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125th anniversary
SBBA set to celebrate landmark throughout 2020

The Scottish Brass Band Association reveals busy schedule of celebratory events and initiatives at its annual general meeting.


The new SBBA Executive Committee has planned a busy year ahead

2020 promises to be a year full of celebration for the Scottish Brass Band Association (SBBA) after it unveiled plans for a series of events and initiatives to mark the organisation’s 125th anniversary.

The well attended day at its annual general meeting in Falkirk saw a number of workshops and presentations that gave delegates a preview of a busy schedule that will run from February until December and will include the launch of a new website as well as a SBBA YouTube channel.

Exciting proposals

There were exciting proposals in relation to the Scottish Championships in March, as well as the Scottish Youth Solo & Ensemble finals, National Youth Brass Band of Scotland (NYBBS) and the flagship Scottish Festival of Brass.

In addition there will be a summer ‘Roadshow of Learning’, a link to the Glasgow Canals Festival and a ‘Come & Play Brass Blast’ initiative. Details were also given of a special SBBA celebration event to round off the year.


The delegates had plenty to talk about as well as listen to in Falkirk 

Achievements and challenges

In her address, SBBA President Carrie Boax spoke of both the achievements and challenges of the previous 12 months.

“We have continued to provide the highest quality of contests for our member and guest bands through the Scottish Festival of Brass, the Youth and Senior Scottish Championships for solo and ensembles and the Scottish Brass band contests at Perth Concert Hall,” she said.

“My thanks go to the tireless work of our players and conductors for ensuring that all of our SBBA events are supported and continue to grow from strength to strength.”

My thanks go to the tireless work of our players and conductors for ensuring that all of our SBBA events are supported and continue to grow from strength to strength.

Youth focus

Young musicians were a particular area of focus, and while grateful to the many financial supporters of SBBA’s work - Band Supplies, Besson, Just Music, Trinity Music, Perth and Kinross Council - it was the £90,000 of funding from the Scottish Government’s Creative Scotland Youth Music Initiative (YMI) programme which had made a real difference.


The National Youth Bands of Scotland are a youth inspired flagship success for SBBA

NYBBS success

Carrie also highlighted the need to continue supporting 50 Scottish youth brass bands, as well as building upon the success of NYBBS.

She pointed out the importance of SBBA investing in training young people as both musicians and leaders, providing professional development for adults working with young brass players and exploring a transition brass band for young people attending further education establishments

“The challenges we face are clear,” Carrie added.

“We appreciate funding is limited for senior events and contests, and cuts in core provision in education continue. However, the solutions are also clear: They are found in the bandrooms around the country; they are found in ourselves.”

We appreciate funding is limited for senior events and contests, and cuts in core provision in education continue. However, the solutions are also clear: They are found in the bandrooms around the country; they are found in ourselves.

Great hope

That was something that Carrie felt held out great hope for the future. 

“I’ve been inspired by the stories of new bands starting, brass groups reforming and players returning.

It’s definitely not easy, but if you care about our movement – and seeing you all here today shows that you do – then please reach out to the resources and experienced, determined people out there and help to make our movement grow. The rewards will be worth it.”


Newtongrange was the SBBA Championship Section Band of the Year

Support

Carrie also praised the support and advice she had received throughout the year from what she called the “reliable, experienced colleagues around me.”

She added: “My sincerest thanks go to my fellow trustees, extended executive committee and our education officer and communications team. Their passion and commitment to the past year’s business and development work ensures the long-term future of the organisation continues to thrive.”

The usual AGM business saw Ann Murray, Tom Allan and Julie Nicoll re-elected unopposed to the positions of SBBA Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer respectively, before a new 10-member executive committee was voted in for 2020.

Following the approval of the annual accounts, a proposal was passed to change SBBA’s financial year in order to make managing events and administer activities more practical.

My sincerest thanks go to my fellow trustees, extended executive committee and our education officer and communications team. Their passion and commitment to the past year’s business and development work ensures the long-term future of the organisation continues to thrive.

Special Awards

The AGM also saw the presentation of special awards to groups and individuals, with ‘Band of the Year’ awards presented to Newtongrange (Championship Section), Kingdom Brass (First); Newmains & District (Second); Perthshire Brass (Third) and Barrhead Burgh (Fourth)

Three worthy recipients of the President’s Awards were announced: Whitburn Band for consistently competing successfully at the highest level of banding; Unison Kinneil their remarkable renaissance following the devastation of its bandroom fire, and Dalmellington Band for its innovative ‘Brassma’ project which saw them work with their local health centre to offer brass tuition to young asthma sufferers. 


Abbey Brass provided the dinner time entertainment under Stuart Black

Learning Festival

As in previous years, the AGM was followed by a Learning Festival, providing the SBBA delegates with the opportunity to broaden their knowledge of band-related topics through a series of workshops.

Nigel Boddice MBE, lecturer in Instrument Performance at the Conservatoire of Scotland, led a session on the art of conducting for players, conductors and band training, working on the three main points of technique, musicianship and psychology.

In addition, Alister Cush, Chairman of Irvine & Dreghorn Brass, explained how his band had used the Community Asset Transfer process to acquire new rehearsal premises through the development of a business plan and achieving charitable status.

Nigel Boddice MBE, lecturer in Instrument Performance at the Conservatoire of Scotland, led a session on the art of conducting for players, conductors and band training, working on the three main points of technique, musicianship and psychology.

The highly respected player, conductor and adjudicator Anne Crookston talked about the purpose of adjudicating at contests and what would be listened for in a performance to make an impact.

Maths/learning support teacher and cub scout leader Carole Allan’s workshop focused on safeguarding with a contest to SBBA while Barbara-Jane Waddell, a teacher with the Midlothian Instrumental Music Service, led two learning sessions – one on playing techniques for auxiliary instruments in a band’s percussion section and the other on the effects of dyslexia on music and helping dyslexic musicians of all ages.

During lunch, a group of young players from Abbey Brass in Jedburgh entertained the diners with a short programme of light music conducted by Stuart Black. Later that afternoon, they assisted Nigel Boddice by performing in his conducting workshop.

Nigel Martin

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