RONG ON RIGHT PATH - BB shines a light on one of the rising stars of Norwegian banding

Issue 6062

BACK IN BUSINESS - Boost for bands in England as rehearsals resume

STAGE SET FOR CORY CONTEST - Draw made for online championship, with international flavour

Scottish Festival falls foul of COVID-19

Monday 14 September, 2020

There will be no Scottish Open Championship in 2020 after the contest became one of the latest events in the banding calendar to hit the buffers due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Following an online meeting of its events committee, organiser the Scottish Brass Band Association (SBBA) confirmed that the other competitions which usually form part of the Scottish Festival of Brass, the Scottish Challenge and Scottish Youth Brass Band Championship, have also been postponed. The festival had been scheduled to take place in Perth Concert Hall over two weekends in November; hope remains that it might be able to happen at a later date.

Carrie Boax, SBBA president, commented: “In a year in which COVID-19 has devastated so many lives in so many ways – personal, family, work, academic, social, sport and leisure – this postponement may not be a big deal to a lot of people, but it was to be the last big occasion in a calendar of events to mark our association’s 125th anniversary.

“There is a real sadness in taking this decision as it means 2020 will probably come to an end without any live organised brass banding activities in Scotland since March.

“The Scottish government announcement that it is retightening the rules regarding public gatherings – cutting down the number of people who can meet in groups to just six from only two households – means that any return to normal banding would appear to be off the cards for some time to come.”

Speaking to British Bandsman, SBBA education officer John Boax explained the organisation was investigating the possibility of holding some form of online event for youth bands, which would normally have been preparing for the Scottish Youth Brass Band Championship.

He said: “It is important that we try to keep our young musicians connected during the pandemic so we are working with Creative Scotland and their Youth Music Initiative in an attempt to keep the Scottish Youth Brass Band Festival alive by putting on an alternative online event.

“I am currently contacting those youth bands which had indicated their willingness to participate in the festival to see if there is any interest in staging a virtual event. If any youth bands would like to take part, they can contact me at sbbaeducation@gmail.com.”

Carrie Boax added: “SBBA has at all times been driven by the current official guidelines throughout this pandemic and prioritises the health and wellbeing of its members. Consequently, for the time being, SBBA is reiterating its message that the suspension of brass band rehearsals and engagements should remain in place until such time the Scottish government advice changes to allow public gatherings of numerous people in enclosed spaces without the requirements for physical distancing.”