2008 4BR Awards - 4BR Special Award - The Norwegian Band Federation


The 2008 4BR Special Award goes to the Norwegian Band Federation - Norges Musikkorps Forbund.

4BR has been experiencing the delights of the Norwegian brass banding scene for well over a decade now, and on each occasion we have visited the country the overwhelming feeling we are struck with on our return is of a people that not only thoroughly enjoy brass band music making, but see it as relevant, progressive and with a sustainable long term future.

That in no small part is due to the amazing vision, commitment and organisational expertise of the Norwegian Band Federation - Norges Musikkorps Forbund, or NMF.

Free thinkers

Where as in Britain we are handicapped by small minded conservatism, the Norwegians are liberated free thinkers. 

The long terms aims and ambitions are those based on the collective greater good, a realisation that what was essentially an alien tradition of music making could be utilised to bring untold joy to communities rich on their own musical and cultural heritage.

Remarkable work

The result of their hard work has been quite remarkable, and for those fortunate enough to see it grow over the years, it has become clear that they now provide the rest of the banding world with a template of how to run a truly representative national organisation. 

Norway and the NMF have done things right – right in fact from the very word go.

They have developed brass band music making at the heart of local communities, encouraged participation and competition without ever losing sight of their main ambition – the enjoyment of brass band music making.

Progressive attitudes

That is why their progressive attitudes towards the funding of a national body through direct subscription, their championing of home grown compositional repertoire and their lassiz-faire approach to banding rules and regulations have resulted in a vibrant, youthful, and expanding banding scene.

It is true that their National Championships are just over 30 years old, but ever since their inception they have grown and prospered - in no small part to the NMF taking long term decisions that seek to benefit the whole of the banding movement from the grass roots up – not the elite apex of bands down.

Oppressive burdens

History and tradition can be oppressive burdens to carry when they are no longer relevant to the present and the future. When appreciated and respected, but firmly placed in context, they can be the building blocks to long term prosperity.

The British banding movement still remains yoked to these beastly burdens, whilst the Norwegians, through the work of the NMF enjoy a free range of artistic and organisational freedom. They appreciate and respect the past – especially the banding heritage we hold so dear in the UK, but they do not fear breaking from its confines.

Something to behold

The professionalism of the organisation is something to behold – the trust they have in the press for instance (and the help they afford us), so that we can do our job without having to wait interminably for the results or go about our work is something we can only dream of in the UK.

That is why 4BR believes we have so much to learn form the NMF and the people who have played an integral part in its success over the years.

Wonderful helpers

People like General Secretary of the administration, Arild Moen and Directors of Music, Harald Eikaas (to 2007), Karl Ole Midtbø (2007-8) and Geir Ulseth (from 2009).

Event manager Øyvind Storheim (to 2007) or those with specific project responsibilities such as Åse Espevik and Berit Handegard. Then there are the figureheads such as NMF President from 2004-2008 and vice president 1998-2004, Ulf Rosenberg.

There are so many more – those who give of their free time and welcome you to Bergen or Stavanger or Grenland, or wherever they hold an event of contest – the wonderful volunteer people we meet each year back stage at their National Championships and in the organisation from NMF Hordaland (Bergen County).

That is why 4BR believes the Norwegian Band Federation is such a shining example of how to organise and run a national banding body, and why others should take the opportunity to try and imitate them and their success.

It is why we believe they fully deserve the 2008 4BR Special Award.  


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