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The Brass Bulletin #2


Well, it’s been another busy week for brass band news!

Before we kick off I would like to thank Craig Chapman from MPB, for the fab photo of Paul Holland taken at Butlin’s at the weekend that he very kindly let me use for the cover of this week’s bulletin.

In this week, I’ve got a bumper lineup of news - so I think the best thing to do is grab a brew (or a tipple, it is Friday after all), stop dilly-dallying and jump into this week’s Brass Bulletin.



Want to head to a particular story in this week's bulletin? Click the link below.


Butlin’s Champions

Photo by Craig Chapman

Well, it would seem that plenty of fun was had at the Butlin’s Brass Band Festival last weekend.

As well as hilarious shenanigans (the pics I’ve seen of people celebrating were great to see), there was a lot of talent on display at the Skegness resort.

If you missed the results, let’s get you updated!

Championship Section

1st: Flowers Band

2nd: Desford Colliery

3rd: GUS Band

Most Entertaining Band: Flowers Band

Winner of Set Test Piece: Flowers Band

Highest Place Mining Band: Desford Colliery

First Section

1st: Staffordshire Band

2nd: Haydock Band

3rd: Stannington Brass

Highest Placed Mining Band: Haydock Band

Second Section

1st: Bedford Town Band

2nd: Tewit Silver Band

3rd: Harborough Band

Third Section

1st: Whitworth Vale & Healey

2nd: Raunds Temperance

3rd: Hoover Bolton

Highest Placed Mining Band: Dinnington

Fourth Section

1st: Golborne Band

2nd: Dodworth Colliery

3rd: Royston Town

Highest Placed Mining Band: Golborne

British Open Solo & Ensemble Contest

Junior Solo

Winner: Skye Stokes

Youth Solo

Winner: Jordan Ashman

Open Solo

Winner: Stephen Lomas

Youth Ensemble

Winner: Shirland Youth Band

Open Ensemble

Winner: Shirland Band


Youth Brass 2000 Take Centre Stage

The talented band of young musicians put on a fantastic display on both Friday and Sunday.

Many banders took to social media to praise the programme and the level of playing shown at the weekend.

Not only did the band show off its talent during their full band performances, they also swept up the prizes in the solo competition, with their percussionist, Jordan Ashman taking the number one spot; baritone player, Ed Culpin, taking second and cornet player, Jake Humphries, taking third in the Youth Section of the British Open Solo & Ensemble contest.

A fantastic show all round from Youth Brass 2000 - congratulations!


Butlins Brass Band Contest 2023 Cancelled

Sadly, there will be no brass band contest at Butlin’s in 2023.

Calendar issues have been cited as a reason for the festival being unable to take place next year.

Although this hasn’t been mentioned in regards to the contest, a key fact to take into consideration is that Bourne Leisure (Butlin’s parent company) has put the Butlin’s brand up for sale.

Butlin’s Skegness resort was the first park set up by Billy Butlin in 1936 to provide a new type of seaside break.

However, in recent times it has been thought that Bourne Leisure and Blackstone (the US private equity giant that owns the majority of Bourne Leisure) have come to the conclusion that Butlin’s is not central to their future objectives.

Despite this, there is no need to despair or start drafting up a petition just yet as both Butlin’s and the festival’s organisers are working to secure a date for 2024.

We’ve all just got to hope that this will not prevent us from saying hi-de-high, strolling from our chalet in our contest walking outs for a weekend of music-making.

If it does threaten the existence of this contest, I’ll be the first person to put pen to the petition paper.


Going, Going, Gone - Get Your European Festival Combi Tickets Now!

There are less than 4 months left until the European Brass band Championships take place in Birmingham from 28th April to 1st May 2022.

If you’re looking to attend, better get your tickets sorted, sooner rather than later, as a large proportion of tickets have already been purchased for the festival which is being held in England for the first time in 15 years!

Why purchase a Combi ticket?

It provides a saving of £41 compared with purchasing tickets for the individual events being held during the festival and it is the only way to access the best seats in the house…well halls in this case.

Events included in the EBBF Combi Ticket:

  • The European Youth Brass Band Contest

  • The European Brass Band Championship: Set Test Piece

  • The European Brass Band Championship: Challenge Section

  • The European Championship: Own-Choice

  • EBBF Gala concert with Louis Dowdeswell Big Band and Cory band

This is sure to be a memorable weekend, so if you’re looking to buy tickets you need to go to the B:Music website (click here).


Conduct-IT Launch FREE Resources for Aspiring Conductors

Thinking of picking up the baton in 2022?

Then you’re going to want to pay attention to this!

A fantastic online initiative has been set up that will inspire, educate and motivate aspiring conductors of all levels.

ConductIT is a collaboration between the RNCM, Open University, University of Stavanger in Norway and University of Aveiro in Portugal.

It includes a comprehensive set of FREE digital learning resources that cover all aspects of conducting.

After having a little explore around the site myself, I can see that it boasts a very user-friendly interface, which is easy to navigate and the website is split into 4 learning areas, as well as a library.

I’m really interested in this new innovation, so no doubt I’ll be doing a deep-dive into the resources in a later post, but for now, let’s give you a quick tour of the key sections:

ConductIT MOOC

A short course that acts as an introduction to conducting.

No experience is necessary to complete this course, although knowledge of music notation is beneficial in order to be able to engage fully with the course.

There are four main sections of the course and in each section, learners will be introduced to some of the essential elements of conducting - both practical and theoretical.

Find out more about the course here:

The Study Room

In this section you can explore conducting technique, rehearsal skills, score study and preparation.

Each category contains lessons with plenty of multimedia resources, such as demonstration photos, videos, examples and more to keep you engaged, as you learn.

Careers Office

An area with a wealth of information about career development, professional skills, leadership, artistry and gender issues.

Information is presented through interviews with conductors who are at different stages within their career and influential music stakeholders, so there is advice for everyone.

Rehearsal Studio

Contains a series of case study documentaries that illustrate the experience of working within different genres and styles as a conductor.

Current ensembles/genres covered include: classical orchestra, contemporary orchestra, choir and extended techniques and Jazz/Classical crossover.

ConductIT is aimed at musicians, students, educators and anyone who wants to understand more about conducting and how it works.


Start your conducting journey by checking out ConductIT’s website here.


Brass Band Conference Calls for Contributors

Brass Bands England are now inviting proposals or content sessions to be delivered at this year's Brass Band Conference, which will be held on Saturday 22nd October at The Life Centre in Sale, Manchester.

The aim is to curate a diverse, inspiring programme of talks, practical workshops and creative elements that open up discussion that encourages critical reflection based on this year’s theme of ‘Banding For Life’.

If you would like more information on session formats check out the Call for Contributors document here

If you wish to submit a proposal you can fill in the form here.


Bathgate Youth’s ‘22 in 22’

After the disruption the pandemic and related guidelines have caused with their performance schedule, Bathgate Youth Brass Band have embarked on a new project to complete 22 performances in 2022.

A mixture of small outdoor performances within their community, as well as their normal programme of contests and concerts will make up the 22 performances.

You can follow Bathgate Youth’s progress by following their social media, such as their twitter (@bathgateyouthb) and the hashtag #22in22.

It’s a fantastic project and I wish everyone in the Bathgate Youth Band team the best of luck with your 22 performances this year - I’m sure you will bring a lot of joy to a lot of people and what a great motivator for the young musicians involved!

It’s Not a Trumpet will be following your progress and cheering you on from the North West!


BBE Announces New Funding Opportunities for Bands in 2022

Speaking of community events, Brass Bands England have announced funding opportunities for brass bands who want to deliver events to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

There are two funds on offer, one from Arts Council England and one from the National Lottery Awards for All England Fund.

ACE - Let’s Create Jubilee Fund

With this fund, brass bands will have the opportunity to work with other art-forms and artists to deliver a cultural event in order to reach and engage new participants and audiences.

Applications are now open until 22nd February and must be made through a regional/local community which can be found via postcode search.

The National Lottery Awards for All England Fund

This programme is now open until 31st March and is accepting applications from voluntary and community organisations in England that will deliver events and activities that celebrate the Platinum Jubilee.

Bands can also apply for funding for a one-off event during this weekend which meets the criteria.

You can find out more details about this funding here.

There will also be a free webinar held by Brass Bands England about this funding on Tuesday 15th February at 7pm - sign up here.


Alf Wileman Celebrates Almost 80 Years of Banding

This is a truly inspirational and heartwarming story that I had to include in this week’s lineup.

Alf Wileman, a Salvation Army legendary player, has taught generations of players and is still playing at the age of 94!

Alf passionately believes in the importance of music and young people, which is especially poignant in a world where a government wants to deprive youngsters of music in favour of deploying music teachers to other subjects to cover Covid-related absences.

His fantastic career has included a 2-year stint with the Foden’s band after his successful audition in 1953.

However, Alf’s faith brought him back into the ranks of the Salvation Army where he became the leader of the junior band and increased the number of players within the ensemble from 6 to 36!

His impact on the local area should also be commended.

Alf has taught in several schools across Sheffield - teaching both individuals and bands and has ensured many young people have enjoyed the wonderful experience of playing an instrument.

The pandemic has been cited by Alf as the toughest challenge in his career, but this inspirational gentleman has not let Covid hold him back.

He regularly played during ‘Clap for Carers’ throughout the lockdown, surely bringing much-needed happiness and showing musical appreciation for our key workers and his efforts didn’t go unnoticed, as he was featured on BBC news for his playing!

Alf still regularly practices for an hour a day, which is amazing, and from now on whenever I’m procrastinating from practice I’m going to tell myself to be like Alf and get on with it!

Congratulations Alf, your story is amazing and thank you for being such an inspiration!


Ratby Launches New ‘Daytime’ Brass Band

The Ratby Co-Operative Band Organisation are adding a new brass band to its ranks, which is perfect for those who can’t make regular evening rehearsals and have some time to spare during the day.

Interested players will be able to meet in the daytime during the week and the band is open to players of any age, band and ability.

It is a non-contesting band, so won’t affect your registration with any other band.

The rehearsal schedule is set to be flexible for those who are interested.

Instruments are available for those who don’t own their own.

If you’re interested, contact John Hauton using the details shown below!

That’s All Folks!

Well, that wraps up this week’s edition of The Brass Bulletin - you’re up to date!

Let’s see what next week brings!


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