Organized in 1997 as the Renaissance Brass, the Desert Brass has since become one of the Phoenix West Valley’s premier musical organizations. The Brass Band dates back to the early nineteenth century and quickly grew to over 750 brass bands in England alone. Currently, brass bands in Great Britain number in the thousands. Within the last thirty years, brass bands in America have grown to several hundred.
Although originally named the Renaissance Brass, band members believed the name suggested a baroque, heavily classical style of music which would appeal to only a limited audience and that the name should portray a more exciting, energetic, contemporary style compatible with the band’s preference. Hence, band members agreed to the name Desert Brass.
The number of players and instrumentation is rigid, usually limited to 28-30 players. The traditional instrumentation for the British style brass band developed during the nineteenth century has carried to the present and consists of cornets, flugelhorn, tenor horns, baritones, trombones, euphoniums, tubas, and percussion. Desert Brass band members are experienced musicians and must meet audition standards. They are mostly from the Sun Cities area while some reside in outlying regions. They are retired from professional life and play in one or more musical groups in addition to the Desert Brass. Several are retired music teachers, band directors, and professional musicians.
During the concert season, November to April, band rehearsals are held on Thursday mornings 9:00 to 11:00 at the Salvation Army Headquarters, 17420 Avenue of the Arts, Surprise, Arizona.
The Desert Brass is an IRS 501 (3) (c) Non Profit Arizona Corporation. Band members volunteer their time and band expenses are met by honorariums, proceeds from contracting organizations, and band member donations. In 2010, we received a Grant from the Sundome Performing Arts Association in recognition of the band’s cultural contribution to the West Valley. The grant funded purchase of a permanent inventory of unique brass instruments; expansion of our musical library; and purchase of new uniform shirts.