The Unique Sound of British Brass

About Us

The Unique Sound of

Ventura British Brass


The Ventura British Brass is a unique ensemble with very specific instrumentation.

The band is modeled after the classic British Brass Bands which originated in the 19th century. The rich, dark, and mellow tone quality stems from the fact that all the instruments, except the trombones, are conically bored in design (smaller bore at the mouthpiece, gradually increasing to the horn’s bell), permitting the brass band to produce a most distinct and unique sound. Originating in Britain in the 1840’s, they have become very popular throughout Europe and the rest of the world. For many years these bands were kept alive in the United States largely by the Salvation Army’s influence.

Unlike most popular brass ensembles in the United States, our British style brass band has a fixed, standard instrumentation using cornets, not trumpets, and tenor horns, not French horns. Cornets are pitched the same as trumpets, but have the different shaped conical bore, and the tubing is wrapped tighter, making it appear smaller than a standard trumpet. The different bore gives the cornet a darker, mellower, more lyrical sound. Tenor horns are like a smaller euphonium or baritone, and sound more like a rich, higher-pitched baritone rather than the muffled dark and noble sound of the French horn.

Our music repertoire is unusually flexible, with varied concert programs, which can consist of anything from original works, orchestral transcriptions and featured soloists to novelty pieces, marches, Broadway tunes, pop medleys, jazz and hymn tune arrangements.

We rehearse every Tuesday evening , with the exception of the 1st Tuesday of every other month where you can find us at the Channel Islands Yacht Club in Oxnard.

Our conductor, Mr. Gary Engels, who was born in the Netherlands and raised in South Africa, is a member of ASCAP and brings to us a deep passion for the Band and a lifetime of experience as a performer, conductor, educator, and composer.

Musician and Founder
Anne Howorth

Click on the link below for an article by Anne Howorth about the creation of the Ventura British Brass

Article – Anne founding VBB revision7-7-13

One thought on “About Us

  1. What a joyous 3rd of July we had in Libbey Bowl in Ojai. It was simply grand. Thank you for heading up our way.

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