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2012: November

This month we give our opinion on a fight Brass Bands England cannot win, ABBA's proactive response to Bolsover and praise the new double champions of Foden's.

A battle that cannot be won

Brass Bands England is in a battle they cannot win.

Kapitol’s latest move to ensure that bands wishing to compete at the 2013 National Finals must be signed up to the registries of Scotland, Wales or Brass Band Player Ltd has been swift and decisive – the latest in a series of proactive responses that has significantly tightened their grip on control of the National Championships of Great Britain which they run.

Meanwhile, Brass Bands England’s reaction has been to undertake a ballot (with moveable closing date), engineered to elicit a double response to what should have been a single question, fail to bring to a satisfactory conclusion a damaging employment dispute, whilst at the same time trying to run a registry system that they themselves say is in need of up to £10,000 to modernise and redevelop, and which has just lost its biggest single customer.

Then there is the small matter of the English National Championship – a contest that they run and control and which seems to have sunk from the horizon without trace. 

Two and half months after being told at a specially convened press conference that a decision on the event would be a ‘priority’ – there is not even a mention of a possible 2013 date on the BBE’s own website – and potential entrants 4BR has spoken to have yet to be informed if the contest will even take place.

It sums up an organisation that appears to lack vision, coherent leadership and an understanding to why it has found itself in such a mess of its own making.

Further reactive responses are sure to echo from the empty husk of a body that has totally lost it way – despite the continued hard work and significant progress made by individual officers on a number of BBE aims and objectives.

Kapitol still has plenty of hard work to undertake to persuade bandsmen and women that their control of registration in England is a move that will provide lasting benefit - but you suspect they won’t lose the opportunity to explain their case through procrastination.

Meanwhile, BBE still has much to offer too, but only if its leadership can recognise the reality of the position it now finds itself in and is prepared to do something about it rather than waste time and money on a battle that it has little hope of winning.

What do you think?
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comments@4barsrest.com 


ABBAs Bolsover lead

One body that has shown swift, proactive and decisive leadership when faced with a significant issue of responsibility has been the Association of Brass Band Adjudicators.

Their response to the potentially racially offensive incident involving two of its members at the Bolsover Festival of Brass was undertaken with professionalism and clarity of process.

It not only showed a coherent understanding of the wider issues involved, but did so with the aim of helping to foster a future banding movement borne of inclusion rather than exclusion.

The events of Bolsover shone a disturbing light onto the underbelly of banding in the UK – one that has for far too long hidden lazy, misinformed attitudes towards equality and diversity.

Thankfully, it also showed that there are a number of people, not just within organisations such as ABBA, who are willing to stand up and address those attitudes head on and work effectively to stamp them out for the benefit of the banding movement as a whole.

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


In praise of Foden’s Band

Double champions are rare beasts.

Rarer still are those who are able to claim the accolade by remaining such a closely knit group of personable individuals both towards each other and to those whom they come in contact with in the banding world.

Foden’s is a remarkably stable band in terms of personnel – made up of many life-long friendships both on and off the contest stage. Not all ‘Double’ winning bands in history have been the same – despite the success.

It is a band that is proud of its rich history, even prouder of its ability to retain a remarkable degree of player loyalty and commitment, even when results have not always gone their way.

Well run, superbly led at the helm by its conductors and driven by a desire to emulate and even surpass its famous predecessors, Foden’s is a band to admire as well as enjoy.

It is a ‘Double’ worthy of the finest of celebrations.

What do you think?
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Foden's Band - Patrons Concert

Tuesday 20 February • Sandbach School. Crewe Rd, Sandbach CW11 3NS CW11 3NS


Regent Hall Concerts - RAF Chamber Ensemble

Friday 23 February • Regent Hall. (The Salvation Army). 275 Oxford Street. London W1C 2DJ (opposite RESERVED) W1C 2DJ


Marshfield Band - Marshfield Male Voice Choir

Saturday 24 February • Marshfield Community Centre. Hayfield. Marshfield SN14 8PG


The Brighouse & Rastrick Band - Chirst Church Ilkley

Saturday 24 February • Christchurch,. The Grove,. Ilkley LS29 9LW


Elland Silver Band -

Saturday 24 February • All Saints Church Savile Road Elland HX5 0NH


Thundersley Brass Band

February 20 • Thundersley Brass, a Championship section band based in Benfleet, Essex are welcoming applicants for the following positions (seats negotiable)from April 2018:. Eb Bass. BBb Bass.


The Corsham Band

February 20 • Having now been promoted to the 2nd Section for the forthcoming Contest season, the band are now looking for an experienced Front Row Cornet Player to join our friendly and enthusiastic team.


Waitakere Auckland Brass Band

February 20 • Ever fancied moving to New Zealand? Waitakere Auckland Brass is looking for players to join their ranks. Our friendly band meets twice a week at our Auckland band room. We have an exciting year ahead so get in touch and find out more.


Phil Lawrence

ARCM PGRNCM MFTCL ARCM B.Mus.
Composer and conductor