As a lover of all genres of music (except traditional English folk music that is) I came to Brass Band music late in my life. This is strange in some ways as I grew up in the North of England which for years was the hub of brass band music.
At one time every mine and large manufacturing company had its own band and competition amongst bands was fierce. As it was a predominantly the working class who played in the bands the music was often looked down upon by “snotty” music critics (usually from the South of England).
Gradually, it was recognised as a valid musical form and many bands lost members to the major symphony orchestras in the UK. If they needed a top class brass player they would send out “raiding parties” to recruit one.
Many will recognise famous band names such as Black Dyke, Grimethorpe (who played the actual music in the film Brassed Off), Brighouse & Raistrick, Fairey and Cory.
Over the years various “serious” composers have written specifically for bands and amongst them are Harrison Birtwistle Ralph Vaughan Williams, Malcolm Arnold and Edward Elgar. I also seem to recall Andre Previn composing for and conducting Black Dyke Band back in the 1970s.
As an example of the standard of music making amongst bands listen to Davis Childs, surely the best Euphonium player in the world, playing Karl Jenkins “Benedictus”, such a beautiful tone.