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2012: November

This month we give our opinion on a fight Brass Bands England cannot win, ABBA's proactive response to Bolsover and praise the new double champions of Foden's.

A battle that cannot be won

Brass Bands England is in a battle they cannot win.

Kapitol’s latest move to ensure that bands wishing to compete at the 2013 National Finals must be signed up to the registries of Scotland, Wales or Brass Band Player Ltd has been swift and decisive – the latest in a series of proactive responses that has significantly tightened their grip on control of the National Championships of Great Britain which they run.

Meanwhile, Brass Bands England’s reaction has been to undertake a ballot (with moveable closing date), engineered to elicit a double response to what should have been a single question, fail to bring to a satisfactory conclusion a damaging employment dispute, whilst at the same time trying to run a registry system that they themselves say is in need of up to £10,000 to modernise and redevelop, and which has just lost its biggest single customer.

Then there is the small matter of the English National Championship – a contest that they run and control and which seems to have sunk from the horizon without trace. 

Two and half months after being told at a specially convened press conference that a decision on the event would be a ‘priority’ – there is not even a mention of a possible 2013 date on the BBE’s own website – and potential entrants 4BR has spoken to have yet to be informed if the contest will even take place.

It sums up an organisation that appears to lack vision, coherent leadership and an understanding to why it has found itself in such a mess of its own making.

Further reactive responses are sure to echo from the empty husk of a body that has totally lost it way – despite the continued hard work and significant progress made by individual officers on a number of BBE aims and objectives.

Kapitol still has plenty of hard work to undertake to persuade bandsmen and women that their control of registration in England is a move that will provide lasting benefit - but you suspect they won’t lose the opportunity to explain their case through procrastination.

Meanwhile, BBE still has much to offer too, but only if its leadership can recognise the reality of the position it now finds itself in and is prepared to do something about it rather than waste time and money on a battle that it has little hope of winning.

What do you think?
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ABBAs Bolsover lead

One body that has shown swift, proactive and decisive leadership when faced with a significant issue of responsibility has been the Association of Brass Band Adjudicators.

Their response to the potentially racially offensive incident involving two of its members at the Bolsover Festival of Brass was undertaken with professionalism and clarity of process.

It not only showed a coherent understanding of the wider issues involved, but did so with the aim of helping to foster a future banding movement borne of inclusion rather than exclusion.

The events of Bolsover shone a disturbing light onto the underbelly of banding in the UK – one that has for far too long hidden lazy, misinformed attitudes towards equality and diversity.

Thankfully, it also showed that there are a number of people, not just within organisations such as ABBA, who are willing to stand up and address those attitudes head on and work effectively to stamp them out for the benefit of the banding movement as a whole.

What do you think?
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In praise of Foden’s Band

Double champions are rare beasts.

Rarer still are those who are able to claim the accolade by remaining such a closely knit group of personable individuals both towards each other and to those whom they come in contact with in the banding world.

Foden’s is a remarkably stable band in terms of personnel – made up of many life-long friendships both on and off the contest stage. Not all ‘Double’ winning bands in history have been the same – despite the success.

It is a band that is proud of its rich history, even prouder of its ability to retain a remarkable degree of player loyalty and commitment, even when results have not always gone their way.

Well run, superbly led at the helm by its conductors and driven by a desire to emulate and even surpass its famous predecessors, Foden’s is a band to admire as well as enjoy.

It is a ‘Double’ worthy of the finest of celebrations.

What do you think?
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Contest: North West Regional Championships

Sunday 23 February • Winter Gardens Complex, Church Street, Blackpool FY1 1HU


Black Dyke Band - The Hawth, Crawley

Sunday 23 February • The Hawth, Hawth Avenue, Crawley RH10 7Yz


Contest: scaba Own Choice Test & March

Sunday 23 February • The Hawth in Crawley, West Sussex RH10 6YZ


Regent Hall Concerts - Royal Academy of Music Horn Ensemble

Friday 28 February • Charlton House. Charlton Road. London. SE7 8RE SE7 8RE


The GUS Band - Northampton International Academy

Saturday 29 February • Northampton International Academy. 55 Barrack Rd. Northampton NN1 1AA


Upper Rhondda Brass Band

February 20 • Upper Rhondda NEEDS YOU. To help consolidate the Band, and its position within the grading system at the next Welsh Area Championships, the Band urgently require the following players, Soprano, Solo Cornet, Solo Euphonium and a Percussionist..


Longridge Band

February 20 • Due to retirement the Longridge Band (1st Section North West) require a back row cornet player (position negotiable), Eb bass & percussionist . We have a good mixture of contests/ concerts and a tour to Belgium planned for later in the year.


Escafeld Brass Band Sheffield

February 20 • Escafeld Brass Band Sheffield has vacancies for all instruments. We are a friendly, non-contesting band who practice Friday evenings near Sheffield city centre. Our numbers have declined in recent years but we are very keen to grow again with our new MD.


Mark Wilkinson


Cornet Soloist, Teacher, Adjudicator, Conductor


               

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