In an exciting development for the band movement in the UK, on Wednesday 15th January, a cross-party group of 14 MPs attended the inaugural AGM of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Brass Bands (APPGBB).
Having fallen into abeyance a year ago, the chair of the group, Angela Smith, MP for Penistone & Stocksbridge, has been working with the highly respected educationalist Roy Terry over recent months to ensure its re-establishment.
Brass Band England (BBE) will again provide the secretariat for the group with BBE Chairman Mike Kilroy, asking Roy to continue to work with the group as Parliamentary Liaison Officer.
It was revealed that the main purposes of the APPGBB are to deepen the relationship of brass bands with Parliament as well as to encourage Parliamentarians to engage with brass bands.
It is envisaged that the group will better inform MPs on the role of brass bands in society as well as raise awareness of the impact of legislation in the fields of arts, culture and education on the brass band movement throughout the UK.
32 MPs and one member of the House of Lords (from throughout the UK) have so far accepted the invitation to join the group, with Angela Smith (Lab) taking on the role as Chair.
Sir Alan Beith (LD) and Andrew Rosindell (Con) are the Vice Chairs with Ian Lavery (Lab) becoming Secretary and Sir Gerald Howarth (Con) Treasurer.
Speaking after the meeting Angela Smith said: "I’m very happy to see the All Party Group reconstituted.
Brass bands are a very important part of our national heritage and many Parliamentarians have sustained strong relationships with individual brass bands over the years."
The MP added: "We can now continue to build on these relationships, raising the profile of brass bands in Parliament and ensuring that their importance is recognised by government and lawmakers alike."
It was also made clear that it was the intention to ensure that future events will be fully reflective of the banding community throughout the United Kingdom.
Roy Terry, Parliamentary Liaison Officer for Brass Bands England can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org