The Eikanger-Bjørsvik Band, recently took on a bit of contest control far removed from their usual domination of the Norwegian National Championships.
Just a few weeks after they were crowned champions for a record 12th time, they played organising host to the regional Hordablæsten Festival in the Grieg Hall in Bergen.
The band applied to organise the schools event so that they could actively support the next generation of young musicians in the Hordaland County area – a region of more than 400,000 people that is home to over 400 different music organisations.
Eikanger Band Chairman, Viggo Bjorge told 4BR that it provided the band with the opportunity to put something back into grass roots music making.
"It has a massive undertaking, but one we have been very proud to have done.
Hordaland has a very vibrant schools music scene, and we had to organise an event that featured over 1700 young performers, with 282 soloists, 116 ensembles, 48 school bands and 260 rookie school bands. It was hard work, but everyone enjoyed the experience."
Eikanger players became backroom staff, helpers, carriers, stage crew and even adjudicators for the wind and brass ensembles4BR
The players and supporters of the Eikanger, their sister band Bjørsvik Brass and the local school bands of Kløvheim, Knarvik and Skodvin, volunteered as festival personnel.
Eikanger players became backroom staff, helpers, carriers, stage crew and even adjudicators for the wind and brass ensembles, and Viggo believes the connection with new generation of young players has already benefitted the band.
"Having everyone dressed informally in tee shirts, making sure they carried instruments, brought refreshments and packed percussion, was appreciated by the youngsters. They were thrilled to see some of best known brass players in Norway making sure they enjoyed the day."
As Viggo explained, that theme of interaction was seen right through to the end of the day, when Eikanger took centre stage to provide the pre results Gala Concert.
"The band put on a short concert of light music, under Reid Gilje, but invited all 282 soloists to join them on stage for two items – including 100 trombone players for a run through a Norwegian version of ’76 Trombones’. It gave the whole event a great ending."
And although it was a form of contest control Eikanger does not usually provide at the Grieg Hall, Viggo hopes the band will do it again in the future:
"We have participated in many concerts throughout the years and have great respect for the work laid down by organizers of banding events. We want to do this job for the youngsters in the Hordaland school bands. After all, they are our future."