active Member

    They like to perform a lot of King Crimson, Emerson Lake and Palmer and Pink Floyd.
  3. 2nd tenor

    2nd tenor Well-Known Member

    I take it to mean open to new ideas and not stuck in the past. Not sure how it works out in practice, but IMHO there's a need for a change that's balances new ideas whilst retaining those from the past that still have value (value to the particular band's members and the community it belongs to).
  4. Bob Sherunkle

    Bob Sherunkle Active Member

    It means they don't have uniforms so take to the stage in black (ish) shirts.

    And they play the arrangement of the up-tempo number "Happy"

    That's usually about it.
  5. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Oddly enough it's a phrase that arrives in my ear with rather an old-fashioned ring to it. Of a vintage with bands calling themselves "xxxx Brass Ensemble" despite being clearly a brass band.
  6. Richard N.

    Richard N. New Member

    I think it is a meaningless "buzz word" that is used to fill a bit of empty website space. it's along the lines of bands advertising for new players and describing themselves using words like "welcoming, friendly" - as though there are bands out there that are unfriendly and despise newcomers!
  7. Bbmad

    Bbmad Active Member

    Try googling it. Here are a few snippets of bands that describe themselves as progressive:

    "Our main activities, apart from entering band contests throughout the year, include concerts, marches, social events and tours. We perform concerts in the community"

    "We are a non-contesting band of 3-4[SUP]th[/SUP] section standard (Class A locally) with a diary of diverse engagements at various venues. Our concerts are interesting and challenging and are enjoyed by our audiences and members. Instruments are usually available on loan and there are no subscriptions to pay."

    " We are a First Section contesting band and enjoy performing a wide range of Brass Band music at regular concerts. Our main objective is to encourage and provide opportunities for all ages to play or learn a musical instrument, but particularly devote time to the development of children from local schools. We aim to raise both awareness and musical standards through the variety of performance."

    "performing music in a wide variety of styles for many occasions. "

    And here are some bands who do not describe themselves as being progressive on their websites:

    "we are proud to be at the heart of the local community. We perform a regular series of concerts throughout the year ranging from summer afternoon music in the region's parks to evening concerts"

    "We have a regular programme of concerts scheduled throughout the year, TV and film work, and regularly compete against other brass bands at venues around the country."

    " the band consists of local players who provide live music for the local community. Although at present the band does not contest we are of 4th section standard. "

    " our repertoire consists of a varied programme which provides something for everyone"

    "We are delighted therefore to welcome players of all standards into our organization. Where possible we will provide instruments if required."

    So in conclusion, I don't really know what bands mean when they describe themselves as progressive.
  8. Bob Sherunkle

    Bob Sherunkle Active Member

    I can still remember the xxxx Brass Ensemble causing quite a rumpus when they took to the stage at the London Area Contest (Watford), late 70s probably) in polo neck sweaters.

    Dentures flew accross the auditorium in outrage.

    How progressive was that ??

    (I don't think they did it again)
  9. x9ret

    x9ret Member

    A band that marches in a forward direction only. No reverse maneuvers. No turns greater than 90 degrees shall be entertained.
  10. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Sweat must have been the operative word! Wouldn't fancy that... Even warmer than band jackets... At least you can radiate heat from the belly in one of those. Which is of course why some of us cultivate a larger belly surface area - it's a banding-adapted heat fin.
  11. DS2014

    DS2014 Active Member

    Ha ha, I love it. "Progressive"...load of nonsense
  12. katieeuph

    katieeuph Member

  13. Richard N.

    Richard N. New Member

    The criteria make a nonsense too - "The project may be designed... ...commission new, original, music" but "No awards will be made towards the purchase of.. ...music".

    Who is going to be able to commission new music without paying for it!
  14. marc71178

    marc71178 Member

    They're not nonsense at all. By purchasing music it clearly means music that's already been published.
  15. Bbmad

    Bbmad Active Member

    Definitely nonsense
  16. John Brooks

    John Brooks Well-Known Member

    This is a great topic but I think is about as subjective as adjudicating at contests. A "progessive" 4th section band wants to make it to Championship status; a "progressive" championship band want to stay there; a "progressive" band will play more "modern" music (hopefully within their capabilities); the list could go on. Is Whitburn being "progressive" by engaging Dr. Childs (as just announced)? Were Grimethorpe being "progessive" in the 70's / 80's when Elgar Howarth was so involved? Would a CD containing only (for example) The Maunsell Forts; Grimethorpe Aria; and Prague be considered "progressive"? Was it "progress" when large bore instruments replaced small bore? Was it "progress" when CD's replaced LP Records? It all depends on how you define "progress" and that, imho, is very personal and hence equally subjective.

    Here are a couple of non-musical examples: Back in 1954, Roger Bannister said he was prepared to die in attempting to run the first sub-four minute mile - he didn't and the result was "progress"; had he died in the attempt, would that still have been considered "progress"? Thomas Edison was mocked for failing in 1200 attempts to create the incandescent light bulb - he countered with "I have not failed, I have discovered 1200 materials that won't work" - in other words Edison had made "progress" x 1200 but that was not the consensus at the time.