Open Letter to all within the Brass Band Community
Over the past few weeks, we have been aware of the increasing concerns raised through social media posts and commentary from respected sources calling into question our current position on conflict of interests. We have received a number of direct communications via our website and social media platforms, and thank the over-whelming majority for their sincere and polite enquires. We have, in all cases, replied promptly and respectfully to those enquires.
However, we have also received, both as an Associaton and directly to some individual members, comments and communications that have been threatening, bordering on libelous, wishing ill on families and plagued with foul language. We condemn these entirely. No member of a voluntary organisation should have to be exposed to such vile – often anonymous – hateful messages.
There is a deliberate policy of always trying to be more open and welcoming with our communication as shown through our excellent trainee programme, our young adjudicators scheme, our willingness to work with contest organisers and our work with banding media. The latest example was our statement of 7th November 2023, which aimed to provide some clarity on matters being discussed. To reiterate those points, AoBBA do not appoint adjudicators nor choose music for contests. We understand and would like to clarify further questions, raised in response.
AoBBA is completely assured of the abilities of its members to achieve its mission statement: ‘Delivering professional and experienced adjudication to the modern brass band contest’. We have received no official written complaints with evidence of wrong doing of our members and indeed have previously shown swift action when faced with allegations that may have broken our code of conduct.
AoBBA is not inward looking and are always seeking to improve what we do. Therefore, at an Extraordinary General Meeting of the membership on 22nd November 2023, the Executive Committee’s proposal to amend its existing constitution was approved. As well as the current clause that precludes members adjudicating a band they have had direct contact with (playing, conducting or preparing) within three months of said contest, a further clause was added. As of 23rd November 2023, a member must not accept an invitation to adjudicate where a parent, spouse, sibling or child is involved with a competing band. Further discussion on amendments to AoBBA’s constitution will continue at our AGM in January.
AoBBA also wish to highlight our agreement with contests run by Kapitol Promotions. Since the start of this year, mobile phones are not taken into the adjudication ‘box’, with measures in place to ensure this happens. To further aid transparency, at all future Kapitol contests, AoBBA members’ mobile phones will be handed into the contest controller(s) in front of delegates, at the draw before the draw takes place. Phones will not be handed back to adjudicators until after results have been announced. The provision for the security of the mobile phone is with the contest organiser (a lockable cash box). AoBBA will engage with all other contests who wish to follow suit and are AoBBA is always pleased to support contest organisers in any way, when asked.
AoBBA are the only collective of brass band adjudicators. We continually strive for improvement. Our members receive CPD from a wide range of professional people and organisations and cover a wide range of topics. Should we fall short of these ambitions, there are procedures in place (usually via a contest organiser as the first step) to address concerns. We welcome applications from anyone and details regarding membership can be found on our website. Our membership includes individuals from outside the UK and we are pleased to announce our latest member, Mark Ford, a renowned conductor, teacher, musician and adjudicator from Melbourne, Australia.
Brass banding is a wonderful thing that has shaped many lives and has had lasting influence for good. AoBBA is very grateful for the support it has previously been shown from contests organisers and from the vast majority of our banding community. AoBBA is determined to contribute to ensuring the future of brass banding is as enjoyable and as secure as possible and although by the very nature of our organisation we are involved in the minutiae of contesting, all our members are bands-people first.
Signed on behalf of AoBBA,