Author Archives: VBL President

5 Grade proposal to be voted on by Victorian bands

A rule change has been proposed with the aim of bringing the grading system into line with the current standards of bands.  The motion is below:

Motion to amend the VBL Contest Rules v2.3

Moved: D van Bergen from Boroondara Brass
Seconded:   M Stapleton from Moonee Valley Brass

Motion:

That the number of grades for Open Brass and Open Concert bands be increased to 5, with the additional grade to be called Premier Grade and to sit above A Grade.

Sections 12.1 and 32.1 of the VBL Contest Rules would read as follows:

  1. Conduct of Contests

12.1 Band Contests may provide for competition in the following grades:

  1. a) Open Brass Bands: Premier, A, B, C, D grades
  2. b) Junior Brass Bands: A, B, C grades
  3. c) Open Concert Bands: Premier, A, B, C, D grades
  4. d) Junior Concert Bands: A, B, C grades
  5. e) School Brass Bands: Senior, Intermediate, Junior, Novice grades
  6. f) School Concert Bands: Senior, Intermediate, Junior, Novice grades
  7. g) Primary School Bands
  1. Classification and Grading

32.1 Bands shall be classified and graded as follows for contests run under the VBL Contest Rules:

  1. a) Open Grade Brass Bands – Premier, A, B, C, D grades
  2. b) Junior Grade Brass Bands – A, B & C
  3. c) Open Grade Concert Bands – Premier, A, B, C, D grades
  4. d) Junior Grade Concert Bands – A, B & C
  5. e) School Bands – Brass & Concert

32.2 For all contests of Recognised Australasian Band Associations where a different grading structure applies, the Music Advisory Board will classify bands into the required structure. These grades will also be assessed under Rule 33 (Grading Assessment).

Rationale:

There is quite a disparity in standard between A Grade bands as well as a large step between B Grade and A Grade. This disparity in standard has, over recent times, occasioned a large debate in how to proceed with the grading of bands.

Adding an additional grade will provide further motivation for those bands at the higher end of A Grade whilst also allowing those at the lower end of A Grade the chance to be competitive in their own grade. Simply moving these bands from the lower end down to B Grade would not be the answer. Whilst bands at the lower end of A Grade might struggle to beat those at the top of A Grade, they are still a clear step above the current B Grade contingent of bands. This can clearly be seen with the recent results in bands that have moved between A and B Grade. It will also provide a more balanced gradient for bands moving from B Grade into A grade.

 

The current version of the rules can be found on the VBL website.

A Special Delegates Meeting is called for Sunday November 19th at 10am at the Moonee Valley Brass bandroom. The above motion will be voted on at that time and take effect immediately if passed.

 

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Calling for expressions of interest – Massed Band for Equality

The VBL has been contacted by a number of bands and individuals wishing to put together an event to support Marriage Equality.

Due to this feedback and interest, a massed band section has been scheduled as part of the Bandstand Sunday event. The performance time is 2.15 – 3.00pm

This massed band is open to all members of the banding community. Music will be provided, bands members who wish to be involved only need to turn up in band uniform and bring their instrument.

This is an optional event, no band or individual band member will be forced to be involved. It will have no impact on the rest of the Bandstand Sunday event.

Bands who are already performing at Bandstand Sunday are welcome to also be involved in the massed band event.

This massed band is simply an opportunity for those who wish to show their support. It is not intended to imply affiliation or endorsement of any political party.

Should you wish to take part, please email your name, instrument and part preference to president@vbl.org.au by Friday October 13th.

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Event Schedule for the 2017 Victorian State Solo & Ensemble Championships

The 2017 Victorian State Solo & Ensemble Championships are taking place this Saturday October 7th at Methodist Ladies College in Kew. Entry for the music centre is via Barkers Rd.

Come along and hear some of the finest brass, woodwind and percussion soloists in the state battle it out for the chance to be crowned 2017 State Champion!

The schedule for the weekend can be found  here

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Call for Volunteers – State Solo & Ensemble Championships

The VBL is looking for volunteers to assist with the running of the Victorian State Solo & Ensemble Championships on Saturday October 7th. The event is taking place at Methodist Ladies College in Kew.

There are a number of positions that need filling, including announcers, runners, ticket sellers and checkers and general admin.

You don’t need to commit to the full day – even a couple of hours would be helpful.

Please email the vbl should you be interested in being involved: contests@vbl.org.au

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Robert Pattie – 2017 Frank Wright Medal Recipient

Robert Pattie has been awarded the 2017 Frank Wright Medal in recognition of over 40 years of service to Victorian Community Bands. It honours famous Ballarat musician Frank Wright who conducted bands in Ballarat before an illustrious career in London as a Professor at the Guildhall School of Music and as Director of Music for London County Council. The award is presented annually to a member of the Victorian banding community who has made an extraordinary contribution to banding.

A bio on Robert can be found below:

Robert Pattie was born in Ballarat in on the 19th March 1944.  Both his grandfather (Bert) and his father (Ken) have played in the Ballarat City Band.  Bert played under Percy Code and Frank Wright and Ken under Alfred Rowell, Harry Shugg, and Charles Smith.  Robert is a third generation member of the City of Ballarat Municipal Brass Band with his sister Jan. Robert’s two children and Jan’s two children have also played with the band at one stage.

Robert first learned the cornet in the Ballarat City Junior Band in the early 1950’s, and moved into the Senior Band in 1958.  Since then, he has played in A, B, C and D grade bands on Bb Cornet, Eb Soprano Cornet and Flugel Horn.  His main position has been and still is Solo Cornet.

Over the years Robert has played with and even conducted many bands in the Western and North Western regions of Victoria.  Some of those bands have been Ouyen (whilst teaching at Murryville Vic/NSW Border), Stawell, Maryborough, Beaufort and Bendigo.  In 1993 he became a member of the Vintage Brass Band, which rehearses in the Ballarat City Brass Band Rooms.

When the Vintage Brass Band Musical Director Ray Harris became too ill to conduct in 2005, Bob took over the Musical Director Role.  A position he still holds to this day.  One thing of note is that the Vintage Brass Band was made up of retired Brass Musicians from many different Cities and Towns as far away as Geelong, Ararat and Bendigo and smaller towns such as Maryborough, Daylesford, Beaufort, Warrack, Blampied, Bannockburn, etc. Robert is the only member of the Vintage Brass Band both past and present who can boast that he has had both parents come and listen to him play in the Vintage Brass band.

Robert was made a Life Member of the Ballarat City Brass Band in 1992, and in 1995 was appointed Musical Director.  A position he held continuously for ten years.  He also has continued as the Assistant Musical since 2005.  He has also been the band librarian and historian for over 25 years.

Until 1992, Robert was a Commerce Teacher at Ballarat High School, and presently works full time with both Brass and Jazz Bands.  With the latter, he has performed in all Australian States, and toured USA, UK, and Europe.

Robert has always had a strong interest in the History of Ballarat, and this has extended to the history of local bands and the South Street Contest.

As the band historian and also an avid history buff on brass bands in General and Ballarat in particular, he decided to write the history of the Ballarat City Brass Band, from its formation as Bulch’s Model Brass Band in 1887, becoming the City of Ballarat Municipal Brass Band in 1900 up until 2000.  This book was released in its 100th anniversary year in 2000.  It was approx. 180 pages of facts, names, South Street and other competitions around that the Ballarat City Band were involved in and also includes information on other bands as well.  In 2010 Bob Pattie re-released the book but with an added 220 pages of more detailed history of the band from 2000 to 2010.  The new book also included another 80 or more articles of history pre 2000 that were not included in the first draft as Bob is constantly finding new history on the band.  Many musical historians and others have read the books and have been overwhelmingly praising of his work.

In 2012 Bob released another history book of another Ballarat Brass Band, called Prout’s Ballarat Brass Band.  This band was formed in 1857 in the Gold Fields of Ballarat and went on to be one of the most highly decorated drill bands in Australian history.  The band folded in 1924.  Although a lot smaller (approx. 60 pages) than the Ballarat City Band history it is an extraordinary compilation of the history of Prout’s and other bands in the Ballarat District between 1857 and 1900.

All publications have been stored at the National Library of Australia, the Ballarat City Library and other teaching facilities around Australia.  Copies of Prout’s and the Ballarat City Brass Band books are still available from the Ballarat City Brass Band.

Robert Pattie has for many years been involved with not only Brass Bands but also Jazz Groups/Bands.  It is his second passion.  His most telling Jazz band has been the Creole Bells, who have travelled the world and play at many historical venues, including “Basin Street Blues” of the title refers to the main street of Storyville, the red-light district of early 20th-century New Orleans”.  They have also performed and travelled throughout USA, Europe and England as well as all over Australia.

Robert has also been very supportive and instrumental in training many juniors over his whole brass band life.  His interests in training younger members of the band started before even his own children started learning brass instruments.  He has over the years been the training band MD on several occasions.  It would be fair to say that hundreds of brass band musicians have been taught by Robert Pattie.  Even today he assists the Ballarat City Brass Band Training Band MD with the 14 juniors the band currently has.

Robert Pattie has been and still is the back bone of the Ballarat City Municipal Brass Band.  He has been a member of the band as Junior and Senior playing member for over 60 years and still contributes over and above that expected of any musician in a band.  He still acts as the Band Music Librarian, could tell almost to the piece of music what is in the library, and we are talking of over 127 years of music.  Original written pieces from the likes of Percy Code and others.  He usually can even tell you who arranged the music most of the time as well.

The City of Ballarat Municipal Brass Band has survived as one of not very many bands that have continuously been a brass band without ever having to amalgamate with another band.  This is due in part to people like Robert Pattie who are always there behind the scenes, making things happen and getting it done.

Robert has during his time with the band also held every committee position within the Band.  He never wanted to be President but in November 2016 he finally relented and took on the role of President.  Bob Pattie has been an active committee member on and off for more than 40 years.

Robert may not be as famous as some of the Ballarat City Brass Band legends in days gone by including Percy Code and Frank Wright but his input into the Ballarat City Brass Band has helped keep the band alive and still actively training future Brass band musicians, participating in community events and concerts, as well as competitions.

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Bandstand Sunday 2017 – Applications Now Open

The Victorian Bands’ League is pleased to announce that Bandstand Sunday is back for 2017!

The event features bands from around Victoria performing at Federation Square in Melbourne throughout the day from 10am to 5pm. Bands will be allocated around 30 minutes each to perform, including getting on and off stage. This is purely a concert entertainment program with no set music, however we would encourage bands to feature soloists in their program. There is no adjudication for this event; it is not a competition and therefore contest and registration rules do not apply. This is a free event and all bands are welcome to apply.

We are currently seeking expressions of interests for bands to be part of the entertainment on Sunday 29th October, and we would particularly like to encourage member bands from country and regional areas to participate in this concert extravaganza.

Please indicate your bands interest in participating in this event with an email to president@vbl.org.au by Monday 11th September 2017.

The VBL Executive hopes that this event sparks the interest of your band, and we look forward to hearing from you soon.

Please note: Places are limited and last year demand far exceeded the number of spots available so please get in early! Priority will be given to bands who did not perform last year.

 

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Schedule for the 2017 State Band Championships

The 2017 State Band Championships will be held at Her Majesty’s Theatre in Ballarat. Tickets are available at the door.

The running schedule for the event is as follows:

 Saturday 19 August
Section Start Time No of Bands
Open C Grade Concert 9:00 AM 1
Open D Grade Concert 9:35 AM 1
Open B Grade Concert 10:10 AM 1
Junior C Grade Brass 11:15 AM 2
Open A Grade Brass 1:30 PM 3
Open D Grade Brass 5:00 PM 7
Sunday 20 August
Section Start Time No of Bands
Open B Grade Brass 8:30 AM 5
Open C Grade Brass 1:00 PM 9

 

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Adjudicator announcement – 2017 Victorian State Band Championships

The Victorian Bands’ League is pleased to announce that the adjudicator for the 2017 Victorian State Band Championships is Simon Cawthorn.

Simon CawthornSimon is a graduate from the Tasmanian Conservatorium of music where he studied trumpet and flugelhorn.  Simon has played in various ensembles in Australia including The National Australia Brass (NAB), Hobart Wind Symphony, augmented with the Melbourne Opera company and has been privileged to travel with bands such as Derwent Valley Concert band to Japan, China, Canada and America.  As a soloist Simon has won several state and national awards including winning the National open flugelhorn competition at the ANBC in Adelaide 2011. In 2013 Simon was one of three conductors in Australasia to be awarded a Lady Stewart Conducting Bursary to study under Professor David King from the Royal Northern College of music in the UK.

Simon has also been musical director for a number of concert and brass bands including the Hobart and Glenorchy City Concert Brass, Tasmanian Youth Orchestra Wind Ensemble and teacher in charge of bands in several schools and colleges. He also received the Tasmanian Bands League Badge of Honour for 2016 for outstanding services to community banding.

Simon has been an assessor and an adjudicator of musical performance and was chief adjudicator at the TBL State solo and party championships and an adjudicator for the National Solo Championships in 2017.  He enjoys seeing wind and percussion players reach their full potential and in his spare time he plays drums for Hillsong Hobart.

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Russell Gray is touring – book a workshop for your band!

Russell Gray is currently touring Australia and is available for workshops with bands.

Full Day Rehearsal: A$500.00
Rehearsal Night:  A$250.00

Dates: Currently available from June 24th – July 3rd

Please contact Phillipa for further information or to book a session
Email: phillipaedwards888@gmail.com

Biography

Russell GrayRussell Gray’s career as a conductor began in 1998, when he was appointed as the resident musical director of the Stavanger Brass Band (Norway). Since then his reputation as an authoritative interpreter of brass band music has been acknowledged at home and aboard. Since 2008, he has been principal conductor of Molde Brass Band (Norway) and is Adjunct Professor of brass at Queensland University (Australia). Russell has enjoyed considerable success within the world of brass band competitions with leading ensembles in Norway, Denmark, Finland, France, Switzerland, Japan, New Zealand, and Australia.

Russell enjoyed periods as the principal conductor of Foden’s, Fairey and Leyland brass bands and since 2012 has been principal conductor of Reg Vardy Brass Band, the leading band in the North of England. A proud Scot, Russell was born near Glasgow, and came to prominence within the world of brass bands as a cornet virtuoso. During his student years, he was a member of the world famous Black Dyke Band and went on to enjoy a number of years as principal cornet of the Leyland Band. He has also produced six solo albums, including two acclaimed releases featuring historic cornet repertoire from the celebrated Arban collection of solos and studies.  Russell is a Yamaha endorsed artist and is much in demand as a leader of workshops, clinics and seminars. He also leads Yamaha’s star-studded NEO Brass Ensemble. He has appeared to great acclaim at the Royal Albert Hall (London) and Symphony Hall (Birmingham) to the Grieg Hall (Bergen), Stravinsky Hall (Montreux) and the Sydney Opera House.

Russell dedicates much of his time to the development of young musicians. He has conducted the National Youth Brass Bands of Switzerland and Queensland (Australia) and in 2014 was appointed artistic director of the National Youth Brass Band of Scotland. He is a recipient of the prestigious Iles Medal of the Worshipful Company of Musicians in acknowledgment of his outstanding services to the brass bands.

 

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Victoria’s best compete at the 2017 Australian National Band Championships

Some of Victoria’s best bands are travelling to Launceston this Easter weekend to compete at the Australian National Band Championships.

We wish all these bands the best of luck and look forward to hearing about their success.

All the action from the weekend can be streamed live on Brassbanned

For further information about the event, you can visit the event website here

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