2021 has been a year of contrasts: frustrations and disappointments v pride and optimism, SBBA president tells AGM

Monday 31 January 2022

Scottish Brass Band Association president Carrie Boax recounted a year of emotional contrasts in her report to the organisation’s virtual 2022 AGM yesterday (Sunday 30 January). While it had been 12 months of frustrations and disappointments at not being able to get brass banding back to a full state of normality after the pandemic, she said, it had also been a period of pride and optimism that music making had continued against all the odds.

“There have been many frustrations and often life has felt like being on a roller coaster,” she told the 50+ online delegates. “There has been much to be thankful for and also moments of doubt and sadness.

“But what has been constant throughout everything has been a determination to keep going, to make the most of the situation. Many of our bands and players have definitely shown a real desire to get back to their band halls, to come together and make live music once again.

“In the midst of this social upheaval to our lives, there has been an overwhelming feeling of hope, reminding me that, although at times things appear hopeless, this time will pass and we will carve a path back to banding as we know it in the months that lie ahead.”

Carrie cited the online solo and ensemble championships in March, the in-person National Youth Brass Band of Scotland (NYBBS) residential course and concert finale at Strathallan School in Perthshire, and the success of Scottish bands (notably Annan Town and Kingdom Brass) at the National finals in Cheltenham as just some of the reasons to be joyful.

The introduction of a Wellbeing Charter and the launch of the SBBA Speaks podcast with banders Iona McVicar and Laura Carter were also highlights of the year.

Life has often felt like being on a roller coaster, Carrie Boax told the AGM

Carrie expressed gratitude to funders Creative Scotland and SBBA’s sponsors for their ongoing support and also to the team of volunteers, trustees, officers, committee members and area representatives who work tirelessly behind the scenes on behalf of the association and its member bands.

She also added her personal thanks to social media officer James McGoldrick, photographer Jim Doyle, education officer John Boax and PR officer Nigel Martin for their outstanding contributions to SBBA during the past year.

Carrie concluded: “By working together, staying safe and looking forward with optimism, brass banding and live music making – which holds such a pivotal place in our culture and society – will return.

“I look forward to seeing you all in Perth in March as we welcome the return of the Scottish Championships.”

Secretary Tom Allan and vice president Ann Murray were re-elected to office and committee members Murray White, Jim Milligan, Jim Wishart, Steven Gray, Elaine Roxburgh, Grant Brown, Lesley Crumlish and Danny Harrison were all unanimously returned to the executive.

The meeting ended with on a poignant note as a moving visual tribute – In Memoriam – was paid to those players and band supporters who had passed away since the last AGM.

A Learning Festival followed the meeting, featuring three workshops:

• ‘What Makes Banding Work - Reasons For Optimism’ with SBBA patron and renowned trumpet soloist John Wallace

• ‘I've been a volunteer all this time, how come nobody told me?’ with Alan Stevenson, CEO of Volunteer Scotland

• ‘Picking up the baton’, with popular Scottish musical director Stuart Black.


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Email Nigel Martin: sbbapr@gmail.com