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2011: February

This month we give our opinions on a step towards to an Alliance, window shopping for young composers and praise the late James Watson

A step towards an Alliance

If there really is a desire for the brass band movement to secure a dynamic future for itself, then the opportunity created by the proposals put forward to form the United Kingdom Brass Band Alliance must not be lost.

The doubts must be overcome, the damaging parochialism put aside.

The case for creating a vibrant, proactive structure to cater for brass banding in the UK was self evident, but so too were the counter arguments and opinions – many of them well thought out and argued.

What was encouraging however was the desire to debate and discuss the future – and analyse the potential benefits as well as the drawbacks a new body could create.

It was clear that no one wanted another tier of stifling bureaucracy or another powerless talking shop of good intentions – but something in between.

There is a still a considerable way to go before anything of concrete substance is agreed to, but another step was taken in the right direction in Manchester.

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


Window shopping for young composers

One of the most impressive attractions of the RNCM Festival of Brass held in Manchester is the John Golland Composition Award – this year won by the talented Lucy Pankhurst.

It is perhaps the only ‘shop window’ for new compositional brass band talent in the UK, although unfortunately it continues to fail to attract those with the ‘purchasing power’ to ensure the composers in question are given the opportunity to display their wares to a bigger audience than that found at the RNCM Theatre each year.

At a time when there is a great deal of talk about progress and innovation there remains an inherent ignorance from contest promoters to the potential of a new generation of brass band composers – many with real musical inventiveness coursing through their veins.

And as much as there is to enjoy with Wilby, Ball, Berlioz and Golland at the Areas in a few weeks time, surely it is time to both play something else that both challenges musicality and technique?

Those brave enough to employ youthful talent at major events (such as the Scottish Open and the Swiss Nationals last year) have been rewarded with works that are modern, accessible and highly enjoyable.

Now others should follow their lead – the likes of Lucy Pankhurst, Benjamin Tubb, Christian Overhead, Richard Huw Cole, David Lancaster and many more, deserve the opportunity.

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


In praise of James Watson

The untimely death of James Watson is a considerable loss to the brass band movement.

Although he had been a somewhat peripheral figure following his rather acrimonious departure from Black Dyke over a decade ago, there were tantalising signs and rumours that he may have returned to banding in a more substantial role in the future.

All that is now lost at the age of just 59.

A musician of the highest quality, his reputation was hard won and maintained, as a player, conductor and teacher.   He influenced hundreds of brass players in all three guises ever since he first made a startling impression on the collective consciousness as a cornet player with Desford Band in the 1960s.

As a conductor there was a period in which he was unquestionably the best in the business – especially at the major championships. As a teacher, his progressive tenure at the Royal Academy of Music inspired new generations of gifted performers.

His record speaks for itself. His contribution should never be forgotten.

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


Craig Roberts

BA (Hons), MA
Conductor / Adjudicator