There are 660 registered brass bands in England. In New York, there are only two.
One of the two, the Buffalo Silver Band, will return for its third performance at Chautauqua at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, July 7 in the Amphitheater.
David Myro, bass trombone player and the band’s marketing chair, said the group has been looking forward to returning to Chautauqua all year.
“It is a great venue, and there is such a great crowd there in that community,” he said. “It’s a bigger crowd than we usually play for and it’s also one that is really enthusiastic, something that’s important to us as musicians. The setting is just so amazing; Chautauqua is just magical.”
To create a “special, mellow sound,” the British-style brass band has cornets in place of trumpets and primarily consists of horns and percussion.
“We can almost guarantee people will have never heard a sound like ours,” Myro said. “There is no other kind of music that requires a very specific combination of instruments the way ours does.”
Because their style is so unique, Myro said people have misconceptions about the music.
“We all think this style is going to be a marching band, but it’s nothing like that,” he said. “We play all sorts of music, like Broadway, folk tunes, classics and jazz. Yes, the sound is different from other bands, but it’s still versatile. We like to switch it up, keep it captivating for everyone.”
The band is comprised of volunteers and, according to Myro, about a third of the band members are either current or former band directors.
“It puts us in between amateur and professional, but they’re really all good musicians,” he said. “They all have different strengths and musical techniques, so when it all comes together, it creates something special.”
Members of the band aren’t compensated for any performances — they even use donated rehearsal spaces. Myro said the fun and love of music is what drives them year after year.
“We have had a lot of success, but most importantly, we have a lot of fun with it,” Myro said. “I think the quality is good and the people are even better. We try to make the most of every performance. We handle the music with so much care and I think people see that when we perform.”
During their Chautauqua performance, the ensemble will be playing everything from marches to movie scores and patriotic selections. Myro said the selections were made for an intergenerational audience.
“I think the music is attractive to any age,” he said. “We do things that are fun for the kids to see, but it’s clever and surprising enough to make everyone interested. Being at this venue before, we now have a good idea about what the audience enjoys as well as how diverse it is, so choosing a wider range of music like this was important.”
Myro believes the set will be “particularly appealing to Chautauquans” because there is a teaching aspect to the program.