2012: October

The Bolsover debate goes on — with a bit of a go at the Welsh too...

Hang up your horn

I would like to use you forum to express my views.

How sad it has been to read what happened at the recent Bolsover contest this last week or so. Reading those involved initially apologising unreservedly then Mr. Lippeatt's bizarre retort in the British Bandsman a few days later turning it around to read like the classic 'non-apology' scenario - "I'm sorry you were offended by my actions..." and causing further offense - by blaming others for seemingly jumping on the PC gone mad band-wagon.

It was reported that Mr. Lippeatt said "If I've offended anyone then I'm not bothered". If you're not bothered then why make comment on it? You can't have it both ways. I for one Mr. Lippeatt am offended by your actions.

And why Mr. Lippeatt should I not make comment on this if I wasn't there? Do you think just because it was you with your 'self-depricating' humour I would view things differrently? You insult me.

Even sadder was reading many of the misguided and ignorent comments (sent to me by my grandson) that show support for Mr. Lippeatt's actions following his Facebook resignation letter. How can you condone what happened?

One can only hope that employers, organisations, bands and band managers out there have been alerted to some of comments I've read and been made aware of - and individuals are appropriately dealt with.

And to those who believe this is a witch hunt. All we have seen is our media - and national press - report the (undisputed) facts. And organisations involved taking the appropriate actions in investigating the matter. No witch hunt - just our movement reporting and dealing with something they would rather not have had to do.

This would have been so much worse for us all if it had all been swept under the carpet. I'm encouraged to see ABBA take the action they have. And I'm encouraged that fine ambassadors like Simon Dobson (and several other prominent individuals elsewhere) are inclined to make their views public on such matters. To read similar statements by others would do no harm also. As Simon says - Stand up and be counted.

Mr. Lippeatt has been one of the movement's best loved characters for over a generation - and it's clear he will remain so for many people involved with brass banding. But don't let this cloud your judgement. What happened at Bolsover was - as ABBA has subsequently anonunced - 'grossly misguided'. It was ignorant and exclusive. Offensive and damaging.  

If anyone believes that what happened in Bolsover is acceptable behaviour, please hang up your horn now. Our movement - however small and diminishing does not want or need you.

Simon Williams, Devon


In my previous letter on your comments page regarding the controversy regarding the Bolsover Contest I would like to make it clear that it wasn’t my intention to question the integrity or the professionalism of the adjudicator Ian Porthouse.

If any offence has been caused to him or his family, I apologise unreservedly!

Kerry Bowden
MD. Cross Keys Silver Band

Stand up and be counted

It’s not often I feel the need to write, but this is one of those rare moments. 

Everyone makes 'mistakes', but we are all accountable for our actions. Try as we might not to judge, we must accept that our actions will be judged.

As anyone who has seen the slogan on my trumpet will know, I am part of a musical and artistic scene that proudly apposes fascism, racism, sexism, homophobia and any other ill-conceived, lazy and ignorant view-point that threatens to get in the way of the progression and unification of the human race (trust me, if unchecked it will!).

We are now way beyond the point where we can claim ignorance. This will no longer wash.

There have been a few incidents in recent years concerning racism within our little brass band scene here in the UK and I’ve been sickened and appalled each time.

It doesn't matter when and where you grew up. Tolerance, empathy and acceptance are the only way for us to move forward creatively and as a species!

There are no more excuses. 

It is immoral, ignorant and simply dishonest to say that "we didn't think people would be offended". Facts are facts, and every action has a reaction!

There is no witch hunt here....I’ve read all the 'status' comments! It is irrelevant how it was perceived or how it was meant. The act constitutes racial offensiveness should be treated as such.

Doing and saying nothing when faced with ignorance and bigotry is a terrible thing.

Stand up and be counted!

Simon Dobson

Stick 2 fingers up to the small minded morons

This is the extract from my Facebook comments,
I hope the cowardly small minded people in the brass band movement are pleased with themselves after driving a great ambassador, musician and entertainer away from what is a dying movement.

Why haven’t they got the guts to stand up and be counted instead of sticking the knife onto a man who has done nothing but try to  improve things for banding.
Well said Aunty Fran. I don’t know you but would count it a privilege to join you and hopefully like minded people to play under the leadership of such a great guy and stick 2 fingers up at the small mined morons who have caused so much heartache to a wonderful person and his family. May they rot in hell!!!
I feel so feel disgusted that the Stan is being treated so badly for something he did with no malice intended, unlike the people who have criticised him.

I suppose they have never made a mistake and think themselves to be perfect.
Ken Bartram

Editorial support 

Just to say how much I support your editorial: The fight against discrimination.
Of course the brass band movement should be no different. As you so rightly point out -do nothing and the spectre of intolerance grows, do something and discrimination can be banished to the history books.

Who can possibly argue against that?
I find what happened recently at a brass band contest completely and totally repugnant. What on earth were those involved thinking?
We, in brass bands should also believe and adhere to the fundamental belief that acceptance and contrition should also be honest and unreserved.
I hope a big lesson has been learnt these last few days by all involved in brass bands, and that we can move forward finally into the 21st century!
Tom Stone

Weasel words
"Acceptance and contrition should be heartfelt and unreserved. Censure allied to proactive rehabilitation, with both individual and corporate self awareness, should be actively encouraged and promoted."
A statement regarding the position taken on diversity within any group or organisation, which I have understood the statement to mean, is important and must be clearly conveyed to all.

Unfortunately the sentence given in the statement which is shown above looks like it comes from some poorly written diversity guide book.

For goodness sake do not use such awful weasel words (this is not intended to cruelly demean weasels) but just use plain and simple language.
Ted Howard

Not a bored moron

It is interesting to read the comments pages with respect to the Golly affair.

I am not a member of a lynch mob (Gill Walters), a bored moron, an overtly PC person (James Ruehorn) or do-gooder (William Rushworth).

Maybe those like me who commented strongly about events just have a differing and more enlightened opinion.

I was explicit in my comment that such incidents, when mentioned in national press, sets this movement, of which I am a proud member, back many years. 

I can appreciate everything about Mr Lippeatt in terms of playing ability, conductor, adjudicator, services to brass bands etc, and fully accept that mistakes were made and what was displayed by Hatfield Band was wrong.

So long as that is the case. Is it?

Trying to find something acceptable about the events is misguided.

Apologies have been made, resignations tendered, and I respect those for doing so. Surely we don’t need to use the word or bring such an object in to modern lives or past-times. I simply wonder why we cannot leave them in the 20th century.

I, like the majority of brass bands people in the UK, am white (north) European and so maybe a player or conductor of African/Afro- (or Asian) ethnicity, whether in the audience or not, would care to comment.

If after all that I remain aware and sensitive to the feelings of others in such ethnic groups, overtly PC or a do-gooder then I’ll be happy.

A bored moron? 

I don’t think so, and given some of the comments I will leave that description to others.

Graham Ruecroft

Work within the system 

I certainly don’t count myself as part of the ‘PC gone too far brigade’ but Gill Walters’ item on your comments page suggests to me that the Stan Lippeat/Graham O’Connor routine was actually even less appropriate than I initially thought from the reports I had read (and no I wasn’t there):
1.  Hearing impairment is serious and has a devastating effect on people – it is not something to be taken lightly. 

Brass musicians and percussionists are exposed to higher sound pressure levels than the majority of the population so we should be more sensitive to this.

I think that raising awareness of the impact of hearing loss (or any other disability) in an amusing and inclusive way can be thought provoking and get a serious message across effectively. 

I have seen no evidence that this was either the intention or the reality of the performance in question.

2.  Much has already been said about the ‘Golly’ routine. I would repeat my comments above – issues of ethnicity and culture can be raised in an amusing, inclusive and thought provoking way but again I have seen no evidence that this was either the intention or the reality of the performance in question.

3.  There is hardly a greater insult that can be given to anyone than deliberately getting their name wrong – and this was reportedly done not once but twice with Ian Porthouse’s name!

In terms of items 1 and 2, it must be noted that the event is supported by Bolsover Council.

As a statutory body, not only do they have to ensure that they do not discriminate against any of the Protected Characteristic Groups defined in the Equality Act, they also have a General Equality Duty under that Act.

This means that they must positively promote equality and diversity in all that they do. I don’t think that either items 1 or 2 above could be described as doing this – and as such, Bolsover Council will need to be clear how the issue has been dealt with.

If they do not do this, they leave themselves open to legal challenge, unless they withdraw their support from future contests. I am sure that is something that none of us wants to see.
We may not like the system but we have to work within it.

If people want to change the system then they can do that by thinking about how they vote and how they lobby their MPs and local Councillors.
Pete Denton

The Welsh are taking over...

I read the notice that the National Contest organisers were to run their own registry for English bands only. Why only English bands?

When reading this it left me absolutely seething, so I have left it a while to calm down, but unfortunately I am still seething especially when I read that the Welsh Registry is going to run this.

My own experience of the Welsh Registry was a couple of years ago signing on a player from a Welsh band for the area contest with paper work and phone calls sent in ample time.

However, I found out at the last minute the Welsh Registry had not done their part until it was too late, and when I mentioned it at the area contest I was told to join the queue that there were 6 or 7 other bands in the same predicament.

Now this (in my experience) inefficient group are going to run the new registry.

What is wrong with the registry we already have?

It has served us well for many years, OK it had blip lately but that is sorted now. In my opinion it is just another way to put the boot into the BBE.

In all my 53 years of banding we have been fragmented and run by empire builders - this latest move smacks of the same.

It took many years for the BBBF to get under way but then when I thought at last we are getting there it has in my opinion been got at from within, the Welsh & Scots would rather go their own way it seems but not content with that it appears there are forces trying to destroy BBE.

Is it not time for the English bands to stand up for themselves, if you don’t like the people running the federation then get of your backsides and put yourself up for election, but will the English just shrug their shoulders and let the Welsh take over.

It is no use waiting for the top bands to lead, it has been proved in the past they will go where the trophies are, but there are more lower section bands and if they pulled together they could dictate a difference, don’t wait until it is too late.

Ted Griffiths

God save us from PC do gooders and bored morons

I agree wholeheartedly with Stan Lippeatt’s comments on his resignation, and wish him all the best in the future. 

It’s such a pity the PC and do-gooders of this world have now entered the world of brass banding.

God help us all and save us from these bored morons

James Ruehorn

Let he who is without sin...

As I wasn’t present at the Bolsover Contest, and didn’t witness the events of that day, I cannot give an opinion as to what happened, but perhaps you will allow me to have an opinion on my limited knowledge of Stan Lippeatt.

Firstly, I must admit to having met Mr Lippeatt on a number of occasions, also that he is related to a very good friend of mine. However, I hope that I am mature enough to give an unbiased opinion of the man!

On a social level, I have found Mr Lippeatt to be very amenable, always ready to enjoy a joke, but always ready to share his vast knowledge as a player, conductor, and as an adjudicator!

In view of the latter, I have always found Stan to be totally honest in his appraisal of a bands performance, totally unbiased, and always gave bands his views on their performances in a light hearted way, which even if you came last in a contest, made your band feel special.

Now the question to be asked is this, do we live in an age where a mistake is unforgivable, are we prepared to lose a person of Stan’s obvious musical and social capabilities, because, hey, he’s human!

Although I’m not an overtly religious person, the only person I have heard of who was perfect, died on the cross over 2000 years ago, and even he didn’t think he was perfect, also.

I also believe there is a passage in the Bible which says ‘let he who is without sin, cast the first stone’, so before we start to condemn a man who has contributed so much as a player, conductor, adjudicator and administrator, let’s think back to what has occurred, and in doing so, we have to ask a number of questions!

Firstly, were the actions of Stan Lippeatt and the band he was playing for meant to offend?

Probably not.

Secondly, did the adjudicator on the day, Ian Porthouse, have an agenda in reporting Mr Lippeatt and the Hatfield Band to the contest organisers?

Probably not, but in an age when people are clamouring for open adjudication, perhaps this is a case against.

Finally, are we so rich in dedicated unbiased people that we can afford to lose a musician/administrator of Stan’s undoubted qualifications?

I think not, and though I have no problems with the ABBA, at least one officer of the body, has probably benefitted from the support of Stan!

So before we all get on our high horses, and condemn a person for what seems to be an undoubted mistake, let us think of what we will be losing from the movement.

Kerry Bowden
MD Cross Keys Silver Band

Not offensive or racist

With regards to last weekend’s Bolsover Contest.

Unlike the majority of comments that I have read, I write with the benefit of actually being in the audience when the Hatfield Band played.

I didn't find the performance of ‘Hello Golly’ funny, but I certainly did not find it offensive or racist.

‘Hello Golly’ has to be placed in the context of Stan Lippeatt’s compering of the Hatfield programme.

He started by saying he was getting on a bit and both his memory and hearing were not what they used to be. Amongst the items the band played were ‘Motorhome’ and ‘Hello Golly’, the music was in fact ‘Caravan’ and ‘Hello Dolly’.

Stan referred to the adjudicator as Ian Portershed and Ian Porterloo, until he was reminded his name was Ian Porterhouse. It was obviously an attempt to entertain that has since all gone unpleasantly wrong.

I did not find the performance offensive but what I have since found very disturbing is the 'lynch mob' mentality of some people’s comments.

Four years ago my youngest son started playing the cornet and I joined him. 

Up until now I had thought that banding was a small supportive community, I am obviously very wrong.

Gill Walters

Out of hand?

I do not defend racism in any shape or form; however, I think this whole thing is ridiculous and getting out of hand. 

Let's put aside the 'Golly Doll' for one minute as to my knowledge, a 'Golly Doll' is not an insult and is widely available; it appears that only when the word has 'Wog' added to it that it becomes racist.

I can understand all the do-gooder's saying that it is what it symbolises that is atrocious and to a degree I agree. 

I do also remember my father bringing me home a present from an outing at Durham Miner's Gala when I was a boy.

That present was a Roman soldier’s outfit complete with sword, how many people do you hear crying foul as to what that represents with regards to the slaughter and atrocities towards our fore-fathers?

I have never heard one complaint but it is exactly the same!

From what I am led to believe, the routine was around Hello Dolly where Stan was supposed to have thought it was 'Hello Golly', if this is as it was, surely, as a Golly Doll is still ok, nothing was wrong.

I think people should take it as it was intended, a bit of harmless fun and get off the social climbing bandwagon that they are on.

Stan is absolutely devastated by the situation and I for one would like to publicly show my support for him, Graham and the band.

I am looking forward to finishing my playing with the Grimethorpe Re-union band after London, however, if this ball is kept rolling and Stan is forced to sit the concert out, I for one will show my total support and not take the stage which would be a real shame as I was looking forward to retiring on a high.

But as they say, ‘c'est la vie’, and I just hope if and when this movement implodes, those that were part of this witch hunt, are proud of themselves.

William Rushworth

Out of all proportion

I have had the pleasure of knowing and working with Stan Lippeatt for over 25 years and I class him and his family amongst my closest friends.

During this time I have seen and heard Stan abused for his lack of height, his naturally dark skin and his generosity on many occasions and Stan has never retaliated once, his main reply is “I do have feelings you know.”

Stan has given up a lot of his time teaching young children in their own youth bands and on music courses such as the Wessex Youth band School where we both tutored for over twenty years.

Stan has always been the clown prince especially during his Grimethorpe Days and everybody loved it as it was a breath of fresh air to the organisation.

I know that on this particular occasion at Bolsover if Stan thought he was being racist or politically incorrect then he would not have worn that mask.

Stan has done far more for the movement over the years than most people, he was and still is Chairman of ABBA a position that he has held and put a lot of work into especially in training up and coming adjudicators, and he resurrected the Mineworkers Contest at Butlins that has given the banding movement a tremendous boost.

I have spoken with Stan and he is very upset how this episode has been blown up out of all proportion, he has apologised but some people just cannot accept it.

Stewart Osgood
Enderby Concert Band MD

Standards and expectations 

I read, with some interest, the report on the Bolsover contest. It is clear that this was a planned activity not a 'spur of the moment' action. So now the spot light will fall on the individuals themselves and on the organisations they belong too.

Will the ABBA take any action as no action will be seen as condoning the incident? Will the band review how this ended up on stage?

It is clear that in this day and age such actions are inappropriate, but more important will be the post incident actions.

Yes the swift apologies are welcome but ask this: Can actions such as this be dismissed by a swift apology?

Dave Bishop-Rowe


I am reading with dismay about the happenings at the recent Bolsover contest.

I wasn't in attendance so cannot specifically comment on the actual performance, but any routine with a 'Hello Golly' theme and a performer dancing around in a black mask is totally and utterly unacceptable.

Before the usual crowd from the 'PC gone mad' or 'you can't say anything anymore' brigades start complaining, this is a totally different level.

'Political correctness' is responsible for nonsensical assertions like a black board should be called a chalk board, so not to offend. That is nonsense of course and says a great deal about the tiny minority who would find something like that (ie the name and colour of a piece of equipment) offensive.

Those with an issue about the Hatfield/Lippeatt 'performance' should not be put into that bracket.

Gollywog doll's origins are from the days of slavery and the oppression of black people. I am sure there will be those who would say something like 'does that mean I couldn't do a routine wearing a kilt because that may be offensive to Scots?'.

The difference there is that this would simply be a lazy stereotype, and not a clever or funny one (just in case Hatfield Band is watching and planning its next entertainment programme).

The 'Golly' represents a despicable age which is thankfully all but past, in decent society anyway.

As for Mr Lippeatt stating it was merely a 'play on words' then there are plenty of other things to do a 'play on words' routine to: Auchwitz or 9/11 perhaps? If not, why not?

The Golly is representative of something equally deplorable is it not?

I think the fact that Mr Lippeatt seemingly hasn't just resigned is an indication of how 'sorry' he actually is. Further to that, why would he need to apologise if he 'wasn't bothered' if he offended anyone, as he was reported to have said after the performance?

His commitment to banding over the years is all well and good but what this performance represents actually means more than that. It says something about his integrity and character:

a) to find this racial humour funny
b) and if it wasn't racially motivated, what level of judgement did he have not to realise that this wouldn't have been a good idea?

There is still discrimination rife towards all areas of society in some guise but that doesn't mean we should shrug our shoulders and ignore it or allow people to use it as an excuse to say and do whatever they want.

Shame on all those involved and those defending it.

Peter Richardson


Without wishing to pre-empt the outcome of the forthcoming disciplinary meeting for Messers O’Connor and Lippeatt, I read the details of the issue in question and can only conclude, with some sadness, that the UK brass band movement is well and truly stuck in the dark ages – at least in certain quarters.

The antics of these people, who are old enough to know better yet too stupid to understand the offence they have caused, are thoroughly disgraceful.

And how did the other 26 members of the band feel? Were you all equally ignorant playing behind this dressed up idiot and smirking MD?

The brass band movement tries to move forward with top bands, talented composers, great conductors, and yet the event of Bolsover set us back decades.

Well done to one of our best players and MDs, Ian Porthouse, for taking the action he did.

My band is currently preparing In Memoriam for Butlins, a competition that Lippeatt is strongly associated with. It was composed by Sir Arthur Sullivan, premiered in 1866 and arranged for brass band in 2012.

Evidently Hatfield Band, Lippeatt and O’Connor still think we are in the Victorian period. Shame on the whole lot. Apologies are meaningless.

The band should be banned, and the individuals facing the most severe actions ABBA, the brass band movement or the law can impose.
Graham Ruecroft
Chalgrove Band

Well done Fishguard 

I should be grateful please if you could consider printing this in your 'Comments' section.
Congratulations to the Goodwick Band along with the West Wales Brass Band Association!
The competition held in Fishguard on 6th October was a resounding success. A well chosen venue, spacious, good accoustics and so well organised.

Tony Evans and his Pembrokeshire team can feel very proud of themselves. They could not have been more accommodating or welcoming.
Phil Morgan

One proud father...
My son might not be too pleased that I e-mailed you, but I really felt it necessary
Obviously I have an interest in the concert held on Sunday 7th October at the RNCM in aid of the ‘Help the Heroes Charity’ campaign (as my son was one of the organisers alongside Joshua Certina). 

 However, in respect to all who contributed, the wonderful performance and dedication of so many young people in the band circles should not go amiss, they are a credit to themselves - the banding fraternity and the youth of today.
The concert was viewed by nearly 200 people with standing ovations and shouts for encore (a truly memorable concert - and I have been to many)
The quality of the playing - the marvellous selection of music and the support of Les Neish with his awesome solo performance coupled with the wisdom and charismatic conducting of Richard Evans was priceless.
It's the dedication of the young performers and the standard of their playing that has to be recognised as they truly deserve it
Like I said, I have a slightly biased approach, but it might be worth following up with either of the above band celebrities to get their take on the concert.
Kevin Dempsey

Size matters 

I think that I was entertained by the rather surreal contribution from Phil Lawrence this month, but would you agree that it is about time he started writing shorter e-mails?

Murray Aitken

Look back then forward

With regard to the current situation regarding the registration of players one needs to look backwards.
John Henry Iles wrote for his London Contest of 1902, "All players must be bona fide members of the band...at least three months prior to the day of the contest. Be resident...or live within a distance of four miles from the band. No member will be allowed to play with two bands. Any performer considered a professional is ineligible to compete.
One can readily see why a registry was required. It was necessary to enforce these contest rules.
Over the years the relaxation of the contest rules has therefore allowed greater freedom for players to register to play for a band i.e. Use of borrowed players, professional status abolished and home location are all glaringly obvious.
The BUT however is that although the Registry has been 'owned' and managed by different organisations over the years e.g. Boosey & Hawkes, BFBB, Welsh and Scottish Registrars, for band secretaries from a country  within the UK there has only ever been one point of registration.
This Kapitol action therefore asks the question not what contest rules apply rather which is the valid registration point for bands from England.
My opinion is that there should only be one valid registrar for the whole of the UK and Northern Ireland for players, irrespective of the contest rules. 

It could be in Cardiff, Belfast or Barnsley, even by an independent body in the U.S.A. with transactions validated electronically on behalf of a player request with the appropriate administration fee charged. (N.B. not a band or band secretary request) - it makes no difference about the location it is the single point of contact that is critical.
This situation will not be resolved by just saying. 'I know, we will start another registry, that will solve things' - IT WON'T.
Confusion, argument, confrontation and chaos will ensue.
Get round a table and sort this out now.

John James

Plain and simple

The last paragraph of the 4BR editorial says it all.

If it is run correctly

The Hall family

The one and only

As a band secretary with more crotchets under his belt than is strictly necessary I have been glad of the progress made in the registration processes led by the national registry.

I’ve always found Colin Johnson and his staff helpful and ready to answer any query no matter how trifling.

To set up another registry means that our band secretaries, the vast majority of whom are volunteers with busy lives outside of banding, are now going to be saddled with chasing probably in excess of thirty players for photos and forms.

And what’s going to happen when some poor secretary turns up at a contest with the wrong set of cards? I have to tell you my family steer clear of me on contest morning as the stress of the day makes me tetchy to say the least.

There enough to worry about  - will the coach turn up on time? Will the trombones remember their mutes, will the bass section stay out of the bar?

The plain and simple fact is, as a movement and for the sanity of Secretary’s, we only need one registry.
Robin Allen
Band Secretary
Bradwell Silver Band

Who needs these people

Who needs these people – (BFBB/BBE)

They are more interested in their own importance than the present day needs of everyday brass banders who turn up to practice 2 to 3 times per week in all weathers and more at contesting times.

Shame on these people.

If Kapitol can do it I am all ears.
A very concerned Brass Bander.

DW Whittaker

More information please
As a North West bandsman, we’re probably in the thick of the current crisis, as many of the antagonistic parties live and operate in our area.

 To use a politicians over used phrase these days, ‘let me be clear on this’, I don’t really mind who runs to registry, but what I am worried about is the increasing calls for the death of the BBBR before ,certainly the vast majority of bands, know what and who the replacement is.
Kapitol have given an undertaking to abide by BBBR rules for the time being, why the time being?

Why not forever?

As a cynical man I’m worried that once we’ve all jumped to the BBP registry we’ll be stuck with it come hell or high water. Because let’s face it no one will have the money or inclination to start up a rival registry.
This could all be cleared up and bands have a more informed decision if BBP would state that they will continue to run the registry in the spirit of a non-profit making organisation.

My personal fear from a cash strapped lower section band point of view, is that once the deal is done and irreversible, prices will rise and no one will be able to do a jot about it.
Can we have more information from BBP?

Matthew Walker
Rivington & Adlington Band

Sick and tired

I too would echo recent mailings concerning the vomit inducing sycophantic post performance antics of some MDs, particularly of more well known bands.
I am sick and tired of watching certain 'top' MDs smarmily point their baton at every man and his dog after a performance to milk the audience for all they're worth.
I suspect some will argue that occasionally personal performances deserve individual recognition, however, I dare suggest that the likes of certain well known Dyke soloists could probably play the solo lines to a test piece using nothing but their hand and armpit and still the same old sycophants with their Black Dyke keyrings and logo-embossed underpants would  receive them as if they'd just single-handedly averted World War III, almost shaking with delirious excitement. 

I only use this as an example of course and the same goes for a number of the most well known bands.
One of the best cornet players on show at the Open was Alan Hobbins of Hepworth. 

Not only was the hall half empty (seemingly one of the more unfashionable bands amongst spectators, despite being world class) but when he stood up on his own at the end, there was nothing. 

Just a continuation of the normal applause. Cornet players in bands who are more fashionable but weren't half as good invidually, received incredible receptions.
Surely the answer is simple. Ban the practice of standing players up individually. 

Stand the whole band up together, take the reception, and exit the stage. Job done.

James Klein

The art of Sibelius

Allan Munton of Newham is perfectly entitled not to like the ‘British Isles Suite’, but I would love him to explain exactly what led him to believe "what sounded suspiciously like Sibelius (had been used) to put it all together."

I look forward to seeing the inevitable mocking ripostes from people who actually know what Sibelius can (and cannot) do.

Will Elsom

What does shorter mean exactly?

I agree with the 4BR observation that it is about time we started to play shorter test pieces.

I’ll take Stephen’s comment as coming from an informed mind in the field of composition?

First, at what time do we start playing shorter test pieces, 8.37am or 10.24am or 2015? Or is it, about time?

To help us tardy time composers out Stephen, in terms of ‘shorter’ perhaps you can clarify?

Now, might this shorter be in terms of laying out the score single sided pages end to end to see how long it might be, then if over say 35 ft, we lose a few pages - say 3 odd & 2 even might be a plan or vice-versa?

Or, one could weigh the score in grams in hope that the lighter it is the less there is inside thus resulting in less music, or cap it at 195 grams say. This could be complicated, perhaps if put on a balancing scale with a real test piece like ‘Contest Music’ we can just rip out pages until it weighs the same?

Or, perhaps we can go down the Grand Duke of Austria v Mozart bout and counting the notes therein and capping it at say, 4,500 notes!

Martin Ellerby did us all a favour with his excellent ‘Electra’ at the British Open.

His favour to you was to help your woeful attention span.

“It contained enough challenges in the first movement to keep all the technical fans happy, plenty of music in the middle movement to keep the romantics happy, and a short burst of power and excitement to close to stop any oldies falling asleep in the audience.”

It seems music analysis just drips from your pen Stephen, not to mention disparaging comments on our older generation supporters who probably have a greater attention span than yours!

It may have been a short test piece – but it did its job wonderfully well.

Was home a goldfish bowl? In case you don’t get that one it relates to your attention span!

Next week a contest with a 5 minute test and 3 local bands at a McDonalds near you so you don’t miss your lunch and you’re back home in 40 mins ready for ‘Eastenders’.

Do you want extra Fries with that ‘Contest Music’?

Phil Lawrence


Sunday 14 July • Pemberton Old Wigan Brass Bands. Enfield Street,. Pemberton,. Wigan WN5 8DZ


Friday 19 July • Pemberton Old Wigan Band . Enfield Street,. Pemberton,. Wigan. WN5 8DZ

Barnsley Brass - Stephen Sykes, Principal Trombone of The Cory Band

Saturday 20 July • St Mary's Church, Kippax, Leeds LS25 7HF

Boarshurst Silver Band - Sunday Brass Concert - Skelmanthorpe Band

Sunday 21 July • Boarshurst Band Club, Greenbridge Lane OL3 7EW

Boarshurst Silver Band - Sunday Brass Concert - Phoenix Brass

Sunday 28 July • Boarshurst Band Club, Greenbridge Lane OL3 7EW

Dobcross Silver Band

July 15 • 2 x Cornet Players required. Positions are negotiable, excluding Principal as players are willing to move around. Experience preferred but all ages considered if ability can be demonstrated. Enjoyable rehearsals/great socials!

Waltham St. Lawrence Silver Band

July 13 • Our welcoming non-contesting band, based near Maidenhead, Bracknell and Reading, seeks: . Solo Euphonium . 1st Horn . Percussion, kit and tuned: we have a lovely pair of timps! . Solo Cornet to complete the front-row line-up. 2nd Cornet

Newtown Silver Band

July 12 • Musical Director. Following the retirement of our current Musical Director after 40 years of loyal service the band is seeking a new Musical Director to take the band forward. We are a 3rd section band with a busy programme and enthusiastic members. .

John Maines

BA (Hons)
Presenter, compere and conductor


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