AMATEO MEMBER: VLAMO (The Flemish Association of Music Bands and Musicians)
Member country: Belgium
Contact person: Jan Matthys, CEO
VLAMO wants amateur instrumental music to flourish in Flanders, Belgium. We work for 1200 amateur orchestras (or 65000 musicians) around Flanders. Most of the orchestras are wind bands and fanfare orchestras (typical for the low countries), but we also have members which are brass bands, symphony orchestras, string orchestras, pipe bands, show bands, drum bands, accordion orchestras, majorettes and twirlers, etc.
We have a broad range of services. We support our members with advice, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. We organise events, festivals, projects and competitions. We have a music library with 40000 music scores, recordings, books and magazines. But maybe most important, we want to be a platform and connect people in real life and through digital platforms. We try to improve the image of our amateur music scene. Through advocacy we try to improve the framework for amateur orchestras and musicians.
We joined Amateo to exchange knowledge and to make international connections. In the first years going to the annual Amateo conference was also a team building activity for the Flemish amateur arts organisations, which was really fun!
Importance of international cooperation?
We all live in a European context and sharing knowledge can be interesting for all members. Benchmarking can be useful for advocacy and policy workers. Flanders is a small region in the heart of Europe. For us it is unthinkable not to cooperate internationally. The borders of our neighboring countries are always very close. For our members it is always an enriching experience to go abroad, meet other European orchestras and cultures. It confronts us with the beautiful diversity within the European Union, and at the same time it strengthens the unity of the union.
I hope Amateo becomes a strong network and the go-to organisation for people who have questions about amateur arts in Europe. It would be very nice if we could put the amateur arts higher on the European agenda. The amateur arts can be used as a tool to build a more connected Europe. It can help to build an open, diverse and inclusive society.
If you want to read more about VLAMO, please visit their web page!
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