2012: December

More from Santa's postbag of all I want for Christmas opinions....


I would like to ask a few hypothetical questions if I may.
What if an individual bandsman does not want to sign for the BBEP Ltd out of principle/honour or whatever you call it?

Well it does state the Brass Band England Players Registry Ltd does it not?

After reading the statement by Mr. Philip Morris of, "You don't sign with us you don't play at the areas" and one region stating that all can play at theirs there is some confusion to say the least - and to cap it all a whiff of a dictatorial rhetoric by BBE.
What if another registry is started outside of the two main contenders with the possibility of an alternative Championship outside of London and the Royal Albert Hall?

I personally think it is such a farce that it has come to this.

In the end how many bands will disappear from our already dwindling movement?
Philip Loveday

What does this mean?

Does this mean that all area committees will follow the North West Regional Committee lead in regard to the use of either BBP or BBBR cards? 

If so, and with BBBR cards for grading only, will we all be playing by the same rules?

Mick Hall

Get real...

I read, with horror and genuine bewilderment some of the obvious goings on in our brass band world of politics.
Why are people hell bent on pushing on the self-destruct button?
Good God - It really is pathetic, sad, disgusting and infantile to say the least.
Just turn up for band: It’s a team sport - there is not one member that is larger than the team itself.
Enjoy it while you can: Make and keep friends that shall last forever- I have.
Band - Pub - Home - Bed - Family - Concerts- Contests: It really is so sad to read that the Police are now involved.
Good Lord: It’s become ridiculous beyond the wildest concepts and imagination!
Does anyone really care about who is running what as long as it’s done with transparency and honesty?
To all who are actually are confusing us with this infantile rhetoric: Get a life, do some practice, turn up to band to play and not waste valuable rehearsal time for the majority.
Finally - Get real.
Bob Harwood
46 years a non political bandsman, 28 years a professional player and 46 years a brass band diplomat!

Where does the money go?

Not sure if you have any figures, but do you know what BBE actually spend their money on – they do seem to get enough?

The latest info from the Arts Council shows the following funding approved:
2012-2013: £45,900
2013-2014: £65,200
2014-2015: £65,200
 Like many people I just don't know what they do.

I'd be interested in how they spend the money because there seem no tangible benefits for brass bands.

 I can't see how they are fulfilling their remit or even their objectives, as stated on their website?

David Hirst

Amateur through and through 

I recently found myself staring at your latest press release from Brass Band England last night for nearly 30 minutes.

Not wishing to inflict any more pain it what appears to be an organisation entrenched with some serious issues - but what’s with that truly awful logo you have chosen to promote your newly named organisation?

Bands out there have some appallingly bad logo designs – but congratulations to you BBE for coming up with something as bad as this. 

I’m directing this email to you as you have made yourselves such an easy target in recent months!

Don’t you understand that your logo is there to symbolise professionalism? 

There to promote trust in your products and services. Your recent metamorphosis to Brass Band England was your ideal opportunity for to portray yourselves as a forward thinking, fit for purpose body.

You chosen logo in no way addresses any of these things: A clear, simple, contemporary design was your chance to portray contemporary qualities, values and services. A chance completely missed. It is amateur through and through.

Unfortunately you are not alone in this – a quick look at the British Open website is a case in point.

In complete contrast – take a look at the WMC Kerkrade logo. See the difference?

Logo and website design is no longer expensive or difficult to maintain. You don’t need the services of graphic designers and webmasters anymore. 

There are hundreds of websites offering cheap logo design and a plethora of intuitive, templated website and content management solutions perfect for your needs.

Hopefully my letter reaches not just BBE but every organisation that needs an image makeover.

Ian White

Failing finance and still no answers...

Today I read on 4BR the article about the failing organisation of the IBBC. 

I was one of the about 40 people who were in the hall at Leuven for the Gala Concert, where it must be said that Brass Band Buizingen and Oslo Brass did their job very well! 

However, as most of the people in the audience, I came to hear the Brighouse & Rastrick Band.

The organisation promised us that there would be a reduction on the tickets, which would be received very soon. One month later, I didn't get a euro from them. 

I sent several e-mails to Michael Dils, the organiser, but he even did not answer. 

It is obvious that they have financial problems and I don't have the illusion to receive one euro from them, but that they even don't have the courtesy to answer my mail and to send a small word to apologize, that makes me very angry! 

So I understand very well how bands must feel, who should receive some thousands of euros from them! 

A very disappointed brass band lover....

Eric Renders

The BBE boat has sailed... 

After attending the registry meeting in Barnsley on Sunday and after gathering some more facts and seeing the people and organisations involved in this issue now feel strongly enough to put pen to paper and give what is my opinion.
I went with the intention of supporting the current registry and protecting us from the evil Kapitol who will charge us all a fortune and destroy lower section banding and with it banding as a whole.
Well I was wrong.  It doesn’t happen often but this is one of those times.
For those who didn’t attend, it was organised by BBE, chaired by Robert Morgan, and also on the top table Shirley Woodward and Terry Luddington.  It was their opportunity to unite us and lead us in the fight against the forces of evil (Kapitol). 

Instead it was more like the cast of the Wizard of Oz, no courage, no heart and at times it seemed not a lot of brains.  

This was exacerbated by Shirley Woodward’s husband (he identified himself thus) making random rambling interjections and at one point pulling faces and making donkey ears when someone he didn’t seem to agree with was speaking.  All in all my faith in BBE had now evaporated and their credibility as a professional entity was all but eroded in my opinion.
As many will now know Kapitol attended this meeting and in my mind won some points for entering the lion’s den as it were if nothing else it showed some bottle.  

Now Mr Morris said in the meeting that he felt he had had to start up his new registry to stop any future shambles with the registry threatening the Nationals competition and that he didn’t have faith in BBE to run the registry. 

We know the registry has run well for years but those people aren’t there for whatever reason and that’s one minefield I refuse to enter.  From what was on show on Sunday if I were Mr Morris I would have also set up my own registry because I wouldn’t have faith in the BBE to run the registry either.
So what did Kapitol do wrong?  Well for me it was the way it was done, we have essentially been strong armed into this and not given a choice. 

True, but what did we have to choose from before? Nothing. 

The cry was he’s going to charge us a £12 per player per year etc etc. Mr. Morris clearly stated that the costs for his registry would be the same as for the existing one.  Yes - he may put them up in years to come, well vote with your feet if or when he does and this brings me to the here and now in my mind.
If we don’t go to our areas we will lose them, it’s ok people saying well we can have a new competition, well who’s going to run it?  

Not BBE surely we may as well pack in now.  This is the problem we are trapped between a rock and a hard place and why? 

Well because we have and myself included have thought oh let them sort it they know what they are doing and we have left it to someone else.  It is our own apathy that has led to this if all those up in arms had been involved in their regions and Associations then surely they would not have let BBE get into this mess and the registry in the first place.
To sum up - It will not cost us any more to go to our areas this year than it would have done previously and we don’t have to leave the current registry.  

So go support them and then in the next 12 months do something about it before it comes round again.  However call me cynical but when it comes around to actually doing something the battle cry against Kapitol will wane.
If truth be told Mr. Morris has seen an opportunity and grasped it with both hands and has stood firm against a lot of criticism and has answered many questions a skill Mr Morgan could do with learning instead of trying to sidestep everything.

Kapitol after all secured the Nationals which was a contest on the way out, maybe he can do the same with the registry, maybe it is time to change at the end of the day we are his customers.
True I wouldn’t trust either of them BBE or Kapitol but in that case I would rather have the one who is going to offer me the best product and that from what I see is Kapitol by a country mile.  

Yes - it may be more expensive to enter the area in a few years, things do go up and if you want a good job you have to pay for it that’s just life.
Sorry BBE, but the boat has sailed and we let you down with apathy just as much as you let us down with your lack of leadership.
Dave Houghton

Partisan 4BR 

I notice your coverage of the meeting in Barnsley. Given the lack of anything useful coming out of this meeting, I can, perhaps understand this. 

It must be said, however, that your own contribution at the start of the meeting seemed to me to be a deliberate attempt to derail the agenda. Those matters might have been better discussed at a separate meeting with those issues as the only items on the agenda.
Thanks to your extremely partisan efforts, David Ashworth’s worthy attempt at a way forward was not properly discussed. I admit that none of the main participants in that meeting covered themselves in glory, but your role as a member of the press should at least have been neutral. 

Instead you continually inserted ferocious attacks on members of the panel and wasted a good half hour of the meeting until everyone in the room was tired of hearing you.
No wonder we are divided amongst ourselves when people like you put your personal agendas above the good of the movement.
Mike Lyons

Intrigue, mystery and the bizarre... 

A very interesting meeting where intrigue, mystery, alleged criminal activities and company takeovers were all dramatised in public.  

This was as good as any episode of Dallas, keeping the audience on the edge of their seats wondering what will happen next.

BBE hosted the meeting to a large gathering of band representatives, at what I thought was, for the organisation to use the forum to re-launch themselves and offer an alternative to the initiative taken by Kapitol Promotions Ltd.  

I was expecting a presentation of leadership and direction to take the English brass band movement into the future, unfortunately this did not happen.

The meeting was bizarre: Kapitol were well represented by the owners. Representatives of the brass band media were also there to report and given the opportunity to cross examine statements made by the BBE group.  I admire BBE on their openness but I am sure Tesco would not let Asda or the press attend their strategy meetings.

I left the meeting with two impressions,  BBE clearly stated that they had recovered their data base and now have a large register of playing members, but don't have the prestigious contests under their ownership. 

Kapitol have the prestigious contests registered under their ownership but  as yet limited subscription to their new register of players, they also appear to have an intransigent stance to any discussion to explore what their customers want.

Both groups clearly stated that they were working in the best interests of the brass band movement.  

When I asked if the two groups could talk to each other to resolve the difficulties all bands were facing in deciding who to follow, BBE stated that they were willing to talk but Kapitol made no comment. 

Mr Ashworth did state that he would be willing to arbitrate between both groups which I thought was a step in the right direction. Mr Ashworth was then invited by the BBE Chairman to present his views and proposals towards an independent registry, which I felt muddied the waters even further.

My personal feelings at the moment are to follow the Kapitol direction for the time being.

Although, I don't think that Kapitol have endeared themselves the brass band world they can offer the opportunity for us to compete with other bands in the prestigious events which inevitably lead to the development of players and the movement. 

The meeting, although interesting, did not convince me that we have the leadership that will promote the English brass band movement and take it forward into the future.

Chris Faulkner
Haslingden & Helmshore Band

Excellent Grimethorpe

Further to Jen Thomas' letter regarding Grimethorpe Colliery Band's concert in Cardiff, I'd like to mention that I was lucky enough to see them in Cheltenham this past weekend and it must have been a different band and a different conductor all together! 

In my opinion the band were on top form, well directed throughout by their conductor for the evening, Gareth Pritchard, who only read the introduction to 1712 from the score (not every piece as Ms Thomas experienced) and had a great rapport with the audience. 

The concert was well advertised as a Brassed Off tour concert, so of course featured many pieces from the film as well as their new concert material/brass in concert pieces and some not so new pieces from their repertoire. 

I'm not sure what else I would have expected to have heard to be honest.

What a great band and what a superb conductor.  

My wife and I had a great time and would not hesitate in going to see the band the next time they are in the neighbourhood - Chris Gommersall playing 'Dark Eyes' and Andy Holmes playing 'Concerto De Aranjuez' were particular favourites of ours.

We would thoroughly recommend that if you ever see a concert with the Grimethorpe band advertised you go and see them!

Phil Canon

Scintillating Grimey

I read with interest Jen Thomas’ reflections upon Grimethorpe’s performance in St. David’s Hall.
As the promoter of Grimethorpe’s concert immediately following the bands appearance in Cardiff, I wish to report that c.300 people left Sheffield Citadel’s packed Salvation Army hall commenting, “Wonderful”, “ Fantastic“, “ Can’t wait until next year”, amongst similar remarks.
The programme was well balanced, the soloists were in scintillating form and the band was well managed by guest conductor Jonathan Corry.
Glyn Evans

Thanks Rothwell
Please express our grateful thanks to the Rothwell Temperance Band tutors and players who came to Driffield recently to help us with our Christmas workshop and concert. 

The children and young people of the East Riding Youth Brass Band along with the Bridlington Band had an amazing day working with volunteers from the band on a Christmas concert which was conducted by Les McCormack. 

Everyone worked very hard and learned a lot as well as being inspired.
The concert was extremely well received and the young people were brilliantly entertained in the 2nd half by players mainly from Rothwell but with guests from Cornerstone Brass, Skelmanthorpe, Barton Town Band, Driffield Silver Band and Bemrose Concert Band.
Everyone had a fantastic day. 

We would like to express our thanks to all of those players who willingly gave up their time to help us with this project and we look forward to developing the connections between the bands.

Sally Bontoft

Enderby Band - The Melton Band

Sunday 24 September • Melton Theatre, Asfordby Road, Melton Mowbray LE13 0HJ

The GUS Band - The GUS Band 90th Anniversary Celebration Concert

Sunday 24 September • Northampton High School,. Newport Pagnell Road,. Hardingstone,. Northampton NN4 6UU

Boarshurst Silver Band - Eagley Band

Sunday 24 September • Boarshurst Band Club. Greenbridge Lane. Greenfield. Oldham OL3 7EW

Dobcross Silver Band - Unite the Union Band

Sunday 24 September • Dobcross Band Club. Platt Lane. Dobcross . Saddleworth . Oldham OL3 5AD

Luton Brass Band - Masterclass with David Daws

Wednesday 27 September • St Augustine's Church, Luton LU3 2JR

Harlow Brass Band

September 22 • Seeking a MUSICAL DIRECTOR - We are a friendly, non-contesting band who play to a good standard. We hold our own Spring and Christmas concerts and provide entertainment at various local events throughout the year

Chinnor Silver

September 22 • Chinnor Silver Band (2nd section National finalists 2023) are looking to strengthen their ranks. We require a Bass player(either flavour) Bass trombone and percussionist. We are a friendly band with a good mix of Concerts and Contests planned for 2023/24

Easingwold Town Band

September 21 • We are an enterprising, forward-looking, inclusive 4th Section band with vacancies for soprano cornet, front-row cornet and Eb bass. Enjoy a friendly welcome at our bandroom in Easingwold, 12 miles N of York (postcode YO61 3DB). Come for a blow!

Mike Sheppard

B.A. (Hons) Music
Composer, conductor, teacher, author


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