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2012: April

This month we give our opinion on the message of the BFBB, the price of loyalty and praise the Spring Festival.

The BFBB message

The internal fractures that appear to be widening in the British Federation of Brass tells you everything you need to know about an organisation that is no longer fit for purpose.

Thankfully, the BFBB itself has realised this, and is in the process of becoming a brand new entity – ‘Brass Bands England’, which will hopefully be run in a way that fully understands the need to incorporate transparency as well as professionalism.

The key to future success will lie in the new body’s ability to incorporate clearly defined management structures to long term investment in marketing and promotion.  

To put it in its simplest form: Get out and sell the benefits of being a member and makes sure as many people as possible know about it.   

The good news is that with the effective, hard working staff that are currently in post at both the BFBB and Brass Band Registry, there is real cause for optimism if the trustees and executive committee can get things right.

The bad news is that it may well mean that some of those taking the decisions will have to take responsibility for the mess the current organisation now finds itself in.

New blood is needed to go with the new 21st century vision for an organisation that desperately needs to show that it is both relevant and respected.

Just changing the name is not an option that will encourage any form of optimism, let alone an increase in membership numbers.

Even internal fractures need more than a sticking plaster to mend properly.

What do you think?
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The price of loyalty

Loyalty now comes at a price.

There was a time when the very thought of a player transferring from one band to another, even with the regularity of a student changing their underwear, was ridiculed: Loyalty was the Y-front badge of pride. You wore it through thick and thin, success and disaster, good times and bad.

Not now.

Forget the underwear: Now player loyalty is as genuine as the moment you see a premiership footballer kiss the club badge on their shirt after scoring a goal.

Give them the chance to make a few quid and off they shoot to pastures new.  

You can’t really blame them though.

It was always an old fashioned notion that players owe anything at all to the bands they sign for – especially in an age when many bands show very little loyalty back in return.

There is little doubt however that, much like football, the power now lies with the individual player rather than the club they play for.  The relaxation of registration rules and with the demand for high quality performers far exceeding the supply, players can now put a monetary value on their talent.

Sad as it may seem, it now means the notion of loyalty has become the latest victim of a culture that knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.

What do you think?
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In praise of the Spring Festival

There is no other contest in the world quite like the Spring Festival.

In its way the event, now in its 92nd year, is a quite brilliant concept: The ultimate prize of a place at the British Open is in theory just three steps away even for the lowest ranked band that takes to the stage at the Winter Gardens.  

However, the Grand Shield, Senior Cup and Senior Trophy are perhaps three of the most difficult contests to qualify from – let alone win. 

As a result it makes the whole occasion throb with a curious mixture of apprehension and anxiety, ambition, inner confidence and self doubt.  

You also need a fair dollop of luck to go with the hard graft and execution too – as each of the sections contain bands that can usually only be separated by a sheet of Bronco paper, let alone well chosen test pieces. Surely, there is no other contest quite like the Grand Shield, where coming second can bring such joy – and relief.

60 bands will be living on their nerves in Blackpool in a few weeks time. It’s an experience all will endure as well as enjoy.

That’s the secret to why the Spring Festival remains such a cracking event.

What do you think?
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Foden's Band - Matt Ford - Altrincham

Saturday 30 May • Altrincham Garrick Playhouse, Barrington Road, Altrincham. WA14 1HZ


Contest: scaba Entertainments

Sunday 31 May • The Hawth in Crawley, West Sussex RH10 6YZ


Regent Hall Concerts - International Trombone Ensemble

Friday 5 June • Regent Hall (The Salvation Army). 275 Oxford Street. (Opposite RESERVED). London. W1C 2DJ W1C 2DJ


Foden's Band - Parr Hall, Warrington

Thursday 11 June • Pyramid Parr Hall, Palmyra Square S, Warrington WA1 1BL


Black Dyke Band - Halifax Minster

Thursday 11 June • The Causeway, Halifax HX1 1QL


Deepcar Brass Band

May 23 • Deepcar Band has a vacancy for a MUSICAL DIRECTOR. We are a 3rd section contesting band, rehearsing Monday & Friday nights.Our bandroom is equal distance to Sheffield, Barnsley & Huddersfield.


Chadderton Band

May 21 • Chadderton Band is a non-contesting band playing at various events throughout the year. We are a friendly band looking for players of all ages and abilities on all sections + EUPH and percussion. Come along to one of our rehearsals.


Forest of Dean Brass

May 21 • We are currently looking for a Euphonium and Front Row Cornet to join our friendly and ambitious 1st Section Band. We undertake a broad range of activities from supporting community events, charities and Contests, coming 3rd at the West of England Areas.


James Chamberlain

BMus (Hons) PGCE
Conductor, Teacher


               

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