Female Composers

Reading some of the responses to the selection of Test Pieces for the 2022 Australian Nationals made it clear that we need to be more involved in selecting and promoting works by a diverse range of composers. I have chatted with Dr Jodie Blackshaw on this topic, and one of her most powerful messages is that there is a lot of great music by diverse composers, but we as conductors need to search out this music which initially can be harder to find.

In association with Dr Jodie Blackshaw (NSW) and Rachel Howley (QLD), the NBCA have collated a list of works by female composers, both Australian and international, for concert bands at Grade 4+ level and above. This list is intended to be a “one-stop shop” for conductors when looking for engaging works to select as Own Choices for Australian and State Contests. In addition to the names, length, and grade level, we have included links to online scores and recordings where available so you can see and hear these wonderful pieces of music. We also hope this list will support music selection boards across the country in finding works that can be used as Test Pieces for upcoming National and State Contests. To view the list, please visit our new webpage here.

This list is in its infancy, and we hope it continues to grow over the coming years. If you have suggestions of works you would like to see added, please contact us at the NBCA with details of the works so we can consider them for addition. We are hoping to broaden the list as well with a list of hymns and marches by female composers as well, to provide further options for bands at contests.

I would like to make specific note of two other great resources in the community for diversity in programming. We have focussed only on Grade 4+ works as Dr Jodie Blackshaw already has a wonderful list of Grade 1-4 works by female composers for wind band on her website that can be accessed here. The Band Association of NSW are active in promoting Australian composers and publishers and has a comprehensive list on their website for you to browse Australian content. You can access the Composer & Publisher Databases here. More generally, there are a number of web-based resources on diversity in programming for you to consider, including searching for composers by nationality and gender at The Wind Repertory Project, ColourFULL Music, and the Institute for Composer Diversity.

We hope you take the time to listen and explore these wonderful works by female composers and hope to see a range of them selected as Own Choices in the coming years. Thanks again to Jodie and Rachel for your tireless work in our Australian banding community to promote diversity in programming.

Regards

Paul De Cinque
President
National Band Council of Australia

Delay to the 2022 Australian National Band Championships

As Omicron has spread around Australia over January, the NBCA has continued to assess the viability of the 2022 Nationals, and our ability to run a safe, fair, and financially viable event.

On safety, it is clear that many cases and sadly, a number of deaths have placed many bands into positions where they are either unable to rehearse, or would be significantly risking their health and safety in doing so. Band is meant to be an oasis of enjoyment, and to ask people to rehearse in a situation that makes them anxious for their safety is not something we want to do.

On fairness, the different peak times for Omicron around the country, risks of further peaks, and disparity of situations means an Easter event is not likely to be fair. Bands in some parts of the country may enjoy ten weeks of consistent rehearsal in the lead up to the event, where others may perhaps not be able to rehearse properly until well into March. This does not allow for bands to be on an even-playing field, one of the primary issues for running a fair Nationals.

While we have had amazing support with 82 entries, we understand bands would potentially need to withdraw due to the health situation around the country. Withdrawals, and refunds, could lead to multiple venues no longer being financially viable. This was of course a primary concern for us from Day 1 of organising this event.

As a result of these three issues, the organising committee has chosen to postpone the 2022 Nationals. We are currently investigating options for this event to be run at some point during June or July, and we are assessing the best weekends over that time period for each state. We will make a detailed announcement of this new date by the end of February, and bands will be given an option to reassess their entries at that time.

The Organising Committee will continue to meet. We fundamentally believe a Nationals is possible in 2022, but we want to make sure it is the best event it can be. By delaying, we believe we are giving Australian bands the best option to participate in a fair and healthy way.

For all our bands across the country, stay safe, and follow the health advice in your state. Our bands are our families, and we want to see our families all back together when it is safe to do so.

Regards

Paul De Cinque
President
National Band Council of Australia

Update Regarding the 2022 Nationals

The NBCA began planning the 2022 Nationals in mid-2021 in response to requests from across the banding community for the resumption of the event. However as stated from Day 1, the event has had to be adapted in response to the COVID-19 challenges facing us.

Most states are facing considerable challenges as they move to the next stage of Australia's response to COVID which has been exacerbated by the Omicron variant. It is not entirely clear at this stage how bands will be affected by this next stage although this should become clearer when bands return to rehearsals this year. It is nonetheless clear that bands will be expected to fully comply with the COVID regulations in each state pertaining to rehearsals.

We are watching the situation carefully, and appreciate the advice already provided from bands who have entered the competition. We will next meet on the 23rd January to review the arrangements for the event in light of the emerging situation and will keep you informed of any decisions made regarding the 2022 Nationals.

Christmas Greetings

As we reach the end of 2021, congratulations to all our Australian banding associations, bands, and band members on getting through another difficult year.

Thanks to BANSW for running the wonderful ANOFOB in April this year, where 73 bands from around the country and one from the USA came together to celebrate banding in a digital age. Congrats to QBA, WABA, and TBL on running successful state championships this year and our commiserations to VBL, SABA, and BANSW for having to cancel or postpone your states for 2021. I are sure they will be popular events when they return. Finally, thanks to all the state presidents for the work you do in grassroots banding including organising events and helping bands with funding.

Thanks also to all the band families around the country - we miss many Easters, public holidays, and lots of weekends and evenings for band rehearsals and concerts. Thanks for allowing us to pursue our banding passions.

Enjoy the holiday season, and I hope 2022 brings a year of prosperity, calm, and lots of normal gigs for our banding community. I especially am looking forward to the Nationals - it allows us another chance to show the world how we can pursue our banding interests in this strange COVID world.

Happy holidays, happy new year, and enjoy this break with family and friends.

Paul De Cinque
President
National Band Council of Australia

About Us

The National Band Council of Australia is a representative body formed by agreement of the Australian State Governing Bodies which represent the six Australian States. It is incorporated under the relevant New South Wales legislation.

The NBCA acknowledges the Traditional Owners of country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to them and to their Elders past, present and emerging.


Megan Stapleton
NBCA Executive Officer
executiveofficer@nbca.asn.au

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