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Issue 6119

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FOUNTAIN OF KNOWLEDGE - Brett Baker meets American music dynamo, Lee Harrelson

Manger: The stuff of dreams

Tuesday 16 November, 2021

After the musical void experienced during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the return of live brass band music making has been a tonic for the soul for many. Among the events springing back into action has been SIDDIS Brass, the showpiece entertainment competition for Norwegian banding.

British Bandsman editor Mark Good reports from Stavanger on an innovative weekend of action.

 

Anyone who has heard Norwegian brass bands in action in recent times will know that this is a country that takes its banding seriously. Very seriously. As with people far and wide, Norwegian banding fans were deprived of live, in-person music making during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic but in recent times, it has returned with a flourish.

In fact, life in Norway feels generally like ‘normal’. Upon exiting the airport in Stavanger, it was clear that most day-to-day restrictions have been removed, such has been the progress the country has made in its response to the pandemic. There were no face masks, there was no social distancing – it’s as if the pandemic had all but disappeared.

Located on the Stavanger peninsula in the southwest of the country, the city is nestled by the water’s edge and its centre comprises a considerable number of 18th and 19th century wooden houses, giving the place an intimate, small-town feel. There’s nothing small about the venue for SIDDIS Brass, a sprawling series of concert halls and facilities, the focal point of which is the splendid Stavanger Concert Hall, which played host to much of the action.

The nearby Stavanger Conservatory of Music and Stavanger Music School welcomed some of the action, too, enabling organisers to run all five Divisions in one action-packed day. Everything was filmed and streamed by BrassPass.tv – and it’s still available to watch.

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issue 6116 digital November 11, 2021