We're in the process of setting up as a charitable organisation - our newly elected Chair explains our goals and motivation as we plough on with more great banding!
This week the band had its first ever annual general meeting. Whilst this might not seem like a blog-worthy occasion, it represents the beginning of London City Brass as a charitable organisation operating in the City of London.
We have spent lots of time over the last couple of months talking about what banding means, what the purpose of London City Brass is and why we all turn up every week. Answering these questions has brought the band closer together as we discover what makes each other tick and define our future. This culminated in ratifying our new constitution which enshrines our objectives and purpose as an organisation.
Our first objective is to foster the public knowledge and appreciation of brass band music by means of public engagement and performance. Away from the mines and mills of Yorkshire and the valleys of Wales the concept of brass band is often alien. In fact, some people might say that a brass band in the City of London of all places is the antithesis of true banding. However, we want to share this uniquely British music with the wider public and show that the sound of a brass band is as relevant today as it ever has been. In the coming months we are especially looking forward to taking our music on to the streets of London over the Christmas period to raise spirits and share some Christmas joy. It is my personal opinion that it doesn’t feel like a proper Christmas till you’ve heard a few classic carols played by a group of brass players stood outside, huddled up for warmth.
Sticking to our music-making ethos our second objective is to facilitate the musical advancement of our members and help fulfil their musical aspirations. Put simply, we want to make better and better music as we grow and develop helping each of our members to improve. Fulfilling musical aspirations by seeking new and different performance opportunities. Since launching as London City Brass in August we have welcomed four new players to the band, including people who haven’t picked up instruments in years let alone played them, you can’t tell this now of course. Once again we will be entering the French Open contest where we hope to improve on the results of recent years whilst performing in a spectacular location underneath a gorgeous chateau in a historic town in the Loire Valley.
But, as our earlier blog stated, banding is more than just music-making; it is a community and we provide a social forum for band members to promote mental wellbeing. London is a busy place with millions of people passing through everyday but despite all these people it can still be a lonely place. When playing together you have to trust that your colleagues across the band will come in at the right time and support you. London City Brass doesn’t let players down whilst we’re playing and this support continues when the conductor stops beating time. As a band we’ve celebrated birthdays together, helped people through difficult family situations and been there when our members needed us most. Through the rough and the smooth, meeting together regularly and reminding each other that people care and that this safe space exists is as important to what we do as the music we make.
We are acutely aware of how important our micro-community is to our members but we are just a small part of the wider London community. We are fortunate to have homes to go to after rehearsal and food to eat before we arrive but this isn’t the case for everyone in London. We want to use our musical gifts to support charitable institutions and purposes within our local community. As a community band we must open our arms and place ourselves at the center of the London community, embracing those causes that need our support and championing a better London.
I am immensely proud to have been elected to Chair the band for the next year and to work to make these objectives a reality. The band have elected a superb committee of trustees; Josie (Secretary), Hannah (Treasurer), Chris and Sean to help us on this journey. My focus for the year is to build a strong administrative base for the band so that we can sustainably make a positive difference to people’s lives inside and outside of the band for many years to come.