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2011: February

This month we give our opinions on a step towards to an Alliance, window shopping for young composers and praise the late James Watson

A step towards an Alliance

If there really is a desire for the brass band movement to secure a dynamic future for itself, then the opportunity created by the proposals put forward to form the United Kingdom Brass Band Alliance must not be lost.

The doubts must be overcome, the damaging parochialism put aside.

The case for creating a vibrant, proactive structure to cater for brass banding in the UK was self evident, but so too were the counter arguments and opinions – many of them well thought out and argued.

What was encouraging however was the desire to debate and discuss the future – and analyse the potential benefits as well as the drawbacks a new body could create.

It was clear that no one wanted another tier of stifling bureaucracy or another powerless talking shop of good intentions – but something in between.

There is a still a considerable way to go before anything of concrete substance is agreed to, but another step was taken in the right direction in Manchester.

What do you think?
Send an email to:
comments@4barsrest.com


Window shopping for young composers

One of the most impressive attractions of the RNCM Festival of Brass held in Manchester is the John Golland Composition Award – this year won by the talented Lucy Pankhurst.

It is perhaps the only ‘shop window’ for new compositional brass band talent in the UK, although unfortunately it continues to fail to attract those with the ‘purchasing power’ to ensure the composers in question are given the opportunity to display their wares to a bigger audience than that found at the RNCM Theatre each year.

At a time when there is a great deal of talk about progress and innovation there remains an inherent ignorance from contest promoters to the potential of a new generation of brass band composers – many with real musical inventiveness coursing through their veins.

And as much as there is to enjoy with Wilby, Ball, Berlioz and Golland at the Areas in a few weeks time, surely it is time to both play something else that both challenges musicality and technique?

Those brave enough to employ youthful talent at major events (such as the Scottish Open and the Swiss Nationals last year) have been rewarded with works that are modern, accessible and highly enjoyable.

Now others should follow their lead – the likes of Lucy Pankhurst, Benjamin Tubb, Christian Overhead, Richard Huw Cole, David Lancaster and many more, deserve the opportunity.

What do you think?
Send an email to:
comments@4barsrest.com


In praise of James Watson

The untimely death of James Watson is a considerable loss to the brass band movement.

Although he had been a somewhat peripheral figure following his rather acrimonious departure from Black Dyke over a decade ago, there were tantalising signs and rumours that he may have returned to banding in a more substantial role in the future.

All that is now lost at the age of just 59.

A musician of the highest quality, his reputation was hard won and maintained, as a player, conductor and teacher.   He influenced hundreds of brass players in all three guises ever since he first made a startling impression on the collective consciousness as a cornet player with Desford Band in the 1960s.

As a conductor there was a period in which he was unquestionably the best in the business – especially at the major championships. As a teacher, his progressive tenure at the Royal Academy of Music inspired new generations of gifted performers.

His record speaks for itself. His contribution should never be forgotten.

What do you think?
Send an email to:
comments@4barsrest.com



Foden's Band - Annual Patrons Concert

Tuesday 19 February • Sandbach School, Crewe Road, Sandbach CW11 3NS


The Cobham Band - Best of Brass Concert

Saturday 23 February • The Vera Fletcher Hall. 4 Embercourt Road. Thames Ditton Surrey KT7 0LQ


Milton Keynes Brass - Charity Concert with Church Without Walls

Saturday 23 February • Broughton Fields Primary School. Milton Road. Broughton MK10 9LS


Black Dyke Band - Doncaster Minster

Saturday 23 February • 9 Church St, Doncaster DN1 1RD


Elland Silver Band -

Saturday 23 February • Brooksbank School Victoria road Elland H50QG


Poulton-le-Fylde

February 20 • Poulton-le-Fylde Band (based near Blackpool in North-West), vacancies for Trombone (Tenor), Euphonium & Kit player. Our friendly band offers a good mix of contests/concerts. We are also flexible and welcome players of all ages/abilities


Frampton on Severn Silver Band

February 19 • We are a friendly non-contesting band in Gloucestershire looking for players, in particular cornets, baritone, euphonium, basses, but all welcome. We play at local events and bandstand jobs, and practice on Tuesday evenings just off Junction 13 of the M5.


The Corsham Band

February 19 • The band are currently looking for an experienced Back Row Cornet Player to join our friendly and enthusiastic team. Second or Third Cornet position available.


Phil Lawrence

ARCM PGRNCM MFTCL ARCM B.Mus.
Composer and conductor