Bringing back the brass: ‘It’s nice to share the culture’

In recent years, brass bands have come back in vogue.

Combining the modern sounds of artists like Adele with more traditional sounds, the sound of air blown through brass is making somewhat of a comeback.

Ahead of their invitation to the Rugby League World Cup and the 21st European Brass and Wind Band Festival in Germany, Canberra Brass will be bringing the brass to Bega.

The group’s conductor Kevin Knapp picked up the trumpet as a 10-year-old in New Hampshire in the United States.

He would later go on to play with the band he was watching, after gaining experience in the American high school concert band music culture.

“It’s where band is king,” Mr Knapp said.

These days he conducts more than he plays. 

“We play a mix of old and new, some pop, some classical,” he said.

The Splendour in the Brass concert at the Bega civic centre on October 14 is also an opportunity to promote the concept and inspire musicians to join a community band.

“We are really looking forward to it, because most of us grew up  in community bands, so it’s nice to share the culture with everyone,” Mr Knapp said.

“Just rock up to a rehearsal and see what you think, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.”

The brass band found its way into mainstream British culture in the mid-19th century, reaching its peak in the 1920s.

A true working class genre, Bega District Band conductor Bruce Munchenberg said the music began with factory and mine workers, and was threatened by the introduction of television.

“Down here on the South Coast, every town had a brass band, and many families would join and play together,” he said.

“Then TV came and people lost interest, and older people moved on.

“Bega is the last one left, south of Moruya.”

Mr Munchenberg said it could be as along as four decades since a brass band of this caliber has visited the region.


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