Recent News

Read the latest news and press releases from SWBBA.

West of England Regional Finals 11th/12th March 2017 / Mar 17

Yet again we enjoyed a well run and fiercely fought contest on both days of the West of England Regionals, culminating in a few surprises here and there. Right from the very first note played on Saturday morning to the last echos of the Championship section on Sunday evening, every band gave it all they had for a chance to represent the West of England at the National Finals.

The Regionals are perhaps the most prestigious contests (apart from the Finals themselves) for a lot of bands, and the hard work and commitment over the weeks and months in the run-up has to be commended. We can't all be winners, but congratulations and well done to all the qualifying bands, and good luck at Cheltenham in September (Sections 1-4) and the Royal Albert Hall in October (Championship Section).

It is interesting to note that 38% of the bands qualifying for the National FInals are SWBBA members, the other bands coming from the Cornwall Association, Wessex Association and Gloucestershire Association. Not a bad percentage we think!

Congratulations also to Sue Oldfield, John Woods and the team at WEBBA for a great weekend of brass banding, and of course the staff at the Riviera Centre. Don't mention the flashing lights!

For full results see www.webba.org.uk.

Annual General Meeting & General Meeting of Member Bands / Feb 17

A General Meeting of Member Bands will be held on Sunday 26 March 2017 at 10.30am, followed by the Annual General Meeting. Both meetings will be held at the Conservative Club, Kempley Road, Okehampton EX20 1JT. It is important that all Bands are represented at these meetings to vote on and take appropriate action concerning the future of the Association. Coffee/tea and biscuits will be available.

Mid-Winter Brass Workshop - 11th and 12th February / Feb 17

Yet again we can report a highly successful weekend of superb tutoring at this year's Mid-Winter Workshop!

Eighty musicians, ranging in standard from learners to second section, enjoyed the top notch tutoring from David Childs, Brett Baker and Leonard Adams.

During the weekend, 12 items of music, kindly donated by Studio Music, Wright & Round, Pennine Music, R Smith & Co, Kirklees Music and De Haske Muziekultgave BV, were studied, pulled apart and sweated over, culminating in a short free concert attended by over 40 people. David Childs and Brett Baker also wowed the audience and workshop players by performing unaccompanied recitals.

Goff Richards Memorial prizes were won by Matthew Opie (soprano cornet, Camborne Youth Band) and Neve Lawrence (Eb Bass, Shirley and Foden Youth Bands) - a massive 'well done' to them both.

Thanks go to Gwen Kingdon and her team of ladies for keeping everybody fed and watered, co-sponsors Taw & Torridge Coaches and Westocott & Son Co-op Funeralcare, and members of the Executive Committee who organised the event.

Finally, on an unhappier note, SWBBA Chairman, Ray Kingdon was rushed to hospital with severe chest pains on the Sunday morning, but is now resting at home. We wish him well and hope to see him, and all of you, at the WEBBA Championships in Torquay in March.


Verwood Again Take South West Title / Nov 16

The 70th Annual Championships of the South West Brass Band Association were held at the Riviera International Conference Centre, Torquay on Saturday 5th November 2016 where 30 bands competed in 6 sections, with Verwood Concert Brass, conducted by Kevin Smith, taking the title of SWBBA Championship Band 2016 by winning a most competitive Open Section, their selected test piece being "Of Men And Mountains" by Edward Gregson. Once again Torquay proved to be a popular venue, which reflected in the high overall standard of music making and everybody enjoying the competitive but friendly atmosphere for which these Championships are noted. The Adjudicators, Stan Lippeatt and Steve Sykes, said "they had enjoyed an excellent day of quality music making, and performances in all sections of an overall high standard, and were confident that the future of brass banding in the South West was secure with such excellent playing from the bands in the Youth and Training Band Sections, particularly the many very young children". The trophies to the successful bands were presented by the Association's President, Sue Richards. Visit the Annual Championships page to view the full results »

During the Presentation Ceremony, the Association gave recognition in awarding Long Service Awards for 70 years continuous and dedicated service to one band to Harold Curtis (Sidmouth Town), Colston Isaac (Holsworthy Town) and Geoff Pedlar (Bugle Silver). The President then awarded retirement gifts to Keith Gibbs, Treasurer for past 27 years, and Brian Elliott, Secretary for past 23 years.

Weston Super Mare SWBBA "Own Choice" Contest 2017 / Oct 16

The South West Brass Band Association announces that the popular Own Choice Contest will be taking a further break for 2017. To read Vice Chairman John Woods' press release, visit the WSM Contest page »

Continued SWBBA Secretary Vacancy / Jul 16

Dear Friends,

Please bring this letter to the attention of everyone associated with your Band.

Member bands of the South West Brass Band Association (SWBBA) should already be aware that after 23 years of dedicated service, Brian Elliott will be standing down from his role of Secretary from Spring 2017. Despite actively seeking a replacement, the Executive Committee has been unable to fill this vital office.

We wish to bring to your attention that your Association may not be able to continue beyond 2017 unless it can source new interest and help from volunteers in planning and organising its activities in promoting contests and education for brass bands and their players in the South West.

What is the impact?: This would most likely result in contest organisation and promotion ceasing, and educational workshop events being cancelled or discontinued. Interest in the Association has been waning for some years and the Executive Committee need reassurance from bands and players that events will be supported - adequate entries and ticket sales have to be achieved to ensure the Association remains financially viable. The ability for the SWBBA to continue in its current format is therefore now seriously in doubt.

We can provide support and guidance to anyone coming forward in gaining the necessary knowledge and understanding of the Secretarial role. This is an exciting opportunity and has much to offer in return. The overriding criteria is enthusiasm, organisation and communication abilities and a desire to work as part of a team which is currently re-examining closely how tasks are best managed.

If any member of your Band, or you know of anyone willing to help, and would be interested in working with your local Association to continue this heritage and protect the future of banding in the South West, please contact the Chairman, Ray Kingdon, on 01769 673113 or .

With Best Wishes

Sue Richards (President), Ray Kingdon (Chairman)

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