1st Glasgow Company brass band

A long history of music in the BB

The Boys’ Brigade (BB) is a long established national voluntary youth organisation, founded in 1883 and registered charity with a firm christian base. It was the world’s first uniformed national voluntary youth organisation It is committed to providing a balanced programme of adventure, community, interest, physical and spiritual activities for boys and young men, in a caring and friendly environment, through dedicated and trained leaders.

The organisation has always had a strong musical tradition. This has mainly been in marching bands but there have always been some full brass bands (such as the original 1st Glagow Company brass band pictured here in the 1880s). In the late 1970s contact was made between brass bands in BB companies throughout the UK in order to establish a link between these bands. As a result an annual National Brass Band Contest was started in 1980 and cooperation between the bands grew.

Centenary Year – 1983

In the BB Centenary year, 1983, the brass bands formed the first ever National Brass Band (over 300 strong) to take part in the main celebrations in Ibrox Park in Glasgow. Throughout that year, massed brass bands were involved in other centenary events, including the Royal Review by HM The Queen at Holyrood Palace. After the centenary the brass bands requested a more formal contact and a chance to reach out to other members of the organisation (and the sister organisation, The Girls’ Brigade) to give opportunities to individual members who play brass, but who have little or no opportunity to play in a local BB brass band.

Our Association is formed

Therefore, with the full support and encouragement of the Boy’s Brigade Executive, The Boys’ Brigade National Brass Band Association was formed in 1985 as a means of communication between bands; a forum for ideas and discussion; an advisory body; contact with other music associations and organisations; to provide assistance to small bands and to organise events and training at national level for member bands.

Our members

The number of full brass bands in the BB has, sadly, depleted in recent years but there are still young people taking part from around the country, including Chandlers Ford, London, Nottingham, Halesowen, Doncaster, Hull and Accrington. In addition, the Association is able to offer other BB/GB members in Companies without full brass bands, the opportunity of taking part in massed brass band activities and social events.

Our activities

The Association organises informal get-togethers, training courses and massed band events where young people from BB and GB Companies can come together to practise, play and experience fellowship in a much larger band. Members have travelled to Denmark on a number of occasions for the National Music Festival of the FDF (Danish BB & GB) which used to be held every five years. Massed bands have performed at the 1994 Royal Review by HM The Queen at Windsor Castle, at various British leisure parks such as Alton Towers, Legoland in Denmark and Windsor, and at the Royal Tournament at Earls Court. Concerts have been held in Derby, Doncaster, Blackpool, Birmingham, Hucknall, Chandlers Ford, Liverpool, Halifax, Slough, Bristol, St Pauls Cathedral, Chatham, The Royal Hospital, Chelsea and at the Imperial War Museum at Duxford, Cambridgeshire. A nationally represented band recorded the first ever BB national brass band CD which was released in 2002. A number of early May Bank Holiday training weekends at RAF Cosford and RAF Uxbridge have been very successful. Although the National Brass Band Contest ended in 2001 after a very successful 20 years, it has now been replaced by an equally successful National Music Festival. This event is now held in two locations each year and is growing more popular every year.

The Boys' Brigade National Brass Band Association is a part of The Boys' Brigade
A Registered Charity in England & Wales (305969) and Scotland (SC038016).
The BB National Brass Band Assocaition is not responsible for the content of external sites