Music bands in traditional costume
In South Tyrol brass bands set the pace. 211 music bands perform all over the region at church celebrations and festivals dressed in colourful costume.
Almost 10,000 men and women in South Tyrol are voluntary members of music bands and almost every small village has one. Each (for the most part amateur) musician performs dressed in traditional costume which has differing characteristics depending on the valley and village.The colours are more than decorative. For example in the Val Sarentino/Sarntal a man with red hat braiding is still a bachelor, while a man wearing green braiding is already spoken for. In most cases traditional costume is made entirely by hand: hats, shoes, lederhosen are made by specialists using centuries-old techniques of working leather, loden cloth and other materials.
The music performed by South Tyrolean music bands is as varied as the individual costumes, ranging from rousing marches through classic waltzes and overtures to contemporary and even pop music. Members meet two or three times a week in the rehearsal room. The results of countless winter practice evenings are traditionally performed in spring during the first concert in the band’s home village, after which the repertoire will be repeated over again at various events throughout the summer. Of course each band performs classical marches which for the most part come from old Austrian military music. During parades and processions the members march in time, a skill requiring extra practice. The bands rarely have trouble recruiting new blood. Over half of all members are aged under 30. Great importance is placed on training and sponsoring young musicians and as a result South Tyrol’s music schools are bursting at the seams.