Mission

The mission of the Houston Brass Band is to be one of the region’s premier musical ensembles, sharing the unique spirit and beauty of British-style brass band music through:

  • Concerts of high musical and artistic quality given in a wide range of venues,
  • Educational and community outreach.

History of the Houston Brass Band

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The Houston Brass Band was formed in 2000 by several brass music enthusiasts, inspired by the British film Brassed Off. Leading the band in those early years was conductor Damon Hilsmeier, a music educator in Pasadena ISD. The Band was privileged to perform at various music festivals, concerts, and patriotic events, including the annual Pearl Harbor Memorial on the deck of the Battleship Texas. In 2004 the Band was incorporated as a 501(c) (3) nonprofit corporation.

 

In 2006, Robert Walp, Assistant Trumpet Principal of the Houston Symphony, was asked to coach the Band’s cornets. After next conducting rehearsals, Mr. Walp was soon appointed the ensemble’s first Music Director. Under his expert direction, the Band began a period of accelerated growth, transforming it from a local community group to the professional-level organization you see and hear today.

 

In 2007 Christ the King Lutheran Church became the band’s new home for rehearsals and concerts. The now-annual Oktoberfest Konzerts at Christ the King drew and continues to draw large audiences. These performances recognize and highlight the Houston Sängerbund’s generous support of the Houston Brass Band.

 

The Band has been fortunate to have developed close relationships with local international schools, in particular the British School of Houston. In 2008 the Band appointed the School’s Head of Music, Chris Lewis, its Assistant Conductor. Chris brought with him a wealth of knowledge and experience from the UK brass band movement, having previously conducted the City of Coventry Brass Band. Houston Brass Band is proud to continue its connection with the British School of Houston. Paul Wright, its current Head of Music, is an active Band member, whether playing trombone, baritone, tenor horn, or cornet, and conducting or arranging for the group.

 

In 2010 the Band performed to a packed house at Zilkha Hall in the Hobby Center, Houston. This concert set a new standard for future concerts. Subsequently the Band was invited to perform at the Festival Institute at Round Top, and at the Houston Symphony’s Day of Music in Jones Hall, as part of its Centennial Celebration in July, 2013. Again, a year later, the Band was invited to perform and the second annual Day of Music at Jones Hall. In 2011 the Band released its first CD “One” and made its first Texas tour, performing in Conroe, Richardson, and Waco, Texas.  In 2015 the Band will record its second CD, “Zwei,” of all German repertoire.

 

Music education is paramount to the Band’s development and success. We are proud to have over fifty percent of its members who are either middle or high school music educators, or private instructors. Beginning in 2012, the Band held summer BOB (Brass-Only Band) Camps, taught by its talented educators, for school musicians in grades 8 through 12. The Band has been pleased at the continual growth of its BOB Camps and looks forward to its first Solo Competition in March of 2015, when young musicians will have the opportunity to perform for a panel of prominent musicians, principals of the Houston Symphony’s brass section: Principal Trumpet Mark Hughes, Principal Horn William VerMeulen, Principal Trombone Allen Barnhill, and Principal Tuba David Kirk.