Comments ~ 2010: June


More comments from the Masters and English National to North East bands and the mystery of a long dead composer...

Adjudication stamina?

How is it that the three adjudicators at the Masters – all either close to, or above pension age, can sit in an adjudicator’s tent for seven hours, listening to 22 bands without a break.

All that and they still come up with a result that they feel has been achieved with a degree of professionalism that bears scrutiny from those competing at the contest?

I have no doubt at all that the three men are highly competent adjudicators, but it beggars belief that they were physically able to undertake the task to the very highest levels of professionalism without even a break to go to the toilet?

I am less than half their age, run daily and hold down a demanding professional job, yet I felt my stamina waning after sitting and listening to the first 8 bands at the contest.  

I took a break and returned refreshed to listen to 6 more before I had a break again and returned to listen to the last 5 bands.

I therefore listened to 19 out of 22 bands, and on the way home still felt both physically and mentally shattered.  

They may not have needed a break (although I doubt it), but it would have surely helped.

It may also put to rest any questions players and conductors are entitled to ask about their physical and mental stamina after seven solid hours of concentration.

Malcolm Watkins

Kettering surprise

Just a word to say how much I enjoyed the coverage 4BR gave from the Masters in Kettering.

The live coverage was great as usual, with witty comments and insight from Mr Fox (although he was way out with the results as usual!)

Talking to some friends who went to the contest, they were pleasantly surprised by what the new venue had to offer, and although they agreed that it wasn’t perhaps a thrilling contest, the overall standard was pretty good.

David Stone

Scrap the English National?

With just nine bands now taking part in the English National Championships, isn’t it about time this contest is scrapped.

No one really wanted it, and as a means of providing an English band to go to the European Championships it is rather pointless, as a perfectly good method (the top English band at the National Finals) seemed to suit everyone for many years, without too many complaints.

I was going to go to Preston to listen to the bands, but with the tickets priced at £15, it doesn’t represent any value for money.

Heather Norman


I for one feel rather sorry for the organisers of the English National Championships, as they have yet again been badly let down by some of the bands that were invited to compete at the contest – some not on the original list I understand.

How come ‘championship’ bands commit to a contest only to pull out just a few weeks before the start date, citing ‘financial priorities’?

Surely they would have known all along just how much it was going to cost them to attend or possibly have to raise to get to Montreux if they won?

Some of the excuses have been very weak to say the least.

Paul Curran

No vaild points

Thank you Keith Irving for only finding fault with my grammar, spelling, travelling distance, Romany heritage and choice of beer.

You can’t imagine how reassuring it is to see you resorting to this type of personal attack in an attempt to defend your position.

It also illuminates your character greatly when you resort to churlish comments at the mention of contest results, didn’t you in fact bring this subject to the discussion?

In closing you would be very welcome at our next social event as only by inclusion can understanding develop.

Sadly I do think you quit before you actually made any valid brass banding points.
Jon Evison
Barton Town Band

Real bands Keith?

Re: Keith Irving

I am quite sure that you do ‘actually’ know what I mean by ‘real bands’.  

When I tell folk that I play in a brass band and then go on to example the likes of Dyke, or Brighouse etc, most of them (but not all) will always say, ‘Oh yes, I’ve heard of them, didn't they do Floral Dance?  

When I then start to mention Fairey or Foden’s, the likelihood is only about 10% of the non-banding public will have heard of them.  

But I am quite sure that the answer to ‘Have you heard of Reg Vardy?’ the answer will be emphatically, "Who the ****'s Reg Vardy?  

So in real terms, the only ‘real bands’ are those to who the general public would have ever heard of, and to date, I’m afraid that list does not include any band outside of Lancs or Yorks.
PS....I’ve been banding for over 50 years and it was only 2 years ago that I first heard of Old Hall Brass, but as they are only 2nd section, I suppose they are not a "real" band either.

Jim Owen
Old Hall Brass

The mystery of John Addison

I'm a great admirer of Scherzo Brass but was surprised to read in your news section that they are going to play a newly commissioned brass quartet by John Addison called Divertimento.  

Addison has indeed written such a piece, but that was in 1951, long before the members of Scherzo Brass (and me) were even born!  

The other minor issue is that Addison died 12 years ago.  

Or are we talking about a completely different John Addison?

Alec Gallagher

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