Comments ~ 2010: October


More from London, the strange world of the Association meeting and even Google Earth maps. A varied postbag as ever on 4BR...

Below the belt

I too was totally gobsmacked at the result of the Nationals.  I am so pleased I am not a betting woman, otherwise I would have lost my house, my savings, my husband and possibly my grandchildren too on what I consider would have been the safest bet in years - that the Dyke had outshone all other bands and would be crowned the winner - by a large margin!  

So it was with great disappointment that I received the result, and like many others, still can't take in what happened on the day.
Having said all that, I am deeply disturbed by a sentence in Brian Cunningham's letter to this page where he states "We are all now left wondering was this because the judges were inept, conspiratorially vindictive or individually dishonest"?
Now ineptitude can be dealt with quite effectively - just invite different adjudicators next time.  Firstly, if possible, wouldn't it make sense for the composer of the test piece, if he/she is still alive, to definitely be invited into the box. 

We don't often see them there.  What about younger people in the movement who have made a worthy contribution to brass band music either by composition, or playing, or conducting? 

I know Steven Mead has ideas about adjudicating, there's Peter Graham, Phil McCann, Paul Lovatt Cooper and countless more who have served their time in the brass band movement at many different levels.
Secondly, why would a group of adjudicators be "conspiratorially vindictive"?  Surely these men were professional enough to just judge what they heard on the day, and not hold grudges from the past, should there have been any.
But it is the third suggestion of "individually dishonest" that really alarms me.  Is he really suggesting that one of the adjudicators might have been "got at"! 

If so, I wonder how that might have happened.  It is not too difficult to identify some of the better known bands by their style and the sound of their individual soloists, but if he really thinks someone is being dishonest, how do you think that might have been carried out? 

By one of the adjudicators taking a mobile phone into the box so he could receive the draw?
I just don’t know what happened on the day but I do know that now should be the time to re-think the whole adjudication issue, because we really don't need another situation which invites people to throw negative comments and accusations into the arena because the result, in their opinion, was shamefully wrong. 

Yes I agree the result didn't make any sense at all on the day, but surely, some of Brian Cunningham's comments are below the belt, are an indictment on the adjudicators and are far from helpful or constructive.
Shirley Hutchinson
West Sussex

Brilliant Howie

Re Brian Cunningham's letter entitled "Depth of feeling..."

Whilst there is much written in Brian Cunnignham's letter, there is just a little paragraph amongst his thoughts that I would like to address.

"...the programme choices this year were rather bland and uninspiring. Also, the wonderful playing of Lesley Howie could not be heard. "

I don't know where you were sitting, but I was in the hall and could hear it loud and clear (well, as loud and as clear as the RAH ever is!).

The playing was some of the most incredible tenor horn playing that I have heard - it really is a shame that you could hear the stunning technique and her trademark wonderful sound, as I am sure you would have appreciated just what a stunning player she is.

I can't vouch for the piece though...

Peter Meechan

Eye opening Association meeting
I recently attended my first meeting of the Wessex Brass Band Association. It was certainly an eye opener.

I was expecting more people to be present than were actually there!  It became obvious to me that without more bands and younger people getting involved in their local associations, the future of contesting doesn't look good!
Since the meeting I have been thinking about contesting in general and the registration of bands. The following thoughts are entirely my own personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the opinions from the members of the band I play in.
I got the impression from both the meeting and talking to a few colleagues' in other bands (not just in the Wessex area) that one of the main reason that contesting bands don't enter into a contest is down to whether they can actually get ‘bums on seats’.

The fact that the Wessex Winter Contest only allows 2 day transfers for most of the sections doesn't make this any easier for those bands struggling to fill places.
I believe that some kind of change is now needed and was wondering whether it was worth while discussing with member bands and trailing any of the following points for the 2011 Winter Contest:
1.  Increasing the number of day transfers allowed.
2.  Allowing bands to use as many people as they need from bands that are unable to attend. After all it is better to have a band with borrowed players taking part than not at all.
3.  Allowing Bands to use players from non contesting / registered bands.  This may then encourage non contesting bands to give contesting a go.  I know of one band that was formed only a few years ago primarily as a non contesting band and now contests regularly in the L&SC Region.
3.  A list of players and their playing positions to be given to the contest organisers at an agreed point in time prior to the contest for approval (if required). If any of the players are not registered members of the band entered, then more information is to be supplied, i.e. lending band, national grading and position played.
4.  Open Adjudication.
5.  Trailing Steven Mead's proposals / thoughts on adjudicating. - Invite him to discuss and advise the association with his thoughts and ideas.
6.  Insisting that the parts are played as detailed in the score by the relevant instrument in the band and not moved around. i.e.. 3rd cornet is played by a 3rd cornet and not solo cornet etc.
At the end of the day brass banding & contesting is a hobby to be enjoyed. 

The world is a changing place and we should all as a movement be making it easier for bands to take part by an overhaul of the rules.  I can see that stricter rules should be applied for the regional's where national grading is at stake. 

As the Wessex now only use national grading for the winter contest perhaps the time has come to be more relaxed about things by making constructive changes. The points that I have listed above are only a few ideas and other people may be able to add or improve them as necessary.
I have always thoroughly enjoyed playing in the Wessex Winter Contest and appreciate all of the hard work that you all put in.  I look forward to many more contests to come.

Graham Jones
Contest Secretary - Ocean Brass

Google Maps

How nice it would be if you could be able to see all brass band rehearsal rooms on a Google Map.

You would be able to find every bandroom in the UK – such as Black Dyke’s and then go and visit it if you want

There is not such a thing I think at the moment. Can it be produced by 4barsrest?
Otto Luik

4BR Reply:
It’s a fine idea for those with a bit too much time on their hands Otto for us!

Cut and paste?  

I read with interest your article on 'the art of the cut and paste cadenza'.

Is it, I ask myself, a sad reflection on the depth of talent in our top bands when players cannot be entrusted with what were, for the most part, technically undemanding motifs?

I think the term cadenza really doesn't fit the bill.

To use a football analogy, as you very often like to do, it's a bit like using your best player to also take someone else's kick in a penalty shootout.

I can't see it happening but wouldn't it be of great interest if the MDs of those bands that did 'cut and paste' could give us an insight into why they actually found it necessary.

Was it a musical decision or just the fact that our elite Championship section is not as well endowed with quality players throughout it's ranks as we are led to believe?

From experience I find that last suggestion hard to believe. Perhaps then it was a question of temperament? After all, 2nd baritone players are not usually called upon to perform as a solo voice - unlike Euphonium and Cornet - and The Albert Hall stage can be a very lonely place for those of a nervous disposition!

This raises the question should we penalise those bands who 'cut and paste'  by deducting points or should we adopt a more forgiving attitude and accept it as part and parcel of contesting when there is so much at stake, particularly at this level?

I for one would be particularly interested in the views of Adjudicators on this point.

Rob Burnett

Dumfounded by National result

I was wondering if anyone, like myself and those with me, was totally dumbfounded by the result at the National Finals?
I am a musician and brass bandsman who simply travelled to London to listen to the Nationals and never before have I been so incensed by the decision of the adjudicators as I was on this occasion.
Whilst I know the ‘we was robbed’ chestnut is and always will be a well-known part of banding, as a neutral I have witnessed many results that may have been slightly baffling but by the next day we’re all at home and life goes on. 

This one however for me and I suspect thousands others is not like that...... Dyke weren’t 8th and even given personal preference, composer consultation, interpretation etc, there is no way they could have been.

I suspect you know that, I know that and everyone else in the Albert Hall knew that.... except for 3 chaps it would seem. 

The general feeling was Cory, Dyke, Brighouse in any particular order given the above factors, but not Dyke at 8th below some very less convincing performances which were placed above them.
Having listened to all 20 bands I arrived at the end of the day with the top performances in my head, the sorting of which being the job of the hopefully professional and experienced adjudicators

Their efforts I actually found saddening - not for me but for the movement. How did it happen?
Do you guys have a view on this one and do you have any plans to ask questions in the right places as you are well known for doing sometimes?
Steve Wearne

Depth of feeling...
Having attended the National Championships I would like to register my own opinions. 

Whilst I speak only for myself, I assure you my sentiments were shared by many of those around me.
I suppose I should start with a big positive, which is that this seemed to me to be the best attended contest for some years. This is very encouraging so, in spite of the other dreadful things that happened I would keep coming to support our great brass bands.
Although it is sad that the evening concerts have ceased, the alternative short concerts that take place whilst the judges make up their minds, have been very successful and welcomed by all.

That said the programme choices this year were rather bland and uninspiring. Also, the wonderful playing of Lesley Howie could not be heard. However, the Glyn Williams item was very entertaining.
However, I doubt I will be able to find the words to adequately express the depth of feeling I and many others felt regarding the poor standard of adjudication.

It was I my opinion, so blatantly biased against Black Dyke and towards one of last year’s adjudicators that when the result was announced I, and a huge number of others across the hall, experienced a simultaneous stomach wrenching feeling of unbelief and grave disappointment.

I really do think that, in the interests of probity, poachers and gamekeepers should not in future be allowed to go back and forward between the two positions.
I am an ex army bandmaster who has attended the National for years and along with many other people, including a currently serving Director of Music whom I was sitting close to, I am knowledgeable and experienced enough to follow a score, listen to the performances and make as educated and informed a decision as any of the judges.

This army of experts must not be taken for granted or treated with disrespect or contempt. Most years I am able to spot the top four performances even though the judges and I might disagree as to the final positions.

However, there are occasions when one performance stands out so plainly that even the uninitiated and less able critics know who the winner should be. This was one of those years.

Up until band number 18 played Cory were, in my book, in first place although they were being run close by bands such as Fairey, Foden’s and Brighouse.

The performance by Black Dyke was without doubt the best performance, technically, expressively and interpretively, so how our representatives, the judges, missed it is unbelievable.

Even more unbelievable is that they could place this stunning and scintillating playing and uniquely expansive and rich sound outside the top six. Even on their worst day ever Black Dyke could not have conspired against themselves to produce a rendition of this level of test piece that would place them so low. 

We are all now left wondering was this because the judges were inept, conspiratorially vindictive or individually dishonest?
The inclusion of Dr Chris Davis in the adjudicating panel I believe could be part of the problem.

He does not have the proven experience that would give the bands and the audience confidence in his ability to judge at this level.

It would therefore, be a good idea if he first went and served his time as a conductor of one of these competing bands for some years, and only after demonstrating that he was capable of achieving a regular top four placing, might he be deemed ready to fairly and impartially represent us in the adjudicator’s box.

I am also wondering why he, as the most junior of the judges, was the one to give their summary to the assembled aficionados.

There is something significant about the fact that when he stated that the best performance was more about interpretation than notes and that the judges where happy with their decision, I turned to my wife and said, “…that sounds suspiciously like an advance apology for having reached a decision he knows is the wrong one.”

Personally, after getting this result so spectacularly wrong I would not let any of these adjudicators anywhere near the Nationals or any other contest again.

They have proven themselves to be either incapable or worse. Whatever the reason the brass band public will not trust them again. 

I and so many others felt cheated. I cannot begin to imagine what the Black Dyke band members must be feeling. I just hope that this debacle will not be the catalyst for a return to dwindling attendances.
Brian Cunningham

Check the DK facts...

You might want to check one of your facts on the DK article.

Dave left Swinton Band 6 weeks before the 1989 British Open win (under Garry Cutt). I know, because I was 1st trombone in the band at this time.

He took Dyke to the Open. I think they came 4th. Swinton had a party in Leigh (nr Manchester) that night... in Barry Parkinson's house (ex Leyland baritone) and Dave attended the celebrations... therefore he could not have taken the band to Pontins that year.

He did take them to victory at Pontins in '88, but not 1989.

Steve Walker

4BR Reply:
Thanks Steve – We have amended the article.

Aussie focus...

With your focus on Terra Australis, I thought I should share a synopsis I wrote on the piece in 2007 when we played it in Australia - I know the article was widely quoted at many pre-contest concerts at the time!!
Well, we’ve had a few blow-throughs of ‘Terra Australis’, and I now feel able to interpret the piece.
It appears the composer considers Australia to be a land of excitement, where whip-bearing archaeologists run from vast rolling boulders, and dodge poison darts from the blowpipes of the natives.
It moves sedately to a section which sounds a bit like Elgar on speed, as if to describe that parts of this great land - well at least a little skinny part closed to the sea - that resembles old mother England, with rolling green hills and fields, except that instead of being slow enough to lay in the grass and look leisurely into the sky, the music feels like it’s playing at double the speed to keep you moving in order to keep ahead of the flies, snakes and poisonous spiders crawling into your shorts.

The music reverts back to the jungle vines and intrepid explorers escaping from snake pits with upward facing spikes and growling, prowling wildlife.
A lyrical section follows, where every instrument in the band seems to share a short part of the solo, often at the same time, representing a land where everyone gets a say until the euphonium declares itself a republic and starts to play a very patriotic interpretation of ‘Advance Australia Fair’.
Back to the jungle for a wee while until the refrains of the last chase scene from “The Phantom of the Opera” start to ring out, representing that, as Australia has very little culture of it’s own, it expresses itself by grabbing everyone else’s and shoving it on a stage in Melbourne.
Back to jungle antics for a few bars before a dreamy sequence, no doubt brought on from either a dehydrated, or drunken slumber.

Competition for solo lines ensues again in homage of a nation where no one will just shut up!
It moves to the sound track of a movie where little Johnny has graduated from college having defied his crippling combination of polio and Gehrig’s disease to make that last-second touchdown in the final game to win it for the college team.

He throws his mortar board hat high in the air to the beautiful middle strains of America the Beautiful. “America, America, God Shed His Grace on Thee…” demonstrating that Australia sees itself as a mini-USA, with it’s “we’re number one - woo woo” attitude.
This graduation scene is then interrupted once more by the poisonous darts of the loin-clothed natives, taking us back onto our quest for the missing artifacts as the pieces crashes to a tumultuous halt – as if to predict that the land will suddenly run out of water and everyone will have to move to Tasmania, New Zealand or Christmas Island.
Before I start getting “hate responses” you will all have to realize this is all in parody, especially in regard to false Aussie stereotypes (and not so false??).

All joking aside, it’s a very good piece, and will be enjoyable to play and listen to.

Fendall Hill

Helping with disabilities

I was wondering if there is a forum or web site available for disabled brass band players, where they can upload their experiences of contests/concert venues and any pitfalls they may have incurred, and how they overcome them, and where promoters of such events can get feedback on how to overcome difficulties that disabled players have to meet.

It would greatly benefit people who can erase any problems before they get there.

For example, I am severely visually impaired, but with the aid of specially made glasses and publishing software I can just manage to join in.

I was in Ammanford recently and have to say that accessibility getting on/off stage was a total breeze, the band holding area was also a breeze - a real easy venue.

But when I played in the pavilion in Porthcawl earlier in the year it was very difficult - lots of steps, very dark.

To be fair if I had contacted the promoters more than likely they would have give me access a different way, so perhaps I need to speak up a bit and get more confident.

I receive a lot of support from my banding friends and like to thank them for it, as it is greatly appreciated.

Also there are lots of different aids out there for disabled people but where are they?

We have to spend ages searching, so it would make life far easier if it was on one site.

Anyone know of a publisher that will print parts in larger print?

Cheryl Meredith

Cobb bias

I am somewhat bemused by the attention surrounding Dr Cobb' recent accolade which is in no doubt well deserved.

I cannot hide my bias as I grew up with the man and still prefer to call him Steve.

Steve is not a man to crow about his achievements but wake up and smell the coffee guys!

His tenure of the ISB is approaching Bernard Adams' status and I cannot believe that after years as being National Bandmaster that he is unknown to the majority of SA bandsmen.

He has spent much of his life travelling the country much to the loss of his beautiful wife, Elaine (I should have married her!!) and his sons Matthew and Philip.

Steve has always been a great champion of his musicians and his encouragement to me to write music will never be forgotten.

For myself, I cannot doubt that his greatest achievement was in creating a brass band culture in the most unlikely of areas, namely the London Borough of Brent which to this day still boasts a Championship section band in Regent Brass of which I have been a proud member for the last 25 years.

He employed the likes of Linda Nicholson and Paul Fensom (both Mortimer Medal winners), need I say more.

The only downside is that Steve ruined my day when I scored a hat-trick against the Farm but due to his poor impression of Bobby Moore (both good looking guys admittedly!), we lost 5-4.

Live long and prosper Steve!

P.S- Any chance of Matthew playing for us at the Areas!!
Philip Doe

Bemused by Tovey

I too was bemused by Bram Tovey's response to calls about Dr Stephen Cobb's suitability for the Illes Medal.

Bram is 100,000 times the musician I will ever be, but his 'rant' made no real sense to me and read very much like 'a combination of words that looked nice together ' David Crane (or so he calls himself) said in his recent letter.
First of all, let me say that Dr. Cobb is a fine musician and extremely capable conductor of brass bands. His long term work with and commitment to The ISB and Hendon should be applauded.

As for bringing about a ‘revolution in SA banding’ - that is highly questionable.
His role as Territorial Music Director: I am a Salvationist bandsman and have not once met Dr Cobb or had the opportunity to sit in one of his rehearsals.

Similarly, I have not heard of him attending 'grass roots' corps to conduct rehearsals - often Derick Kane and Andrew Blyth (who both work in his department) have undertaken this particular responsibility.

If I am wrong here, I would be interested to see his diary for the last 12 months to see how much of that has been devoted to direct contact and influence on 'regular' army corps.

Even if he did do it, it's actually his job to do so, as TMD is not a voluntary post!

I recall that the National Bandmaster (the role preceding that of TMD) often took the incumbent away for several weeks at a time, conducting rehearsals each night, and directing concerts and helping to lead worship services on weekends.

This is not a thing from the past, look at some of the mileage and work put in by Divisional Music Directors in the USA now and they stack up to a similar level.
Encouragement of younger players: There is no doubt that his creation of the Territorial Youth Band has provided much encouragement to talented young players in the SA but has done more for providing players for the contesting world than it has for its own movement, with few decent outlets and expressions available to young players within it.

As for 'graduation' to The ISB - ask yourself how many of its current players are under the age of 40, I don't have exact figures, but I think the answer would be, not many!
Being the father of the recently appointed LSO principal trumpet: OK - Stephen will have been a huge influence on Philip but that is not a valid reason to award such a prestigious award.
Bridging the gap between SA and non-SA bands: Well, the ISB has undertaken 1/2 a dozen concerts with high profile non-SA bands such as Black Dyke, Cory etc, but really, how difficult and groundbreaking is that?

Bandmaster Williams was doing that with Enfield Citadel long before that particular pattern started and they did not seem to encounter the same difficulty with getting permission for James Watson etc to conduct the band as clearly Hendon did with Bram Tovey in 1989.
Advocacy of SA music to the 'unwashed': Dr Tovey may want to revise his statement as it was under Robert Redhead's watch as head of music in the SA that the decision was taken to release its catalogue to the wider world of banding.
This will end up sounding like a 'Cobb bash', but it really is not.

He does strike me as a humble and sincere individual who seems genuinely surprised to receive such an award. It's certainly not an SA/SP&S bash either, as its involvement in 'secular' banding has been mainly positive in my view.

I can just think of dozens of people who are more deserving for the award. People who go beyond their paid employment and in some cases devote most of their own time to the movement, often making huge sacrifices.

I do get the feeling that medals of this nature are awarded to those whose 'faces fit' and who are 'seen' to be doing something worthwhile, rather than those who actually are.
John Sullivan

Talking heads
It gave me great pleasure to switch on TV and as it happened, see the Commonwealth Games and Rebecca Adlington on the stand for winning the toughest swimming race, they said (800m), together with a fine brass band playing ‘Jerusalem’.

Not so good however was the BBC's ‘talking heads’ afterwards, having the gratuitous cheek to criticise the team's and country's choice of music for England's turn on the rostrum - a continuation of the BBC's generally patronising attitude to brass bands and their music.

They should have really looked at the England Team website which states: “This is a great and dynamic England team and I think we’ll go home having made our country proud.” -  Craig Hunter  

"The English anthem  Nation has chosen anthem for England's medallists  And did those feet in Ancient times walk upon England’s mountains green.....  

On St George's Day 2010 England announced that they would let the nation decide which anthem is to be played at this year’s Games in Delhi by allowing the public to vote for the song of their choice - and ‘Jerusalem’ was chosen.

Now we can reveal that the anthem has been recorded for us by The Grimethorpe Colliery Band one of England’s most highly respected brass bands who are famous for their award winning soundtrack to the film “Brassed Off”.  

We are delighted that the anthem, which will be listened to by millions of viewers of the Games, was chosen by the proud English nation, recorded by a proud English band and celebrates our proud English athletes ...”

J. Gray

Above Parr

I was just wondering if it would be possible for you to put out a huge thank you and congratulations To the Parr Band (St Helens)

Who won at Fleetwood last Saturday, despite the recent poor results, and pulled out a performance that was unbelievable considering the struggle over the years.

In the conductor John Ludden’s words, he is “Over the moon with the performance, We couldn’t have played better and it’s fantastic to see that Parr are once again a band to be feared”

As I mentioned earlier, the band are playing fantastically at the moment and I am extremely happy to see this, given the fact that I’ve been in the band for 10 years and seen some very difficult times where there have been struggles for players etc.

Lewis Sanderson

Ranking return?

My band, Severn Tunnel, have just returned to contesting and the band were wondering when we will qualify to return to the rankings ladder?
Alex McGEe
MD Severn Tunnel Band

4BR Reply:

If you are contesting then you are back on the rankings ladder – even if it is a fair way down to start…

Refreshing parental input

How refreshing to read Iestyn Davies and his thoughts on the Harrogate experience as a parent.

Once again our organisation falls into 'amateurish' category - a pity as many contests are run smoothly and effectively.

But what lessons will we learn from this?

Not many as this is not the first time.

Many of the points Iestyn made need careful consideration, and may be we need to restate the intentions of the day. By that I mean is it a contest mainly for the competing bands and the adjudicators or is it an event to attract an audience?

If nothing else, please will the organisers take note of the article and even engage in a dialogue with astute people like Iestyn.

Go on we might improve!
Dave Bishop-Rowe

What’s in a name?
Along with most of the banding community over the last week or so, I've been enjoying your coverage of the finals at Harrogate and would like to thank you for the time and effort that’s clearly been put in by the 4BR team.

Could you please explain why you never refer to the event by its proper name?

According to all the paperwork, the organisers, the winner’s banners and all the competing bands it is the National Brass Band Championships, not the ‘Lower Section Finals’ as you so patronisingly insist on labelling it at every opportunity.  

Just because the Championship Section final doesn't happen on the same day (and that’s a whole other debate for another day!) doesn't mean it is any less important to the hundreds of bands in sections 1-4, or any less worthy of being given the correct title.  

All the qualifying bands have worked hard and earned the right to be there, and the bands of the Harrogate area are proud to 'host' and support so many of the competitors, so it would be nice to see the event accorded the respect it deserves.  
Vicky Fisher

War of the Roses

Just to add fuel to the ongoing War of the Roses, has anyone noticed the respective results from Harrogate?

In Section 1: North West scored a 2nd & 14th: Yorkshire - 17th & 18th
In Section 2: Yorkshire claimed 3rd & 4th: North West - 6th & 9th
In Section 3: North West bagged 1st, 6th & 10th: Yorkshire – 12th & 13th
In Section 4: North West walked away with a 1st, 2nd & 3rd: Yorkshire - 9th & 13th
And they say the war of the roses ended years ago?  


All in good fun.

Jim Owen
Old Hall Brass

Pot, kettle, black…

I have watched with interest the debate concerning Stephen Cobb's receipt of the Iles Medal and was utterly bemused by Bram Tovey's self-indulgent and gloriously nonsensical input.

In particular I draw attention to the part of his letter that 4BR chose to quote at the bottom of the homepage:
"As Territorial Music Director and Bandmaster of the ISB, Stephen Cobb’s doctorate lends considerable prestige to the SA in the competitive world of church music."
Firstly, anyone can get a doctorate these days if you're prepared to put the work in.

Secondly, you suggest one person having a doctorate 'lends prestige' to an international Christian charity?!! Remarkable (and utter nonsense)!  

And thirdly – please enlighten me as to the 'competitive world of church music'??

Competition is the antithesis of church music, so quite what Mr Tovey is talking about here is anyone's guess. You'd be forgiven for thinking this sentence is merely a combination of words that looked nice together but unfortunately doesn't make any sense. You'd also be right.
The other bit I'd like to pick up on is: ‘Stephen Cobb and Trevor Caffull have spearheaded a revolution in the way the Salvation Army has treated its own bandsmen and women.’

Sorry, Bram - I didn't realise you had been an active Salvation Army bandsman in recent years...!

I am aware of your SA roots but please don't presume to make comments of this nature from the outside. The vast majority of SA bandspeople have never even met Mr Cobb, let alone experienced this 'revolution' in the way they're treated (and what do you mean by ' revolution in the way they're treated' anyway - in what context/when/how??) you talk about.

 'Ad Hominem' you say. Pot, kettle, black I'd say!
David Crane
GCSE, A-Level, MA, PHD, Cycling proficiency, 25 yards breastroke

Not all against the SA

Interesting to note that now Dr Stephen Cobb has become a target for those who believe in the SA conspiracy theory and continually denigrate the partnership between secular bands and their SA counterparts?

Fortunately, Bramwell Tovey has eloquently answered the latest derogatory comments made about the recipient of the Iles Medal, Dr Cobb.

However, it is difficult to understand why a faction within the brass band "movement" finds the involvement of the SA so insidious, and even suggests a take-over by stealth?

In a period when many feel that brass bands are a dying art (I don't) we should embrace these partnerships wherever possible and build a future based on trust and enterprise.

People such as Trevor Caffull have worked extremely hard to build these relationships and has displayed a great deal of passion and drive in the way he (and others) have supported and regenerated the band movement over the last few years.

I hope that both Dr Stephen Cobb and Trevor Caffull understand that not all people in the brass band movement are against them!
David Hirst

Household reporting

I would like to reiterate and expand on Nick Garman's sentiments as to the level of reporting on the Household Troops Band's concert at Bridgewater Hall.

It is not just that the some of the facts were incorrect, such as the soloist being named as David Robson (it's actually Daniel Robson), or even that Erik Leidzen's name is spelt incorrectly, but also that the article is written with such a sense of authority.

Also some research into the repertoire would have been welcome so that we are not told what we already know (or what we didn't know in this case - 'Able' written by Heaton?!)

I would have thought anyone who critiques on a mainstream website should have some form of qualification to be able to do so, and it would be nice to see a copy of Malcolm Wood's credits on the site somewhere.

Glyn Edwards

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