Ambitious plans for Jena brass bands
After almost 30 years, an era has come to an end in Jena, Germany on 29 April 2021: Dr Ulrich Richter, after a total of 28 years on the board, 24 of which as chairman at the forefront, handed over the baton of the association leadership of the "Blasmusikverein Carl Zeiss Jena e.V." to the next generation.
Norbert Goldhardt has taken over the management of the Jena-based supporting association with immediate effect, which includes the Competence Centre for Brass Band, the KLANGwelt orchestra school, various association ensembles such as the Brass Band BlechKLANG, the Jugend Brass Band BlechKLANG or the Show Brass Band VielKLANG, as well as diverse music education projects.
In addition to the change in leadership, the association is facing a major challenge. A spokesperson for the organisation explained, “Looking back at the years 2019 and 2020 in particular, it is clear what a massive impact the pandemic had on the active life of the association. Thus, the steep development, resulting not least from the successes at the German Double Championship 2018 (Brass Band BlechKLANG and Jugend Brass Band BlechKLANG), the 4th place at the European Youth Brass Band Championship (Jugend Brass Band BlechKLANG) and the victory at the Entertainment Contest 2019 (Brass Band BlechKLANG), was frozen virtually overnight. Instead of the planned projects and further artistic development, crisis management and the fight for survival took place, as in the entire scene. The fact that the orderly handover of a largely secure structure can take place in year two of the pandemic is primarily due to the committed and determined actions of the previous entire board around Dr. Richter over the last 14 months.
“In recognition of his services to the Association, Ulrich Richter was therefore appointed Honorary Chairman of the Association. The new seven-member board of directors elected at the online general meeting on 29 April 2021 stands for both constancy and renewal in terms of personnel and content. The committed team around the new chairman Norbert Goldhardt and the creative director Alexander Richter, who has been established for 15 years, has exciting tasks ahead of them. This is made abundantly clear by the annual plan that has now been presented. In addition to the planned digitalisation of the association's structures in terms of administration and organisation, the agenda also includes an expansion of the digital rehearsing offers. In this context, various online formats have already been successfully used since the beginning of the pandemic-related restrictions. In addition to digital individual lessons and virtual sectional and tutti rehearsals, specially pre-produced content is also made available for the youngest members in the context of early musical education. For all formats, the focus is on consistent further development in terms of technical feasibility and taking into account the respective age specifics as well as the experience gained.
“Furthermore, in addition to the association's own offers, the tried and tested master classes of the Competence Centre with external guests and lecturers will again be in focus in the future. But even outside the digital world, various projects are already underway. For this year's Jena Summer Camp (24.08.- 29.08.2021), for example, the cooperation with Prof. Chris Houlding and Helen Varley (UK) has already been fixed.”
The concert calendar of Brass Band BlechKLANG is well filled with a view to a possible open air season. The rehearsal of the programme for various theme concerts in cultural partnership with the Federal Horticultural Show in Erfurt (Germany) and numerous picnic concerts throughout central Germany are the current target for the weekly (online) rehearsal work of the Jena musicians around their conductor Alexander Richter. For the second half of the year, in addition to the planned church and Christmas concert series, the German Open will be the main focus of the musical work.
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