Cross of Honour Concert March (2011) - 3'

by William Rimmer
Transcribed for Wind Band by William Pitts
Commissioned by the Duncanville High School Wind Ensemble 
Level: Medium Advanced


Premiere: March 15, 2012
Duncanville High School Wind Ensemble
David Brandon, Conductor 

Program Notes:

Cross of Honour is a British-style march composed by British composer William Rimmer. The piece was originally composed for brass band and was featured in the 1996 film Brassed Off. It is one of the most frequently performed brass band marches ever composed. 

The Wind Ensemble transcription was commissioned by the Duncanville High School Wind Ensemble, under the direction of Jeffrey King. This version is written as the piece was performed in the filmBrassed Off, and does not follow the structure of the original work. As with most British-style marches, clarity of articulation and style are most easily achieved through a relaxed tempo and accuracy of the dynamics.

This transcription is dedicated to my first Principal at Duncanville High School, Mr. Michael Chrietzberg. Mr. Chrietzberg has been an invaluable member of the Duncanville ISD for over twenty-three years, and 2011-2012 marks his last of seventeen years as Principal of DHS. Though our collaboration was short, his influence on myself, along with other teachers, students, and parents throughout this district will be long lasting.


About the Composer:

William Drake Rimmer (1862-1936), who could be described as the "march king of the brass band movement," was born in Southport, England, into a musical family. His father was bandmaster of the Lancashire Volunteer Rifles and encouraged both William and his brother Robert in their musical studies. At the age of fifteen, William joined the Southport Rifle band as a side-drummer and then moved onto the cornet, eventually becoming the band's principal cornet soloist. Even at a young age, he made himself into one of the finest cornet players in the country. His prowess on the instrument became well known, and he was engaged as a soloist by bands across the country.

He eventually gave up playing to concentrate on training and conducting bands. From 1892-1910, Rimmer was responsible for the training and professional conducting of many bands, including the famous Black Dyke Mills Band. The high point of his career came in 1909 at the Manchester Belle Vue contest, where he was professional conductor of five of the six prize-winning bands. He also conducted every winning band at both the Crystal Palace and Belle Vue competitions between 1905 and 1909. Due to bad health, he retired from conducting in 1909.

From 1910 he concentrated on composing and arranging. Many of his arrangements of operatic and classical pieces were used as test pieces in brass band contests. It was in the composition of his sparkling marches for brass bands, however, that Rimmer did most to perpetuate his name. His total number of his marches (for brass band and concert band) number over 100. Rimmer passed away in 1936, leaving behind a monumental legacy of quality music used by brass bands everywhere.

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