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2013: July

The return of the 4BR editorial — with our views on the right man for the job at BBE, dynamic obesity and in praise of the bandstand concert.

The right man for the BBE job

Barring any unforeseen circumstances, Mike Kilroy will become the new Chairman of Brass Bands England this weekend.

He is the right man at the right time for one of the most important roles in UK banding. 

He will take over an organisation that under the 12 year stewardship of Robert Morgan MBE did much to help the brass band movement. 

However, there is little doubt that since gaining Arts Council funding, unfocussed ambition far exceeded purposeful realism.

That will hopefully now change.

With a skill set that combines a very high level of business acumen linked to a great deal of banding experience, Mike Kilroy will provide BBE with leadership that seeks co-operation rather than conflict, strategic partnerships and consultation rather than isolation and obduracy.

The good news is that there appears to be a real desire for change in the organisation – and already a sense of transparency and accountability has become evident. 

Brass Bands England needs the right man for the job, but so does brass banding in the UK as a whole.

His will be the most welcome of appointments.

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


Ridding ourselves of the obesity problem

It’s not just players who are physically getting bigger.  

Brass bands themselves have slowly but surely become the fattened hogs of dynamic excess.

The desire for ever more power output has made top flight bands in particular, leviathans of blubbery exorbitance: Volume rules. 

What was once a result of better training has now become a steroid injected short cut to Brobdingnagian implausibility (also helped at the top level by the acceptance of European led quotas on the number of players allowed on stage).

Grace and subtlety, dynamic refinement and coherence are now almost forgotten musical traits – especially with the emergence of ‘bespoke’ own choice works that have become vehicles to exhibit ever more exotic technical prowess.

As a result, the dynamic range a top brass band can now produce has become huge – but in the process, also quite meaningless. 

When for instance, was the last time you actually heard truly defined mid range mezzopiano or mezzoforte playing in a test piece?    

Perhaps the time has finally come to start purging ourselves of excess and return to a dynamic diet plan that is much healthier for all of us. 

We could all do with losing a bit of weight.

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


In praise of the bandstand concert

One of the great traditions of the banding world is fast becoming in danger of extinction.

The local bandstand concert – once a staple part of any summer diary of engagements has gradually become a victim of the ever increasing pressures on local government funding. 

As a result, some of the finest Victorian and Edwardian concert platforms (as well as some great modern designs) in the UK have become increasingly disused, dilapidated and even destroyed.

It is a huge pity, as there is no better way to bring a local community together on a weekend afternoon than by sitting near a bandstand in a well maintained park with a brass band playing easy listening music – and as long as the weather is pretty good too.

The fees may not be great (or you may even have to promote it yourselves), but with a bit of inventive planning and co-operation the humble bandstand concert is perhaps the most effective way of showing your community just what you have to offer.

So why not give it a go – before the great bandstands of the land are bulldozed to make way for yet another unwanted and unloved car park. 

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



Foden's Band - Sandbach Transport Festival

Sunday 22 April • Sandbach Town Centre CW11 1AE


Contest: National Youth Championships

Sunday 22 April • Warwick Arts Centre, University of Warwick, Gibbet Hill Rd, Coventry CV4 7AL


The Hepworth Band - Wakefield Grammar School Foundation Chorus

Sunday 22 April • Queen Elizabeth Grammar School (QEGS). Northgate. Wakefield WF1 3QX


Lofthouse Brass Band - Mayor's Annual Charity Concert

Monday 23 April • Ossett Town Hall, Market Place, Ossett WF5 8BE WF5 8BE


Regent Hall Concerts - Clarendon Brass Ensemble

Friday 27 April • Charlton House. Charlton Road. London. SE7 8RE SE7 8RE


Lofthouse Brass Band

April 23 • Lofthouse Brass Band require a DRUMMER to complete their line up. We are a friendly 3rd section band who rehearse on Thursday evenings 7.30pm - 9pm and Saturday mornings 10am - 12noon at Outwood WMC.


Lindley Band

April 22 • TUTTI CORNET required to join friendly team who enjoy a sensible balance of contests and high quality engagements under the direction of our new MD Rob Westacott. We rehearse Monday and Wednesday evenings in our own bandroom just 1 mile from M62 Jcn 24.


Lindley Band

April 22 • FIRST HORN required to join friendly team who enjoy a sensible balance of contests and high quality engagements under the direction of our new MD Rob Westacott. We rehearse Monday and Wednesday evenings in our modern bandroom just 1 mile from M62 Jcn 24.


David A. Stowell


Conductor and composer