*
banner

Bring back Norman...

There is a bit of a historical precedent of brass bands finding it hard to get money from a Tory government it seems, despite having an unlikely alley of our cause in 1973...

Steva
  Brass bands had an unlikely alley in the form of Tory MP Norman St John Stevas...

If people think that it is only the current Conservative Government that doesn't have a high regard to the plight of the brass band movement then this little episode taken from Hansard in July 1973 (the official report of debates from the House of Commons) may be enlightening.

More money

It was reported in The Times newspaper that the Conservative MP for Ilford North, the Hon Thomas Lascelles Isa Shandon Viliant Iremonger, asked the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Education and Science, Rt Hon Mr Norman St John-Stevas (Conservative) how he could "get some money for the Redbridge Youth Band?"

The request Hansard noted, was met with laughter in the chamber, as the Minister replied; "Not from me — nor from the Arts Council..."

Pressed further by Mr David Clark (Colne Valley, Labour) the Minster was asked if, "...he could draw to the attention of the Arts Council the importance of the brass band movement to the cultural life of this country and request them to give money either the regional councils to individual brass bands or to the National Youth Brass Band?"

The Minster replied that was "sanguine"that a request to the Arts Council Music Panel for funding for the National Youth Band "...will eventually have a happy outcome", but that other funding for brass bands should come from local councils.

Sycophant

His announcement received one sycophantic show of support from Mr Cooke (Bristol West, Conservative) who gushed: "This is a classic example of where popular art has received greater emphasis under this Government."

The Minister (accompanied by yet more laughter according to Hansard) replied: "I think we need both popular and elite art".

Sympathetic alley?

Despite the crass laughter that came from the Tory benches, Norman St John Stevas (1929-2012) was regarded as a sympathetic champion for the Arts — and brass bands — when he was appointed Minster of State in late 1973.

He had been to a performance of Gilbert Vinter's 'The Trumpets' earlier in the year as part of the 'Fanfare for Europe' concert at the Royal Albert Hall.

On his Ministerial appointment the Labour MP, William Price, who had championed Arts Council resources for the National Youth Band of Great Britain, said; "It goes against the grain to compliment a Tory member, but brass bands have a very valuable ally in Mr Norman St John Stevas".

The Minister (accompanied by yet more laughter according to Hansard) replied: "I think we need both popular and elite art"4BR

Prize giver

He later served a second term as Minster for the Arts from 1979 to 1981, presenting the prizes at the National Finals in 1979 before becoming ennobled as The Lord St John of Fawsley in 1987.

He famously nicknamed Mrs Thatcher 'TINA' — as in 'There is no alternative' — and said she no interest in the arts.

At a time when freelance musicians are being told that they need to be 'viable' or retain to become cyber workers perhaps we could do with another Norman St John Stevas on the Tory benches?

Become a supporter and help make our future secure.

4barsrest continues to be a proudly independent voice. There are no paywalls to overcome to be able to enjoy what we do to keep our journalism at the heart of the brass banding world. Support us with a one-off donation or subscribe from just £2.50 per month.

Support us    


Fodens

Foden's get ready for contest broadcast

October 29 • There is a great evening of wonderful solo and ensemble playing to savour on Friday as you can sit back and enjoy the finalists taking part in the Foden's online Solo & Ensemble contest.


Hanneford

You can't keep a good band down...not in Canada anyway

October 29 • A 10 piece group from the professional Hannaford Street Silver Band has made sure you can't keep great brass band music making down for long despite the restrictions...


Andrew Snell

Arrivals and departures at Leopard Coachlines Canterbury Brass

October 29 • New Zealand A Grade contenders welcome the experienced Andrew Snell as their new Musical Director.


nabbc

New look to be announced for Conductors Association

October 29 • Russell Gray will announce the new name and the new objectives of the revamped National Association of Brass Band Conductors on the next BBE webinar presentation.


The Marple Band - Marple and Hawk Green Bands Concert Compstall

Saturday 7 November • St Pauls Church, Compstall Rd, Compstall, Stockport, Cheshire SK6 5HU


The Marple Band - Marple Band Family Christmas Concert

Friday 18 December • Marple Conservative Club, church Lane, Marple, SK6 6AY


Contest: Butlins Mineworkers Festival

Saturday 30 January • Roman Bank, Ingoldmells, Skegness PE25 1NJ


Contest: Butlins Mineworkers Festival

Sunday 31 January • Roman Bank, Ingoldmells, Skegness PE25 1NJ


Black Dyke Band - Brighouse & Rastrick, Huddersfield Town Hall

Saturday 27 March • Corporation St, Huddersfield HD1 2TA


Amesbury Town Band

October 21 • Players and beginners of any standard are always warmly welcomed especially some more solo cornets and a spare percussionists to help out existing players. Feel free to drop in even if you just fancy a blow or want to try another instrument. After Covid!


Shipston Town Band

October 8 • We are currently looking to recruit a Bass Trombone BBb bass and EEb bass to bring the band up to strength ready for when things return to normal. We are graded section 3 in the Midlands taking part in a good range of concerts and contests,


Milton Keynes Brass

October 5 • Applications are invited for a baritone player for Milton Keynes Brass. We are a friendly 1st section band based in Milton Keynes and rehearsals take place on Tuesday evenings, 7:45pm-10:00pm, with additional rehearsals before contests.


Simon Gresswell


Conductor, adjudicator, tutor, tuba specialist


               

 © 2020 4barsrest.com Ltd