Horns up for brass band championships

single-meta-cal April 5, 2024

More than 1,300 musicians from 14 states and the District of Columbia are blowing into Huntsville this weekend for the North American Brass Band Association Championships. Together with their traveling groups of supporters – about 80 on average per band – they will fill hotels and restaurants across the Rocket City.

It’s a festive event worthy of its place in Huntsville’s growing musical landscape, providing entertainment while also bolstering the city’s tourism economy.

“We are super proud to be hosting this event,” City Music Officer Matt Mandrella said. “The Brass Band of Huntsville does a good job of really spearheading the effort to make this competition possible. It’s a special event that touches on music education, quality of life and the music tourism aspect since most of the attendees come from out of town. An event like this is a driver of our economy and raises musical awareness.”

To Kent Eversmeyer, president of Brass Band of Huntsville board of directors, this is a Super Bowl-like event in the world of brass band. Bands from four different time zones, from California to North Carolina, will be part of the competition.

“Mayor (Tommy) Battle’s office, you couldn’t ask for more supportive city government to assist us in doing this,” Eversmeyer said. “The Huntsville/Madison County Convention & Visitors Bureau has just been phenomenal.”

On both Friday and Saturday, the competition begins at 8 a.m. and continues until 10 p.m. at three locations within the Von Braun Center – Mark C. Smith Concert Hall, The Playhouse and Saturn Ballroom Salons. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster and the VBC Box Office.

“Let me tell you this: Every time you sit down with this brass, it’s better than marching,” Eversmeyer said. “I love marching band. This is like marching band, sitting down, inside. The music is just phenomenal.”

If you’re not familiar with Huntsville Brass Band, Eversmeyer wants to change that.

“I think we are absolutely the best-kept secret in Huntsville,” he said.

While maybe not as widely known throughout the community, Huntsville Brass Band is making things happen. In addition to helping attract the NABBA Championships for a three-year run that ends this year, the nonprofit organization has started the Youth Brass Academy as a training ground for younger generations. The Brass Band is also one of the original resident tenants at the Sandra Moon Community Complex, giving the band an official home.

And, of course, there is the music itself.

“It’s a quality-of-life thing,” Eversmeyer said. “We’re trying to embrace that. We just need help getting the word out.”