The ABB is a British-style brass band — the only one in Western Pennsylvania, in fact, that still adheres strictly to its roots across the Atlantic. So ... what does “British-style” mean?
The first important difference is that ABB musicians (aside from our percussionists) play brass instruments only. That is, unlike your typical high school or college band and most “community” bands, we have no woodwinds (saxophone, clarinet, bassoon, flute, oboe). And of course, we have "no strings attached." However, there are other American brass-only bands that still are not true, British-style brass bands. Why? Here’s where things can become complicated.
First, the ABB uses cornets (pictured at the top of this page) rather than trumpets. Cornets are the band’s “violin section,” if you will, most often taking the melody. Visually, a cornet looks like stubby trumpet. Soundwise, a cornet is more mellow than its brash relative.
Next, we use Eb “tenor” horns (pictured at left and called alto horns on this side of the Atlantic) rather than French horns, and "British baritones" (which look like a larger tenor horn) — kissin’ cousins to American small-bore euphoniums, which most Americans call "baritone horns." Speaking of euphoniums, they play a large role in brass band music, often being featured as solo instruments, carrying the melody and ascending the heights and descending to the depths of the arrangement as needed. Rounding out the band are one Eb cornet (easy to identify by its high pitch), one flugelhorn (most often found in jazz settings and sometimes described as “a cornet on steroids”), trombones, Eb and BBb basses (tubas) and percussion. Today, the British brass band movement still is in full blossom, with national competitions and festivals attracting hundreds of bands and thousands of spectators annually. In America, a number of brass bands similar to the ABB also compete in the annual North American Brass Band Association (NABBA) festival.
Founded in 1984, the ABB is made up of about 30 amateur players, both male and female, who – despite their diverse backgrounds and walks of life – share a common love of music. Musicians are not paid for their efforts. Funds generated from our concerts go for the purchase of new music and equipment, advertising and other costs associated with running the organization.We are a non-profit entity, and donations to the band are tax-deductible. The ABB has played in Bermuda at the invitation of the Royal Bermuda Regiment and in the Republic of China at the invitation of the Chinese government. We’ve also competed in and won honors at the NABBA festival. The band carries on the British brass band tradition through a series of indoor concerts during the fall and winter months and is a popular attraction at outdoor festivals from May to October.
If you'd like to hear what a the ABB sounds like, click on the Listen Link on any page.
No matter where we play, the ABB finds audiences receptive and enthusiastic. Playing for you makes it all worthwhile. C'mon, join the party! Just click on the Concerts link on any page for our current concert schedule, including links to door-to-door driving directions. If you'd like to join the ABB e-mail list to stay up to date with ABB concerts and other events, click the E-mail List tab on any page.
Hey! Why not book the ABB for your private party, picnic, church, or school event? Our repertoire is flexible and so is our performance fee. If you're interested, just click on the Bookings tab on any page. Click below to see what people are saying about us.
”Your performance made an excellent addition to our entertainment roster. Young and old alike stayed to the very end”.
“Your musical selections were most appropriate and appealing to the many that gathered for this event.”
“It was a wonderful performance (at Conneaut Lake Park) and Paul’s wry banter with factual interjections is a great added touch that makes the audience feel like they are part of the show."
We hope you enjoy the ABB website.If there are questions we haven't answered or you don't feel comfortable with e-mail, just give us a call at 412-486-1888.