Brass at the 2012 Olympics

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Sopman, Aug 25, 2008.

  1. Sopman

    Sopman Member

    Hi All,

    This may have been discussed here in the past, but wondered if anyone knows if Brass Bands will feature at any of the 2012 Olympics ceremonies, opening, closing etc., or are we "too British" to be included???

    Seems to me, with the world watching, its an ideal stage for the movement as a whole to show what we can do!
  2. cornet_babe

    cornet_babe Member

    I think it would be a brilliant idea to include brass bands in the opening ceremony! We don't get anywhere near enough recognition as we should. Maybe by putting brass in the limelight, we can encourage more people to join us and start playing!!
  3. Cornet Nev.

    Cornet Nev. Member

    Any publicity for brass at the next Olympics would be a good thing, also there have been quite a few TV programs recently that featured brass music, and they help, but the one thing that gave the movement a real shot in the arm I feel, was the film "Brassed Off". Another film featuring brass is what is needed.
  4. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    I'd absolutely disagree with that. The one thing "Brassed Off" didn't do is portray the brass band in a positive light. Sure it brought attention to bands, but only as a kind of dying novelty act associated with a dying industry. The characters had some positive attributes but the film itself was an almost wholly negative portrayal of the brass band movement.

    Regarding the opening ceremony in 2012, there was a massed band at the closing ceremony of Manchester 2002, conducted by Dave King. However that's down to the prominent part brass bands are perceived by outsiders to play in the cultural life of Manchester and the North. The same could not be said of London, or Britain as a whole, and when there will be so many cultural facets of Britain competing for a place on the world stage brass bands would have to do more than simply wait to be handed a central role. I think we have to spend the next four years proving that, as an icon of British culture, the brass band is hard to beat. We all know that, because we're all band nuts - proving that to Joe Public and the OCOG will not be so easy, and another "Brassed Off" would take us in entirely the wrong direction, IMO.

    Here's a thought. Read this regarding the "Cultural Olympiad" talking shop established by Tessa Jowell in 2006. I think this would be actually be a much bigger opportunity than the opening/closing ceremonies, and if we had a central body able to co-ordinate brass band activities in the UK we could do things like tie in the RNCM Festival of Brass, maybe organise an international "Olympic" brass band contest on the lines of the Kerkrade WMC, make sure that a brass band is playing every afternoon in the Olympic park during the games, establish an Olympic Youth Brass Band along the lines of the European, with players from every competing nation able to audition.

    Only trouble is, we don't have such a central body, do we? That's why choirs, steel bands, pipe bands, wind bands, etc. will end up having a higher profile than brass bands in 2012.
  5. KMJ Recordings

    KMJ Recordings Supporting Member

  6. Errol

    Errol Supporting Member

  7. dlls2275

    dlls2275 New Member

    Me too
  8. Fedman

    Fedman Member

    There is one national organisation that has been speaking up for brass bands on this subject and that is the British Federation of Brass Bands. May I direct you to its website and under the news items you will find two articles on the Cultural Olympiad. Philip Watson, the Development Officer has been lobbying along with the Voluntary Arts Network, and also directly with the All Parlimentary Group on Brass Bands. (Is your MP a member?) Philip has also produced a guidance pack on the Cultural Olympiad which any member band can have. Unfortunately it comes down to no money at the moment but if you wanted to organise a project by your band you could get some official recognition of your event.

    The sad reality of what you say however is that not all bands are members of the BFBB. Despite this the BFBB, which is a national charity and whose purpose is to further brass banding in the UK, continues to speak up for all bands. If it had more support maybe even greater things could be achieved. Perhaps I can urge tmpers to think again whether or not their bands should be members, because you are right, working alone brass bands will not be heard.

    (These are my opinions and do not necessarily reflect those of the BFBB.)
  9. <nickw>

    <nickw> Member

    Thats a very good point, as only recently I found on the net a video of James Morrison playing a fanfare at the beginning of the 2000 sydney olympics. Even if a band just played the national anthem through, it would be great publicity to banding itself. Also as there has been talk about the parliamentry support growing for bands, I seriously hope they do consider it, it would be lazy not to...
  10. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    No my MP isn't - Graham Stringer - and he'll be getting a letter about it soon....;). I may well look into what can be done by individual bands. However the bigger projects, the eye-catching initiatives that would put brass bands in the international spotlight, are only possible when a person or organisation with control, or at least influence, over a lot of bands gets stuck into organising it.

    I'd absolutely agree that if every band became a member of the BFBB it could speak with tremendous authority on behalf of the "movement", such as it is. Can I humbly suggest, however, that until the BFBB restricts access to use of the Registry - and thus the ability to contest - to member bands only, selfishness on the part of bands will prevent them joining. The question "What's in it for us, right now?" will always be an obstacle to membership. So, with respect to the efforts and achievements of the BFBB, it still can't claim to be a nationally representative body for British bands, although I'd certainly admit it's the closest thing we have.

    In the meantime, is there anyone pushing for the original proposal - to include bands at the opening ceremony? Because you can bet that, right now, there are other musical groups lobbying for the same thing......
  11. Simon_Horn

    Simon_Horn Member

  12. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    I suspect that there will be no brass bands, only orchestral brass and fanfare trumpets, with maybe a jazz band or so thrown in. This country will favour other cultures over its own - as always. It will be biting itself in the back trying to be multi-cultural and multi-ethnic while relegating its own culture (about which it is slightly embarrassed) to the back burner.
  13. Deano

    Deano Member

    Britain is made up of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland & Wales. The BFBB only has the interest of the English bands at heart. If they truely want to represent Britain then they must treat all four countries equally.

    Why do they only organise an English Nationals, why not offer to organise the same for the other three countries?
  14. Quaver

    Quaver Member

    Sorry I thought Brassed off was about the coal industry, I thought it showed Banding as a positive amongst the doom and gloom of a dying (Political = KILLED OFF) industry.

    Back to the main point, we appear to have to suffer COOL BRITANNIA. So I'm afraid all of those traditional British genres like Pop, Rock, Steel Band, Reggae, etc etc ad Naeseum will have to be endured.

    As for one organisation - ABSOLUTLEY right on - HOWEVER I was part of Cycling when we turned up to make up the numbers - hands up all those that haven't seen/heard about the brilliant cycling teams succes at the Olympics.

    May I suggest we get the BFBB to take a fact finding trip to British Cycling and learn from their FANTASTIC plans that have given them so much gold and publicity.
  15. NeilW

    NeilW Member

    When I was in a non-contesting band we were regularly hassled by the BFBB to pay up and join. However, as we could see no benefits whatsoever we didn't. I suspect we weren't alone in that.

    The BFBB are perceived as being a contest-oriented organisation by many (including me!)

    If the BFBB WANT all bands to be members, then its got to be an attractive, tangible proposition. "... further brass banding in the UK..." isn't really a tangible benefit to small, hard-up outfits.

    Incidentally, members of the Hampshire Youth Band went to Sydney to appear in the Olympics in a massed band. At least a massed (non-military, please!) band could and should be organised. Maybe even international youth again?


    PS there's a group on Facebook calling for bands:

    2012 Olympics: Campaign to feature brass bands at the opening ceremony!!
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2008
  16. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    [pedant] Britain (as in the island of Britain) is made up of England, Scotland and Wales, and does not officially exist as a country in its own right. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is made up of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. [/pedant]

    I have no idea whether the BFBB is meant to represent NI bands or not. And if the BFBB did offer to put on a Welsh or Scottish National, I know what the answer would be and so does everybody else. In any case, the status of the English National isn't really relevant to this debate; they only started that because there was so much grousing about Welsh and Scottish bands being able to qualify for Europe via their own Regional contest, which doubles as a "National championship" in both cases.

    The BFBB can only truly represent banding in Britain when every contesting band is forced to become a member if they wish to continue to contest. Otherwise bands will continue to look to their own interests first, as they have done for the last 150 years. Until that happens, and the BFBB has a solid membership base to speak for, it has no chance of pushing the case with authority for brass bands to be included in national celebrations like the Olympics.

    Cycling is an interesting comparison; if you wish to participate in competitive cycling in the UK presumably you have to be a member of a club affiliated to a national organisation? Certainly that's the case with Archery; to shoot competitively anywhere in the UK you have to join a club affiliated to GNAS (Grand National Archery Society). It's a chicken-and-egg thing, until there are many more member bands the BFBB will continue to be pretty impotent; while it is perceived as impotent bands won't join.

    Fact remains, it's easy to say "such and such should be organised", "someone should do this", "why don't we do that", but unless one particular band or individual steps forward to grasp the nettle nothing will happen, because the BFBB doesn't have the money or the clout. Then in September 2012 we'll all be back here moaning about the missed opportunity. :mad:
  17. KMJ Recordings

    KMJ Recordings Supporting Member

    In your context, you're quite right....however anyone citing it as a vehicle of promotion of the brass band 'movement' is IMO incorrect - the fact it's brass bands is entirely coincidental, and it could've been competitive tiddlywinks as far as the entertainment industry is concerned.

    Pretty much every single person I've ever been questioned by about it's content leaps on one thing - is it always about how much you can drink and the behaviour always like that? OK, I know Whit Friday might be like that ;) ....but it all depends on exactly you're trying to use the promotion for...."Come and join our Band as we get sloshed after every job" isn't exactly what I'd call a good advertisement. YMMV of course.

    Are you proactive in BFBB circles? Personally I'm not, and it's incredibly easy to shout from the sidelines "just do this..." and when it doesn't happen shout "why didn't you do that...?".

    You're quite right about seeking advice from external circles that have turned their fortunes round - but sometimes it's easier to do it yourself than try and get others to do it on your behalf....
  18. KMJ Recordings

    KMJ Recordings Supporting Member

    Part of which basically says the same thing as Andy's far more eloquent last paragraph ;)
  19. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    I would expect some sort of massed brass band to play it's role in the opening ceremony to reflect our cultural heritage. Whether it be based on youth or our leading players, it has to be added because it's something (as well as others) that was developed in the UK and successfully exported to other countries. I wouldn't expect a major role though ... maybe a march embedded in a bigger show.
  20. tubafran

    tubafran Active Member

    Interesting to hear Seb Coe's comments on what might be included in 2012, whilst watching the closing ceremony with the silver bell dancers (all girls by the way) - he immediatly suggested "Morris Men" - now they have a lobyist in the House of Lords, Lord Redesdale - interesting to see whether they can get their minority interest into the games - I think they have 14,000 participants - a little less than the 17,000 brass banders.

    However I wonder how they'll get round the fact that they are exclusively all men?

    Also presummably any massed band events may come from the military - or would that be considered non-pc

Share This Page