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2011: January

This month we give our opinions on working on the banding image, not winning anything with kids and praise the move towards open debate...

Working on our banding image

It shouldn’t have come as a surprise that news of Laura Hirst becoming the first female player to join Brighouse & Rastrick and the death of the actor Pete Postlethwaite brought stereotypical responses towards brass banding from the media.

Out came the clichés and trivialities – from fashion problems of wearing ‘men only’ band jackets, to the preposterous film image of ‘Danny’ cycling home from band practice, resplendent in uniform, whistling ‘The Floral Dance’.

Once more, the opportunity to provide the movement with a positive image was lost – or more tellingly, not even considered.

The media treats brass banding with a lazy contempt - not because it knows any better, but because we have never managed to persuade them otherwise.

A general enquiry to the BBC revealed that their contributor’s database for brass banding issues and information is – well - nonexistent (BBC Wales has just started a general scheme).

No banding media spokesperson, ‘talking head’, or well known banding ‘personality’ is listed for such occasions when brass bands are deemed to be ‘newsworthy’. No one it seems has contacted the BBC to be considered as one.

Any decision to try and talk to someone with any sort of informed viewpoint is left, we were told, to whether or not a researcher can find anyone to contact on the internet.

It is no wonder then that brass bands continue to be worthy only of the banalities of fashion tips and fairytale ‘northern’ working class imagery.

We have only ourselves to blame.

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


You won’t win anything with kids?

If there is one thing football pundit Alan Hansen will forever be remembered for, it is his infamous faux pas of declaring that Alex Ferguson would never win anything with a Manchester United team made up of kids.

Everyone knows what happened next….

The same could well apply to Black Dyke in 2011.

The band and its ‘manager’ are well used to the opinions of the critics on the studio sofas (4BR included) – but never before in the decade long tenure of Nicholas Childs have they come under such pre-season scrutiny – especially as the Black Dyke team this year is perhaps the youngest ever in terms of average age.

After a season of disappointment in 2010, changes were made, and this year the band will take to the major contest stages packed with a squad that includes some of brightest young talents around, allied to key youthful positional changes.

The critics will wait to see what happens of course (as will their rivals), and whilst none have yet come out with a public ‘Hansen’ statement, many harbour the thought that this could be a make or break season for the Queensbury outfit and its conductor.

However, given that the MD is such an admirer of the successful methods employed over the years by his counterpart at Old Trafford (and has his own track record to prove it since 2000), you won’t bet against them ending 2011 with a trophyroom full of silverware.

Any would be Alan Hansen’s may want to think twice then, before they make a fool of themselves questioning whether you can win anything with kids in the ranks…

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


In praise of open debate…

2011 could well be the year that the brass band movement frees itself of entrenched opinion and ushers in an era of open debate.

The ongoing work of the fledgling Umbrella Group Working Party will be discussed at a further summit meeting at the forthcoming RNCM Festival of Brass, whilst Steven Mead’s ongoing crusade to further debate on criteria based adjudication will be discussed at an open seminar on the same weekend.

With ABBA already starting the ball rolling with its test piece workshop at its AGM at the start of the month, and with the BFBB welcoming views and opinions via the work of its newly appointed Liaison Officer, it seems the opportunity is being presented for a vibrant atmosphere of debate to be created for the benefit of the movement as a whole.

And if it carries on like this, we may even see some real progress being made too…

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



Walsall Brass Band - Willenhall Singers

Saturday 18 November • Sneyd Communnity Centre, Vernon Way, Bloxwich, Walsall. WS3 2PA


Rushden Town Band -

Saturday 18 November • Park Rd Baptist Church, Rushden, Northamptonshire NN10 0RW


Contest: Brass in Concert

Saturday 18 November • Sage Gateshead, St Mary's Square, Gateshead NE28 2JR


Foden's Band - Morley Town Hall

Saturday 18 November • Queen Street, Morley LS27 9DY


Black Dyke Band - Waterford, Ireland

Saturday 18 November • Carriganore Arena, Waterford Institute of Technology Sports Campus tbc


Newstead Brass

November 18 • Bb Cornet (position negotiable). . Newstead Brass, established Midlands Championship section, have opportunity for an additional cornet player. Suitable for experienced player or someone looking to take the next step in their development.


Wakefield Metropolitan Brass Band

November 17 • FRONT ROW CORNET. SOLO TROMBONE. . The band have an exciting concert/contest/marching schedule ahead. We are looking for a committed front row cornet and solo trombone player to come and join us in the Yorkshire 1st Section! MD: Richard Larder.


Glossop Old Band

November 17 • SOLO TROMBONE. The Glossop Old Band Welcomes applications for the Solo Trombone Chair. The Band will be competing in the First Section as of 2018 and are looking to continue its progression back to the top levels of performance


Alwyn Green

LRAM, LTCL
Conductor, composer, arranger, adjudicator, teacher and soloist