About the HBBB

Gil Cline with horn

Notes from Gil Cline on the Humboldt Bay Brass Band

(Spring 2005)

The very first time we assembled a brass band at HSU was in 1977, my first semester teaching here. On a sabbatical leave and while traveling in England in the fall of 2002, I had the great luck to play one evening with a brass band (the Ratby Collective Band) in a small town in central England, and to then attend the Brass Band Championships of Great Britain, held at Royal Albert Hall in London. (While brass bands exist in the U.S., they are far and few between.)

"Pageantry" by Howells, played in spring 2005, is one of only two works we had for brass band in the HSU music library until the Humboldt Bay Brass Band was formed. Having a classic order of three movements (fast - slow - fast) "Pageantry" was written in 1934, but has harmonic language much more contemporary than one might think, often involving four or five different pitches in chords; in jazz these would be termed "seven" and "nine" chords. There also are a number of tricky meter changes -- it's not “danceable.” [It is included on the HBBB CD, "Pageantry of Brass"]

This work was selected as the test piece for the national championships of 1937, in which -- then, and now -- each competing band plays the same work. The audience, and the judges -- who are enclosed in a visually screened fabric box, sides and top -- hear the same piece all day long, so one gets to hear the subtle contrasts between bands, and of course the judges are not influenced by what, or who, they see.

The HBBB's first formation, Spring 2004:

Humboldt Bay Brass Band (HBBB) exists as an educational project. With uncertain budget, there is no guarantee of future HSU sponsorship. Members and leaders, always have to right to consider the continuation of HBBS.

In the meantime, the Humboldt Bay Brass Band is already a rewarding experience, and HSU's first since 1977.

1.) HBBB is organized, directed, and conducted by Dr. Gil Cline.
2.) Sponsorship is by the HSU Department of Music, and Humboldt State University.
3.) A number of HSU students are enrolled in HBBB, essentially one of the HSU Brass Ensembles.
4.) Meetings / rehearsals are Thursday evenings, Armstrong Hall, room 131.
5.) Intent is exist in seasons, to ensure full instrumentation.
6.) 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. is the rehearsal time. 90-120 min. rehearsal. If rehearsal ends at 8:30, section rehearsals may be called.
7.) 6 p.m. begins the nominal set up hour. Musicians are expected to arrive promptly around 6:45 or 6:50 to be ready to make music at 7 p.m.!
8.) For each concert at least one serious concert work is programmed.
9.) Other works are to be added for balance, musician appeal and audience connection.
10.) Brass bands perform ALL kinds of styles of music ... some quite challenging!
11.) Outside concerts and guests are considered.
12.) An HSU class, students have some priority. Others will be needed to fill the group!
13.) HSU policy requests a $10 fee from community participants.
14.) One member is needed to serve as Assistant Conductor.
15.) One member is needed to serve as Stage Manager.
16.) One member is needed to serve as Librarian.
17.) A platoon system allows those on 2nd and 3rd parts to sightread on 1st parts.
18.) Members in Spring 2004 are "charter members" for life !

Contact for information:

Professor Gilbert Cline
Humboldt State University Department of Music
Arcata, CA 95521
(707) 826-5441

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