Great news for “I can play with Brass Roots”

We got some really special news this week when we were informed that a project the band is running alongside the National Centre for Early Music was shortlisted for a prestigious Brass Bands England award. The awards is the Band Project of the Year and the project shortlisted is “I Can Play with Brass Roots”.

I Can Play is a project that is run through the NCEM that seeks to break down barriers to making music for the D/deaf community. Brass Roots is the beginners band within the Shepherd Group Band organisation.

The Shepherd Group Brass Bands have always been an inclusive and welcoming organisation and when Sean joined the band, he suggested the idea of introducing children from the D/deaf community into the band. When this was suggested at a committee meeting, we jumped at the chance and shortly after our first new players from I Can Play joined Brass Roots and the project has grown from there onwards.

Anyone who came to our performances of The Snowman in December last year will remember Sean Chandler our Principal Cornet player leading the whole audience in signing to “Merry Christmas Everyone”. We then had some of our “I Can Play” ambassadors on stage at the Joseph Rowntree Theatre Christmas concerts leading the audiences there in signing along to the band.

Christmas concert “sign along”

It would be something special to see the award go to our I Can Play with Brass Roots team. Sean Chandler and Audrey Brown are at the forefront of this, but we have players from Senior Band along for the rehearsals sitting in with the players and guiding them so it really is an organisation wide effort. If you have a couple of minutes spare, please drop into the Brass Bands England website, and vote for this great project.

Vote for the winner of the BBE Band Project of 2024

Of course, this is just one of the many outreach projects the band has initiated. We also have the monthly Project Band where players from across North Yorkshire and some from further afield come along to rehearse more challenging pieces of music. This is another idea that is being picked up by bands across the country and we are pleased to see our ideas for broadening participation being used nationally.