Brass bands used to be about colliery pit closures and harsh redundancy policies, juxtaposed with a strong undercurrent of renewed childhood romances. Since the Americans have got involved the game has changed. Now steroid abuse, exotic interpretation and horn tampering has bought the noble art into disrepute.
As usual the Americans have totally missed the point. Life is not all about being the best. A large part of life is about gritty working class unpleasantness and using a trombone as a political tool. It’s about losing your job and reclaiming your soul, smiling through coal dusted tears while contemplating suicide but instead deciding to get dressed up as a clown.
The Americans have entered a game they don’t understand. Brass Bands are more complicated than cricket and they should leave well alone.
At the recent World Brass Band Championships the Americans came a humiliating 98th out of 96. Their version of the Black Dyke Band, an all female ensemble of Afro-Caribbean decent, performed an Elgar influenced hip-hop fusion that put the girl back into Flugelhorn. The original Black Dyke band, so named after the geological basaltic vertical igneous intrusion in West Yorkshire, were horrified to see them attempt ‘Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves’ by the Eurythmics. They had no idea that the euphonium could be so versatile.