I play Eb cornet in the Eastern Iowa Brass Band, a fun way to spend some time with grown-ups (most of whom act like children :)), keep up my finger technique (which has never been my strong suit), and play some listenable, "corny" music. First of all, next weekend, we are having our annual Grand Celebration of Brass Bands in the beautiful Amana Colonies. From the press release:
GRAND CELEBRATION OF BRASS BANDS!
Join Director Casey Thomas and the Eastern Iowa Brass Band (EIBB) for some good old fashioned fun at the 15th annual Grand Celebration of Brass Bands on Saturday, June 20. This family-friendly event is filled with great music, great food and audience participation. The EIBB is thrilled to be performing at our new venue, the Amana Colonies RV Park, located at 39 38th Avenue in Amana.
Performing at this year’s Grand Celebration are (in order of appearance) the award-winning Eastern Iowa Brass Band, the award-winning Chicago Brass Band, and the always-entertaining Madison Brass Band. Concerts begin on the hour starting at 11am and run continuously through 6 pm, allowing our audience to delight in the fun and enthusiasm of brass music all day long and all from the same stage. The final performance of the day begins at 5:30 pm and is a mass band performance including all musicians from all three groups. You won’t want to miss this! Ticket prices for the day are $8 for adults and $3 for students.
The Eastern Iowa Brass Band is also celebrating the release of their new compact disc recording. Entitled “Sweet Cornets”, this entertaining CD features such favorites as: “ABBA Goes Brass”, “MacArthur Park”, “Alpine Samba”, and Leroy Anderson’s “Bugler’s Holiday.” This new CD will be available for purchase at the festival, or from their website at www.eibb.org.
I actually played three years ago at the GCOBB with the Chicago Brass Band, where my dad played baritone for awhile. I wasn't a brass-bander in '07, and last year, the Great Flood of '08 utterly destroyed the charming but dusty basin where past GCOBBs have been held.
This is such a great event, very light-hearted and entertaining--very family and senior friendly.
We're also celebrating the release of our new album, "Sweet Cornets." It's really a lovely album, with the kind of recording quality that few local bands feature. I actually came up with the title (I know, corny, right?), and it features the higher half of the band mostly, with solo features and marches intermingling with some pop tunes (an ABBA medley, Macarthur Park, and Hot Toddy). I actually have a feature on there, in an Eb/Bb cornet reworking of Herbert L. Clarke's cornet/trombone duet "Cousins" with solo cornettist Paul Waech that turned out sounding much better than I remember playing it!
To listen to selections online, as well as an interview with our director Casey Thomas, check us out on the brasscast podcast.
If you're a brass-bander, definitely consider picking it up, or buy it as a gift! (My dad's getting a copy for father's day--whoops, spoiler alert!) The cover art, conceived by cornetist Keri Speidel (who keeps up a very entertaining blog here) is especially lovely, and was featured on a CD design website a little while back.
All in all, the strength and growth of the brass band movement in America is a great sign for our culture. Having all of these challenging but friendly local outlets like the EIBB (as well as, for older folks, the New Horizon bands, which I think is just about the best idea ever) we strengthen the relevance of the arts and arts education, build audiences, promote the idea of music as something you do rather than something that's "just on," and build family traditions of music and music-making.
Anyway, check out the podcast, and consider an outing to the Amanas next weekend. There will be plenty of amazing food, beer (if you're into that sort of thing), music, and cameraderie. And I promise: it's sort of indoors, so you won't get rained on!