Is FIFA running the London 2012 Games Opening & Closing Music?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by TonyW, May 31, 2011.

  1. TonyW

    TonyW Supporting Member

    Discuss: (or Discus? :/) There`s only 12 months left before we see the full splendour of the Opening and Closing ceremonies.

    [I was once part of a team of arrangers and copyists (during Ronnie Hazlehurst`s tenure) who were engaged just a couple of weeks before a Royal Command variety show at the Palladium. The increasing number of younger producers, had, in their wisdom, (in the eyes of the BBC or ITV - can`t remember which) had forgotten all about music for the show.
    The rehearsal pianists, two weeks prior, and the arr and copyists, one week prior, all earned a fortune].

    I e-mailed the London Olympic enquiries address a week ago, and asked if the authoritive commitee had any intentions of using `English` brass bands in the Opening and Closing ceremonies. At risk of being insensitive, I asked for `English` in the light of how Scotland recently expressed wishes to proceed with full independence. This is a little beside the point, but I received a polite reply which, not asking me to be more diplomatic, but to explain what I meant by brass bands.

    I believe that the Brass band movement have pre-discussed this already with London 2012 - have they? - it would be nice to know.

    I was mite surprised with London`s reply, and forwarded another e-mail briefly explaining that Brass Bands have a heritage spanning hundreds of years in these lands, and that I believe it was important to use this longer form of historical `pageantry` as opposed to more recent types of `imported` music.

    It`s now June, 12 months from `D day` and the second reply was nothing has been planned yet re the Opening and Closing ceremonies.

    Ouch! :cool: me thinks another approach - pile on a few pounds and pretend to be Herr Blatter should sort it don`t you think?
  2. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    Thank you for excluding Wales as part of your ridiculous generalisation. I presume you would therefore seek to exclude Cory, Tredegar, Tongwynlais and all other Welsh bands?

    The "brass band movement" has not discussed this with LOCOG, because there is no such thing as the "brass band movement". I believe some individuals, bands and possibly local associations have made approaches and from what little I know, been almost universally rebuffed. There hasn't been a concerted, nationally co-ordinated approach as far as I know, because there is no organisation mandated to do it, apart from possibly the BBBF.

    The opening and closing ceremonies for every Olympic and Commonwealth Games since Sydney have been subcontracted to an independent production company - I'd guess London 2012 will be the same. Their primary concern, usually, is the safe, successful and timely execution of the Athlete's Parade, which was apparently very nearly a dangerous fiasco at Seoul in 1988. I'm fairly sure they'll be well on with planning the ceremony itself, but the specifics of the artistic content may well still be under discussion. There was a massed bands performance at the closing ceremony of the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester (in the pouring rain, iirc) so a similar venture for 2012 isn't impossible. However, given that they employ (and pay top dollar to) producers and artistic directors to plan this stuff, I suspect all the public representations in the world won't increase or improve the participation of bands in either ceremony.
  3. TonyW

    TonyW Supporting Member

    Andrew, it will not be I who may be excluding Welsh, Scottish, N. Irish bands from London 2012. It may well indeed be the organisers. I could follow up your remarks by asking you how many times have Cardiff, Edinburgh, or Belfast applied, but I won`t, as London must be seen to be the `home` of Great Britain`s athletes in the eyes of the world.
    In my own insignificant way, I`m trying to further the case *for having* brass bands at London 2012, and am a little disappointed to see that this is not quite as much your own priority however excellent Welsh bands may be, as to voice your severe disapproval of what I`m trying to do. Please don`t misunderstand me.
    However much or little advanced plans are for bands to be included, it`s not going to hurt any of the spectators if bands are not present. But I think we could all play our part, be it the `brass band movement` or us as individuals to help ensure the organisers try to get it right. At risk of further castigation nevertheless, I will say that I don`t want to see steel bands and similar at every corner of the stadium.
    The more we, and the `BBM` :) express our thoughts, and it`s us that London 2012 is asking, we may, we just may see an English, Welsh, Scottish, Irish contingent of bands next year.

    If we don`t speak now, we`ll hear in addition to the LSO and voices, a load of pre-recorded stuff on the cheap, with the brass bands reduced to playing in the parks (or the street corners).

    I am sorry if I offended you, and any one else, but I desperately want to hear the wealth of all British musical heritage to be part of this spectacle, not just the modern infiltration of the last 35 years we know to be so prevalent and false to Britain.
  4. hobgoblin

    hobgoblin Member

    Was he the last of the summer wine composer? I recognised the name as soon as I read it, but can't remember for the life of me where from - I'll nip over to wiki and see.
  5. TonyW

    TonyW Supporting Member

    Yes you`re right. He retired to the Channel islands - don`t know where, and died some 5(?) years ago.
  6. hobgoblin

    hobgoblin Member

    oops he's dead!
  7. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    And yet, by making a point of only discussing "English" bands in your email, you have done precisely that - and harmed your own case, in my view. How many times have LOCOG tried to convince us that this won't simply be a London-centric, SE English games? Had you been more inclusive in your email you may have received slightly less short shrift.

    Just to play Devil's Advocate for a moment: Given the huge impact and success of British popular music around the world in the last half-century, surely that has more claim to be representative of "British Culture" than brass bands, which have become increasingly marginalised (largely through their own intransigence and refusal to move with the times, in my view). So I'm not entirely sure what your "modern infiltration" can be. If you're going to talk about the wealth of "all British musical heritage" being part of the ceremony, then actually things like steel bands are an inevitable part of that. They've been here since the fifties, and were born in the British Empire, after all, and there was one featured at the Festival of Britain.

    I was an Athlete Marshall at the Opening Ceremony in Manchester in 2002. Performers included S Club and Russell Watson. Pretty much everyone there knew who they were. I bet I could have kissed the ass of everyone in the stadium who'd heard of Fodens Band and not got chapped lips. In that sense, they (S Club etc) were much more representative of UK culture than your average brass band.

    Don't get me wrong. I'm in my 30th year of banding, my love of music was forged and tempered in a brass band, and I still love the noise we make over just about anything else. I've played, conducted, composed arranged and been on t'committee during the course of my 30 years and I'll yield to no-one in my passion for banding. I, personally, would love to see (or better still, take part in) some sort of massed band performance at the Olympics - much more than I want to see steel bands or bhangra. But by attempting to denigrate other forms of music in an attempt to promote brass bands to the fore, you run the risk of making us look like small-minded, petty, obsessive Little Englanders, and do endless damage to the already wounded critical reputation of the brass band as a serious musical force in the UK.

    Another thing: Brass bands' "heritage" spans approximately 170 years, give or take. Morris Dancing has a much longer heritage, going back to the middle ages. So the heritage argument is a dangerous one - just because something's been going on for a long time, doesn't make it representative of our culture.

    I'm not trying to discourage your initiative, merely pointing out that you need to be looking for ways to make brass bands appeal to LOCOG and the Ceremonies Team. Pretty much ALL the approaches you've mentioned - "Englishness", "Traditional", "not the mdern 'false' infiltration" - seem almost guaranteed to tick the box marked "Exclude".
  8. Laserbeam bass

    Laserbeam bass Active Member

    [Open Castigation Mode]
    Being patriotic is well and good, and also wanting to see and hear Brass Bands at the Olympic opening/closing ceremony is very noble, however Steel Bands are probably more recognised in East London than Brass Bands are, and will more than likely provide the music over said brass bands, because of there intercultural heritage.

    However, to be honest, I haven't heard a Steel Band in years, with the exception of footage from the Notting Hill Carnival, so it is quite improbable that every corner of the OS will not have a Steel Band.

    Your logic is once again sound, but your delivery is about as useful as a chocolate teapot.
    [Close Castigation Mode]

    If you feel like venturing across the Capital and taking a look at Stratford and the surrounding areas, to see if you come a different conclusion, or still suffer from Tunnel Vision, let me know and I will give you a guided tour. I should point out that you will need a Kevlar Vest, a Crash Helmet and a riot shield, as everything you read in the "Daily Mail"* is true.

    *Don't know if this is your paper of choice, but from your choice of words, it certainly comes across as such.
  9. hobgoblin

    hobgoblin Member

    I see what this is about now!
  10. Laserbeam bass

    Laserbeam bass Active Member

  11. TonyW

    TonyW Supporting Member

    I know what the East End is like thank you very much. I`ve played in lots of the pubs during the Thatcher riots. With our backs to a large glass window we were sitting targets, and it`s a good job we weren`t there the night before, (the riots were on for two nights or more in Dalston) as we would have stopped a bullet as the small round hole in the glass proved. I`ve had to carry my gear over a pool of blood in another, and some poor chap was set upon in another bar I was playing in.
    So please don`t try to educate me with visions of what I`ve also seen in Cardiff High Street come Sat night, and come Sunday morning, the streets were running red, yellow and spew.

    I`ve heard enough thank you. I shan`t reply to any more vitriol.

    I was trying to get brass bands heard in the corridors of London 2012. If enough continue to try, (however controversial it may seem to be) which I doubt reading the replies I`ve seen today, I`ll leave you all to play in the parks and the streets. :frown:
  12. hobgoblin

    hobgoblin Member

    mad as a bag of snakes -"the Thatcher riots" FFS.
  13. Anglo Music Press

    Anglo Music Press Active Member

    It was announced about a year ago that Universal Music Group had been contracted to supply all the music for the 2012 games. Perhaps it might be worth contacting them for news of any brass band involvement?
  14. TonyW

    TonyW Supporting Member

    Just to say that it seems most of the BBM in here apart from Philip Sparke have been in the dark about this. I know I have, I don`t read the Guardian (or the Mail): my morning coffee comes with the online Telegraph.

    I tried didn`t I, colleagues?

    Thanks Philip :clap:
  15. Laserbeam bass

    Laserbeam bass Active Member

    You wave a red flag at a bull, and expect castigation, yet as soon as someone questions your theories and logic, you say "my Thread, I'm going home."

    I have asked the first question below on a few occassions and have been told that this is in fact a forum and issues involving brass bands should placed on here for open discussion, however in this instance the brass band element is a miniscule fraction in relation to everything else that is going on with the Olympics.

    Q. Have you contacted L&SC management committee?
    Q. Have you contacted the London 2012 management committee?
    Q. Has your musical genre been criticised and ridculed on an open forum, where you wouldn't have a chance to reply, because you are not a member of the insular group that has made the statement?

    For the last question my point is that you have made a statement, that you assumed would not be seen as an issue, because you assume that the majority of people who play in brass bands could not possibly be from the hell hole that is East London, based on some anecdotes during a time when everywhere, not just Dalston, was enraged by the tactics of a Conservative Government.

    On the subject of entertainment for the Olympics

    The London Borough of Newham, technically, no longer has a brass band, they practice in Essex and are called A&N. There are many music groups and ensembles within Newham that would equally deserve to be in attendance at the Olympic ceremony and would be more diverse in the interest that they would offer to a multicultural audience, in the stadium and on TV.

    I am flabbergasted at the blatant lack of your understanding as to the cultural lifestyle that has been evident in East London since just after the second world war. You maintained that you didn't want to hear a Steel Band, and this is what my reply was based on. Your attempt to take the moral high ground by insinuating that I live in Cardiff, and therefore would not know Mare Street from Cable Street, or the fact that West Ham's ground is called the Boleyn Ground and not Upton Park, and is actually in East Ham, is beyond belief.

    There should be an international flavour to the proceedings, and there are a few people who were born in the Olympic borough that fit the bill

    Plan B - Ben Drew
    David Essex
    Brian Poole (and the tremeloes)
    Vera Lynn
    Bert Weedon

    If this doesn't meet your criteria, we could expand it to people/bands that have performed gigs in the Borough.

    The Beatles
    Jean-Michel Jarre
    Hank Marvin

    Just to confirm that I have lived in East London all my life, and have grown up with a variety of musical influences, Steel Bands being one of them. They form part of ours as well as the Caribbean culture, so seeing the following statement:

    "I don't want to see Steel Bands in all corners of the Olympic Stadium"

    I inferred that is was unneccessary, inciting and plain stupid. As you are no longer answering the vitriol, I shall expect no comeback to this.
  16. super_sop

    super_sop Supporting Member

    i believe a number of bands have been contacted ref playing during the Olympic festivities.
    i know ours has, as has at least one school band in our are.
  17. TonyW

    TonyW Supporting Member

    I`m sorry I spoke about the East End in terms which you feel are petty, when I was invited to, nay embroiled to, by you in the beginning. There is nothing insulting in saying steel bands should not be in attendance at these games if British heritage is to be abandoned. I sincerely fear you have strayed too much off topic here, possibly believing that everything in here should be softly prepared before posting.
    Now that it`s clear that Universal is handling all the music, I fear also, for the amount of non British
    artists, musicians, composers etc we could have the pleasure of seeing and hearing.
    Let me make it clear that I`m not against the appearance of `a` steel band: there will no doubt be and should be featured integrated music and culture in both ceremonies, but not at the expense of my wishes. Yours as well I`m sure if you care to think lucidly. :)
  18. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    Final answer?
  19. Laserbeam bass

    Laserbeam bass Active Member

    No apology necessary. You had your say, I answered.
    I think there may be a few thousand/million people who would disagree with you when you say "Steel Bands should be in attendance at the Olymipcs", and would find it insulting.
    A simple Internet search may have found the answer that Mr S provided, and this thread would have been a simple "let's all pile into Univerasl Music" affair.
    4th entry of the first page dated 24/05/11
    As a member of one of the bands that practices the closest to the Olympic Park, I have never been under any illusion that, either my band or the other will be invited to play.
    Other bands have been approached, and that is probably because there regional management committee have taken the initiative and asked if they can.
    TBH It doesn't bother me if a brass band is in the opening ceremony or not. If there is one all well and good. If there isn't it is not exactly the end of the world.

    Let's agree to disagree
  20. Accidental

    Accidental Supporting Member

    Yes, "they" have. The BFBB have had some involvement, reported in the band media and on their website, eg. the Development Officer's Blog. There's also several discussions online already about involving British brass bands in the Olympics; eg. on Mad4bb, a campaign set up by Simon Jones on Facebook and even here on tMP.

    Anecdotal maybe, but I've heard of at least 2 "name" bands who made direct approaches to the 2012 organisers and were pointed back to the BFBB - who have in turn had contact with various bands about the Olympic events. That, along with the response you got suggests to me that instead of starting new campaigns and discussions or contacting the organisers separately, we may get further by all lobbying the BFBB to push more or at least publicise where they've got to. I also think its worth adding our voices to Simon's campaign to see if he can get that moving again.

    On a related note, the suggestion from both the 2012 committee and the BFBB for involvement in the Olympic Torch Relay is to contact local councils as they are all responsible for their own events, so that's worth a try too.
    Last edited: May 31, 2011

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