The British Association of Symphonic Bands and Wind Ensembles (BASBWE)
Connecting, Commissioning, Communicating
By Bruce P Hicks
Innovation occurs when we create unlikely connections between imaginative people whose collaborations spark great ideas, which are then shared with others. So, on the weekend of 26th and 27th November. The music leadership team from Scarisbrick Hall School and BASBWE connected to present the annual conference. Over 200 were in attendance. The chair of the BASBWE executive committee Bill Connor described the event as” a truly remarkable collaboration of community based bands and educational based organisations.” He further commented, “This is why BASBWE is an organisation able to 'connect, commission and communicate' its aims and vision into the music landscape at the present time.”
BASBWE continues to inspire young composers where they commission, new works for wind band, The Saturday night saw the massed band of ICWE perform several new works for wind band composed by Andy Scott and Michael Betteridge, alongside some more familiar repertoire. The highlight of the evening concert was a world premiere performance of ‘Voyage of Valour’ composed by Adam Roberts which was commissioned by BASBWE especially for the weekend. Phil Shotton the Musical Director of the Magull Wind Orchestra who conducted the new work said, “This has been a joy to be involved with from start to finish. To have a composer work with the band from day one of the compositional process is hugely beneficial for both the composer and the performers. Everyone has been able to fully engage with the whole process and the band has grown musically as a result. The world premiere was a huge success and extremely well received by a capacity audience."
BASBWE continues to bring together diverse interests, expertise and influences into the fold. After being dominated by the collegiate lobby for a long time our organisation is reaching out to a much wider community of musicians. The Annual Northern Conference of The British Association of Symphonic Wind Bands and Ensembles (BASBWE) took place at Scarisbrick Hall School over the weekend of 26th and 27th November. This highly significant event also saw the launch of the BASBWE and Scarisbrick Hall School association – The International Centre for Wind Ensemble Education (ICWE). The launch weekend and annual conference was a huge success with over 180 musicians taking part during the weekends activities, all hosted by Scarisbrick Hall School and organised by BASBWE and the school’s performing and visual arts faculty. World class soloists and tutors led sectional rehearsals and massed band rehearsals as well as the Chair of BASBWE and film composer, Bill Connor leading a creative improvisation workshop.
BASBWE continues to learn from the past while embracing innovations and analysis of innovative processes to inform our current practise. Further examples being the huge amount of work done by Chair of BASBWE Bill Connor in his innovative approach to music education throughout the county; this enabled many young musicians from Our Lady of Lourdes Primary School, Birkdale, to take part in this year’s conference.
The workshops were a creative process, taking students through the creation of musical ideas through improvisation and inspiration from the world around. Using ideas of the young pupils, Bill composed a 12 minute piece for Wind Band, Choir and pupil performers entitled ‘There’s a rumble in the sky’ and this received its world premiere at the final event of the BASBWE Conference.
The world that BASBWE inhabits is reaching out to a much wider community of musicians to reflect the changing nature of the diversities of the world of the wind band.
Bruce P Hicks
BASBWE Executive committee