About the HBBB
Notes from Gil Cline on the Humboldt Bay Brass Band
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
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,
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
1.) HBBB is organized, directed,
and conducted by Dr.
2.) Sponsorship is by the HSU
Department of Music, and Humboldt
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
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
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
18.) Members in Spring 2004 are "charter members" for life !
Contact for information:
Humboldt State University Department of Music
Arcata, CA 95521
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