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
3. Commercial interests of individuals must be both admired and
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,
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?
Send us an email: