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If I was Dictator Maximus

by Richard Evans

4BR has asked Richard Evans to put himself in charge of the brass band world and become a benign and beloved Dictator. In this role we have granted him 5 decrees that he can impose at his will.

See if you think it would be a good idea for him to be in absolute charge. He has some very persuasive pieces of legislation he wants to enact and our little banding community would certainly be a much more colourful place in which to play. The drawback though is that the chances of him becoming our Dictator Maximus (or get a Russell Crowe physique) are very slim indeed.

These would be his decrees:

1. Bring back the satisfaction, enjoyment and spirit to banding.

The current depressed state of banding in general will only accelerate downwards unless steps are taken to reverse the trend.


Follow the example of the Youth of our movement. They play with so much spirit, energy and fun. Yes, they also like to compete, but if we used all our annual contests as festivals for a year – let people (bands) play the music they want to play, receive awards such as gold, silver, bronze, special commendations etc – instead of 1/2/3, it would give the whole movement a year in which to reflect and decide their true direction.

2. In order to allow the above to happen we must re-train and re-group our organising bodies to be totally supportive of our bands and their needs.


With immediate effect, dismiss ALL established Federations, Associations, NCC’s, or ex NCC’s, Area Committees et al and set up a full time Executive Officer with at least two full time staff members answerable to an elected Brass Band Democratic Forum for the whole country. One band, one vote. We are all sick to death of so many small empires conflicting with each other over petty and insignificant issues. We have much too much work of important matters to deal with and this will be the way in which it can be done.

3. Commercial interests of individuals must be both admired and carefully monitored.


Entrepreneurs are good for the commercial life of our movement. We want them to flourish, as then we, as a movement will flourish. But not on the back of Banding – in partnership with Banding.

4. We must preserve the high quality of our top bands. To rely on one result (the Area) generally to decide who attends the Finals is wrong. We all know the vagaries of contesting. (draw, adjudicator, piece etc)


No more than 10 bands in a newly formed Premier League. They will compete in 3 contests per year – The British Open, National Finals in London and Cambridge (obviously not ALL ENGLAND!!!). They will play 2 pieces as the European (own choice – test piece). At the end of the year, the band with the lowest position is relegated and the best of the rest is promoted. Simple.

5. A far stronger pride must be restored in our brass band tradition. Too many bands and bandspeople won’t look back at the great depth we possess in our music. Yes progress, but not at our own expense. When brass bands were first formed at the beginning of the 1800’s they performed transcriptions of the popular tunes and dances of the day – why should we be so different? We must never forget who we are and what we do best.


Explore, experiment, progress and enjoy but remember, these are brass instruments playing together and forming a brass band. One of the most wonderful and emotional sounds this world has ever heard – don’t spoil it.

What do you think?
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