Desert Brass Band, a West Valley British-style brass band, is giving two public Christmas concerts this year: “A Jolly Brass Christmas.”
The first is 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 26, at American Lutheran Church, 17200 N. Del Webb Blvd. The second is 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 13, at Bellevue Heights Church, 9440 W. Hutton Drive.
The free concerts will feature a variety of musical styles from traditional to modern, showcasing the unique sound of a British brass band. The concerts will feature several soloists: Bryan Altherr, tuba, Tom Betts, bass trombone, and Dale Gleason, vocalist.
The band is directed by Charles Musgrave and the associate conductor is Dr. Bob Ouren. Familiar Christmas favorites with new arrangements will be featured, from ”A Christmas Festival” to ”Huron Carol,” “Ave Maria” and “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch,” and more. Free will donations will be accepted.
Organized in 1997 as the Renaissance Brass, the band’s name was later changed to Desert Brass to portray a more exciting, energetic, contemporary style compatible with the band’s preference. The band is organized and plays in the style of the British brass bands, which are normally limited to 35 members.
The traditional British brass bands date back to the early nineteenth century and the English Industrial Revolution. With increasing urbanization, employers began to finance work bands to decrease political activity with which the working classes seemed to be preoccupied during their leisure time. Thus, the brass band tradition was founded.
Desert Brass band members are experienced musicians and must meet audition standards. Most come from the Sun Cities and West Valley area, while some reside in outlying regions.
Most are retired from professional life and play in one or more musical groups in addition to Desert Brass. Several are retired music professors and teachers, band directors and professional musicians.
Desert Brass Band is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.