Adjudication - The debate


Is there an answer to the problem of adjudicating a brass band contest? Three men of the movement have given their views about the subject, from 1986 to date.

Adjudicating: would you do it?In recent months, and especially following the Regional Championships, the thorny question of adjudication has reared its head once more. It is a question that possibly doesn't have a definitive answer, but that hasn't stopped any number of people (4BR included) in airing their opinions about the art (surely it is an art, isn't it?) of picking the best performance by a brass band from a selection of performances ranging from two bands to twenty-two bands or more.

Open or closed? One, two or more in the box? Written or oral remarks? Criteria? Awarded of points or places on merit? The list of adjudication permutations is very near endless.

However, one thing is certain. It is a question that in the 150 plus years of contesting hasn't yet been satisfactorily resolved.

4BR has therefore tried to open up the debate a little bit more with the help and thoughts of two proponents of modern adjudicating, and the thoughts on the subject of one of the true greats of the movement past: the late Trevor Walmsley.

Dallas Niemeyer is one of the most respected brass musicians in the United States, and has had considerable experience of judging not just in brass contests, but also wind bands and ensembles. He brings his personal perspective to the topic.

Stephen Roberts needs no introduction to brass band lovers. His vast experience both as a player, conductor and latterly as composer, arranger and judge has seen him taste the highs and lows of just about everything the banding world can throw at you. He has judged at the very highest level and his recent trip to the United States encouraged him to bring his own thoughts to us on the subject.

Finally, the late Trevor Walmsley wrote a short booklet with a foreword from Harry Mortimer entitled, "You and Your Band" which set out in easily digestible chapters a practical guide to what both referred to as ‘better banding'.  It was written in 1986.

One of chapters written concerned ‘The Adjudicator', and it is this that we reprint here. The opening line gives you some idea of the difficulties even this great conductor though about the subject: "The adjudicator's lot is not a happy one" he stated.

Hopefully, all three articles [and hopefully more to follow] will give some additional insight into the art of adjudication, and some possible answers to the continuing problems that many bandsmen perceive it to contain.  

See what you think.


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