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2012: April

This month we give our opinion on the message of the BFBB, the price of loyalty and praise the Spring Festival.

The BFBB message

The internal fractures that appear to be widening in the British Federation of Brass tells you everything you need to know about an organisation that is no longer fit for purpose.

Thankfully, the BFBB itself has realised this, and is in the process of becoming a brand new entity – ‘Brass Bands England’, which will hopefully be run in a way that fully understands the need to incorporate transparency as well as professionalism.

The key to future success will lie in the new body’s ability to incorporate clearly defined management structures to long term investment in marketing and promotion.  

To put it in its simplest form: Get out and sell the benefits of being a member and makes sure as many people as possible know about it.   

The good news is that with the effective, hard working staff that are currently in post at both the BFBB and Brass Band Registry, there is real cause for optimism if the trustees and executive committee can get things right.

The bad news is that it may well mean that some of those taking the decisions will have to take responsibility for the mess the current organisation now finds itself in.

New blood is needed to go with the new 21st century vision for an organisation that desperately needs to show that it is both relevant and respected.

Just changing the name is not an option that will encourage any form of optimism, let alone an increase in membership numbers.

Even internal fractures need more than a sticking plaster to mend properly.

What do you think?
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The price of loyalty

Loyalty now comes at a price.

There was a time when the very thought of a player transferring from one band to another, even with the regularity of a student changing their underwear, was ridiculed: Loyalty was the Y-front badge of pride. You wore it through thick and thin, success and disaster, good times and bad.

Not now.

Forget the underwear: Now player loyalty is as genuine as the moment you see a premiership footballer kiss the club badge on their shirt after scoring a goal.

Give them the chance to make a few quid and off they shoot to pastures new.  

You can’t really blame them though.

It was always an old fashioned notion that players owe anything at all to the bands they sign for – especially in an age when many bands show very little loyalty back in return.

There is little doubt however that, much like football, the power now lies with the individual player rather than the club they play for.  The relaxation of registration rules and with the demand for high quality performers far exceeding the supply, players can now put a monetary value on their talent.

Sad as it may seem, it now means the notion of loyalty has become the latest victim of a culture that knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.

What do you think?
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In praise of the Spring Festival

There is no other contest in the world quite like the Spring Festival.

In its way the event, now in its 92nd year, is a quite brilliant concept: The ultimate prize of a place at the British Open is in theory just three steps away even for the lowest ranked band that takes to the stage at the Winter Gardens.  

However, the Grand Shield, Senior Cup and Senior Trophy are perhaps three of the most difficult contests to qualify from – let alone win. 

As a result it makes the whole occasion throb with a curious mixture of apprehension and anxiety, ambition, inner confidence and self doubt.  

You also need a fair dollop of luck to go with the hard graft and execution too – as each of the sections contain bands that can usually only be separated by a sheet of Bronco paper, let alone well chosen test pieces. Surely, there is no other contest quite like the Grand Shield, where coming second can bring such joy – and relief.

60 bands will be living on their nerves in Blackpool in a few weeks time. It’s an experience all will endure as well as enjoy.

That’s the secret to why the Spring Festival remains such a cracking event.

What do you think?
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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


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. .


Epping Forest Band

July 12 • Required: We are a friendly 2nd section band in Essex. We are in need of a Tenor Horn , cornet (position negotiable) and a Kit player. We have our own band room and full percussion is provided


Stephen Phillips

MA, BA (Homs), PQSI, NPQH, PGCE
Conductor, Band Trainer, Educator, Compere


               

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