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European Brexit for Scotland in 2019?

It appears that Scotland may not have any senior representation at the European Championships in Montreux in 2019 as champion band Whitburn reportedly declines invitation to compete.

  Whitburn represented Scotland at the 2018 Europeans in Utrecht

Scotland will have no senior contest representation at the European Championships in Switzerland next year if reports are confirmed that Scottish Champion Whitburn Band will not be accepting the invitation to compete at the 2019 event in Montreux.

The band qualified to represent the nation at the Montreux Convention Centre in May by winning the Scottish Championship in Perth in March this year — allowing them 13 months to meet the approximate £20,000 cost.

Financial concerns

However, since qualifying Whitburn has competed at the European Championship in Utrecht, the British Open in Birmingham, National Finals in London, Brass in Concert in Gateshead and the Scottish Open in Perth.

It is understood that concerns over the financial implications of attending the event played a major part in their potential decision, which is said to have been communicated to the Scottish Brass Band Association in the past couple of weeks.

At the recent Swiss National Championship, EBBA representatives, who were in Montreux for a meeting were unaware of any potential problems with Scottish representation at the event — which if all bands accept their invitations would see up to 14 bands in the Championship Section.

Difficult options

Any decision not to compete would leave the Scottish Brass Band Association with the difficult option of either offering the invitation to the next highest placed band at the 2018 Scottish Championship, or be faced with having no Scottish representation at the senior Championship Section event for the third time since 2013.

It is understood that the Co-operative Funeralcare Band has been informally approached to see if they can take up the option.

However, the band has been battling its own financial issues in the past year, and has been focusing its energies on finding itself a permanent rehearsal facility.

Although keen to ensure Scottish representation at the Championships, it is understood that until these issues are resolved they have reluctantly informed SBBA that they could not take up the invitation at such short notice.

In 2010 Bon Accord accepted the invitation to represent Scotland at the European Championship in Linz in Austria despite only being placed fourth at the 2009 Scottish Championship event.

Challenge Section

However, 4BR understands that the Scottish Brass Band Association will not ask the third or fourth placed placed bands (Kirkintilloch Kelvin and Bo'ness & Carriden) from the 2018 Scottish Championship and will look to seek a band to take part in the European Challenge Section in Montreux instead.

Both Whitburn and the Scottish Brass Band Association were contacted for comment.

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Mike Sheppard

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