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2014: January

We open 2014 with our views on the time to make cuts, why youth investment should be no fad and praise all those who went out carolling...

Time to finally make the cuts

The re-occurring economic mantra of the political classes is all about how current cutbacks are essential in order to safeguard future prosperity.

Making things more efficient and flexible are aims that should be embraced - although care must always be taken about just how quick and deep cuts should be in order to improve overall quality.

However, now that the question of national registration has been sorted out, surely the time has come to look at implementing a radical answer to the age old question of the number of bands competing in their various sections throughout the UK.

Despite the advent of the First Section in 1992, the reluctance of contest administrators to accept the need for radical change has left us with an outdated system geared towards rewarding the quantity rather than the quality of competitors.

Few would argue against the evidence that the current ‘national’ structure is increasingly misrepresentative and inflexible.
 
The problems start at the top:  Can anyone honestly say that the UK can boast close to 90 true Championship Section bands? 

If in doubt, have a listen to them playing ‘St Magnus’ in a few weeks time and then decide.

The resultant ‘trickle down’ effect throughout the sections is shown in startling levels of mediocrity, as bands struggle to meet the musical demands of test pieces that in theory they should be well equipped to perform.

Competitive banding cannot hope to survive in this way much longer.

The need for well thought out cuts in competitive numbers and a radical re-organisation of the sections to accommodate them is paramount.  

Without it there is no possibility of future prosperity.

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


Why investment in youth is no fad

At the height of the first wave of popularity for the National Lottery in the mid to late 1990s, brass bands certainly cashed in on the substantial awards made to support their ‘good causes’.

Instruments were flying off the production lines faster than semi quaver runs in top section test pieces as successful applications to set up youth bands by the dozen were paid out.

Most centred on fairly straight forward plans to create new youth bands, aided by the recycling of old instruments that would be handed down by senior counterparts. 
 
The gravy train lasted a fair old time - but the evidence that it had any lasting effect is questionable.

How many youth bands were actually created and how many survive to this day? 

And how many bands really made claims based on nothing but hope, hot air and a desire to cash in on handouts that had next to no follow up once the money was safely in the bank?

Just a quick glance in the banding press of the time reveals a great deal (and the substantial awards) - whilst the current internet information on some of the bands that had the payouts makes for rather disconcerting reading.  

Where did all those youth bands go?

For all our claims to be entitled to government cash - the brass band movement in the UK hasn’t exactly covered itself in glory by the way it previously spent what it got its hands on.

And its perhaps explains why it now requires bands to come up with much more concrete, realistic  and accountable proposals to funding bodies if they are to get their hands on grant aid, and why those that are successful now have to work so damn hard to justify their awards.

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


In praise of carolling

As a means of fund raising for the band coffers, nothing is quite as effective as the age old pastime time of Christmas carolling.

The weather may well be cold, wet and miserable, yet as many bands up and down the country (and across the banding world) found out this festive season, that if you put in the time and effort, the general public don’t half dig deep into their pockets.

So to all of you who did your bit in support of your band, or for a charity or good cause, then hold your head high (and we saw plenty of pics of players freezing in the cold) and just comfort yourself with the thought that you won’t have to start doing it again for another 11 months.

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



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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