Mission and History

History

“To bring joy, understanding and inspiration through the power of music”
– BBBC Mission Statement

Over the last 25 years the Brass Band of Battle Creek (BBBC) has established itself as one of the premier brass/percussion ensembles in the world. Through a wonderful relationship with its local audience and the generous support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation the band has seen its membership grow to include some of the finest brass/percussion performers in the United States and Europe. Members have included: Mr. Steven Mead, professor of euphonium, Birmingham Conservatoire (U.K.), Mr. Jens Lindeman, former member Canadian Brass, Ryan Anthony, former member Canadian Brass, Mr. Wycliffe Gordon, Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, Mr. Woodrow English, principal trumpet, U.S. Army Band, Mr. Sam Pilafian, professor of tuba and euphonium Arizona State University and founding member of Empire Brass, Mr. Scott Hartman, former member of the famous Empire Brass and professor of trombone at Boston University. Conductors have included Mr. Howard Snell, formerly principal trumpet, London Symphony Orchestra and also a noted composer and arranger of brass band music and Mr. Mark Gould, Principal Trumpet Emeritus of the New York Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.

The BBBC is best known for its ability to expertly perform many styles of music. From swing, to brass band classics, orchestral transcriptions show tunes, pop selections, dance music, marches and dixieland the BBBC will wow you with its stunning energy, power and technical virtuosity.

The BBBC has performed at many prestigious events: as featured band at the International Trombone Association Convention, the International Trumpet Guild Convention, the Calvin College “January Series” and the Great American Brass Band Festival in Danville, KY. In 1998 the BBBC became the first band from the United States to perform as guest band at the British National Brass Band Championships held in London’s Royal Albert Hall. This happened as part of the band’s 10-day tour of the United Kingdom, which also saw performances in Birmingham, Cardiff and Manchester. The band has twice performed with legendary trumpet soloist Doc Severinsen. In 2000 the band performed as a guest artist on the University of Kentucky’s Artist Series. 2001 performances included the Interlochen Arts Society Series, the University Musical Society Series at the University of Michigan (the first performance ever by a brass band). At this performance the BBBC set a record for CD sales in the legendary 4200 seat Hill Auditorium. In April of 2002 the band performed in Cincinnati as guest artist at the North American Brass Band Association Championships thus becoming the only brass band to perform as guest artist at both the North American Championship and the British National Brass Band Championship.

In the spring of 2005, the BBBC completed an eight-day tour of Florida with performances at the Naples Philharmonic Center, The Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, Ruth Eckerd Hall, The King Center and the Englewood Performing Arts Series. The BBBC was selected by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation as the featured performer at its 75th Anniversary performance in August of 2005. The BBBC was also selected by the Kellogg Foundation as one of its Outstanding Grantee’s in the 75-year history of the Foundation.

The BBBC has released 10 compact discs: Sing, Sing, Sing, Britain and Brass, Sleigh Bells and Brass, Fight Songs of the Big Ten, and Brassmatazz, Live One, Live 2 and Live 3 (featuring music performed in concert since 1994), Music for Battle Creek and A Christmas Festival.

Brass Band of Battle Creek – Who Are We?

The Brass Band of Battle Creek has been recognized throughout the world for the caliber of their music and performances. The band has produced 10 CDs which have received great critical acclaim. The Brass Band of Battle Creek is a 31 member professional brass band which performs music of all styles. Members come from orchestras throughout the United States and Europe, colleges and universities, and service bands from Washington, D.C., as well as professional free lance artists. The band has been honored to have fabled trumpet virtuoso Doc Severinsen as guest artist with the band on two occasions.

The band has included some of the finest musicians in the world: Danny Barber, lead trumpet in Frank Sinatra's touring band; Dave Ratajczak, percussionist, performing on Broadway; Tim Morrison, former associate principal trumpet, Boston Symphony; Scott Hartman, previous member of Empire Brass; Wycliffe Gordon, trombone, Lincoln Jazz Center Orchestra; Woodrow English, principal trumpet with United States Army Band; Chris Jaudes, principal trumpet, Gypsy, Broadway; Steven Mead touring Boosey and Hawkes artist; Sam Pilafian, former director of the Tanglewood Music Camp and faculty at both Ravinia Festival in Chicago and Interlochen Fine Arts Camp, and Martin Erickson, former solo tuba in United States Navy Band.

The BBBC has been asked to perform at prestigious events throughout the country and internationally. The band performed in the spring of 1995 at the International Trumpet Guild Brassfest in Bloomington, Indiana and the Great American Brass Band Festival in Danville, KY. In May 1997, the BBBC was the main entertainment at the International Trombone Association Convention held in Champaign, IL. Additionally, they have previously received invitations to perform at the International Music Festival in Sydney, Australia and the Brass Explosion in Birmingham, England. In October 1998 the BBBC toured Great Britain and performed as the guest band at the English National Championships held at the Royal Albert Hall in London. This is the first time in the history of the festival that a band from North America has been invited to perform. The Brass Band of Battle Creek has also performed as part of the University Artist Series at the Singletary Center of the University of Kentucky, December 2000. The BBBC also became the first brass band to perform at Hill Auditorium in March 2001 as part of the University Musical Society series of the University of Michigan. In April of 2002 the BBBC performed as the guest band at the North American Brass Band Association Convention in Cincinnati.

In addition to the performances by the Brass Band of Battle Creek, a primary goal of the band is to provide hands on education to students. The band works with area schools before each performance to increase their knowledge of brass band music and increase their technique through various methods. Since 2010 they have provided educational opportunities to the local schools impacting over 2,000 area students each year.