For over 30 years, the Eastern Iowa Brass Band has been entertaining audiences throughout Iowa, the mid-west and even beyond. The group grew from a brass ensemble that was part of the city band in Mt. Vernon, Iowa. In 1985, Don Stine, the director of the city band, attended a seminar on the growing brass band movement in the United States. A seminar was arranged in eastern Iowa in February of 1986. There were 34 brass and percussion musicians who attended that 2-day event which culminated in a concert at Lindale Mall in Cedar Rapids.
Following the clinic, regular rehearsals were held in Mt. Vernon as the group prepared to attend the April 1986 North American Brass Band Association (NABBA) Championships in Indianapolis, Indiana. A strong, second place finish in their division at that event prompted organizers to incorporate and establish the Eastern Iowa Brass Band, Inc. as a non-profit, tax-exempt corporation. Over the years the EIBB has attended the annual NABBA competition many times, always with a strong showing and even taking first place in their division on several occasions. In more recent years, the band has attended the US Open Brass Band Championships six of the last seven years and finished as high as third place.
Each year the EIBB sponsors its own 3 concert Subscription Series. The concerts are held in September, December and April. For more information about exact dates, please visit our concerts page.
Over the years the EIBB has performed at various festivals and Artist Series in towns throughout Iowa. Various sponsoring organizations have funded the band’s participation at these events. For the past several years, the band has averaged more than 20 concerts per year.
The EIBB has also been honored to present concerts at 6 of the annual Iowa Bandmaster’s Association meetings in Des Moines. In 1991, the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. invited the band to be a part of their Festival of American Folklife. The band performed 2 concerts per day for 4 days in Washington, D.C. as a part of that event.
Starting in 1995, the band has hosted a brass band festival at Ushers Ferry Historic Village in Cedar Rapids. Through generous donations from area businesses the expense of other bands can be covered. Band concerts are scheduled throughout the day, giving the audience an opportunity to hear different bands all in one location. For more information, visit the Grand Celebration Of Brass Bands website.
Standard British brass band instrumentation features conical bore horns, producing a rich, mellow sound that is both dynamic and colorful. In place of the trumpets, French Horns and woodwind instruments used in concert bands in the United States, the British Brass Band uses cornets, flugelhorn, tenor horns, euphoniums, baritones, trombones and tubas, as well as percussion. As the only brass band of this type in Iowa, the EIBB presents a truly unique musical experience.
The 35 member ensemble performs from a repertoire which features original works for brass band, as well as arrangements of well known orchestral and wind band literature. Featured soloists are frequently used in concert programs which also include marches, medleys, hymn tune arrangements, folk songs, Broadway showtunes and novelty features.
Members of the EIBB come from all over Eastern Iowa and even beyond. Each Thursday night they travel to Mt. Vernon for rehearsal. The majority come from the area of eastern Iowa centered by the cities of Cedar Rapids and Iowa City.