The history of eurobrass dates back to 1972, when musician Julian Bandy left his home in the United States for Germany. Julian served as a teacher at the German Bible Institute in Seeheim-Juggenheim, where he established a music department to complement the Institute’s programs in church work and missions. In 1978 Julian and a few brass-playing friends came together to form the first eurobrass ensemble.
Within a few years, the ensemble expanded beyond Julian’s circle of friends to include college students willing to devote their summers to the eight-week tour. In addition to concerts, Julian and the ensemble offered a brass seminar each summer for German musicians. The instrumentation of early ensembles differed—varying numbers of brass players, sometimes including organ.
In 1993 eurobrass faced the unexpected death of its founder and leader, Julian Bandy. Two members of the ensemble took on leadership roles to continue the ministry of eurobrass: Angie Hunter and Chris Woods. Angie Hunter studied euphonium in the USA and trombone in Germany; until 2008 she served on the music staff of the German Bible Institute. Chris Woods lives in the USA, where he is an emeritus music faculty member at Greenville University, Illinois.
In 1999 eurobrass standardized its tour structure and instrumentation. The ensemble now consists of twelve musicians who participate in an annual three-week tour. The performers include both professional musicians and advanced college music majors from the USA and Germany. The current instrumentation—four trumpets, three horns, three trombones, one euphonium, and tuba—allows for great flexibility. eurobrass performs music from different genres and eras, offering a wide range of musical colors. The concert program changes yearly with our expanding repertoire.
For over thirty years eurobrass remained a ministry arm of the German Bible Institute. As both eurobrass and GBI continued to grow and change, it became apparent that a new organizational structure was needed to carry the ministry of eurobrass forward. To that end, the non-profit organization “eurobrass - music that goes beyond” was formed in March 2009. The eurobrass ensemble is the flagship of the non-profit, which works year-round with German brass musicians to connect faith and music. Angie Hunter serves as the chairperson of the organization.
In 2018 the eurobrass leadership team doubled in size, as ensemble members Kathryn Cheney and Ben Roundtree began the transition into leadership roles. Kathryn Cheney studied trumpet and worked as a church musician and music teacher in the United States before moving to Germany to join forces with eurobrass full-time. Tubist, composer, and church musician Ben Roundtree and his family also live in Germany; in addition to his work with eurobrass, Ben and his wife Erin perform on handbells as the BellTree Duo. Angie, Chris, Ben, and Kathryn work together in praying, planning, and leading the ensemble. Chris and Ben also write most of the group’s arrangements.
eurobrass performs nationally and internationally, to date in fourteen German states, Switzerland, and the USA. In addition to its annual concert tour, the ensemble has produced six CDs, available as mp3 downloads from Gerth Medien. These recordings document the impressive quality and breadth of the ensemble since 1996. More than 100 musicians have participated in eurobrass, with many returning for multiple tours. Each year an average of 4,000 enthusiastic listeners attend eurobrass concerts, as the ensemble continues to grow in popularity and prominence.
In all of this—both our 40-year-history and our present—we see God’s hand at work leading, carrying, and blessing this ministry. We honor our rich heritage and carry it on with joy, a deep sense of responsibility, and ongoing dependence on God. As an ensemble and an organization, we strive to communicate God’s greatness and goodness in such a way that our listeners recognize and experience the love of their Creator.