The nominations from the 4BR team for consideration are...
Austrian National Brass Band Championship
When the European Brass Band Championship was held in Linz in 2010 it opened the eyes of many to the vast possibilities the country’s well funded commitment to music making held - especially for brass bands.
Four years later and the inaugural Austrian National Championships took place at a packed out Kulturzentrum Bräuhaus in Eferding in Upper Austria, with six bands in two sections: Quality not quantity for now - but that exciting potential has finally been untapped.
European Youth Day
The future of this event on an annual basis at least, is questionable, but you have to admit, the success of the inaugural contest in Perth was a credit to the competing bands, EBBA and the Scottish Brass Band Association who backed and presented it so well.
With victories for the Swiss and Norwegians over some pretty good domestic challengers it also shone a very clear musical light on just where the driving force for its future success may come from.
Now then, now then. All that nonsense about ‘Muckle Flugga’ as a worthy European test piece seems like a pretty insignificant storm in a tea cup now.
A muddled commissioning process was perhaps ultimately to blame - although the work did need some tweaking. When it came to the contest stage though, it revealed itself to be a powerful, evocative composition with a deep sense of human passion. Rory Boyle is a composer the brass band world can ill afford to lose contact with.
Buffet’s latest ‘app’ is a clever, well thought out bit of work - and a very helpful high tech tool to help young players develop their playing skills without getting bored. And believe you me - that takes some doing.
If you want to make a lasting connection with young performers then give them music to play along with that they enjoy and understand. With ‘Urban Play’ it shows that someone at Buffet is down with the kids.
The Band of the King’s Division
To be fair, the top brass with pips on their shoulders at the Corps of Army Music should take their fair share of credit for their decision to create three UK based professional brass bands, but it is still the public performance face of what they have decided on that creates the right impression for potential new recruits.
Capt Justin Matthews and his band at Weeton have worked their socks off this year in doing the PR performance stuff - and have done it very well (as have the Royal Signals Band in the West Midlands and the Prince of Wales’s Band in South Wales). The long term benefits to the civilian brass band movement could well become increasingly significant in years to come.