Well-Known Member
The North American Brass Band Association had been promoting brass bands in the US for several decades. They have been a little lenient with their rules. For example you could use BBb tubas instead of Eb tubas and F-horns rather than Eb.

No Longer.

They are going to follow the UK model. The idea is that the top Brass Band in the Championship Division in the US would be close to the Championship Level in the UK. The test pieces are harder and the judging will be tougher.

Because of this, several bands have been moved down a division. But the competition should be more fun and intense. The problem for some bands is that the competition is in Indiana. That is a long travel for bands West of the Mississippi.

But NABBA grows each and every year and more and more youth bands are coming. The top US bands like River City Brass Band, Central Florida Brass Band, and the Atlantic Brass Band are top-notch bands.

Follow US Banding at: NABBA



Well-Known Member
I have wondered in the past if the time will come for NABBA to launch some king of regional structure in its competition. If you go to the BrassBandResults map, drag it across to the US, and turn on venue plotting, as NABBA represents almost all of the venues used for brass band contesting in the continent, you can see the range of geography that it's been held over over the years. Fort Wayne, Indiana is smack in the middle of all those markers - equally inconvenient for bands from New England, Ontario, the Carolinas, Arkansas, Kansas, and Minnesota. It's about as sensible a location for not putting off regular attending bands as might be found.

In terms of banding density, the bands largely follow the populations. Looking at the map, we see that the Eastern third of the US contains most of its bands, and that those bias towards the NE, with an isolated tail in Florida - but we also see that there are quite a few bands that don't fit this convenience, with in particular quite a community on the West coast. These bands are never seen at NABBA - persuade a group of 25 to travel 2,000 miles to a band competition when they've never played in one before? A tough sell and a big task to organise. But another competition designed to be more convenient for them might create some interest. Where to hold it? California - say the San Francisco area - would be relatively central to the greatest cluster of banding activity there, but a long way still from the Washington and Texas bands. Colorado would be closer to Texas but further from California (about the same from Washington, give or take), and might draw in the odd band from the Western side of the regular NABBA base too, but would maybe risk everyone being put off by the distance.

One approach might be to hold the regular NABBA event out West, but that might not be sensible - could risk a low turn-out. But a secondary event, one that started out independent from the main event but might in time be turned into part of a competing structure, that would be interesting. Guess the stumbling block would be probably finding people with the time to organise! But US brass banding is a dynamic and growing scene still in the expansionary phase, filled with forward-looking people.


Active Member
Creating a single national contest in such a huge country (just like in Australia) that makes everyone happy is pretty much impossible. Probably the only fair way is to move the contest between cities with nearby high densities of bands and encourage regional events in for areas when the national contest is on the wrong side of the country.


Well-Known Member
It's not just one huge country, it's two - Canada is included also. I think the Australian state championship model could offer pointers as to how to work it, although there aren't the small number of easy sub-national divisions that Australia has.


Well-Known Member
If this change over works, some others will happen. NABBA has its hands full PROMOTING Brass Banding. It is just now big enough some serious contesting. Regionals are probably a bit down the road. In the US, no one Charters a Bus. You have to fly. Pikes Peak Brass Band attends from Colorado - 1500 miles away. But I am sure they fly. The US is so big and when you add Canada Like MoominDave said -- no matter where the contest is located, some band would have to fly in.

Could you imagine if there was a contesting band in Alaska?


Active Member
I wouldn't canvass opinions from people over here, there are people in Barnsley that think the RAH is too far to go for a contest. Can't imagine what they would imagine as an acceptable distance for the Honolulu Silver Band.


Well-Known Member
Yes, in the US driving 3 to 10 hours is acceptable. NABBA does the best it can to attract as many bands a possible. I would love to see the Spokane Brass Band or the Portland Brass Band play, but that is close to a 3000 mile trip


We really don't worry about distances. I have a diesel VW and get great gas milage. Several members of the band I am auditioning for a Thursday drive 3 hours just for rehearsals. The community band I play in has a contest/festival on Saturday which is a 230 mile drive. I can drive clear accross Tennessee before I can get to my own state Capital. I live near Evansville and can get to Nashville in about the same time I could get to Indianapolis.


It is a different midset here. I hear that the traffic in London is crazy, so we all have things to deal with.


Well-Known Member
Ken Huckstepp of the NSW band association has kindly been adding a lot of historical Australian nationals results to BBR recently, going back to 1897. You've got to admire the far-sightedness of those that set up and then kept rolling such an ambitious contest - intended to cover bands over a country 1,500 x 2,500 miles in size in an age when trains and ships were the only real options for long-distance travel. But although the odd attendee came a very long way, for many years entrants largely restricted themselves to travelling more-or-less sensible distances - the venue rotated (between Sydney and Ballarat, Victoria in the early days, but expanding to take in a wider range of the country in time), and the bands that entered tended to cluster around the venue location - it was not until relatively recently (70s/80s) that it was commonplace for bands even in the A Grade to enter every year regardless of location - the 1974 contest in Hobart, Tasmania had only 3 A Grade entrants, while the 1979 contest in Perth, Western Australia attracted only 14 bands (compared to 1978's 42 in Melbourne and 1980's 29 in South Australia), of which only 4 came from out of state, and 9 came from within Perth and its suburbs.

It was the 2013 contest that was most recently held in Perth - 2014 was in Brisbane. And that still deterred most of the entry: 2012 in Melbourne - 48 bands; 2013 in Perth - 21 bands; 2014 in Brisbane - 47 bands.

Australia's geography is a pretty decent comparison to the US's, leaving Canada out of the NABBA brief for a moment - both countries longer W-E than N-S, and both more or less (very roughly) in a sort of rectangular shape, both approx. 1,500 x 2,500 miles, both with population and banding biased to one part of the Eastern side, but with some density of bands everywhere. The inclusion of Canada changes things, but Canadian entries to NABBA tend to be a bit of a special case anyhow - relatively few and the contest is well established in US locations - it's only been in Canada once (I think without checking). And when one considers that both Canadian population and banding mostly occupy a thinnish strip along the US border, and mostly in an area not far from New England at that, the effect of the extra country becomes quite a bit smaller than might be expected. It's mostly the banding history that's different.
Last edited:


Well-Known Member
And when one considers that both Canadian population and banding mostly occupy a thinnish strip along the US border
This didn't used to be. Bands came from all over. I think the immense growth of Salvation Army bands in Canada keeps the development of contesting brass bands low.


Well-Known Member
What I was trying to say is that "all over" in Canadian terms encompasses a much smaller part of the country than it does in the US. There are no bands in Nunavut, the NW Territories, or even the Yukon because the population density up there is loooow. Plus the Southern 'layer' of provinces has populations biased heavily towards their Southern ranges. Of the mainland provinces, not a single one has a brass band on the map that lies North of the N-S midpoint of its area. The Northernmost bands in North America that I'm aware of are in Edmonton, Alberta, only some 300 miles North of the US border - about 20% of the extent of the country.


Well-Known Member
Quite true. As you get above that 300 miles it is cold. Many places are frozen year round. I do not know if I have ever heard of a band from the cold (including Alaska) or a band in Hawaii. There are bands in Spokane & Portland. Then you add Golden State Brass Band, Pacific Brass Band, Mission Peak Brass Band, the ever growing Rakia Brass Band -- all from California.

The Las Vegas Brass Band (you can hear on my station) is excellent.

Here is a master list:

Brass Bands in the United States and Canada

Advocate Brass Band, Kentucky
Allegheny Brass Band, Pennsylvania
Americus Brass Band, California
Armory Band. Redlands CA
Athena Brass Band, Maryland
Atlantic Brass Band New Jersey
Austin Brass Band. Texas.
Bainbridge Brass Band, Georgia
Belle City Brassworks Brass Band. Wisconsin
Benfield Brass Band Maryland
Big River Brass Band, Iowa
Billtown Brass, Pennsylvania
Brass Band Northwest, Washington
Brass Band of Battle Creek Michigan
Brass Band of Central Florida Florida
Brass Band of Central Illinois Illinois
Brass Band of Columbus Ohio
Brass Band of Huntsville, Alabama
Brass Band of Minot North Dakota
Brass Band of the Piedmont, North Carolina
Brass Band of Nashville, Tennessee
Brass Band of the Tri-State,Kentucky
Brass Band of the Western Reserve, Ohio
Brass of the Potomac Washington DC
Brassworks Centennial Band Utah
Brio Brass. Twin Cities, MN Minnesota
Brushy Creek Brass Band, Texas.
Buffalo Silver Band, New York
Capital Brass! New York
Capital City Brass Band Michigan
Carter Mountain Brass Band New Hampshire
Celebration Brass Band
Centennial Brass Band
Central Michigan University Brass Band
Central Ohio Brass Band, Ohio
Chapel Brass, Ohio.
Charleston Brass Band, West Virginia
Chesapeake Silver Cornet Brass Band Delaware
Chester Brass Band, Nova Scotia (Canada)
Chicago Brass Band, Illinois
Cincinnati Brass Band, Ohio
Classic Brass. Connecticut
Clinch River Brass, Tennessee
Commonwealth Brass Band, Kentucky
Congress Street Brass Band New Jersey
Crossroads Brass Band of Central Indiana
Danbury Brass Band, Connecticut
Derby City Brass Band, Kentucky
Dominion Brass Band, Virginia
Dublin Silver Band (British-style), Ohio
Eastern Iowa Brass Band, Iowa
East Woodstock Cornet Band, Connecticut
Farragut Brass Band, Washington
Federal City Brass Band, Maryland
Festive Brass of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Fountain City Brass Band, Missouri
Freedom Brass Band, Ohio
Free State Brass Band, Kansas
Georgia Brass Band, Georgia
Golden State British Brass Band, California
Gospel Brass Band, West Virginia
Gramercy Brass Orchestra, New York
Great Western Rocky Mountain Brass Band, Colorado
Green Mountain Brass Band, Vermont
Griffon Brass Band, Quebec, Canada
Hannaford Street Silver Band, Ontari0, Canada
Heartland Brass, California
Henderson State University Brass Band, Arkansas
Heritage Brass Band of Dallas, Texas
Hickman Brass, Nevada
Highline Silver Cornet Band, Colorado
Houston Brass Band, Texas
Humboldt Bay Brass Band, California
Illinois Brass Band, Illinois
Imperial Brass Band, New Jersey
Independent Silver Band, Illinois
Intrada Brass, Mississauga, Ontario Canada
James Madison University Brass Band, Virginia
James Madison University Honors Youth Brass Band, Virginia
Joyous Brass, California
Kincardine Brass Band, Ontario Canada
Kissmah Brass Band, New Mexico
Kirkland Lake Brass Band, Northeastern Ontario, Canada
Lake Wobegon Brass Band, Minnesota
Lambertville Brass, New Jersey
L.A. Metro Brass Band, California
Lancaster British Brass Band, Pennsylvania
Las Vegas Brass Band, Nevada
Lexington Brass Band Kentucky
Little Mountain Brass Band, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Madison Brass Band, Wisconsin
Maple Leaf Brass Band, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Massanutten Brass,Virginia
Metropolitan Silver Band, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Mill Creek Colliery Band, Edmonton Alberta, Canada
Milwaukee Festival Brass, Wisconsin
Mission Hill Brass Band, Alberta, Canada.
Mississippi River Brass Band, Missouri
Montclair State University Brass Band, New Jersey
Motor City Brass Band, Michigan
Mountain State Brass Band, West Virginia
Natural State Brass Band, Arkansas
New Amsterdam Brass Band, New York
Newberry's Victorian Cornet Band, Pennsylvania
New England Brass Band, Massachusetts
North Carolina Brass Band, North Carolina
North Carolina State University British Brass Band, North Carolina
Northern Michigan Brass Band, Michigan
Northwinds Brass Band, Wisconsin
Oakland Brass Band, Michigan
Ohio Valley British Brass Band, Ohio
Old Arizona Brass Band, Arizona
Old Crown Brass Band, Indiana
Olde Towne Brass, Alabama
Old Pueblo Brass Band, Arizona
Oregon Brass Society, Oregon
Orillia Silver Band, Ontario Canada
Oshawa Civic Band, Ontario Canada
Ozark Mountains Brass Band, Arkansas
Pacific Brass Band, California.
Penn View Brass Band, Pennsylvania
Perseverance Brass Band, Florida
Petersham Brass Band, Massachusetts
Pikes Peak Brass Band, Colorado.
Plumbing Factory Brass Band, Ontario, Canada
Prairie Brass Band, Illinois
Princeton Brass Band, New Jersey
Puget Brass, Washington
Purchase College Brass Band, New York
Queen City Brass Band, North Carolina
Queen City Brass Band, Saskatchewan, Canada
River Brass, Indiana
River City Brass Band, Pennsylvania
Rockville Brass Band, Maryland
Rohrersville Cornet Band, Maryland
Rupertsland Brass Band, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
St Johns River City Brass Band, Florida
Saint Louis Brass Band, Missouri
Salem County Brass Society, New Jersey
Salt River Brass Band, Arizona
Saskatoon Brass Band, Saskatoon, Canada
Saxton Cornet Band, Kentucky
Sheldon Theater Brass Band, Minnesota
ShowMe Brass, Missouri
Silicon Valley Brass Band, California
Silverton Brass Band, Colorado
Southerners British Brass Band, Florida
South Shore Brass Band, Indiana
Southwestern Michigan College Brass Band, Michigan
Spires Brass Band, Maryland
Spokane British Brass Band, Washington
Stirling Citizens Band, Ontario Canada
Steeltown Silver Band, Ontario, Canada
Sunshine Brass Band, Florida
Territorial Brass Band of Arizona, Arizona
Texas Star Brass Band, Texas
Triangle Brass Band, North Carolina
Triangle Youth Brass Band, North Carolina
Tule British Brass Band, California
University of Georgia Brass Band, Georgia
Utah Premiere Brass, Utah
Ventura British Brass, California
Volunteer Cornet Band, California
Wenatchee Brass Band, Washington
West Michigan Brass Band, Michigan
Western Missouri British Brass Band, Missouri
Western State College Brass Band, Colorado
Weston Silver Band, Ontario, Canada
Westwinds Brass Band, Texas
Whitby Brass Band, Whitby, Ontario, Canada
Winona Brass Band, Minnesota
Yankee Brass Band, Vermont

This is a (mostly) complete listing of bands in the US & Canada. There are a lot of Canadian bands and LOTS of bands west of the Mississippi. Actually, NABBA has done a great job promoting brass banding.

The only way NABBA can get a large fraction of these bands to a contest is to have regionals -- but that is a long way down the road.


Active Member
It was the 2013 contest that was most recently held in Perth - 2014 was in Brisbane. And that still deterred most of the entry: 2012 in Melbourne - 48 bands; 2013 in Perth - 21 bands; 2014 in Brisbane - 47 bands.

Guess I lost a year there somewhere...

That's a lot of bands in the US & Canada! Hopefully there will be many more.


Active Member
I wouldn't canvass opinions from people over here, there are people in Barnsley that think the RAH is too far to go for a contest. Can't imagine what they would imagine as an acceptable distance for the Honolulu Silver Band.

This made me laugh and is so true :D:D:D

Product tMP members are discussing