Question for Townsville Brass members


A question for any Townsville Brass people that might frequent the forum.

I was having a read of your webpage and thinking just how much a dream job that MD position would be (better than Scotlands dreech weather anyway) when I came across your "showband" section, and I was fascinated by your inclusion of Bass guitar Keyboards etc.

My question is ......... how do you add these instruments to your set up? Do you specially arrange music for this set up or do you have somebody that writes out parts to "bolt on" to existing Brass band arrangements. I think it's a great idea, and would love to incorporate something like that over here, but i was just wondering as to the logistics of it.

If anybody from teh band could help that would be great.

We play a mixture hey...Some pieces we play in the show band are arrangements done for brass bands in which the keyboard and electric bass players take a rest for a song or two...some others are big band arrangements (with trumpets, saxes etc) which already have written piano and bass parts - and the parts are assigned according to pitch ( for instance alto sax parts are playe by our horns, trumpet parts by our cornets, tenor sax parts by euphs for stuff like soppy and flugel and Eb and Bb basses are often written by our conductor (usually doubling the electric basses or similar)

hope this helps... :D

The showband is a fantastic way to draw 'big-gigs' that a normal brass band couldn't snare on a regular basis. The concept and marketing side of things are very lucrative, however the system isn't without its problems.

Repertoire: We use a combination of trad. instrumentation arrangements, these usually come from the likes of Goff Richards, Alan Fernie, etc, and we have also obtained (through the U.S. I think) quite a large selection of big band and swing numbers which are scored for 'stage band' - ie saxes, guitars and trumpets and trombones.

We are very lucky to have a dedicated MD who transcribes these big band arrangements into brass band format. (ie, trumpet lines are distributed into cornet parts, a 3rd trombone is depped in, horns and euphos/baris take up the sax parts and the bass line is adapted to be suitable for both tubas and jazz string bass. perc parts are pretty much transferable and we only need one strong kit player and one auxillary) After all this has been taken care of the keys parts are added without hasle and the arrangement is complete. In original brass band compositions and arrangements we generally dont use the keyboard, although it is very usefull as a background instrument should we be doing some sort of show-antic out the front.

...Sounds alot of work for one person and it is. Getting together a few of you on one weekend to go through a good 50 or so arrangements would be a great way to churn out a healthy selection of repertoire to last you over a playing season.

All that said, having a showband does require a whole lot of extra time and effort from members. Playing differently balanced types of music and lots of trumpety blasty type razzamattazz has a huge impact on your dignity of sound as a contest band and this is something you really must preserve to keep improving as an ensemble. Also, you must must must must have the presence of mind to understand that it will never please everyone. (being a eupho player, doing sax parts for a good portion of the year has had a huge impact on my technical abilities on a test piece - extra practice at home and a higher rehearsal standard must be attained)

THE END GAIN: having a 'showband' gives great exposure to corporate markets - the big bucks. I'm sure we'd all rather be doing gigs like balls and dances raging into the early hours of the morning, where instead of trudging back to the band hall for beers, you're sipping cocktails by the bar every 45 minutes, and playing to a crowd of energy-charged socialites. when you can land a job like this every 2 months, paying a few grand for a solid 4 to 5 hour dance job - you can imagine the benefits to members and the public exposure of the brass band is going to go through the roof...

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