Bands in Las Vegas Join Forces to Promote Brass Banding in Southern Nevada

The Las Vegas Brass Band was formed in 1994 by Peter Cooper, a former bandsman of the Chalk Farm Corps Band in suburban London. Pete had moved to Las Vegas in order to work as a professional musician and music teacher. Tiring of the playing “on the Strip” he entered a different profession, while retaining his love for brass banding. As a result, he formed and personally funded the Las Vegas Brass Band (LVBB). This full-complement band is staffed by current and former professional musicians, music educators, graduate students and other brass musicians. The group plays the full range of classic and modern brass band music. The extensive LVBB library includes many works by Salvationist composers, as well as the Festival Series and other Salvation Army music publications.

In 2002, the Las Vegas Citadel Corps of the Salvation Army experienced an influx of musicians, including two excellent solo cornets and an experienced bandmaster. Bandmaster Arnold Pearce came from Canada to teach band and choir in the local school system. A renewed band program began at Las Vegas Citadel. Within two years the band acquired new instruments and additional players. The group is on duty each SUnday and travels to participate in concerts and meetings throughout southern Nevada, Utah and Arizona.

In 2006, two of the Las Vegas Citadel Band members, deputy bandmaster and solo cornet David Doughty and Bb tubist Major Mike Olsen (R), were invited to join the Las Vegas Brass Band. Within a year, the LVBB had shifted its rehearsal venue to the Citadel auditorium. A joint summer music program had members of both bands meeting together weekly to keep their “chops up” and to try out some of the more challenging works by Salvationist composers.

Recently, the bands have joined forces to teach and support a two-level junior band program at the Las Vegas Citadel Corps, under the leadership of Las Vegas brass pioneer Peter Cooper, who has been re-enrolled as a Salvation Army soldier at the Citadel. Each week, members from both bands serve as one-on-one instructors in the junior program.

Community events, such as the annual Salvation Army Christmas Kettle kick-off, are staffed by members of both bands, under the baton of the Citadel bandmaster.

This mutual partnership nourishes both programs, while offering brass musicians a place of worship where they can use their gifts to the glory of God.

Submitted by Major Mike Olsen (R)

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