The organisers of the Brass in Concert Championship have announced that Grimethorpe Colliery and Virtuosi GUS bands have withdrawn from this year’s event. Hammonds Saltaire has been added to the line-up, leaving 11 bands in the contest, while a total of five bands will now take part in the inaugural Youth Brass in Concert Championship.
Speaking to on behalf of the Management Team, Brass in Concert Chairman John Woods commented: “We were extremely disappointed to receive notification of these withdrawals during the past ten days. Regrettably, the trustees of Grimethorpe Colliery have confirmed that the band will not appear at this year’s Brass in Concert, citing elements of the conditions of entry in relation to recording as the reason for their decision. Virtuosi GUS Band has unfortunately encountered some insurmountable personnel problems and found it necessary to withdraw from the contest. While we hope to be able to welcome both bands back to the event in future years, we are indebted to Hammonds Saltaire for stepping in at the 11th hour and would like to thank the band and Musical Director Morgan Griffiths for making this outstanding commitment at such a late stage.”
Clarifying Brass in Concert’s position on the issue surrounding Grimethorpe’s withdrawal, John Woods continued: “Our organisation aims to present the finest and most entertaining brass band contest in the world and, in doing so, provides a generous prize fund that rewards every band in at least some respect, travelling allowances and the complete absence of any entry fees, all in an outstanding venue and before a large and very enthusiastic audience. We are fortunate to enjoy the support of Yamaha, Banks Group, British Bandsman and our Principal Partner, World of Brass, to make this all possible. We firmly believe that the involvement of each of these organisations, all of which share our vision of a progressive event aimed at presenting the very best brass bands have to offer, enhances the experience for everyone attending Brass in Concert, including performers, audience members and organisers.
“Any worthwhile partnership provides benefits for both parties and our arrangement with World of Brass allows its recording team to project live multimedia into the auditorium and produce an audio recording and DVD highlights of the event, which we consider also to be valuable tools for the promotion of Brass in Concert and brass bands in general. In recent years, to ensure compliance with copyright law, we have insisted that bands performing at Brass in Concert do so only with documented permission from composers and arrangers when performing unpublished music. This year we have extended this to include permission to record each piece and all of the participating bands have been in possession of this information since June.”
Speaking on behalf of Grimethorpe Colliery Band, Andrew Coe commented: “It is with regret that we have declined to submit our programme entry to this year’s Brass in Concert Championship. Having taken part in the very first event in 1977 and having been uniquely successful in winning 16 Championship titles since then, we have not taken this decision lightly. Like many within the brass band community we are appreciative of what Brass in Concert has done, since its inception, to encourage innovation in brass band entertainment. As a band which has always had a culture of creativity and entertainment at its heart, the Grimethorpe Colliery Band wishes the Brass in Concert Championship every success for the future. However, we now believe that the requirements for entry to the Championship, specifically in regard to the assignment of commercial rights from our performance, do not currently serve the artistic and commercial interests of our band. We are of the view that the recording and broadcasting of brass band performances via digital media, whilst desirable as a means of extending the appeal of brass bands, requires more thought and consideration by the community. Grimethorpe Colliery Band has some exciting plans for the future which, having consulted with our stakeholders and members, will benefit from being the subject of our focus for the foreseeable future.”
It has also been revealed that Scottish Borders Youth Band will not attend the inaugural Youth Brass in Concert Championship, having been unable to secure in time the necessary safeguarding documentation as required by the local authority and Brass in Concert. John Woods continued: “Five of the finest youth brass bands in the country will now attend our inaugural event on Saturday 17 November, which we expect to be a very exciting occasion. The problems encountered by Scottish Borders Youth, however, are a reminder to all that the administration of safeguarding issues affecting young people now needs very high priority and we are very disappointed for the young musicians who will miss out on what would undoubtedly have been a memorable experience.”
Outlining some of the other highlights of the Brass in Concert Festival, John Woods concluded: “We are looking forward to a fantastic weekend at Sage Gateshead with 11 of the finest bands in the world taking part in the Championship, as well as five outstanding youth bands on the Saturday. We will also have Taster Sessions on the Sage Concourse from 10.00am on Saturday, sponsored by Yamaha, and a performance on the concourse by our Workshop Band at 11.15am prior to the Youth Brass in Concert Championships (tickets £10.00 or £5.00 for concessions). One of the weekend’s highlights will see trumpet star Mike Lovatt give a masterclass at 4.00pm in the Northern Rock Foundation Hall (admission free), while this year’s International Showcase will feature Manger Musikklag on the Concourse at 5.00pm. Sinatra and The Swing Legends, featuring the new National Champion band, Foden’s, male vocalist Matt Ford and trumpeter Mike Lovatt, is the theme for this year’s World of Brass in Concert at 7.00pm and, as tickets are currently selling quickly, we urge anyone hoping to attend to avoid any disappointment by contacting the Ticket Office or logging on to Sage Gateshead website very soon.”
Tickets for Youth Brass in Concert on Saturday 17 November are available from Sage Gateshead Ticket Office on 0191 443 4661 or online at www.sagegateshead.com, priced £10.00 and £5.00 (concessions). Tickets for World of Brass in Concert featuring Foden’s and Matt Ford are £27.00, £18.00 and £10.00, and Tickets for the Brass in Concert Championship on Sunday 18 November are £30.00, £22.00 and £12.00. Booking fees will apply.