Arthur Taylor on the impact of brass brands in USA

But the brass band thing was great. I went to America, would you believe? During the course of all this, I met a guy called Bob Burnett, who was an American musical academic who suddenly discovered British brass bands, and he came over here on a sabbatical, and went to every contest including the Granada Band of the Year. Yes I actually met him in a box at the Albert Hall, would you believe, at a brass band contest. And he went back to Pittsburgh and formed a brass band called The River City Brass, it was a professional band. And he was quite extraordinary because he managed to get together a board to work this thing and finance it of major employers and the major trade unions in Pittsburgh, the first time these people had ever got together over anything, apparently. And I mean, the businessmen were big time. One of them was something to do with American Airlines and the other was something to do with Otis Lifts. So they put money in. And so Bob called me over to Pittsburgh, together with a wonderful euphonium player called Bob Charles, to help them inaugurate… the first concert that this one did, in the Carnegie Hall, would you believe, in Pittsburgh, and I was the MC on this thing. So I actually ran up the steps, you know the steps at the Carnegie Hall, Pittsburgh, where [Sylvester Stallone] did the first Rocky sequence. So I had a great time going up the steps, and did the MC’ing, and Bob… and it was more than that, I mean, we went to universities all over the place, Cincinnati and so on, with Bob playing and me lecturing about this strange phenomenon of brass bands. Because of course America used to have brass bands, but they changed and went into Sousa, big bands. But it all started with British style brass bands in works in America. So he was kind of recreating a bit of American heritage. Apparently it was very successful. And American Airlines, this guy was president or something, so I flew first class, American Airlines, for the first time in my life. I mean, all that from a local brass band programme in 19 whatever! Strange.

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