tMP joins forces with the British Bandsman in this years Brass Alive Aid Event


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[imgleft][/imgleft] tMP joins forces with the British Bandsman in this years Brass Alive Aid Event

tMP has been invited to join forces with British Bandsman, 4BarsRest and Brass Band World in supporting this years Brass Alive Aid event. We are going to do as much as possible to support this excellent and worthy initiative - more information will apear in time. The following article will appear in this weeks edition of the British Bandsman.

FOLLOWING last year’s inaugural National Brass Band Week, ALAN McLAREN introduces the 2006 version, which promises, with a new charitable aspect to it, to be bigger, better and worldwide.

LAST year, a campaign was launched under the title Brass Alive in 2005. The intention was to convey to those outside the close-knit banding community the importance of brass bands in the cultural and musical heritage of the UK. It was hoped that we could make the public at large aware of the almost unbelievably high technical and artistic standards of our top bands, the fact that bands are active in hundreds of communities up and down the country with many thousands of players, the contribution bands make in the field of music education and the important role we play in the lives of their own local communities.

The idea behind the campaign was quite simple. Bands throughout the UK were asked to undertake at least one event during a designated week. The exact nature of the event, its scale and its arrangements were all a matter for each individual band. It was hoped that if enough bands took part, the resultant programme of events taking place across the country would be sufficiently large and impressive to attract the interest of elements of the national media, over and above the local impact achieved by individual events. It was also hoped that the entire brass band movement would focus upon what must be our two main aims in the years ahead – to get more people playing in and listening to brass bands.

It must be admitted that the response in 2005 was rather patchy but there were some amazing efforts from a few bands, most notably Jedforest Instrumental in the Scottish Borders and Barton Town in North Lincolnshire, who ultimately shared the prize offered by British Bandsman for the most significant contribution to the campaign. Each of these bands undertook a co-ordinated and well publicised series of events in their own respective communities combining entertainment, public awareness, information and youth development initiatives. Through a series of performances in local schools followed by an open band rehearsal, one of these bands managed to recruit a 25-strong beginner group.

Overall, the biggest response came from bands in Scotland, with over 50 events taking place and groups such as Salvation Army bands and the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama brass department getting involved. The extensive programme attracted the attention of BBC Radio Scotland, resulting in extensive coverage in programmes throughout Week plus the follow up of a series of brass programmes later in the year. 2005 was, of course, the third year in which Brass Band Week had been staged in Scotland with the active support of the Scottish Brass Band Association (SBBA) and it is perhaps not surprising that there was a greater level of participation from bands there than in the rest of the UK, where it was taking place for the first time.

It is now time for Brass Band Week 2006 to be revealed and the aims and intentions of the campaign remain the same as last year. There is still an urgent need to bring our bands and music to the attention of a much wider cross-section of the public and the requirement to increase audiences and achieve an appreciation of brass bands and their role in society, art and culture remains as pressing as ever.

This is something that every band, whatever its status, size or standard, can and should be involved in. Whilst we all wish to see the famous names play their part in this initiative, mass participation is what is really required, with bands from every section, unregistered non-contesting bands, school and youth bands all having an equal part to play. Our aims will only be achieved with participation at all levels and in all parts of the country. For once, we all require to work together, as only with that strength of common purpose will our goals be achieved.

Brass Band Week 2006 will take place from 19–28 May. Like last year, the period is stretched to ten days to incorporate two full weekends. British Bandsman, Brass Band World, 4barsrest and are all backing the campaign and will be involved in ensuring that everyone within the brass band community is fully aware of what is happening and the importance of being involved. The British Federation of Brass Bands and the SBBA will again back the promotion of the initiative.

Brass Band Aid is also to become involved in Brass Band Week. Its involvement will not only raise additional funds for that particular worthy cause, but will also allow us to draw attention to the huge amount of support given by bands to a variety of charitable and community causes.

So, what will your band be doing during Brass Band Week? Every band is requested to arrange at least one public event to take place at some point between 19 and 28 May. The event could be a concert, a performance in a public place such as a shopping centre or a park, a Songs of Praise evening in a local church, an open rehearsal, a workshop or a school visit. The event could involve just one band or could see two or more bands joining forces. Static displays or exhibitions in local libraries or even a shop window in the high street could also form part of the overall programme. The choice of event is entirely a matter for each individual band.

Once a band has decided on the details of its event, there will be a simple process to register details in what will become a comprehensive listing of all Brass Band Week events in 2006. These details will then be promoted through the various sections of the band press. Once details of, hopefully, hundreds of events have been received, appropriate information and press releases will be issued to the national media. Obviously, the greater the scale, diversity and geographical spread of the programme of events, the more likelihood there will be of attracting the attention of the media and, through them, the public at large.

Co-operation between bands can obviously increase the potential impact of events in a particular local area. An example would be a number of neighbouring bands joining forces to promote their events perhaps with a joint press release or by sharing press advertising costs.

If bands can accept the need to work together for the greater good and the benefits this could bring, our potential for achievement becomes much greater. It is hoped that county and area associations will also become involved in helping to co-ordinate the promotion of events in their own areas and, perhaps, even in arranging ‘flagship’ events in larger centres of population.

Please don’t sit back and leave this to others. Only maximum effort and participation from all sections of our movement and from as many bands as possible will ensure that our aims are achieved for the benefit of us all.

Brass Alive Aid – Brass Band Week 2006

BANDS can sign up for Brass Band Week at Details required will be: date of event, venue, name of band, conductor, event title, brief details of the event including ticket prices and a picture if required. In addition to the prize being offered to the band making the most significant contribution to Brass Band Week 2006, the best contribution by a youth band will be rewarded by a day with euphonium virtuoso, Glyn Williams (courtesy of Fred Rhodes Ltd.), in which he will perform as a guest soloist at the winning band’s concert anywhere in the UK.

The best contribution by an overseas band will receive a newly commissioned piece by a leading international composer, a prize provided courtesy of the Internet forum, 4barsrest will make its own award to the band staging the most original event presented during Brass Band Week. Every band taking part is asked to buy a set of Alan Fernie’s work, African Funk – a piece playable by any band, which can be bought from Just Brass or from the Brass Band Aid website. Every penny of the £12.00 per set will go directly to Brass Band Aid. In addition, we would encourage bands to buy the BBA CD at a cost of £10.00 each (sale or return if necessary), for sale at events, as well as any other fund raising ventures that they can think of that will help this most worthy cause.

Brass Band Aid has raised a remarkable £20,000 so far. Everyone in banding will benefit if we can double that during the last week in May!