2012 Scottish champion, Co-operative Funeralcare Band, has informed the Scottish Brass Band Association that they will not take up their invitation to represent the country at the European Brass Band Championships in Oslo in May.
As a result, it could be the first time that Scotland has not sent a representative to the contest since 1996, and will be seen as a disappointment for SBBA as they themselves prepare to host the event in Perth in 2014.
The notification followed lengthy discussions between the band’s executive committee and its trustees, which led them to make what they termed, ‘this difficult but necessary conclusion.’
Band Manager Martin Stack commented: "This has been a very hard decision to make, and many aspects have had to be considered. In addition to the financial element, the band has an extremely busy performance schedule in 2013.
It was felt that attending the European Championships for a second year in a row having successfully competed at Rotterdam in 2012, amidst all its other commitments, was going to put the band and its members under extreme pressure which could be detrimental to the organisation."
George Burt, President of SBBA commented: "It was with regret to learn of the decision from the Co-operative Funeralcare Band, but they have not taken the decision lightly and have put the interests of their members and the band as an organisation at the forefront of their considerations."
He added: "SBBA will now consider alternative nomination options, but it is felt unlikely that a replacement band will be able to secure the funding and organisation time to attend at this late stage."
SBBA will now consider alternative nomination options, but it is felt unlikely that a replacement band will be able to secure the funding and organisation time to attend at this late stageGeorge Burt
In the past three years Scotland has been represented by bands that have not won the Scottish Championship in the previous qualifying year, with Bon Accord in 2010, Kingdom Brass in 2011 and Scottish Co-op in 2012.
With 2012 Scottish Championship runner-up Whitburn committed to the Grand Shield along with Kirkintilloch, and with third placed Kingdom Brass also at Blackpool, it seems increasingly unlikely that Scotland will be able to field a representative in Oslo in less than 3 months time.