2010 Scottish Regional Championship - Introduction and preview5-Mar-2010
Scotland is a world leader when it comes to organising brass bands - all it needs now is for the bands themselves to come up with the right results too.
For all the excellent ground breaking organisational work that has been going on in Scotland over the past few years, when it comes down to actual contesting results, there isn’t a lot to shout about at the moment.
The fantastic work behind making the Scottish Open and Scottish Solo Championships contests two of the ‘must see’ events of the banding calendar really is something to be immensely proud of, as are the raft of partnerships and initiatives to increase take up of brass playing at grass root banding level.
Here, Scotland is an undoubted world leader.
However, results at major contests – the blunt and at times misleading headline measures of success - remain stubbornly disappointing.
2009 was another year when Scotland came away from the Nationals at London and Harrogate with not even a sniff of an eggcup of silverware.
Bandsmen and women can always take an easy swipe and blame the people behind the scenes when things don’t go well, but in Scotland, there is a persuasive case for the argument to be turned the other way round: The bands need to start delivering on their part of the bargain too.
That though may not be for a couple of years yet, although despite the poor results last year the green shoots of Scottish banding recovery are starting to break through; and in a few years time it is not too fanciful to think that the marauding hordes from north of Hadrian’s Wall will swamp the International Conference Centre and perhaps even the Royal Albert Hall in celebratory tartan.
That would be long overdue: Scotland has won just one National title this century – and that was in 2000 in the Third Section.
The Saltaire was last raised in triumph in Kensington in 1996, has never been waved in the First Section, and was last unfurled in 1997 in the Second. There can’t be many Fourth Section bandsmen alive who remember the 1973 win by RNR Dundee either.
Still, those green shoots are there and are growing with a remarkable vibrancy – although even the organisers would love to see more than just the six bands competing in the Fourth Section.
How fast though we will see here in Glenrothes, as the bands battle it out for qualification.
As always the welcome is warm and friendly and the organisation excellent. Innovative ideas are being tried out (this year five non competing bands have been invited to each provide a short programme of music before the announcement of the results) and the opportunity is being taken to broaden the appeal of the contest to attract more of the general public to come and enjoy what is usually a great weekend of banding.
There are many ways to measure success, and Scotland ticks the right boxes in nearly every one of them. All it needs now is for its bands to get to the Finals and do the same.
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Newark Town Band
Venue: AEC Commercial Vehicle rally at Newark Showground, Nottinghamshire NG24 2NY