Community Music Groups Working Together
A Newsletter of Southwestern
Pennsylvania Band Partners
Brass Band |
Directory Additions | Band Birthdays
and Community Bands |
from web site http://www.alleghenybrassband.com/pages/history.htm
With permission from Paul Gerlach
some edits/additions by Sarah McElfresh
The Allegheny Brass Band celebrates 25 years in 2008! In April of 1983,
about 30 amateur brass players from the Pittsburgh area gathered
together to participate in a movement that was quickly sweeping the
United States: the Brass Band movement, based on the British-style
brass bands. Under the direction of conductor John Culp, the ensemble
presented a concert featuring American marches, British folk songs, and
everything in between.
From that initial group of players was formed the North Hills Brass
Band with John Culp as its newly appointed Music Director. In 1987 the
band changed its name to the Allegheny Brass Band to reflect the larger
area which the band served. The band has traditionally drawn its
members from among the finest brass players in Southwestern
Pennsylvania. Professional musicians sit side by side with accountants,
teachers, and businesspeople to perform the great works for brass band.
In its 20-plus year history, the Allegheny Brass Band has performed for
thousands of fans in the Western Pennsylvania area and throughout the
United States. Under the leadership of conductor John Culp, the band
won awards in competition and praise from critics and audiences alike.
In 1994, the ABB accepted an invitation from the Royal Bermuda Regiment
to present a series of 4 concerts on the island of Bermuda. Under the
direction of then-assistant conductor Keith Johnston, the ABB performed
for standing-room-only crowds, concluding its tour with a special
concert in the capital city of Hamilton for over 5,000 people. At the
end of the 1995 season, John Culp announced his intent to step down as
Music Director and the board appointed Frank Farina conductor while
they began an intensive search which concluded in 1996 with the
appointment of Johnston. In 1996, the band also performed in China at
the invitation of the Chinese government.
After Johnston accepted a position with the Syracuse (NY) Symphony, the
band needed to look no further than its own cornet section for its next
-- and current -- Music Director, Paul Gerlach, a lifelong musician who
currently also directs the Kiltie Band at Carnegie-Mellon University
and is Artist/Lecturer in their Department of
With a solid core of charter members as well as dedicated new recruits,
the Allegheny Brass Band continues to delight audiences of all ages.
The band plays a regular concert series in the Greater Pittsburgh area
between late fall and early spring of each year and during the summer
months plays at community music series, special events, and private
In the tradition of the British brass bands that inspired it, the ABB
performs many styles of music -- symphonic to opera, popular music from
the Big Band era, selections from the Beatles through Broadway, movie
and stage hits, plus the best new works for brass band from
contemporary composers such as Philip Sparke, Stephen Bulla and William
The Allegheny Brass Band also educates viewers of its web site about
the differences you will see when watching the British-style Brass Band
concert versus a more traditional American Band Concert. Some
highlights of that are presented here. Visit their web site at
http://www.alleghenybrassband.com/ for a more detailed explanation.
So what does "British-style" mean?
The first important difference is that the 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).
However, there are other American brass-only bands that still are not
true, British-style brass bands. Why?
cornets (rather than trumpets); Eb "tenor" horns (rather than French
horns); "British baritones" (which look like a larger tenor horn); one
Eb cornet; one flugelhorn; trombones; Eb and BBb basses; and percussion.
Visit their web site at http://www.alleghenybrassband.com/ for more
information, music clips, and join their mailing list.
PA Community Bands
(As of December 29, 2008)
Below are some recent updates to the directory. If you are
aware of community bands in the region
that are not yet in the online directory please let them know about us.
We currently have 23 groups listed in our directory from the
Southwestern Pennsylvania region.
Westmoreland Symphonic Winds
Dr. Jason Worzbyt, Music Director and Conductor
Michelle Walters, Manager
Concert Band in residence at Seton Hill University.
Blairsville Community Concert Band
Dave Brozeski, Musical Director
Joe Profeta, Band President
111 Wallace Rd Blairsville, PA 15717
- See the complete list of
Southwestern PA Community Bands at:
- To be added to the online
directory, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Birthdays in 2009
Community Band ~10
County Community Band ~ 20
Brass Band ~ 25
Community Band ~ 25
Hills Community Concert Band ~70
Band ~ 70
and the Community Bands
A recent Making Music magazine article about learning to play guitar
using YouTube clips got me to thinking about how I use YouTube as a
community band musician. I mainly use YouTube to go listen to
some other group performing a piece that my band is currently working
on. This then got me wondering about how community bands are
using YouTube. Back in September 2008, a quick search on
YouTube with the search phrases "Community Band" "Civic Band" "County
Band" and "Municipal Band" yielded over 900 videos. This does
not include all the videos that are entered by the name of the piece
being played or all the other common ending of names for community
bands. So there are lots of videos posted, but what if any is the
intent behind them?
Curious to know the answer to this question, I posted it to the
Community-Music Group. I asked the following of the CM
readers: 1) Who are posting these videos? Is it the "band"? Members of
the band? Audience members? 2) Are these video clips being
used for promotion of the group for new venues? for sponsors? for
recruitment? for new audience members? 3) What are the
concerns over the mechanical rights of these video clips? 4) Are bands
linking to these videos from their web sites? or using them in other
To see the full thread, start at
need to be a subscriber to the Community Music yahoo group.
I received a handful of responses regarding an individuals
band’s video online, as well as other who were concerned (or
not) about the mechanical rights, and what are some of the distinctions
that need to (or might) be made regarding broadcasting online and
selling a CD. One of the main things of interest from the
responses I received about individual bands, is that none of the
video’s were posted with permission of the band.
One music director noted that “the performance wasn't too
awful, AND the piece was public domain.” The fact
that the piece was in the public domain eliminated one concern that all
of the other bands had about mechanical rights. These bands
all have their ASCAP/BMI licenses so they were legally allowed to
perform the piece, but none of them had acquired the recording
rights. So what are the ramifications of their music being on
YouTube? The answer is unclear in many ways.
One of the responders on CM who is more versed in legal and historical
issues answered my question with respect to those concerns.
He noted that the mechanical rights versus broadcast rights is still
under debate in the courts and depending on the eventual rulings all
who post copyrighted material are in danger of paying fines.
He also mentioned an issue that did not occur to me, permission of the
individual musician to have their image broadcast for profit.
If one person does not sign a waiver allowing their image to be used;
the video has to be shot without their image, or not used at all. As he
pointed out, while the individual poster may not be posting it for
profit, YouTube makes a profit from every video posted and
viewed. His final commentary was clear – check with
an attorney regarding all releases.
With regards to some of the other questions asked no one was using the
video to seek sponsors or for recruitment. Some thought these
videos could be used effectively for this purpose if all rights were
properly acquired. Another mentioned that they feared the
videos could be detrimental for recruitment and potential venues as
their band has drastically changed musically since the video was
shot. Another person noted that promotion is precisely the
reason young bands are using YouTube, commenting
that these bands have done quite well using YouTube and MP3
sites for original music and rising to world wide fame. So,
if a community band wished to use YouTube for promotion and
recruitment, there is precedent, although as noted above you will want
to make sure you have permission of all musicians and have the rights
to post the video.
In the coming newsletters, we will delve into the legal issues. As none
of us our lawyers, we will be summarizing some of the references to
give raise some of the issues for you to consider. We will
also look at podcasting.
Discussion from Community Music list:
section is intended to be a place for conductors and
musicians to share information on new music they are playing.
you have something to contribute please email us the information at
email@example.com with “New Music
Corner” in the
subject line. Please include the title, composer/arranger, publisher
and a brief description of the piece.
For the end of 2008, we will present a list of some relatively new
music by previously featured composers.
Sounds of the Saint
Lawrence - A Quebec Folk Song Suite
Composer: Philip Sparke
Performance time: 12:00
Publisher: Anglo Music Press
Philip Sparke's web site:
Publisher's web site:
The Joy Of Spring
Composer: James Swearingen
Performance Time: 6:13
Publisher: C L Barnhouse
James Swearingen's web site:
Publisher's web site:
Composer: Samuel R. Hazo
Performance Time: 3:35
Publisher: Hal Leonard
Samuel Hazo's web site:
Publisher's web site:
Composer: Frank Ticheli
Performance Time: 6:40
Frank Tichelli's web site:
Publishers web site:
Aurumque (Light of Gold)
Composer: Eric Whitacre
Performance Time: 5:30
Publisher: BCM International.
Publisher's web site:
Composer: Steven Bryant
Performance time: 8:30
Publisher: BCM International
Steven Bryant’s web site:
Publisher's web site:
(As of December 29, 2008 for Winter 2009)
For the updates and the entire calendar visit the online calendar
Suburban Symphonic Band
Intermediate High School Auditorium
Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh
Intermediate School, Harmony
Community Band Festival
Band Registration open for 2009 Festival
The 6th Annual Three Rivers Community Band Festival will be held May 2,
2009, at Upper St. Clair High School There will again be a
Band” which will allow a larger number of area musicians to
in the festival. The band will rehearse on the morning of the
festival with guest conductor, Elisabeth
then perform selected pieces during the afternoon concert.
more information and application materials, please visit: http://www.ewsb.org/festival
The 2009 Sousa
Community Band - July 10-12, 2009
Join us in “The Big Easy” for the inaugural
National Community Band. New Orleans is making remarkable progress in
re-building and you can do your part by bringing your talent and your
tourist dollars to one of the great historic cities of the United
States. Come join a world-class conductor and talented musicians from
around the country for a great weekend of music making. The band will
be conducted by Colonel John R. Bourgeois, USMC (Ret.), former director
of the United States Marine Band, "The President's Own."
The Sousa National Community Band registration fee is $60.00.
Further inquiries may be directed to: Gerald Guilbeaux
Southwestern Pennsylvania Band Partners is
dedicated to helping community music groups in the southwestern
Please visit us online at the address below to learn more or become
Bands with web sites
(for updated list visit the links page)
Everyone is welcome to contribute an article to the
The topic is up to you—something you think your fellow
be interested in. We are always looking for contributions to the "New
Music Corner." Just email your article to:
For additions to the web site email:
In our next newsletter due out
in early April you will find:
- More on YouTube and
Sarah McElfresh, East Winds Symphonic Band
Scott McElfresh, East Winds Symphonic Band
Kathy Wikowski, Allegheny Brass Band, North Suburban