The Fine Arts: Boys' Band Costumes

Figure 1.--Some of the most easily recognizeable band uniforms are Irish and Scottish pipe bands. They are readily recognizable around the world.

Bands are musical groups that are smaller or more specialized than orchestras. Band usually are composed primarily of brass, woodwinf, and percussion instruments. Other bands are composed of more narrowly specialized instruments or play only certain types of music. There are two basic kinds of bands, set and marching. Bands, especially marching bands, generally required a uniform. Some of the best known band uniforms are Scottish and Irish pipe bands. American school bands also have elaborate bands. Scout groups also have uniforms, but this is primarily an English Scout activity. Boys often at mom's urging have participated in various fine arts programs. Some boys have decided on their own to pursue interests in the fine arts and this usuallu maeans learing to play a musical instrument. Boys playing musical instruments usually play in bands, many of which have uniforms. There are two primary types of bands, set bands and marching bands. Uniforms are normally worn by marching bands if the group can afford it. Even set bands usually wear coordinated outfits.

Types of Bands

We have collected information on different types of bands. The two major types are marching and set.

Marching Bands

There are many different types of marching bands. Some of the most famous are Scottish and Irish pipe bands. These bands have been formed all over the world, wherever the Scotts and Irish spread. Drums bands have also been formed to accompany marching units. Americans often think about school bands when the subject of marching bands arrises. Both high schools and junior highschools almost always have uniformed marching bands. Almost always these bands select elaborate military styled uniforms. Schools in other countries often have bands, but they are less commonly uniformed marching bands. ome Scout groups also have bands, but this is primarily an English Scout activity.

Set Bands

There are also many kinds of set bands. Often these bands had a specialized group of instruments or event restricted to one single instrument. Some set bands specialize in specific types of music, such as polka or rock bands. Uniforms or at least coordinated dress is also worn by these groups' although less elaborate uniforms than marching bands. The one exception are rock bands. While early rock bands, like the Beatles, did wear matching outfits--modern rock bands as part of their ethos eskew any type of coordianted outfit which suggests regimentation or discipline.

Country Trends

Marching bands are perhaps most associated historically with European countries because of the militaru associations. e believe that after the Napoleonic Wars that towns and villages throughout Europe formed marching bands for civic purposes. This was by the late late-19th century also adopted in America. The story of an American town puting together a marching band was imortalized in "The Music Band". After the turn of the century marching bands became increasingly popular in america with the rise of inter-collegiate and inter-scholastic sports competitions in America. Todat virtually every ollege/university and highschool in America has a mrching band. We now also note marching bands in other countrues like Japan.

Indvidual Bands

We do not know of a lot of individual boy bands. One is of course reminded of "The Music Man" and Professor Harold Hill. We believe that many Mid-Western towns had boy or community bands, but have no detailed information at this time. I'm sure there were a number of them. We do note one of these bands accross the border in Canada. We have noted the Weston Boy's Band in Ontario. It was no only know in the local community, but throughout Ontario. We hope to acquire more information on some of these bands.


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Created: January 20, 2000
Last updated: 11:39 PM 10/26/2008