2006 All England Masters International - 53 useless facts to bore your friends


Bored? Tired? Haven't got any friends? This may be the reason why...

1. The first contest took place in 1989 when 16 bands accepted the invitation to compete at Cambridge. The winners were Leyland DAF, whilst the band that came last were Hartford Motors Concert. Whatever happened to them? The first performance was given by William Davis Construction under Keith Wilkinson. They came 11th

2. Five of the bands there that day are no longer with us - Lewington Yamaha who came 7th, William Davis Construction who came 11th, Hyundai Heart of England who came 12th, Sun Life who came 6th and Kennedy Swinton who came 3rd under the baton of a very young David King. Asphlatic Newham later combined with Aveley.

3. Only Ever Ready now called Reg Vardy of the 1989 competitors are playing at the contest in 2005. Ever Ready came 9th on the day on ‘Cloudcatcher Fells'.  What are the odds they come the same this year?

4. The most successful band at the contest is Fodens with five wins in 1990 and 1991, 1994, 1995 and 2002 to their name. Next comes Brighouse and Rastrick with three wins in 1993, 1998 and 2001, YBS in 1999, 2000 and 2004 and Leyland in 1989, 1992 and 2003 and Williams Fairey with two in 1996 and 1997.

5. Only one band has won the title just once – Scottish Co-op, whilst Fodens, Fairey and YBS have all successfully retained their title the year following their first victory. No band has yet done a hat trick.

6. The winning conductors also follow the same course, with the most successful being Howard Snell with four wins, followed by Alan Withington and David King with three Richard Evans and James Gourlay with two apiece. Nicholas Childs, Russell Gray and Garry Cutt have one each.   

7. Under the old system of traditional points awarded, the highest winning score was 199 points given to BBS Fodens for their performance of ‘Paganini Variations' in 1995. The band that came 7th that day, Sun Life had to make do with 192 points!

8. The lowest winning score under the old system was Williams Fairey's, 195 points when they won on ‘Jazz' in 1997.

9. The lowest points awarded to a competing band under the old system was 170 points awarded to Kennedy Swinton conducted by K. Bolton in 1992 for their performance of ‘Cambridge Variations'.

10. The Leyland band was the only band to have competed at all 15 "All England Masters" contests to 2003. They had to withdraw in 2004. Fodens now have 17 whilst Ever Ready have 16 appearances to date..

11. Those bands that have only appeared the once before the contest went ‘International' are Hartford Motors Concert, Hyundai Heart of England, Lewington Yamaha and St. Austell (1989) and Polypipe Rossington in 1997.

12. Other bands that have appeared here and are no longer with us are Todmorden Old and Wallace Arnold Rothwell.

13. The best winning score under the separate judging adjudication system brought in for 1998 has been 4 points – on the two winning occasions from YBS in 1999 and 2000 and by Fodens in 2002. No one ever had the perfect 3 point score (1st place from all three judges)

14. The highest winning score has been 10 points by Leyland in 2003 when they were placed 2nd, 3rd and 5th by the three judges.

15. On the two occasions Brighouse have won the title under the separate judges system not one of the judges has individually placed them 1st. In 1998 they were awarded 3rd, 2nd and 2nd and in 2001 they were awarded 3rd, 3rd and 2nd.

16. From 1998 to 2003, YBS were awarded at least two 1st positions by the judges each year to 2001, but have only won the contest twice in the same period. In 1998 they gained two 1st places and a 13th, 1999 and 2000 they gained two 1sts and a 2nd and 2001 they gained two 1st places and a 7th.

17. The highest points total under the separate judges system was 63 points – awarded to Rhodian Brass in 1998. They were placed 21st by all three judges. Next worse is the 62 points gained by Rolls Royce (Coventry) in 2001.

18.  From 1998 to 2003 the three judges system only agreed twice in a total of 146 performances on the same placing for a band. Rhodian in 1998 (21st by all three) and Sellers International in 1999 (19th by all three).

19. The following bands have all been placed 1st at least once by a single judge under the amended judging system between 1998 - 2003: YBS – 1st on 9 occasions. Fodens on 1st on 3 occasions, Williams Fairey – 1st on 2 occasions. Brighouse and Rastrick – 1st on 1 occasion. DUT Yorkshire Imperial – 1st on 1 occasion. NSK – RHP Ransome – 1st on 1 occasion. Sellers International – 1st on 1 occasion. 

20. Brighouse gained their 1st place in coming 2nd overall in 1999, whilst Williams Fairey got the top spot in coming 2nd in 2000. Yorkshire Imps got a 1st in coming 6th last year whilst Ransome got it in coming 12th overall in 1998. Sellers got theirs when they came 6th in 2004.

21. Just 16 judges have been used in the 17 years to 2005.

22. Top of the judges list comes David Read with 12 appearances to 2004 followed by William Relton with 9 and James Scott with 7.

23. To 2004 those used just the once have been Dr Roy Newsome, Geoffrey Whitham, Sir David Willcocks, Trevor Green, Barry Forgie, John Berryman and John Miller.

24. Some high profile Musical Directors never to have won the Masters include Major Peter Parkes (a best of 2nd on three occasions), Frank Renton (a best of 2nd in 2002) and James Watson (a best of 2nd with Desford in 1989).

25. James Scott, Roy Newsome and John Berryman are the only men to have both conducted and adjudicated at the contest. James Scott took Yorkshire Imperial twice in 1997 and 1989 and Wingates in 1996. Roy Newsome has done it with Besses O' th' Barn in 1989 and Sun Life in 1995. John Berryman did it with Rigid Containers on six occasions from 1992 to 1997 and with BTM in 2005.

26. Howard Snell has the amazing record of four wins, two second places (once with Wingates in 1997), one third place, one fifth place, one 9th place (with Williams Fairey) and one 14th place (with Wingates in 1998) in his 10 appearances at the contest.

27. Alan Withington comes next best with three wins, one second, two thirds, a fourth, two fifths and an 11th in his 10 attempts here.

28. The best overall record goes to Fodens who have 5 wins, one second, two thirds, one fourth, two fifths and two 6th places to their name since 1990. Only 12th place in 2000 and 8th in 2004 spoils their record.

29. The next best overall record must go to Williams Fairey with only two finishes outside the top six in 13 attempts since 1990. 11th in 1995 spoilt a record of 2 wins, 7 seconds, two thirds and a sixth.

30. Third best is Brighouse with three wins, two seconds, two thirds, two fourths and two fifth places, plus a 11th place in 1992 and 8th last year from 13 attempts.

31. YBS come fourth with 10 consecutive top 6 finishes including three wins, a second, three thirds, a fourth and a three sixth places since 1994.

32. Leyland make up the nap hand with three wins, two seconds, three thirds, one fourth, one fifth and one sixth place plus a 7th, 10th, 12th and 13th in the 15 attempts here. From 1989 to 1998 they never finished lower than sixth.

33. Some names you may or may not have heard of who have taken the baton at the contest include Paul Hindmarsh of the BBC who took Besses a couple of times, Robert Wiffen, now with the RAF Central Band took Desford and Sun Life, Keith Wilkinson who took William Davis and is now in Ohio with the Salvation Army and David James who took Kennedy Swinton and needs no introduction.

34. The only refugee Albanian violinist to conduct at the contest was we believe Eno Koco who directed Rhodian Brass in 1995.

35. Brighouse and Rastrick's win in 1993 was the first major UK title they had won since 1980 – a gap of 13 years.

36. The Gala Concert that year finished at the time of 10.20pm – the longest on record and featured an overture played at 9.40pm!

37. Five of the test pieces used here have been specially commissioned for the contest. ‘Cambridge Variations' in 1992, ‘Hymn at Sunrise' in 1996, ‘Jazz' in 1997, ‘Tristan Encounters' in 1999 and ‘Chivalry' in 2003.

38. 2001 saw the third Philip Wilby work to be used at the contest following ‘Paganini Variations' in 1995 and ‘Jazz' in 1997. Philip Sparke with ‘Harmony Music' in 1991 and ‘Cambridge Variations in 1992 and Martin Ellerby, Peter Graham and in 2005, John McCabe has had their works used more than once.

39. The three separate boxes for each of the adjudicators was first used in 1998. It continued to 2003. In 2004 it was replaced by the traditional three men in one box method.

40. The choice of the adjudicators was made by the bands themselves for the first time on 2000. Their choice was David Read, James Scott and William Relton. Others nominated were Roy Newsome, Goff Richards and Howard Snell.

41. The choice of test piece was also first made in 2000 when the bands chose from a short list and picked ‘Contest Music'. The other pieces on offer that year were ‘The New Jerusalem', ‘On Alderley Edge', ‘Revelation', ‘Salamander' and ‘Songs for BL'.

42. The 2001 list saw ‘Pageantry' chosen ahead of ‘Between the Moon and Mexico', ‘Festival Music', ‘On Alderley Edge', ‘Revelation' and ‘The New Jerusalem'. The judges were chosen as Roy Newsome, James Williams, David Read and James Scott. James Williams couldn't take the appointment, as he was due to accept the Masters Dedicated Service award.

43. Others on the list were Eric Crees, Philip McCann, Goff Richards, Nicholas Childs, Rod Franks, John Miller and John Wallace to name a few.

44.  This year the choice of test piece and judges has been made by the organisers.

45. Of the conductors who filled the top six places at the first contest in 1989 not one remains this year.

46. Some of the MD's who have had the misfortune to direct their bands into last place at the contest include, Dave Lea, Graham O'Connor (twice), Peter Parkes, Ian Craddock, Melvin White, Jeremy Wise, Mark Bentham, Keith Wilkinson, John Norris, Kevin Bolton, Nigel Taken, Martin Heartfield, D. Loukes,Robert Wiffen, Jonathan Corry and Stephen Cairns.

47. Brighouse and Leyland are the only bands to win the Masters since 1995, after being drawn in the first half of the contest. On these Brighouse occasions they triumphed off number 9 in 1998 and 2001, whilst Leyland triumphed off number 6 in 2003. All other winners have come in the second half with Fodens and Fairey winning off last band on in 1995 and 1996, YBS winning as last but one on stage in 1999, number 18 in 2000 and 16 in 2004 and Fairey as number 15 in 1997.

48. In 1998, adjudicator Eric Crees chose the first nine bands correctly - although not in the right final overall order.

49. Lynda Nicholson is the only woman so far to conduct at the contest.

50. This year (2006) will see the 352nd performance at the Masters when the last band plays. Over £110,000 in prize money has been awarded since 1989.

51. 2006 will also see the presentation to the winning conductor of a personal prize of £1000 – the first time such an award has been made at a major British Contest.

52. The winning soloist will also pick up a nice sum of £250 for their efforts – courtesy of 4BR.

53. The international feel this year is due to one Belgian band, one Welsh, three Scottish, one Dutch, one Swiss, one Australian and a Northern Irish band making the trip to Cambridge to compete. 


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