The 31-member Brass Band of Battle Creek has been described as an All-Star band of the brass and percussion world's elite, attracting great musicians from around the United States and Europe. Though rooted in the British brass band tradition, characterized by larger ensembles of strictly brass and percussion, the BBBC also weaves in American elements such as jazz improvisation, pops and swing, resulting in a hybrid style that makes the BBBC truly unique among brass bands.
Created in 1989 by Brothers Jim and Bill Gray, podiatrists and amateur brass players from Battle Creek, MI, the BBBC has grown to cult status in Battle Creek, where BBBC concerts are regularly sold out and waiting lists are created weeks in advance. Trumpet legend Doc Severinsen, who has twice appeared with the band, says of the BBBC,"This band represents the beginnings of a new music movement in America. It's one of the most accomplished groups I've ever worked with in my entire career."
BBBC members come from American and European orchestras, colleges and universities, and U.S. service bands based in Washington, D.C. Most have impressive international solo careers. The band's rotating roster includes some of the finest musicians in the world: Tim Morrison, former principal trumpet for the Boston Pops, favorite soloist of composer John Williams, and a former member of Empire Brass; Jens Lindemann , former member of the Canadian Brass and faculty member at UCLA; Woodrow English, trumpet soloist for U.S. Army Band, its elite U.S. Army Band Quintet, National Symphony Orchestra and Washington Opera; Wycliffe Gordon, former trombonist for Wynton Marsalis Septet and Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra; Scott Hartman, trombone, Yale Brass Trio, former Empire Brass member, renowned soloist; Steven Mead, euphonium, internationally renowned soloist and Boosey & Hawkes touring artist; and Dave Ratajczak, solo drummer and BBBC set drummer who also played the part of Gene Krupa in the re-creation of the 60th anniversary performance of Benny Goodman's Sing, Sing, Sing in Carnegie Hall.
In addition to its all-star lineup of world-renowned players, the BBBC has performed at several prestigious venues, including England's Royal Albert Hall as the first non-British band to ever perform at the National Brass Band festival there. The BBBC has also performed at the International Trumpet Guild ‘Brassfest’ in Bloomington, IN., the International Trombone Association’s annual world meeting in Champagne, IL., as guest artist on the University of Kentucky’s Artist Series, and at the Interlochen Arts Society Series. The band was the first brass band to perform on The University of Michigan’s Musical Society Series.
With a mission to bring joy, understanding and inspiration to others through the power of music, the band enjoys generous support from the Expert In Residence division of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Foundation grants have helped the band launch a regular summer camp program for brass and percussion students called Camp Avalon.