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    Welcome to The Concert Band

    This web site is dedicated to college and secondary school concert and wind bands. It contains information about the various instruments employed, as well as hints about band training (including technique and intonation), conducting, the physical laws the govern sound production, and anything else I think the young musicians who play in these bands might find helpful. Some sections (such as the one on interpretation) are more for band directors than players, of course, but overall I have tried to include something of interest to just about everyone.

    There is also a large section devoted to the activities of the Brass Band Jenderal (BBJ), a Salvation Army band based in Medan, Indonesia. If you are interested in this Band, click here.

    Some of the information on this website has been extracted from my book entitled The Band Director's Handbook: A guide for College and Secondary School Band Directors in Southeast Asia. The book also includes additional chapters on pedagogy and the varying characteristics of different wind band instruments that are not included in this website. It also has a chapter devoted to writing arrangements and transcriptions for wind band. To order a copy of my book, see the publication details below.

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    BBJ stands for Brass Band Jenderal. It means “The General’s Band” in English. The band is based at a Salvation Army Boys home in Medan, Indonesia. Sometimes called “The Medan Band” by foreigners, it was given the name BBJ in 1989 by General Eva Burrows (the Salvation Army’s international leader at the time) when she met band members in Bandung, Indonesia Read about it here.
    This is the section where I intend to post a variety of articles expanding on subjects not discussed in detail on other parts of this website. Click here.

    This website includes several free scores for both wind and brass band that you can download and use with your band. One of my favourites is an arrangement of Handel's Hallelujah Chorus that I wrote for brass band. To take a look as the music, click here. To take a look at the other scores currently available on this website, click here.



    This book has been written in response to the need for a comprehensive yet affordable guide for wind band directors. It is a practical manual, dealing with the principles of embouchure formation, tone production, and articulation for every major brass and woodwind instrument. Special chapters are also devoted to the fundamentals of conducting and writing transcriptions. In every case, the idea has been to approach the subject matter from the point of view of the non-specialist.

    You can purchase the handbook online


    Or From The Amazon.com




    This section discusses some of the basic principles involved in getting beyond the notes and interpreting the music.  Not all of the principles outlined here need to be understood by band members in order to produce a musically pleasing performance. However, the conductor certainly needs to be aware of them if he is to bring out the best in his band! Click here.


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    Malaysia/Singapore Tour (November 2005)

    I did not have enough money for airline tickets, so this tour began with band members boarding a ferry at North Sumarta's main port of Belawan. The trip to the Malaysian Island of Penang took about 7 hours. From there I arranged for a bus to take the band across the Penang bridge and then south through Ipoh, Kuala Lumpur, Malacca and then on to Singapore.



    Meeting Pay Foong Band
    Singapore Concert
    Concert Repertoire


    Idid not have enough money for airline tickets, so this tour began with band members boarding a ferry at North Sumarta's main port of Belawan. The trip to the Malaysian Island of Penang took about 7 hours. From there I arranged for a bus to take the band across the Penang bridge and then south through Ipoh, Kuala Lumpur, Malacca and then on to Singapore.

    Accommodation - and most of the food! - in Malaysia was provided by the Salvation Army's boys homes in Penang, Ipoh and Malacca. In Singapore, we stayed at facilities provided by the Salvation Army's William Booth college of mission.

    It was all done on a shoestring budget, but band members enjoyed themselves enormously, giving performances in many locations along the way. One particularly memorable event was was our performance outside the Petronas twin towers in Kuala Lumpur. Then there was the football match in Ipoh between band members and some boys from a local village. Needless to say, Indonesia beat Malaysia 6-1!

    As for me, I will never forget the panic just before a major concert with Pay Fong band in Malacca. One of the players told me he had lost the mouthpiece to his tuba after a performance at a shopping complex that afternoon. A desperate search of the stage area failed to find the missing item, and the boy was forced to play the tuba that night using an ill-fitting euphonium mouthpiece instead. I could have strangled him later when he discovered that he had put the mouthpiece in his luggage for safe keeping!

    Other details of the trip are given below:


    Meeting Pay Foong Band

    The Medan Band joined the Pay Foong Secondary concert band and the Catholic High Concert Band in Malacca (Malaysia) for their annual school concert. The massed bands played two pieces before performing separately. Here is a picture taken of part of the Medan Band percussion section (in red and blue T-shirts) during one of the intensive joint rehearsals just days before the concert. At the beginning of the concert, we exchanged gifts with the representatives of Pay Foong band. Our gift to them was a photograph of the Medan Band with the signatures of all band members on it. The greeting read Kami senang memainkan dengan anda! (We enjoyed playing with you!).

    Singapore Concert

    Here is a picture of the full band tuning up before our concert in Singapore on November 18, 2005. It was held at the Salvation Army's Bishan auditorium.

    And here is 12-year old Eben playing his solo accompanied by the band. A hit with audiences (especially the girls!) in both Malacca and Singapore, Eben plays remarkably well for someone of his age.

    We also had a quartet made up of four of the younger boys. They chose their own music (not listed below).

    Concert Repertoire

    Although the timing of the visit to Malaysia and Singapore did not allow the band to meet as many Malaysian and Singaporean musicians as we had initially hoped, the tour was an outstanding success. Everywhere the band played, audiences expressed surprise at the standard the band had achieved. This was especially so given the lack of access to well qualified music teachers in Medan, as well as that city's relative isolation from the Western musical mainstream.

    Here is a list of the repertoire the band played. Those familiar with Salvation Army brass band music may like to compare it with the sort of pieces we played in November 2004 to get some idea of the extent to which the band progressed in the intervening 12 months. As you can see, I have tried to get the band to play music encompassing a wide range of musical styles.

    Band Signature Tune
    I love Thy Kingdom James Anderson

    Concert Works
    Be Valiant and Strong Ray Bowes
    Gospel Train David Jones
    Rondeau J. Mouret (Arr. Peter Graham)

    Swing/Jazz Works
    It's a Great Day Trevor Worthington
    Smile Douglass Kiff (Arr. Leonard Ballantine)
    Moses James Cheyne
    Just a Closer Walk Eiliv Herikstad

    Indonesian Folk Songs
    Salute to Medan Noel Jones
    Piso Surit Arr. Bruce Gale
    Tano Niha Arr. Bruce Gale

    Happy Harmony Dean Goffin
    God Cares James Curnow
    His Wonderful Love Chris Mallet

    Freedom Ray Steadman-Allen
    Fill the World With Music Erik Silverberg

    Hymn Tune Settings
    Burning, Burning William Himes
    Crown Him Lord of All Wilfred Kitching


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