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2011 English National Championship — Introduction to Preston

No more Little England syndrome as the BFBB looks towards European integration for the future...

Guild Hall
Things are looking up in Preston... 

English integration into Europe becomes ever more complete it seems.

The BFBB may not be quite ready to put their hand in their pockets to help bail out the fledgling Greek brass band economy, but at least the desire not to be left on the margins of the ever more powerful European Brass Band Association has seen them take progressive action.

Turning point

2011 could really be a turning point for the English National Championships, as the ‘Little England’ syndrome that so stunted the ambition of the contest is finally kicked into touch.

The BFBB has seen EBBA run highly impressive events in Linz and Montreux in the past two years, following a blueprint that although occasionally overblown, has had at its core a major brass band contest that is quality led, relevant and increasingly popular.

And after the years of broken promises, ill-conceived ideas and a fair dollop of bad luck, the BFBB has taken the step of copying it here at Preston: It could well be the event’s rebirth.

Issues

There are still issues to tackle however.

The Guild Hall remains a pretty dour venue  – a cheap, oversized millstone around the BFBB’s neck, but the insistence on developing a contesting ethos of quality rather than quantity is to be applauded. 

The top English bands are now attracted to the contest, if not necessarily Preston, in more ways than one.  

A greater degree of transparency permeates things too – something the introduction of the own choice selections to the audience before each performance, pre results comments from both sets of adjudicators and the full declaration of the results will enhance further.   

BFBB Logo
A credit sign for the BFBB

Credit

The BFBB has come in for justified criticism in the past about the way this contest has been run, but to its credit it has taken a very long and hard look at itself and decided to change.

This year there is a healthy prize fund (the winners leave with a package worth close to £6,000 to help with the costs of Rotterdam 2012), a quality mix of adjudicators in Derek Broadbent, Ian Brownbill, Steve Sykes and Andrew Duncan, a testing set work that places an emphasis on musical style and not just technical proficiency, a host of intriguing own choice selections and a transparent results process.

Time to recover

The bands should have plenty of time to recover from their set work exertions in the morning before they showcase those own choice selections in the afternoon, and with a bit of luck, the results could well be announced by 7.00pm.

Study scores will be available on the day of Martin Ellerby’s set work ‘Elgar Variations’, tickets can be bought at the door and there are plenty of places to go and have a cup of tea and a Lancashire hot-pot too.

Start times

It all starts on the stroke of 10.00am with the own choice fireworks at 2.00pm.  

4BR will be there to bring you all the action, with video interviews and round ups, twitter, live comments, pictures and plenty of post contest analysis.

We are all Europeans now – even if the BFBB will be well advised not to put a Greek salad on the lunchtime menu….  

Iwan Fox



Black Dyke Band - Macmillan Theatre, Bridgwater

Sunday 18 August • The McMillan Theatre, Bath Road, Bridgwater,Somerset TA6 4PZ


Regent Hall Concerts - Ensemble Sauterelle (french horns and male voices)

Friday 23 August • Charlton House. Charlton Road. London. SE7 8RE SE7 8RE


Sandhurst Silver Band - Music in the Memorial Park

Sunday 25 August • Sandhurst Memorial Park, Yorktown Road, Sandhurst GU47 9DP


Foden's Band - Sandbach

Monday 26 August • The Wheatsheaf, Sandbach, 1 Hightown, Sandbach CW11 1AG


Black Dyke Band - Scarborough Spa

Saturday 31 August • South Bay, Scarborough YO11 2HD


Stannington Brass Band

August 18 • A rare opportunity has arisen to join one of Sheffield's leading bands with a vacancy for an EEb TUBA player to complete our bass section. We have a good band room atmosphere and a calendar of interesting concerts and contests


Corby Silver Band

August 17 • We have vacancies for solo cornet, back row cornet and 1st horn. . We are a 3rd section band based in Northamptonshire in the East Midlands. . Rehearsals 8pm - 10pm Monday & Wednesday held in our own band club. We do not charge any subs.


Strata Brass

August 17 • FRONT ROW CORNET/TROMBONE/PERCUSSION in this Yorkshire Championship Band.. MD Jonathan Bates (Solo Horn - Fodens). Rehearsals currently MON/WED - bandroom 5 mins from J35/36 M1, lifts available from Manchester/Leeds/Sheffield/Huddersfield..


Dr. Stephen Arthur Allen

D. Phil. (Oxon) [Ph.D Oxford University], GBSM, LTCL, ABSM, ALCM, Cert. Ed.


               

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