Brass Band Cartoons

Brass Band Celebrities of the 1930s

Brass Band Celebrities of the 1930s

As with the previous post on poetry, cartoonists have found the world of brass bands an inspiration, both in comment on the brass band movement itself and also as reflections on the contemporary political and social scenes.

 

 

 

Bandsmen should become combatants

Bandsmen should become combatants

Original cartoons, from publications such as Punch, in the 19th century, are fairly rare but, in the absence of photographs in the press until the later part of the century, cartoons and line drawings were the main method for illustration.

 

 

 

Bands in the agony of final rehearsal

Bands in the agony of final rehearsal

Both humorous and serious portrayals were produced. Caricatures of band “celebrities” were often used in the press in the 1920s to 1950s in particular. Advertisments featured cartoons regularly and they were also used to illustrated articles and news reports. Cartoons and caricatures are still around today, though the photographic and video media far outweigh the line drawn artworks.

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Despondent band

Despondent band

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Brass Band News 1908

Brass Band News 1908

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Frank Wright

Frank Wright

Distin performer

Distin performer

 

Harry Mortimer

Harry Mortimer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brassed Off

Brassed Off

Nezzy's cornet player

Nezzy’s cornet player

 

 

 

 

 

See Nezzy’s cartoons for a current artist portraying the funny side of brass band life today.

For a large collection of brassy cartoon and graphic images – instruments, people and ensembles – see the IBEW Gallery

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Brass Band Poems

Rishworth & Ryburn Valley Band

Over the years several bands have been immortalised in poetry. From those lauding their heroes to the ones which are critical or even insulting. From the earliest days poets have found something in the music of the bands and the people who play in them to inspire their muse. An example of praise is seen in the postcard on the right, which celebrates Rishworth and Ryburn Valley Brass Band‘s success at the Crystal Palace National Brass Band Championships in 1906, when they won first place in the Junior Cup (equivalent to today’s 3rd Section)

Camelon Brass Band
In the Falkirk Mail of 16th November 1907 a poem appeared entitled “Auld Camelon Band“, of which the first verse is:

There’s Auld Camelon Band they’re aye tae the fore;
They started wi’ flutes in the year ’34,
If you had only heard them their music you’d adore,
For always their number was less than a score,
Their auld flutes ha’e been turned into brass
Three cheers tae the friends that gave them the cash,
For we’ve all joined together to gi’e them a hand,
and try and make good members tae the auld Camelon Band

Slaidburn Band‘s tour of the outlying farms and hamlets above the village around Christmas 1903 is documented in the poem “Success To The Slaidburn Band“, by Ellen Cowking. It tells in 34 verses which places were visited and the names of the residents.

The Cup Winners

The Cup Winners

Kate Hall lived in Freckleton at the turn of the 20th century and wrote poems on a wide range of topics. After her death a book of her poems was unearthed which included several about the Freckleton Brass Band. The first few verses of her poem “The Cup Winners” is shown here. For the rest of the poem, and others about the band, see: Kate Hall’s Freckleton Band poetry

 

 

Rothwell Temperance Band

Under the heading ‘The Temperance Band‘ in the Rothwell Times of May 5th 1882, a poem of nine verses was printed, of which the following are two:

Last Christmas as you all well know,
We had the one Brass Band,
Now you see we have got two,
And one ’tis said won’t stand

They say that water cannot
Blow a note so clear
But that is false!
I know a man
That’s proved it many a year


For further examples of brass band poems see the following pages in the IBEW:

Brass Band Poems – which include Harrogate Band, Carnwarth Brass Band, Dunnikier Brass Band, Blanchardstown Band and early contests in the 1860s.

Bramley Brass Band

Also, see Stephen Etheridge’s Brass Band Poems and Working Class Culture

 

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Frank Wright

Frank Wright dinner menu

Frank Wright dinner menu

I was sent an interesting dinner menu by Geoffrey Hosier celebrating the 78th birthday of John Henry Iles, and in honour of Frank Wright on his departure to Australia and New Zealand. The dinner was held at Manchester on 17th September 1949, on the occasion of the Daily Herald National Brass Band Championships at Bell Vue.

Frank Wright

Frank Wright

Frank was a friend of Geoffrey Hosier, teaching him music, cornet/trumpet, conducting, arranging etc. When Frank died in 1970 had no next-of kin so all his possessions were left to Geoffrey and his brother. Later, much of the material was donated much to the University of Ballarat, Australia, including unpublished works, boxes of programs photos etc.

 

Ballarat City Band

Ballarat City Band

Frank Wright, born in Smeaton, Victoria in 1901, was tutored by Percy Code and became a composer, music educator, conductor, publisher and cornet player. He was the conductor of the City of Ballarat Brass Band and Soldiers’ Memorial Brass Band, and Australian Cornet Solo Champion. As a cornet soloist he went to England in 1933, where he became a member of the famous St Hilda Brass Band.

A hymn by Frank Wright

A hymn by Frank Wright

He became one of the foremost figures in the sphere of brass banding, turning his hand to almost every aspect of band management with great skill, and also serving as professor at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. As a celebrated adjudicator, he travelled worldwide. Today he is best remembered for the many transcriptions of 19th and 20th century overtures he made in later life.

To access the Frank Wright archive in the Victorian Collections, go to: victoriancollections.net.au and search for “Frank Wright”

St. Hilda's Band at Cardiff, Wales - Frank Wright conductor

St. Hilda’s Band at Cardiff, Wales – Frank Wright conductor

St Joseph's Orphanage Brass Band 1924

St Joseph’s Orphanage Brass Band 1924

Book edited by Frank Wright

Book edited by Frank Wright

Diadem of Gold, arranged by Frank Wright

Diadem of Gold, arranged by Frank Wright

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Comic bands – kazoo & zobo

Professor Mugger-Swaggers Band, Batley

Professor Mugger-Swaggers Band, Batley

I was recently sent a picture of Professor Mugger-Swaggers Band from Batley. Though not a true brass band, it was interesting as an example of the “comic” bands which were active in the 1890s and 1900s, formed to entertain the masses and raise money for charity.

 

These bands were sometimes created ad hoc for galas and festivals, and occasionally had a more long-term existence. Usually they consisted of kazoo-like instruments and drums, interspersed with home-made and “real” brass or woodwind instruments.

Zobo instruments, based on kazoo principles, were invented and developed in the USA in the early 1890s and spread across to the UK soon thereafter. For more information about the history of Zobo instruments, see: www.kwintetgoedkoper.nl/Zobo.htm

 

Morley Parrock Nook Anthem Band

Morley Parrock Nook Anthem Band

In the West Riding of Yorkshire these bands were known as Tommy Talker bands and had interesting names such as Nanny Goat Lancers, Underground Artillery Jazz Band, Royal Tramps, King Tut’s Lancers, Dr Hall’s Rough and Ready Band, Paddock Silver Piggin Band, Keighley Wiffum Waffum Wuffum Band and Morley Parrock Nook Anthem Band.

The latter band was formed in 1900, their leader being Billy Commons, who dressed as a dancing donkey. These bands were active on and off until the 1930s. Derek Hudson has produced a tribute to these bands at yourmorley.com/2016/05/0

Metlakatla girls' Zobo Band, Alaska

Metlakatla girls’ Zobo Band, Alaska

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C. Bruno & Son p 328

Catalogue of Zobo instruments

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Tommy Troll Band

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Hazeldene Prize Jazz Band

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A comic band at Fleetwood, 1911

Chelmsford Poor Law Institution House Officers Jazz Band, 1920

Chelmsford Poor Law Institution House Officers Jazz Band, 1920

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The first band broadcast?

Thursday 6th September 1888usabandrecording1890s

The strains of the Band of the 2nd Volunteer Battalion South Wales Borderers were telephoned from Newport to Ebbw
Vale, where a bazaar was being held in aid of the funds of a church. To make matters easy for a number of listeners Mr Ashton, the obliging local superintendent of the Western Counties Telephone Co., had arranged a dozen listening tube at the Ebbw Vale Institute, wphonecondhere the bazaar was held, and getting music from Newport, a distance of 35 miles, proved the feature of the evening. The encores demanded were not stated. The band, under Mr Hazell, was stationed in the Newport office of the Ebbw Vale Company’s manager, and played a selection which comprised a clarionette solo, valse, piccolo solo, quadrille, waltz, grand march, march, fantasia, etc.

Interestingly, a month later, in October 1888, Colonel Gouraud, Thomas Edison’s agent in England, gave a reception in honour of the new “phonograph” with the arrival of a fresh batch of the precious cylinders from the USA. As reported: Breathlessly the guests watched them inserted into the instrument and set in action, and to their intense delight the sound given forth was that of a fascinating polka played outside Mr Edison’s laboratory, at Menlo, New Jersey, by an itinerant brass band. In a twinkling all prejudices against the proverbial ‘German band’ disappeared, the room was cleared, and the company was whirling in the mazy waltz, to the ghosts of the strains first played thousands of miles away.

The following year, in July 1889, there was a demonstration of the Edison Phonograph at the Victoria Hall in Exeter by Professor William Lynd, featuring the reproduction of a performance of a brass band.

A lantern lecture in Hackney, in April 1890, by J.E. Greenhill, demonstrated the Harmonograph, Sympalmograph and Edison’s latest Phonograph – which included the records “American Village Brass Bands”, “English Street Band”, “Horn Calls” and a “Cornet Solo”

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Book: British Brass Bands – historical directory

 

Of the bbbhdmany brass bands that have flourished in Britain over the last 200 years very few have documented records covering their history. This directory is an attempt to collect together information about such bands and make it
available to all. Over 12,100 bands are recorded here, with some 6,300 additional cross references for alternative or previous names.

This work is available as a PDF download from

https://independent.academia.edu/GavinHolman

Documentation about bands in the early years is very sketchy, reliant largely on reports in the newspapers and magazines of the day. Often bands would have been referred to in ambiguous terms, and it is not entirely clear which specific band it is. More detailed information about a few hundred specific bands does exist elsewhere, in books and journals and in online resources, particularly current bands’ own websites and the IBEW (www.ibew.co.uk) which contains much of the information in this directory, together with further information on individual bands.

The next edition of this directory will include the following

  • location details of further information about specific bands, whether online or published material
  • an appendix of non-British brass bands
  • an update of brass bands including those identified since this edition
  • details of brass band historians and researchers

Based on my research so far I would estimate that perhaps 10% of the entries in the directory are actually the same as other bands. In addition, I expect to be able to add up to 3,000 more British brass bands to the directory in future editions.

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Alliance City Band (Ohio)

Paul Hobe has written a history of the Alliance City Band.

This paper describes much of the history of the band from its founding in 1858, before the Civil War, until its ending in 1992.

AllianceCB
The first section, which follows an introduction and discussion of research methods, is a set of questions about major aspects of the organization’s story. The questions involve early performances, funding, directors, the Rinkendorf years, and why the band ceased to exist.
The second section is a year-by-year timeline from 1859 until 1992. Though rather detailed, it provides many examples of band performances, concert venues, funding, uniforms, and directors and gives an insight into the role of the Alliance City Band in the political, cultural, business and patriotic life of the City of Alliance, Ohio. This section includes three sample programs that were presented by the band and mentions of various soloists during particular periods of the band’s existence. Several other bands in the Alliance area are also mentioned.
The third section is a preAllianceCB1sentation of several pictures, many of which are formal pictures of the band, possibly in their new uniforms at the time. A description of the uniforms and stories associated with those uniforms is presented when appropriate information was available. The reader could possibly get an interesting history from the various commentaries that follow each picture. Members’ names are provided for the last two (1961 and 1976) formal pictures.

Paul is continuing his research into the history of Stark County, Ohio, with particular interest in the regimental bands of the area. He can be contacted at phobe@neo.rr.com

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