Kapitol Promotions has announced the structure, remit and method of election to the Advisory Body of the Brass Band Players Registry for English bands.
Speaking to 4BR, Philip Morris outlined the composition of the Advisory Body which he stated would comprise democratically elected representatives of the six English regions, plus representatives of the major brass band competitions that accept only Brass Band Players’ registry cards.
Structure and remit
Announcing its structure and remit, he told 4BR: "This represents democracy over English banding registration, and an opportunity — I’d go so far as to say the first tangible opportunity — for English bands themselves to improve the level-playing field of brass band competition."
He added: "The remit of the Advisory Body will be decided by the organisation itself, as will the agenda for the development of English brass band registration and the modernisation of the function of the registry.
Obviously, any changes to registration rules would need to involve liaison with the Welsh and Scottish registries before implementation."
Philip Morris was also keen to point out that it would be up to the bands themselves to both nominate and vote for their Advisory Body representatives.
"The new BBP Registry is starting with a blank sheet of paper: It is not using any data from the existing British Brass Band Registry (BBBR).
After the 2013 Regional Championships, BBP will write to every band registered with it requesting one nomination per band to go forward into a ballot to decide the six English band representatives on the Advisory Body — one for each competing Region of the National series."
4BR understands that it is hoped that the new system will encourage highly motivated individuals to put forward their candidatures to bands in their areas – one that will enable them to seek a democratic mandate to represent their regional as well as national interests.
Meanwhile, speaking about the controversy that has surrounded the establishment of the BBP Registry, Philip Morris observed: "I know that the establishment has caused concern and heartache amongst bands because it rivals the long-standing BBBR. I do feel for bands, but have to reiterate that this situation was not of the National’s making."
He added: "The new BBP Registry has advised bands that it has no plans to raise the cost of registration/transfer fees in the foreseeable future, and that it will honour the expiry dates of registration cards issued before 1st October 2012, so there will be no extra cost to bands when they join BBP.
In fact, the level of registration fees would fall within the remit of the new Advisory Body to decide, on which English bands will be democratically represented."
Philip Morris told 4BR that he believes the BBP Registry will offer a service that bands can have full confidence in.
He continued: "The BBBR became dysfunctional in the run-up to the British Open and National Finals this year, letting down both contest promoters and competing bands, and causing the National to lose confidence in its ability to provide a continuous, efficient and data secure service.
The statement by Robert Morgan of Brass Bands England, issued at the recent Barnsley ‘Open Forum’ meeting which referred to the removal of bands’ data and registration cards from the BBBR office and the changing of passwords on the computer system storing bands registration data, simply confirmed that this loss of confidence was indeed correct."
He added: "The Barnsley meeting witnessed band representatives questioning Robert Morgan about whether or not his organisation had notified the Police that data and cheques had gone missing, to which he repeatedly replied that he had taken legal advice and wanted to deal with the matter internally.
Band representatives present were clearly dissatisfied with his response about how this serious breach of security had been dealt with, and I now understand that individual band persons have reported the missing data and cheques to the Police."
Philip Morris continued: "In the light of that serious breach of security, both I and those members of the Regional Forum not doubling as Executive Committee of BBE (as happens on the North West Regional Committee) have completely lost confidence in the BBBR to deliver a fully functioning and data secure registration service, and certainly would not place the future of brass band registration for the National series in the hands of the BBBR.
The National was, after all, the biggest customer of the BBBR and received no notification, whatsoever, when the BBBR closed for business during the summer."
the level of registration fees would fall within the remit of the new Advisory Body to decide, on which English bands will be democratically representedPhilip Morris
Registration for the Areas
Philip Morris then moved on to comment upon Robert Morgan’s most recent statement, in which he reminded bands that they did not need to register until one week before their Regional contests and urged them to continue using BBBR cards.
He stressed: "That advice is will cause confusion and will adversely impact the Regional Championships. Similarly, the North West Regional Committee’s reported recent decision to allow dual registration at its forthcoming Regional Championship is divisive and a clear breach of current National Rules.
From the outset and after taking positive soundings from all the bands that participated in the recent National Finals, we have made it as clear as we possibly can that bands must register with the BBP registry prior to the Regional Championships."
He continued: "Those without BBP registration cards issued before the 2013 Regional Championships will not be considered for an invitation to the 2013 National Finals.
I’m afraid that, in the interests of preserving the competitive integrity of the National series, we have to stand firm on that decision and I’m sure that bands wouldn’t want it any other way.
In any case, it would not be fair to those bands competing on BBP cards in the Regional Championships if other bands flouted the National Rules by competing on BBBR cards and there was no redress."
Concluding, he reflected: “I’ve been a bandsman myself for many years, and I can say with the greatest of sincerity that I only ever have the interests of bands and, importantly, the National at heart.
The National Championships form the bedrock of British brass banding, inspiring band cultures across the world. It is arguably the single most important competition series in the world and, within the context of the place occupied by the National in banding’s heritage, I take my role as organiser extremely seriously.
It is therefore of the utmost importance that every English band competing in the National series follows the example set by those bands now registering daily with BBP.
These include the likes of Black Dyke and Foden’s, which are leading the way in supporting BBP by sending their registration cards into the new BBP registry now to allow the time to process their registrations."
Bands are now urged to contact Brass Band Players’ Registrar, Philip Rogers, at the following contact points:
Registrar, Brass Band Players Ltd.
Office hours: 9.30am 3.00pm weekdays
Telephone: 01269 841127
PO Box 73, Ammanford. SA18 9AP