The Billtown Brass, comprised of Williamsport Symphony Orchestra (WSO) brass & percussion players and friends, was first organized in August of 2000 when the WSO was requested to provide outdoor entertainment for a special event. Cost, logistics and concerns about strings and woodwinds under the hot sun called for an answer that included a smaller ensemble (28 members), easy logistics (everyone except percussion is self-sufficient) and a group that can play in almost any weather conditions ... a brass band in the style of the traditional British brass bands. Since then, the group has become a local favorite known for its eclectic programming which appeals to a broad audience.


The repertoire is selected from British brass band standards as well as ballads, big band jazz, classical transcriptions, Broadway & Hollywood favorites, marches and other patriotic gems. Since that performance in 2000, the WSO Billtown Brass has performed several times each year for concerts in Williamsport's Brandon Park, Lewisburg's Hufnagle Park, special events and holiday concerts. Highlights have included a feature performance with the WSO as the "guest artists" in a Pops concert, a joint performance with the Salvation Army New York Staff Band, and a performance at Eagles Mere's Summer Concert Series. In 2011, the Billtown Brass also collaborated with the Williamsport Chamber Choir & Orchestra (WCCO) to present a gala "kickoff" of the holiday season at the magnificent Community Arts Center in downtown Williamsport (and the home of the WSO).

Conductor, William Kenny

William Kenny began his directorship of the Billtown Brass in the summer of 2024. He is Professor of Music at Bucknell University where he conducts the university Symphonic Band and teaches French horn, conducting, and a variety of other music courses. Kenny was Bucknell's 2022 recipient of the university's "Class of 1956 Lectureship for Inspirational Teaching."

Kenny is founder and conductor of the Penn Central Wind Band, an ensemble comprising professional musicians and music teachers from throughout the region. The PCWB is a recipient of the Sudler Silver Scroll—an award administered by the John Philip Sousa Foundation “recognizing community and adult concert bands of outstanding musical excellence.”

As a performer, Kenny served for 30 years as principal horn of the Williamsport Symphony Orchestra, and continues performing with the Orchestra of the Susquehanna Valley Chorale and the Commonwealth Brass Quintet.

At Bucknell, Kenny has served as Associate Dean of Faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences, Chair of the Department of Music, and was elected by his Bucknell colleagues to chair the 400-member University faculty.

A graduate of Oregon State University, Kenny received both his master's degree and doctorate in music education from the University of Illinois.


Director Emeritus, Rick Coulter

Richard Coulter, the ensemble's founding director, grew up in Pittsburgh, PA and was bitten by the brass band bug while still in high school. After hearing the Salvation Army's Toronto Staff Band, he joined a youth band sponsored by the Salvation Army in Pittsburgh. While studying Trumpet and Music Education at Carnegie Mellon University, he performed in the brass ensemble directed by world-renowned tubist Philip Catelinet (a protégé of England's famed composer, Ralph Vaughan Williams). The ensemble would regularly read through Catelinet's compositions that were destined to become the next year's brass band contest pieces in England. Coulter retired from the Williamsport Area School District as Supervisor of the Essentials: Art, Drama, Dance, Music, Gifted, Health & Physical Education.

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