The Golden Age Of Brass

  • Share
  • Read Later
One hundred years ago, Americans spent their Sunday afternoons tapping their feet to the boom and oompah of a big brass band. In the late 19th century there were 10,000 around the country. For the most part, The Music Man era is bygone--except at Centre College in Danville, Ky., where nearly two dozen bands and 50,000 enthusiasts from around the U.S. and beyond are expected to converge June 15-17 for the 12th annual Great American Brass Band Festival. Margaret and Fonis Payne have traveled 130 miles from Columbus, Ind., every year since 1991. "We forsake everything else so we can be there," says Margaret. "When you find the best, why go anywhere else?" The free events include a hot-air balloon race and continuous music from players perched on high-wheel 1890s bicycles, Civil War-era bands, musicians performing from a re-created turn-of-the-century bandwagon, and New Orleans-style jazz bands. There is also an all-day band-history conference, which costs $35.

Visitors to the area may want to check out the University of Kentucky and Transylvania University, both in nearby Lexington.