The History of Brass Bands

Today’s talk, “The History of Brass Bands”, was given by Roy Stevenson, who has been a member of Guiseley Brass Band for over 60 years.

Brass bands started life around the 1400s as town wakes bands tied to particular towns and from bands formed by families of wandering minstrels. Charles II when in France was particularly impressed by the French military bands and encouraged the formation of such bands for his own parades.

Instruments used by bands took a major leap forward when a German inventor developed valves for the post horn around the middle of the 19th century. This was the forerunner of the Cornet.

Brass bands were very much associated with the Industrial Revolution. Most mining villages and textile mills had their own brass bands.  Familiar bands like Black Dyke Mills and Grimethorpe Colliery are still going strong. Unfortunately many bands disappeared with the demise of the heavy industries, but Roy is encouraged by the numbers of children and teenages who are currently getting involved. The talk ended with questions from the audience and afterwards members gave generously to a collection for Guiseley Brass Band.

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