Ray's knowledge of frontier lore and the colorful stories behind the music we played was legendary. Everyone who attended our performances came away with choice tidbits from Ray's vast mental storehouse (& that included the band members as well).
The beginings of the Old Arizona Brass Band
Page updated April 24, 2018
Ray Hicks, historian, educator, expert in 19th century brass band performance, founded our vintage-style "brass" band in the fall of 1996 in Tucson, Arizona, USA, so the residents of the former Territory of Arizona would be able to experience once again the music of the American Brass Band Era. Therefore, he christened the fledling organization "The Old Arizona Brass Band."
Consulting with Dave Faust, curator of Tucson's Ft.Lowell Museum, Ray decided to pattern the reenactment side of the band after the 4th Cavalry Regimental Band stationed at old Ft.Lowell in 1884&1890. This allowed Ray to provide a unique glimpse into a transitional period of wind band music after the switch from the over-the-shoulder, primarily all brass, instrumentation of the early brass bands, but before the 20th Century woodwind dominated concert bands. Ray performed as principal musician - Sgt Hicks, our leader & cornet virtuoso.
An important sidenote: Prior to his residency in Arizona, Ray helped establish the El Dorado Brass Band, a civil war reenactment band in Sacramento California which he lead for many years as a civil war era Capt. Hicks.
These are photos of the Tribute to Ray Hicks at Picacho Peak in March 2007