The Brass Band Conference 2019 – Edward Gregson Keynote Address

good morning morning welcome to the Life Center here in sale in Greater Manchester for the 2019 brass band conference I’m Kenny Crookston I am the chief executive of brass bands England and I’m absolutely delighted that you can all join us here today we’re looking forward there are terrific day topical banding debate some and very informative breakout sessions and hopefully a good idea or two that we can take back to our own bands and own organizations as we all strive for better banding in the years ahead before we go any further we don’t expect any firearms if you hear one please make your way immediately to the nearest signposted fire escape one over there there’s one over there and if you are really in trouble you can head turn the main stairs in at the front door and you can assemble in the carpark behind the building if that happens we don’t expect it to happen and if anybody thinks that they may need any assistance and event is such a thing happening if you could let a member the hall staff know fairly quickly that would be something that they would implement at a time but they’re just these are just precautionary things of course we don’t expect anyone if you need to go to the toilet their out there on the right you don’t need to ask if in an hour hurry and lunch will be served at 12:15 so that’s all the procedural stuff over the way so why do we need a brass band conference at all we’ve managed to get through nearly 200 years of brass banding without many of them so what about this one it’s going to make it worthwhile prospect we have a proliferation of brass band bodies across our world encouraging productive dialogue the brass bands in England have never been particularly adept at this discussing things collectively was just we’ve never done it very well 100 years ago you may have written a letter to the bandsman and that would have been practically the only and certainly the most effective way in making your point and starting the debate and that’s pretty much how things were until four bars rest came along and 2001 and with the instant communications things started to become a bit more lively but collectively we’ve still never been brilliant at getting in the same room have had a couple of occasions within the last ten years when people have tried to inspire a new way new organizations but one way or another they have not really managed to get too far out the starting blocks quite simply like the rest of the artistic community we want to stimulate debate among brass banders and find out what you brass bandings biggest stakeholders want from your banding activities in the years ahead there’s no grand promises that will reach the promised land sometime next week, but every journey requires its first steps and we are delighted to be able to provide the first ones and we hope we can make some difference in the years ahead as the day proceeds the opportunities to ask questions or make comments the post-it notes on your tables should be there if I’m not there they’re probably in the coffee-room out side but we will make sure that they are there soon as many comments as you wish positive or otherwise please keep them respectful there will also be a questionnaire there for you to complete and we encourage as many as possible to do this before the end of the day we’ll also be taking questions on social media so for those watching worldwide on Facebook live please follow us on twitter and use the hashtag #betterbanding Parky my colleague is going to be around the place very visible for the day we’ll be monitoring the feed as the afternoon debate takes place and we will try to air as many questions and comments as possible we really do want to know what people in the world of brass bands think and finally before we get properly started feel free take as many pictures as you want and share them on social media they’re plenty of lovely BBE banners they make a fantastic backdrop so we’re looking forward to being all over twitter and facebook by the end of tonight so that’s enough for me I’m sure you have already agreed that gives me the greatest pleasure genuinely – to welcome to the first brass band conference one of the finest composers ever to grace the brass band stage with major works spanning five decades and a portfolio that includes great music for bands at all

levels as well as pillars of our repertoire like connotations dancing arias of men and mountains of Rococo variations of distant memories when we first spoke about his appearance today I did invite him to talk about any subject related to brass bands that he wished so the next half hour or so is going to be as much of a surprise for me as it is hopefully engaging for you ladies and gentlemen please welcome Professor Edward Gregson well good morning everybody good to see so many people here on a Saturday morning when you could be doing so many other things supermarket shopping watching Ireland and Japan in the Rugby World Cup all turning onto the 12:30 kickoff on the sky of the Premier League but no you’re here which is great which means that you’re enthusiastic and that you want to be here today because perhaps you think that the future is going to be bright for brass bands as indeed I do but to achieve that future may be some radical things need to happen so when Kenny asked me phoned me and asked me to be the keynote speaker today the reason he gave for asking me was that I was someone who had the good fortune of being able to look at the brass band world or the community from outside in but also as a composer as he just kindly said who’s written a large slice of repertoire over the last 50 years that’s helped to take the brass band movement forward so I appreciated his kind words just now and so in a way it is that view that I have about the banding world why outside in well from early on and if I’m repeating myself in interviews I’ve done before but not all of you will have seen those or heard them or whatever so I’m just going to repeat some of those and some of you may know about my past but not not all of you probably do so from early on I led a double life in the musical sense I was brought up my parents were ministers in the Salvation Army and therefor I played in a brass band I started on tenor horn went to baritone and euphonium I didn’t go down to tuba it was too much of a break you know so I stopped there and I was there in fact until I went to the Royal Academy in London to study which is when I started to take life a little bit more seriously and realized I had to work very hard to become a proper composer so on the one hand I was I was playing in a brass band and I was listening to the music and you will know some of this music repertoire of Wilfred Heaton and Ray Stedman Allen and Dean Goffin and Leslie Condon terrific music all be it based in a religious framework on on on sort of gospel songs and hymns etc but very cleverly composed in a classical sense so I on the one hand I was playing that music and on the other how I was studying piano and I started to write music when I was about 11 years old you wouldn’t want to hear it now dreadful stuff when I was only 11 but I’d also started to compose brass band pieces at that stage so those of you who know my symphonic Rhapsody for euphonium and band I first started that when I was about 17 and didn’t know how to finish it interestingly enough at that stage so I had to finish it a few years later Prelude and Capricia for cornet and band that started life when I was about 16 and the Concertante for piano and and brass band which I wrote when I was at the academy as a third year student which was the first work really I would say that I’d completed and I was happy with as a kind of overall peace with brass band as it were I’d also written a march much earlier on when I was in Sweden called Dalarö some of you may know that I fell in love with a Swedish girl at that time but it didn’t last long but she got the dedication of the March so I mean what more can you ask for but at the same time when I was at the Academy and my actual opus one as it were was an oboe Sonata so hence again this kind of double life had partly being in and the psyche of brass bands and and outside what about the other credentials in terms of me understanding and knowing about the brass band world well again I conducted when I was in the 70s I conducted a group called London collegiate brass which was made up of some of the best young student players at the London colleges and we played mainly a contemporary repertoire at that stage and indeed I produced two programs

for Radio 3 on the contemporary repertoire and that doesn’t happen sadly anymore but I’ll come on to that I also edited the British bands man when Jeffrey Brown was away on holiday so that was quite interesting getting to know what you had to do to be an editor that was fun I also later on co-edited a new quarterly magazine for brass players called sounding brass some of you may remember that which was an attempt to bring the two worlds of brass plane together the amateur and the professional I was a member of the artistic music committee of the national championships for butuan boozy and hawks around ran it and one of the great things I think we did then was to bring Wilfred Heaton’s contest music which had been rejected at an earlier stage we brought that back as the test piece at the Albert Hall I was the founder music director of the National Youth brass band of Wales something I’m very proud of I’m very proud of that band I’m still the president of it and I was recently composer-in-residence with black dyke as I see Peter Graham is over there and of course he has been as well so whilst on the one hand through that time I was also pursuing a career academically as a university lecturer I composing as one word for Orchestra chamber music instrumental music working I worked for the BBC young musician of the year as a commentator and later and I’ll come on to this when when I mentioned copyright I became a PRS board member Performing Rights Society I’m still a writer director of that organization and there is later a breakout session on copyright which is petite lean these in the digital age of huge importance and it’s an area which frankly is just not policed properly and we’re actually the owners of copyright albeit they they may be composers they may be publishers really it’s very very difficult in this new digital age of Spotify Amazon iTunes to get proper recompense for for one’s copyright works when they’re before or taken over the over the digital platforms so that’s my kind of background so to reinforce I’m looking at the band world from the outside end but also knowing quite a bit of how it works from the inside but then I don’t are not on a day-to-day basis in the band world so I hope that my my comments today my theme my theme is as it were will stimulate discussion Kenny said that I could be controversial if I wanted to be so I’m going to be controversial you may not agree with everything I say but at least they’re thoughts that are genuine and they’re meant to be constructive and they’re meant to stimulate debate which I hope it’ll do later in the day and I hope more than anything actually that things will change in several areas for brass banding if we’re going to have a sustainable future because I really do believe that some of the inertia perhaps if you call it that that we presently experience is really a fault if you can put it that way of our tradition traditions of great things but traditions often are weight bearing they weigh you to the ground because you think well we started the brass band we must you know continue the etc it’s interesting as the European model the European banding has progressed in one sense some of the aspects of European banding have overtaken what’s happening in this country so I I think actually we can learn a lot from Europe just as indeed they learnt a lot from ours when they set up the infrastructure of their banding as well so how first of all how do I see the current state of affairs how relevant to brass bands in the wider musical world I should say first of all I’m speaking from in this sense as a classical as a classical music composer and as someone who has immersed in the classical music world many of you will know I was the principal of they’re all more than College of Music for 12 years so I’ve been very much involved in that world and I want to see brass bands returning more to being respected by that world than they are at the moment so I’m speaking from that point of view if you want someone that’s talking about brass bands as entertainment etc we’ve got the wrong person I mean brass bands are entertaining and it’s it’s interesting to see the brass in concert series where bands have to take a different view of how to entertain an audience nothing wrong with entertainment absolutely not but is that all the brass bands want or do they want more than that then they want a different kind of musical

satisfaction as well as all the other things those are questions that we need to ask ourselves as well but if the answer is how relevant are bands in the wider musical world in the classical world as we understand it well I’m afraid that the answer is not very I don’t think brass bands are taken seriously by the musical establishment for example in the BBC music critics who write for the national papers or magazines orchestras and all the infrastructure there they’re not asked to participate very rarely anyway in major arts festivals anymore the CDs that bars bands produce which are after all produced a very high level of of playing performance are not reviewed in monthly magazines such as gramophone BBC magazine you never see them hardly ever and when radio 3 for example I don’t know how many of you listened never to radio 3 but if you listen to radio 3 and the breakfast show as they call it it’s very rare that you hear a brass band track if you do it’s nearly always hold small side suite the first movement or the last movement or its bourgeois serenade or its Padstow nice bird and that’s about them and yeah I I ask myself well is that really all that BBC producers can come up with because it’s pretty pathetic but anyway that’s the way that I think the BBC regard brass bands the one glimpse of light in that is the annual festival of brass at the RNC M which at least now gets a performance on three slot in the evening and so audiences can hear what I would call serious music the brass bands play and maybe surprise some people I didn’t know they played that kind of music so there are there are kind of glimmers of light as it were within this this kind of spectrum does this mean that we the brass band world has become insular and a self-regarding movement if so is it the fault of the bands or the wider musical world well of course I think it’s a bit of both there was a time of course as those of you were old enough to remember and it’s good to see so many people here by the way who are under 50 or even under 40 that’s great because you don’t always see that in brass band concerts for example I shall come on to that later but it’s good to see such a such a widely diversified audience here today and those of you who do remember who are my kind of generation or just under might remember in the 60s and 70s when things looked very different when there were what I would call the movers and shakers such as Elgar house I for James Jeffery brand to name but three who were looking to the wider musical world because they had experience in it as professional people commissioning composers such as Thea Musgrave Thomas Wilson hanzou Verna honza George Benjamin Harrison Bert whistle Paul Patterson Antony Payne I could go onto the list for another twenty or thirty composers who are composers who had never written for bands before but wrote during that 20 year period sadly that repertoire is hardly ever played anymore and then later on figures such as Howard Snell who started to introduce brass band studies into the UK conservative hours and of course I’m very proud that the RN C M was the flag bearer the flag waver if you like in that regard but now if you look at the other conservative hours in Cardiff and in Birmingham they have fantastic brass bands and they have as part of their degree structure the fact that you can do your final recital on a brass band instrument and you can do part of your curriculum towards your degree written written the written side of it on brass band studies whether it be arranging description history of brass band music so on and so forth so there are glamorous of light there certainly and we have to thank those people for kind of at that stage trying to change the world and it did look quite rosy so what’s happened to that what happened to all those initiatives that we find ourselves now in a different kind of world well the C word which is contesting you got it in one here I go so forgive me for this some of you may disagree but I’m just going to be very honest about it we all know for example in contesting there are pros and cons let’s have no doubt about that so let’s start with the positives about contesting there’s no doubt that the standards we now experience particularly amongst the top level bands but to be fair lower section bands as well have been achieved through a century or more of brass band competitions the music the test pieces are become increasingly difficult both technically and musically and have encouraged ever more time-consuming and detailed rehearsal and the best

performance on stage the best performances on stage are quite honestly mind-blowing ly good no doubt about that competitions have always had a positive also have a positive effect as I said on lower section bands for the same reasons indeed these days they’re asked to play works that previously appeared as championship section test pieces some of those decisions aren’t always wise because frankly it’s just beyond some of the bands but at least there is that aspiration that they can get to repertoire which previously would have been heard in the Champions SEC section at the Albert Hall or wherever and I’d admit that as a composer when I’ve heard a wonderfully uplifting performance of one of my pieces of the contest it almost equals the thrill of a fine performance by a symphony orchestra so that’s the good news that’s the good now for the bad and the ugly as the saying goes well for me con testing seems to have become an obsession perhaps it always was but it’s reached new heights of distraction there’s more space now in brass band magazines and websites taken up with my new shy of contesting than there ever was live opinions on each performance as they happen predictions of who might win lists of world rankings published weekly which seemed to dominate bands players and conductors psyches do I blame the brass band media for this saturation no I don’t they’re merely reflecting the rather obsessional nature of the banding world for con testing and all its associated my new shine I mean I think this was very well illustrated part a part of my preparation for this speech today was actually to look at the sky TV programs the for how many of you saw those oh that’s good part but half a few that was good well I’d recommend if you can and I know sky subscriptions that but go round to a friend who’s got sky and just go to catch up TV and watch them as I did and I thought I thought they were fascinating they were they were for a start they were really well produced must have cost them a fortune to do that because nothing was in the studio it was all on location so goodness knows how they did it but they were very good and I think on the whole they showed brass bands in a very good light why well they showed a group of people who were passionate about music they should agree group of people who were articulate when they spoke they showed a balance a gender balance which was very healthy between male and female in brass bands something that’s let’s face it has only been the case in the last 20 odd years or so and that is so healthy some of the best brass players I know a female not male so all of those things were I think very positive and showed brass bands in a strong light but it did also show the kind of mentality that some players and conductors have about contesting the be-all and end-all of my life is contesting it’s the lifeblood of banding we we have to win all costs hmm that’s not in my mind anything much to do with the music why is that I wonder well what about the poor conductors sorry David I see you there right in front of me rather like premier league coaches they’re either in or out depending on their success or failure on the contesting platform so to help their sanity they asked composers to write tailor-made works for their particular band for their particular outstanding soloists who are asked to come to and fro front stage backstage all over the stage like pop stars in a glitzy world of virtuosity where will it all end I asked but come on surely they don’t stooped to manipulating the score or restoring the music in an attempt to impress the Judah caters goodness me no surely not and one of the poor adjudicators stuck in their curtain’d world of veiled oral and non visual experience quite poetic that I’m quite proud of that phrase I dare to mention the thorny matter of closed adjudication because can someone tell me where else in the competitive musical world is there a jury stuck in a curtain box without any visual reference to the performance on stage and where the management even checked the sandwiches for secret messages as to who might be playing when because if they really wanted to cheat all they had to all I have to do is get their mobile phone out for five seconds and find out the whole list of when the bands are so isn’t it time that we changed our attitude to juries to adjudicators and why don’t we

embrace the 20th century let alone the 21st century and let the adjudicators smell the fresh air and smell the roses on their way the one thing about that I would say is it’s a strange phenomenon that now in certain areas where there’s a set test piece and a known choice in quite a number of contests now jury sits in the open for the own choice base but is still set in the box for the set test piece I don’t get that I really do not understand the psychology of that it’s a compromise I suppose between the traditional way of really not trusting adjudicators and trusting them halfway house my theory is that we should go the full the full blown so how has it come to this well in my estimation it’s partly through the rise and success of European banding and the huge success of the European brass band festival and I’ll just digress here for a moment by saying that one of the great refreshing things that I think that has happened in the last 40 years is the rise of European banding I remember well because I was there and I was actually adjudicating when the first non-british band won the European competition and that was ikenga I think it was 1988 and I happened to be there because connotations was the test piece and incidentally that’s interesting isn’t it I wouldn’t dare set connotations now as the stage it’s too easy well that’s another matter music is never easy just because people are flying around playing Demi semiquavers and going up to super F’s it doesn’t mean to say that that makes the music difficult because anybody can do that these days who is a super player I’ve always thought that you could set the middle movement of the Moorside Swede at the Albert Hall and it would sort out all the bands just think about that for a minute that is such a difficult music and if you if you speak to any professional musician whether they be an instrumentalist a pianist a violinist or whatever and you ask them you know what’s the most difficult music to play and they’ll probably say Mozart and the old saying that Mozart is Mozart is too easy for amateurs for children and it’s too difficult for professionals and again just think about that in other words it’s nothing to do with what might call the front end of music how difficult it looks on the page something can look deceptively simple on the page and yet be extremely difficult to play so again I hope that we get out of this spiral of ever increasingly virtuosic for virtuosity sake test pieces because it’s not the answer it’s not the answer for brass bands to move forward in the musical world but to get back to to get back to the european brass band festival it has of course created an appealing and highly successful brand in its own right and we know that competitions now competitive banding is pan-european the best or should I say the most successful conductors and players are exported and imported rather like the football market and from what I hear on the grapevine are often paid staggering sums of money to do so much more per hour I might say than the pool composers who write the music for them just go ah ah thank you Peter note that yeah and composers around Europe not necessarily always the best ones in Commission to write the test pieces and own choice pieces as I said of ever-increasing virtuosity so what does this actually got to do with music well probably very little and I’m not the only person to think that contesting has been called a sport and if you think about that there’s probably more allusions to what happens in other areas that probably would make that statement half true anyway don’t take my opinion on this only so here’s trevor herbert writing in the recently published and by the way excellent cambridge encyclopedia of brass instruments under the entry the british brass band under the subheading a performance style and idiom by the way it’s an excellent book if you’ve fancy paying a hundred pounds but it’s very thick very heavy while the decisive influence on the british brass bands sound has been the instrumentation it would be wrong to ignore other factors such as performance traditions and the inertia in musical attitudes that the culture of contesting has encouraged it can be argued that the contesting ethos has promoted insularity from other before and styles he then balances that with equally true statement as I’ve said above that contesting has raised standards to an unparalleled degree and

here’s the dilemma without contesting bans would never have reached the extraordinary high standards which we now experience so we’ve got a classic chicken and egg situation sort of catch-22 but you’re going to be discussing that some of you in breakout sessions so I’m gonna be very interested to hear what other people think about this let me go on to composers and repertoire the choice of composers asked to write test pieces for major competitions rests with the management of those competitions there’s naturally an inbuilt fear of getting a dud a work that neither the band’s nor the audience is like and so there’s a natural tendency to play safe to go with the tried and tested and composers they know will work but like any other species the repertoire will only be enhanced long-term if the gene pool is diversified the stronger the gene pool the longer the species survives and if you look at the history of human human beings that’s certainly true if when I say outside composers I simply mean composers who have never or hardly ever written for bands before or asked to write with all the risks that might go with that and do go with that it requires brave and visionary thinking just as John Henry Oz and his associates all those years ago gave us that golden era of repertoire by some of the greatest English composers and I remember within my own own lifetime those pieces that were heavily criticized by the more conservative members of the brass band community and if I only mentioned Gilbert vinter spectrum robert simpson’s energy Elgar Harless fireworks thomas wilson’s refrains and cadenzas Bramall Toby’s a night to sing judith binghams prague and john Picard’s eden i hope that makes my point they’re all very fine works in their own right but seemingly for some in the brass band world it was it was the end of the world it’s actually the composers who write for many other genres that will bring a renewed energy and originality to writing for brass band so we seem to have sunk to some extent into a lingua franca of musical style and language that’s often rather predictable at its worst a cross between Hollywood techno film music with jazz and rock inflections or on the other hand maybe it’s just being boring a old fashioned but I’d like to know what your views are on that and I hope that Peter for example will come to the session on that as a composer because composers I have to say around a great pressure as far as this is concerned and it’s not very comfortable always to feel that you’re being manipulated to write more difficult and difficult music when actually all you should be writing is a piece of music the idea that you write a piece of music that ticks boxes which I hate that phrase is really not going to be something for the future of the repertoire it has to be a muse piece of music in its own right that will survive and survive on to the contest on to the concert platform adjudicators once again we must increase the gene pool the still an inbuilt suspicion as many of you are know from some people that anyone who is not immersed in the world of banding doesn’t really understand and therefore cannot be trusted there are many fine professional brass players composers and conductors out there many who started life actually playing in a brass band who would be ideal to enhance this pool of adjudicators of brass band contests and to be fair some of the major contests have embraced this and continue to embrace this view I just want to see it enlarged indeed I’m from a personal point of view I remember very well that when connotations was used as a test piece at the national competition the Albert Hall in 1977 David Wilcock was one of the adjudicators now what did he know about brass bands very little but he was a wonderful musician and that’s the word we must use more and more musician a musician who happens to play the tenor horn a musician who happens to conduct we need to change our psychology about about the way that we view adjudicators I don’t play the saxophone or a string instrument and yet I’d feel perfectly happy to be asked to judge a saxophone ensemble or string quartet competition and indeed I have so once again let’s be bold in the process of thinking but in the process the box may have to disappear forever structure of contests accont reversal once again I do actually believe that the days of contesting with 20 bands playing one set piece of music is drawing to a close the most popular form of competitive banding these days is undoubted in the own choice model or in more recent cases that we’ve seen for example the band of

the year the stone the hall and other ones 25-minute own choice programs where bands have to think carefully about the repertoire and play it to a highly professional standard you might think that’s a bit rich coming from me who’s just being commissioned to write a test piece for five European countries I now get that but I’m a composer and I respond to commissions and I have I hope written a piece of music and not a test piece if you if you get my drift the concert platform one of the things that most disappoints me about concert concert giving by brass bands at the moment and indeed may have been true for many years and I think Kenny alluded to this it seems to me that there’s a desperate lack of creative artistic planning in most brass band programs the age-old formula of a mixture of light music profs some film music stand up soloists and one good test piece thrown in for good taste for me just doesn’t work and certainly does not attract a younger audience the one serious festival original brass band music which I alluded to earlier is of course the the festival of brass at the rnc m which is paul hindmarsh is baby and without him and his work over the last 20 years goodness knows what would have happened to brass repertoire we have a lot to thank him for this festival tracks I’m sure some of you go to this and some of you conducted it I know and some of you have music played in it so you know all about it but it attracts a loyal audience with a good mixture of age groups and takes the band out of their comfort zone and certainly as the best of original music from old to contemporary and I must say I also applaud the bands and their conductors who participate in that festival because without that dead with that dedication to play that repertoire and to rehearse it it just wouldn’t happen so I hope that the leading bands of this country together with brass bands England can re-engage the enthusiasm of classical festivals to invite them back into their program planning but surely not to play in traditional programs also to think about cultural diversity to work with other genres of music and to bring brass bands into the wider musical world I was going to talk about copyright at this stage but I’m not going to do with it because I think I’ve only just got about five minutes left so I will we’ll wait to the later session on copyright and if if I can put my all in there for a couple of minutes I will it’s just to say that as we know in the new digital age copyright has become an increasing problem it’s a massive problem for copyright owners such as composers and publishers but it’s also a problem for bands themselves in terms of intellectual property the performance what happens for example during a stream I mean we’ve had recent examples of that and a streaming becomes an absolutely a certain thing for the future and by the way I think that’s terrific it’s great that you know you can be sitting in in a in your sitting room in Toronto in Canada and you can actually come in and pay your subscription and watch a competition taking place fantastic so I’ve come not against streaming at all but one has to consider the rights the copyright which is held for the performance and for the music and that’s it become an increasing problem for copyright owners for example in in in the digital world of streaming platforms and download interesting that downloading has taken a backseat now and streaming has become the main the main world that people engage with and it’s very difficult I know this from my own experience as a director at the PRS it’s very difficult to get the right deals with those multinational companies to ensure that copyright owners actually receive the Jews that they should and it’s all it’s it’s all very well if you happen to be a leading pop star because you’ll probably get a million hits a day on your song but if you’re in a great sum on Peter Graham you probably get ten or something for which we receive point zero zero zero zero zero one of the penny or something like that Peter isn’t it it’s not very much but copyrights going to be discussed so I won’t I won’t talk about that now education in the community bands have always played an important role in social and religious life in this country that’s obvious and their importance cannot be underestimated indeed in the area where I live near Macclesfield there are a number of village and town bands together with their youth offshoots and they’re really important in so many ways and indeed we had a great example this morning of the Wardle high school band who one of the leading youth bands in this country and that has come out of a willingness and a desire at school level to teach brass instruments to school kids and let them

form the brass band and the infrastructure that supports that and I think that all brass bands particularly the top bands have a duty to actually engage with youth bands of their own to create them to foster them to teach them because let’s face it music education in this country in this schools in this country is a disgrace government after government seems to think that music is not important and yet all the leading reports from educators around the world suggest that the creative work in schools whether it be music or arts or poetry or whatever it is increases literacy by huge levels why don’t government’s get this answer on the postcard I could talk a lot more about education in the community but again that will have to wait for later sessions so finally I just like to talk about what I consider to be one of the most important engines for change if I can put it that way and indeed that’s why we’re here today and it’s the the question of brass bands England and where they’re going and where we are going as part of the brass band community I wouldn’t be here today if I didn’t believe that the new organization has a vital role to play in the future of banding in this country long gone are the days when banding can exist within a mature frame of mind in its administrative organization it’s time for a comprehensive rethink a root and branch rethink of how banding is run in this country and I mean by all the way from the roots of community banding and education to the national competitions with all the ramifications that that has for example one-stop registration of players artistic credibility that links to the cultural life of this country much talk in the future post brexit world and that’s the only time I mentioned brexit this morning most a lot of talk has been centered on whether the Norwegian model will work for this country well I’m not going to comment on that side of it but what I do know in terms of the future of banding is that the Norwegian model is definitely the exemplar so I as part of this I decided to write to bury tangle and about how their system works and here are very quickly my risk the responses some of them within five years I see the sorry here we go we don’t have it I asked about how its structured how its funded I said does each van pay for annual membership for nmf or is it individuals and who pays she says we don’t have individual as members only bands each band has an annual fee and then they pay per head in membership fee per head and also a compulsory insurance fee that amounts in sterling to around just over a thousand pounds per band per year I presume you can’t enter any brass band or wind band competition in Norway without being members no every member is registered and we’re not allowed to participate with having paid the annual fee and contest fee this is contest organized by the Federation private contest don’t have the same rules how much does nmf do to promote and support wider initiatives commissioning of new works etc we support commissions for contests in between and support bands if they have interesting projects we recently supported music for people not playing in a band a pedagogue pedagogical project called play together present time we support new compositions for lower section bands they also have other schemes so you can see it goes way beyond just supporting competitions how much interaction is that between nmf and the Norwegian government this will blow your mind when you hear about the levels of funding our government supports us from various departments from the cent cultural department we receive 240,000 a year from the Children and Families Department three hundred and twenty thousand a year from the Education Department two and 250 thousand a year and in addition we receive and I hope she’s got this right and unless the decimal points in the wrong place 8.1 million pounds a year which comes from lottery money grant to education grants to buy instruments and that reimbursements this is money the bands apply for but can be funded in other words you want a new set of instruments it comes out of lottery funding as similarly the Arts Council of England who I’m very pleased to see her here today supporting brass bands supporting this organisation the Arts Council England have a great role to play in the future of banding but I’m sure they’d like everybody want to make sure that actually the professional status is there I could say a lot more about Norway but I don’t have the time but we can’t we can’t possibly dream of having such massive funding by that model but what it does show ladies and gentlemen

is this that a national organization should be at the root of organization and supporting and producing artistic and creative intake forty-four brass bands in this country and I haven’t had any 50 pound notes in brown paper envelopes given me for this I passionately believe it is the only way forward and if I could have a finally a crystal ball gaze within five years I see one organization running banding in England with the Seminole relationship to assist their organisations in Scotland and Wales every band and thus every player would have to be a member of paid up member of BBE otherwise they wouldn’t be eligible to enter the national competitions which incidentally would then be owned by BBE Paul’s dramatic pause I don’t know whether that will happen but I’ll tell you this it should happen because around Europe it’s the National Federation of banding that actually run the national competition that has to happen in this country and I I make no I no non-supportive thing for the people who have run it up into this stage including the current capital promotions because they’ve done it with with great integrity and support and dedication but it’s time that that has to change BBE would of course initiate lots of other things master classes workshops strategic artistic policy close relationship with Arts Council England to support schemes such as composers and residents for young composers they would try to address diversity gender balance racial issues of diversity all of those things have to be considered and I hope they would also be in time be able to establish a library and archive of brass band music and recordings which would be a great sort of place for conductors and players to go to go and look at all the music and all the scores of course the part of the deal there is that brass bands England have to prove that they’re a professional organisation they have to be accountable actually to the band’s the balance would become the shareholders as it were of brass bands England and they would be responsible but it needs brass bands themselves to change the way that they think about their own futures and the future of banding in this country and I’m afraid at the moment we have to rid ourselves of some of these self in Preston and tribalism that exists in Bandung which is not very healthily healthy so if my contract if my comments have been controversial yes they have that’s only been in the best interests of Bandung in this country because I passionately believe in Bandung that’s why albeit every seven years I write a piece for brass bands I continue to come back to the brass band world I love the brass bands world I love the people in it I love the enthusiasm and the passion of the players I went down to my local band the other evening balling tintin band they were preparing for the second section finals the test piece was occasion which is a piece of mind from the 80s and I went down to help them and talk to them didn’t help actually because they didn’t win never mind but they’re a great bunch of people and it just reflects the diversity of what brass bands are about in this country I asked them what they all did I found that interesting one was a radiologist at Manchester Royal Infirmary one was an IT manager there was a bus driver there was supermarket workers that were youngsters still at school and there were students going to university and colleges of music and what brings them all together as I said this passion for music making and so I come back to the passion and I remember those 2 lines of the Arthur of Shaughnessy poem which he wrote called ode in 1873 and it was set memorably by Elgar but these are the first two lines we are the music makers and we are the dreamers of dreams it’s not politicians that change the world it’s its architects its musicians its composers its artists its engineers all of those people who have the creative imagination to change the world that we live in and will change the world we living those are the people that are the real movers and shakers so I wish you the best for today and I hope that brass band England’s mantra of better banding for all something that we all share Thank you very well that promised you would be engaging and wonderful 45 minutes or so in the

company when our most illustrious people know just composers over a and the world in brass bands you