The [bclink id=”2019″ target=”_blank”] of the Salvation Army, Long Beach, California, is home for the Vintage Brass Band, a fellowship band made up of both Salvationist and other musicians. The group meets on Tuesday morning at the Long Beach Citadel hall, with a core group of around 25 dedicated players (one of the few bands in the area blessed with five tubas). All ages are represented from college-age to the oldest, who is 96 years of age. Several other participants are in their seventies or eighties. Geographically, the band draws from the entire Southern California area, many members making long drives each Tuesday for rehearsal.
Musicians range in ablility from beginners to professionals playing with area bands and orchestras. Musical direction is provided by Richard Upton, a well-known Salvation Army cornet soloist and a retired band director with the Los Angeles Unified School District. He is assisted by his wife, Frankie, who many consider to be the real organizing force behind the group. Both are to be commended for their hard work and dedication.
Monthly, the band invites in a guest conductor. In the past, the band has been honored by the participation of the likes of Bruce and Bill Broughton, William Gordon, Ivor Bosanko and Major Stephen Smith. The resident band trainer is John Hall III, who also serves as the principal trombone. Hall also directs the Cypress Pops Orchestra. For 2006, the list of guest conductors includes Duncan Sutton (Crestmont College), Steve Fox (Golden State Pops), Bandmaster Ed Freeman (Tustin Ranch Corps), Bandmaster Bill Flinn (Pasadena Tabernacle), Ivor Bosanko (retired USA Western Territorial Music Secretary), noted composer and arranger William Gordon and Lt.-Colonel Norman Bearcroft.
Information submitted by Ben Duncan