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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.

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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.

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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.

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Foden's Band - Mike Lovatt

Sunday 22 September • Stoller Hall, Hunts Bank, Manchester M3 1DA


Enderby Youth Band - Mike Fowles, directing Youth training weekend

Sunday 22 September • Lutterworth College. Bitteswell Road . Lutterworth LE17 4EW


Enderby Youth Band - Mike Fowles, directing training weekend concert

Sunday 22 September • Lutterworth College Main Hall. Bitteswell Road. Lutterworth. Leicestershire LE17 4EW


Shrewsbury Brass Band - Ifton Colliery Band & Of One accord Choir

Saturday 28 September • Shrewsbury Baptist Church,. Crowmere Rd, . Shrewsbury. Shropshire. SY2 5JJ


Jaguar Land Rover Band - Brighouse & Rastrick Band

Saturday 28 September • The Albany Theatre. Albany Road, Coventry CV5 6JQ


Frampton on Severn Silver Band

September 21 • We are a friendly non-contesting band in Gloucestershire looking for players, in particular cornets, baritone, euphonium and Eb bass, but all welcome. We play at local events and bandstand jobs, and practice on Tuesday evenings just off J13 of the M5.


Newstead Brass

September 21 • Friendly, social and well attended band building on third place in 2019 Midlands Championships for a return to the championship section seeks, ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL CORNET, EUPHONIUM, PERCUSSION.


Lofthouse Brass Band

September 20 • Eb Bass, Solo Cornet and Percussion vacancies. If you are heading to Leeds or Huddersfield Uni, then Lofthouse Brass Band would like to hear from you, even if it is just to keep your lip in!


Gary Davies


Conductor, Band Trainer, Adjudicator


               

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