Eikanger Bjorsvik Band has announced that it will continue to meet all its financial obligations and existing agreements to professional conductors and instructors during the ongoing Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.
All band rehearsals, concerts and gatherings in Norway were recently brought to a halt by government decree, with the band having to cancel a number of planned engagements and recordings.
However, speaking to 4BR, Viggo Bjørge said that Eikanger was determined to show support to the professional musicians they work with, many of whom are self-employed or freelance workers.
He said: "Eikanger Bjorsvik wishes to remain a stable organisation and a responsible collaborator with professional musicians. This is important at a time where we know that the arts sector will be hit hard by cancellations and with it the large loss of income for freelancers and self-employed workers."
Viggo also stated that the band has been helped enormously by the decision of the Norwegian Band Federation to keep the financial support that was given to them to attend the 2020 European Championships in Lithuania — reducing the loss that had been incurred due to the cancellation of the event.
"This has been a very welcome decision and one we are very grateful for,"he added. "Representing Norway is a huge honour but also a substantial financial commitment, and this support means a great deal."
Although Eikanger is one of the world's most successful brass bands, the current pandemic has had a huge impact on their activities.
"In practice, the day to day musical activity of Eikanger-Bjorsvik does not generate income but is a planned expense in order to develop both the band and the individual musicians,"Viggo added.
This is important at a time where we know that the arts sector will be hit hard by cancellations and with it the large loss of income for freelancers and self-employed workersEikanger Bjorsvik
"This work can continue in alternative forms. Therefore, we believe all music related agreements can be justifiably honoured despite cancellation of rehearsals and postponed recording sessions.
Eikanger-Bjorsvik see this as a part of their duty towards their community in overcoming the crisis that currently grips Norway and the rest of the world.
Furthermore, we encourage other bands and organisations to consider in what capacity they can also honour existing agreements with professional freelancers in order that they may come through this difficult period.
We do of course send our best wishes to all bands, players, instructors and conductors at all levels throughout the banding world and wish them the very best over the coming months."