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27/08/2020 - 08:16

Making Hue vibrant

Half a year has passed since the day when the Chairman of the Provincial People's Committee Phan Ngoc Tho affirmed that he would find a way to revive the Hue brass band. Recently, Thua Thien Hue Union of Art and Literature Associations and Gilimex Company, the sponsor, have given the Hue brass band 26 horns of all kinds with a total value of nearly VND1 billion. This company also finances the project to restore the Hue brass band with the fund of nearly VND2 billion.

The House of Horns. Photo: Đo Ngoc

Things started more than 100 years ago in November 1918 when the French military brass band, the first in Vietnam, was established in Hue. In 1919, Emperor Khai Dinh also founded a French-styled brass band with a view to playing for foreign exchanges and rituals held by the Imperial Court. 

In 1920, the Hue brass band of green belt soldiers was born. In addition to serving ceremonies held by the French, the band regularly gave concerts on every Sunday afternoon at Nha Ken (the House of Horns) in front of French Resident Superior’s Hall in Hue (presently College of Education, Hue University.) At that time, the brass band was often invited to perform in big events, such as Hanoi Exposition (1922), in Saigon on the occasion of the inauguration of the railway (1930).

In 1931, the Hue brass band represented Vietnam to perform at the Paris International Fair. It was the first time Vietnam had had a brass band to perform internationally. Especially on the afternoon of August 30, 1945, Emperor Bao Dai's Abdication Ceremony was held at Noon Gate with the participation of the brass band of 130 players.

Exactly 100 years after the first brass band appeared in Hue, the Hue Brass Club was established on September 3, 2018, by Le Quang Vu, a musician and native of Hue, and currently the Vice President of Ho Chi Minh City Music Association. In our country now, he is one of the musicians whose instrumental music is highly valued by music experts. At the end of 2018, the Hue Brass Club was recognized as belonging to Hue Music Association with 40 members.

Hue people are proud that Hue is one of the three cities in Vietnam that have House of Horns. The other two are Hanoi and Hai Phong. It was on this stage that Hue people for the first time listened to classical works by world-famous musicians as well as “western music, Vietnamese lyrics.” Also on this stage, revolutionary melodies were first played after the liberation. 

At Hue Festivals, many special art shows have been performed on this stage. Especially in 2011, the orchestra of Hue Academy of Music held weekly performances on Saturday and Sunday at the House of Horns, attracting many audiences.

“The Hue brass band is a nice memory in Hue culture. It must be revived to contribute to building Hue into a heritage city,” said the Chairman of the Provincial People's Committee Phan Ngoc Tho. While the walking street along the Perfume River including February 3 Park where the House of Horns is located is being built into a cultural space, the reappearance of the once-famous Hue brass band will make Hue vibrant, which is necessary for a cultural and tourist city.

By Dan Duy

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