Saturday, March 18, 2017

Federal City Brass Band

Federal City Brass Band (Civil War Ensemble)
I recently wrote a brief paper on the history of brass bands in the United States.  I spent a considerable amount of time researching the Civil War musical practice of brass bands.  I found a group in Kentucky that has spent a considerable amount of time researching period performance practice, but that was the extent of my digging, until recently.

The Federal City Brass Band is an ensemble devoted to re-enacting the authentic performance practice of the 19th century.  The musicians play on 19th century instruments, arrangements, and wear period uniforms.  They have even appeared on the television show House of Cards.

The group is located in Maryland.  They are available for hire here:  If you desire pictures of events visit their Facebook page here:

I have never been a believer in the authentic "period performance" movement.  We are unable to recreate the time, the smells, the tastes, etc.  The variables are too vast to control.  Now "historically informed" performance is entirely different.  The FCBB are doing a fine job.  I doubt the brass players were as skilled as these professionals and amateurs.  Brass pedagogy has come a long way since the 1860's.   Their appearance and marching are excellent.  The music has a rich sound.  These individuals are dedicated, and I imagine the social time they share together is full of laughter and good natured sarcasm.  This ensemble, unlike the 1860's version, has women in it!  

I am pleased that I stumbled across their videos in search of more community music.  I hope you enjoy their performances as well.  I may just have to visit Gettysburg sometime to see them perform.

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