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2014: July

A return to the usual strong 4BR opinions on the increase in BBE funding, EEBA's need for change and in praise of solo contests

Common sense and realism prevails for BBE

At a time when publically funded organisations and voluntary bodies are told to keep looking for ways not just to tighten their financial grant belts, but to justify the need to have one in the first place, news of Brass Bands England’s funding increase from Arts Council England is certainly cause for optimistic celebration.

Through the diligence and expertise of the work led by BBE Chairman Mike Kilroy and others, the dark days of the BFBB’s troubled existence now seem like distant nightmare memories. 

It has taken time - and a complete re-evaluation of purpose. 

Gone are the fairytale ambitions and ludicrous objectives, the weak management structures and out-dated control desires: Common sense and realism prevails.

A 142% ‘real terms’ increase in three year funding may seem enormous, but in reality is a financial reflection of well thought proposals; one Operations Manager and three regional Liaison Officers, with a remit to implement well defined strategic planning.

However, BBE realises that it is not a blank cheque to be spent on grandiose proposals. Over the next three years, the ability to act as the catalyst for incremental development and long term investment from the grass roots up will be the key.  

As a result Brass Bands England could well take yet another significant step towards becoming the central governing body English banding has long cried out for, and long deserved.

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


Reappraisal and overhaul for EBBA

With Brass Bands England showing that a realistic re-evaluation of the very reason for its existence can lead to increased government backed financial support, what now for the European Brass Band Association?

The dust may have finally settled in a troubled championship in Perth, but the air surrounding the hosting of future events throughout Europe (and especially the UK) remains choked with misunderstanding and, as events in Scotland showed, a certain degree of mistrust.

The organisation now costs over €60,000 a year to run - and that is before a single cent falls into the coffers of the country that wishes to host an event EBBA simply owns the title to. 

It is a long term business model that desperately needs radical reappraisal and overhaul.

At present EBBA is a governing body that in effect governs nothing at all; an organisation that has no full time or part time members of staff, no headquarters, no Chief Executive or Development Officer, or, even more crucially, a remit to govern European wide player registration or contesting rules.

For its part EBBA has tried (and failed once) to gain financial backing from the various (and complex) European Union bodies that cover cultural and artistic integration - and plans to try again.

Yet, despite the encouraging rhetoric and hard work of its current Executive Committee, it remains a far sighted hope rather than a realistic short term aspiration.

European banding needs a strong, professional, financially robust and transparent governing body.  

EBBA can and should provide that: It certainly has the people associated with it who can lead and inspire, administer and cooperate.  

Whether it really wishes to do so though remains open to question. Perhaps it should consider investing some of its current funding stream to find out. 

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


In praise of solo contests

It appears solo and ensemble competitions are enjoying something of a renaissance. 

Not a week goes by without 4BR being sent the latest results from a well organised event somewhere in the UK, packed to the gunnels with enthusiastic performers of all ages and abilities.

It is news to gladden the heart; a reinvigorated aspect of brass band competition that has lasting benefit to everyone that takes part. 

Playing a solo in front of an audience breeds confidence and musicianship, quartets and ensembles enhance team building and musical understanding.  

If you win, brilliant: If you don’t - try again.  

Best of all though: Just keep enjoying the experience. 

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



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.


Neil Samuel


Conductor


               

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