Category Archives: Organisation

Brass Instruments: Are You a Fan Unaware?

If you think you’re not a fan of the brass band sounds, you might want to think again.  I too was surprised to found out that I was a big fan…I was just unaware of the fact.

I never knew that some of my favorite bands consisted of brass instrumentals.  I have always loved the group “Chicago”.  I like anything by them, new or old.  The music just moves me and always has.  I mean with song like “Colour My World”, “Just You and Me” and “Saturday in the Park”, who could not loose themselves in the heart-felt sounds?  Chicago uses the saxophone, trumpet and trombone for its unique pieces and although I guess I knew there was brass in the band, I really never gave it much thought.

“The Rolling Stones” have always been the best classic rock band ever, in my eyes.  They used lots of brass instruments like the saxophone and other ones too.  I had no clue of that back in the day I jammed to their music.

“Blood, Sweat and Tears” was another classic rock band that featured brass.  Their unique sound came to be known as jazz-rock.  “No Sweat” was one of my favorite albums and it had a lot of horn in it.  I had just never realized that.  Did you know that the Beatles’ song “Penny Lane” had a trumpet solo in it?  Well, neither did I until recently.

“Urgent” by Foreigner came around later as did many brass sounds in more recent music such as alternative rock, country and even Christian music.  Phil Driscoll is my favorite Christian singer ever.  The trumpet in his songs and solos are simply heavenly.

“Radiohead” is another group that has brass in its tunes.  “The Dave Mathews Band combines guitar and the brass for a very different and unique sound like in the song “”Squirm” that features the trumpet.  The group “Cake” plays a tune entitled “Short Skirt and A Long Jacket” has trumpet too.

And don’t forget the one-of-a-kind sounds of the funky rock band, the “Red Hot Chili Peppers”.   They have a lot of brass in their songs like “Taste the Pain” and “Pretty Little Ditty”.

There are, of course, the unequalled sounds of the Big Bands that were once so wildly popular.  Swing was huge in the 20’s and is making a big come back now too.  Then there are the jazz sounds like you will hear in New Orleans.  The tunes will sweep you away to another time and place

Brass is often front and center and you will know that you are listening to it.  Then, there are times that you, like myself, will be surprised to learn that it is a subtle part of the background, complimenting other parts of the band.

You just never know when brass might just be part of the songs that you know and love.  Once you discover just how many times this is so, you might find yourself seeking out brass like I have recently begun to do.  I was a fan, unaware and now have come face to face with it and a passion has begun.

Charitable Contributions: Taking It to the Next Level

Have you ever had a good cause that burned in your heart like a raging wild fire?  I have.  Recently I really got to thinking about world hunger and it was a thought I couldn’t get out of my mind.  I cannot imagine the feeling of being hungry with no way to get food.  How horrible the thought!  The passion to help set a fire in my heart.  I had to do something to help.

I am not a wealthy person so what I could actually donate was limited.  I gave what I could but knew that ware but a drop in the bucket.  I had to do more.

That is when I begin to get creative.  I used my imagination to come up with the ways and means to come up with funds that I could donate to the cause.

First, I found an organization of which I would make the contribution.  It had to be one I trusted so I researched all and found that World Vision was a Christian group with a great track record.  With that having been accomplished, I began to collect ideas of things I could do.

One fun idea was a raffle.  I first collected a list of businesses that might donate something to my cause.  I called restaurants and asked them to contribute a gift certificate of their choosing.  Some gave away a dinner, others opted for an entrée or discount.

I called other places too like retailers and service providers.  I came up with oil change coupons, entertainment vouchers and lots of other great gifts.

The wonderful thing about this project is that it was a win-win deal.  I would get items to raffle off and the businesses would have a tax deduction for donating to a non-profit cause.

After I had accumulated a nice collection of things to raffle, I sold tickets to it.  I called businesses and organizations and individuals as well.  I got tons of people to purchase one or more tickets.

I held the actual raffle at a local park.  The weather was nice so it was a great turn out.  I did make it to where the winners did not have to be present to win so some were there and some were not.  It was a huge success and I was able to make a nice donation to World Vision.

Another fund raiser for world hunger that I put together was a bake sale.  Some close friends and I made up some goodies like cookies, breads and cakes.  We got permission to set up outside a large retail chain and proceeded to sell our delicacies.  Again, the sale went extremely well and another nice contribution was given.

There are lots and lots of ways that you can help in a capacity you probably never dreamed possible.  You can sponsor a local talent show and use the money from ticket sales for your donation or order a bulk of a product like flowers, candy or gift wrap paper and sell them door-to-door, online or set up at a physical location.  There are even fund raising kits you can order.

Remember to offer those who donate a tax-deductible receipt as an incentive and give them as many details about the cause you are supporting too.  Alone, we are limited but, with a little imagination and a good bit of determination, your heart can go a long, long way.

The History of the Brass Band: Gone With the Wind?

The History of the Brass Band

Recently I was fortunate enough to attend a brass band concert.  The event was a fund raiser for the Christian organization World Vision that fights world hunger and helps in disaster relief and various other goodwill measures and humanitarian missions.

I didn’t expect to be in for such a treat.  I was so impressed by the rich and powerful, moving sounds of the brass band that I set about to find out more about brass bands, beginning with how and when the band got their start.

Way back in the 1830’s and before, brass bands were playing.  It wasn’t exactly the notes we enjoy now.  Some of the instruments like the cornets, trumpets and horns did not have valves as they do today so it put restrictions on what they could play.  But the sounds were still appreciated, mostly in the company of other instruments and not so much on their own but sometimes they were singled out or in a band with solely brass players.

In the 1830’s though, came to invention of valves to brass instruments.  That greatly improved the sound and the range of note which could be played so they became much more popular.   The era of the brass band had begun.

Bands played in concerts and people flocked to see them.  They traveled and toured and were appealing to the middle class and not just upper class.  Towns and communities took pride in putting together brass bands all their own that generally had eight to ten members.  The country and even the world was loving the sounds of brass.

It wasn’t uncommon in those days for well-to-do companies to sponsor a brass band.  There were bands that represented things like the fire department, police department and even non-profit organizations.  These bands offered a great resource to generate funding for these causes too.  Then, those who donated could experience the pleasure of hearing the bands and contribute too, just like I did.

Brass bands have experienced their share of waxing and waning in the years gone by.  They rose to popularity and then people lost interest in the early 1900s, preferring the softer sounds of the concert bands that often featured woodwinds rather than brass.

But in the past century, brass bands have been resurrected.  The love for brass is once again sweeping the nation.  Even those who would have never imagined they would like the bands are steadily becoming fans, like me.

Sometimes it’s the accidental exposure to a brass band that gets you hooked on the joy of it all.  I learned that.  I would have never ever gone to see a brass band had it not been for the “good cause”.  For me, it was a win-win all the way around.

Brass band have been around a long time.  They have been wildly popular and they have been overlooked.  No matter what the pulse of the world is, whether the general population into brass or preoccupied with another sound, brass remains.  Appreciation may rise and fall and at times may seem to be gone with the wind, but for fans like myself, brass bands will never go out of style.

Blowing the Horn on Ebola

Brass Band Aid is an organization that supports World Vision

Ebola is bad news.  The deadly virus is sweeping through West Africa, killing many. The current death toll stands at over 2,500 and is rising each and every day.  Somebody should do something to stop it!

Now we all can help.  A Christian humanitarian organization called World Vision is working on the problem right now.  They are supplying medical gloves and other sanitary medical supplies so the virus won’t be as likely to spread.  They are also donating food and water too.  In addition, they are on a mission to educate the public about Ebola, both in the affected nations and worldwide.

So what does that have to do with you?  Yeah, I wondered the same thing.  Turns out, it’s actually really cool how it all works.

Brass Band Aid is an organization that supports World Vision.  I couldn’t believe that donating could be so painless and pleasurable, actually.  All I had to do was to purchase a ticket to the concert event and I had contributed to the cause.  Plus, I got to hear a fantastically awesome concert too.

Have you ever been to a brass band concert?  I hadn’t.  I must admit, I was leery to go.  I’m not sure what I really expected.

I figured it would be loud and boisterous and most likely something only a brass enthusiast would enjoy.  I had half thought of just skipping out on the concert.  I had done my part to purchase it so what did it matter?   But, I knew I could leave at any time and had nothing better to do so I went ahead and attended.

Wow!  Was I ever surprised!  I have always been a stringed instrument kind of gal myself.  I hadn’t paid too much attention to the sounds of brass until I was front row and center before them.

Talk about good vibrations!  The sounds of the brass is unlike anything I had ever heard.  It was a powerful and moving experience.  The fine mix of the tuba, trumpet, horn and all the other glorious brass made for a heavenly noise.  Most of the concert was really upbeat and fast which was a real treat.

Concert tickets, sales from CDs and donations from the bands themselves all make up funding that goes to World Vision to blow the horn on Ebola.  Not only that, World Vision does much more than Ebola projects.  They work in near 100 countries in such areas as disaster relief, feeding the hungry, providing medical supplies, donation of safe drinkable water and public education.  They are making a huge difference in so many areas of concern worldwide.

I am really happy that I attended the brass band concert.  It has opened up a new passion for me.  I have since gotten very into the brass sounds and am even thinking of learning to play one myself.

You can easily find concerts and events that are working in conjunction with World Vision.  Take it from me, do not just purchase a ticket and miss the show.  You will love the sounds and knowing that your attendance is a win-win all the way around.  Trust me, if you’re like me, you’ll be absolutely blown away.

When’s The Last Time You Actually Felt Hunger?

It’s pretty simple.  You get hungry, you raid the fridge.  Or, drive up to McDonalds or run in a Subway if you are into a quick fix.  Of course you can go all out and fix a nutritional meal if you are so inclined or even go for a sit down lunch or dinner.  Yep, it’s pretty simple…unless you live in Adet, Ethiopia or some other impoverished country in which case your only option may just be to stay hungry.

It’s something most of us have no clue about.  I mean, there have only been a few times I can remember really being hungry and not eating right away.  Once was in Vacation Bible School when I was a kid.  I had forgotten to eat breakfast and got hungry right about the time I got there.  As luck would have it, the lesson was on the “Five Loaves and Two Fishes’ that fed the multitudes.  The little snack of milk and cookies didn’t make a dent in my starvation.  My tummy grumbled and complained all the way through until finally, class was over.  I talked my mother into stopping by Whataburger and the suffering was over.

Hum…that is pretty pathetic.  What if I had gone all day without eating or for several days or a week?  I can honestly say that I have no earthly idea what it feels like to really be hungry.

There are those, though, who have no idea what it feels like to NOT be hungry.  It is a way of life.  And worse than being hungry themselves is watching their loved ones go hungry.  It must break a mother’s heart to watch her children starve.

That is where World Vision steps in.  The organization is on a mission to stomp out world hunger.  It’s quite a feat and it can’t be done overnight but they are making great and wonderful strides and are making a difference, one mouth at a time.

The organization helps in other areas too such as working to provide drinkable water.  Again, I don’t know what it’s like to be thirsty and not have something to drink.  I cannot imagine not having some form of water that I could safely drink.  Do you?

Numbers don’t lie.  World Vision is a Christian humanitarian group that is currently providing help to 1,650 communities in close to 100 countries. This year alone, it has given aid to 11 million disaster survivors in need.  How do they do it?  Through sponsorship and donations and fund raising events.

There are concerts and events that help boost funds for this charity.  When you attend one of these, you not only get to enjoy the entertainment, you can feel good about helping the less fortunate as well.

Out of site out of mind.  That is a good philosophy for hiding your cigarettes or trying to get over a bad relationship but it doesn’t work when it comes to those in need.  They will still be there, hoping and praying that help will arrive…in time.  I hope that you will join me in helping to make sure that it does.