The Brass Bonanza, run by the Music Service, has been taking place since long before the formation of Bath and North East Somerset in 1996. It started in the days of the Avon Music Service and was continued by Andrew Foister and Susan Avison.
It takes place on the last Wednesday in June and involves about 150 young brass players from all over Bath and North East Somerset. During the day, usually at Newbridge School, Junior school and year 7 pupils play in a massed band together, learning new music specially provided for the day. Music service brass staff are on hand to conduct, help and encourage the young musicians. There are also some older pupils from years 11, 12 and 13 to help out. The day ends with a short concert for pupils at the school, as well as some parents of the pupils taking part.
The Junior school children then go home for some tea before coming back out again to play their newly learnt pieces again, this time at Ralph Allen school. This is where the loud part starts. As well as the junior school pupils from the day, two brass bands from BANES Society of Young Musicians are involved. This brings the total number of players up to about 150. The three groups take it in turns to play some pieces, giving the younger ones the chance to see and hear the older groups, to see what they are aiming for in the future. The evening ends with all the brass players playing one piece all together, the two brass bands coming down from the stage to mingle with the junior school pupils to make a huge, yet musical, sound.
The older pupils often remember taking part in the brass bonanza, and those in junior schools who have taken part in it before, always look forward to the next year’s event.