2012: September

From the Registry and Cheltenham to miners, orders and the late, great Iwan Williams...

Why a Registry?

Can anyone explain why we need a Registry at all?

After hearing about the story of the poor lad at the Lower Section Finals with Norfolk Wherry Band, perhaps what we need are more sympathetic officials.

No rival band would have complained given the mess the British Brass Band Registry service is in at the moment if he had been allowed to play?

Surely they couldn’t have thought the band was trying to cheat.

Helen Phillips

4BR comfort

Brilliant coverage of the 4th Section Finals.

Have enjoyed the Twitter feeds and comments plus the sound file interviews and thoughts. 

Results posted very quickly.

Well done. Have enjoyed following it all from the comfort of my home.

Ian Moffett
Marple Band

Poor Fourth Section test piece

Being at Cheltenham I enjoyed the 4BR National Finals coverage on my iphone, even if your predictions were a bit wonky at times!

Just a point though. Why was the Fourth Section test piece so poor?

Was this really the best the organisers could come up with – it sounded like a GCSE school project.

With the greatest respect to the obviously talented Jonathan Bates – but he has still got a great deal to learn about composing test pieces: It’s not all about copying ideas and using what sounded suspiciously like Sibelius to put it all together.

It is not often the Fourth Section is boring to listen to, but with so many bands on the day, this went on far too long on a piece of music that on this occasion wasn’t up to the task required.

Allan Munton

More miners

I think I can double your number of deep mine brass band coal miners.

Both play with Bedworth Brass (the local colliery band folded some years ago) and work at Daw Mill Pit near Coventry.

Jack Hawkins plays bass and Melvin Knight trombone.

Maybe we can scrape together enough miners for a full band?
Lesley Grant

Great but sad  

Many thanks for the article on the last brass band miners.

It was a great read and quite a sad one too.

There was a time when the mining industry and brass bands seemed to be bound together forever.

Now it is just another part of our history. A tale of our times.

Peter Scott

Standing orders?

With reference to the habit of standing players up at the end of a contest performance.

Why is it that the only people considered in this discussion are the Musical Directors and any gullible adjudicators?

Can we please not forget that there are 25-30 other people on the stage at any contest performance? Surely the players deserve their chance in the spotlight?

A contest is the culmination of weeks of work from any band and if someone has put in a performance of note or has attained a milestone in their playing they should not be denied a moment of congratulations by an appreciative audience.

I myself have had a number of contests where the MD has stood me up to take an individual applause and I can tell you there is no better way to end a contest. I understand that there are some that do take the practice to the extreme but a blanket ban is not the answer.

Perhaps open adjudication would end it as there is no need to try and fool the inexperienced in the box or maybe that is a debate better left for another time.

Simon Moffatt

Senaille recording

In response to Joy Inglis who was looking for a recording of the Senaille Intro and Allegro Spiritoso.

I know I've heard a recording of this because my dad had one when I was a lass! 

I think his was John Clough and Black Dyke. 

I couldn't find it anywhere, but I did find this website which includes one of the Senaille played by CWS Manchester in 1963: http://www.euphonium.webspace.virginmedia.com/Solos.htm

Hope this helps

Amanda Aitken

Death of Ian Williams

I was saddened to learn of the death of Iwan Williams. 

For me, one of the greatest lyrical players ever to play a brass instrument and undoubtedly, the finest flugel player, I’ve ever had the pleasure to listen to.
I recall my father complimenting him after his performance on ‘Les Preludes’ at the Open in 2001 where he seemed slightly embarrassed to have received praise. 

Although I didn't know him at all, I asked Iwan whether he would like to contribute to a 4BR article in 2011 for the English Nationals and he was more than happy to pass on some thoughts.
He gave us all some great musical memories down the years and a solo CD recording that anyone who wants to know how to play flugel should hear.
The phrase 'a one off' is regularly used nowadays, but he was a different class.
Malcolm Wood

Forbidden practice

May I add my support to the recent comments made by Mr. Stephen Hughes regarding the behaviour of some of the so-called band enthusiasts at the recent British Open.
At the Open I noted that the playing time of each band was in the region of around twelve and half to fourteen minutes. However the average time in between each performance was an astounding 10 minutes, which gives a total of almost 3 hours of wasted time!

Regarding Mr. Hughes’ comments concerning the bringing to the front of stage individual players, is it not now time that this practice was forbidden?

Frank Wood

Shorter test pieces

I agree with the 4BR observation that it is about time we started to play shorter test pieces.

Martin Ellerby did us all a favour with his excellent ‘Electra’ at the British Open.

It contained enough challenges in the first movement to keep all the technical fans happy, plenty of music in the middle movement to keep the romantics happy, and a short burst of power and excitement to close to stop any oldies falling asleep in the audience.

It may have been a short test piece – but it did its job wonderfully well.

It also meant I got home from Birmingham at a reasonable hour too.

Stephen Elton

Pathetic MDs

Steven Hughes made a very valid point about the increasingly pathetic attempts by MDs to engineer extended applause at the end of performance at major events.

It has become ridiculous – and shows a complete lack of professionalism, with the worst culprits some of the best known MDs.  

I don’t think it will be long before we get the first appearance of the band tea lady or even the bus driver on stage, or the first bouquet of flowers presented to an emotional conductor to thank him for his world class efforts in producing a performance of mind numbing mediocrity.

It’s time for some of these egotistical conductors to get a reality check.

Paul Histon

Looking for love...

Just a little suggestion - have you ever thought about including a dating site for us single brass band nuts who are finding it extremely difficult to find like-minded enthusiasts on any other internet dating site? 

There must be loads of unattached bandsmen and women who would love the opportunity to make more musical friends.  You could call it 'Duets' or something!

Keep up the fantastic work. I love 4barsrest!


4BR Reply:
Thanks Gilly. No we haven’t – our wives and partners would kill us....

Booze up in a brewery  

I read with dismay that the BFBB will now become BBE (Brass Bands England).

Same old, same old. Same people, different name, nothing new. Don’t these people realise they are holding the movement back. The way forward was the UKBA, with forward looking people.

The people running BFBB/BBE have proved time and time again that they couldn’t run a booze up in a brewery.

It is seriously time for these people to go before there is nothing to preside over.

Peter Roberts

A working Registry?

Does anyone really know if the British Brass Band Registry is actually working correctly or not?

On one hand we are told it is, and on the other the main contests such as the Nationals are withdrawing their support.

Do we actually need a registry at all, or can we leave contest promoters to do their own thing.

The British Open seemed to work OK.

James Manning

The reason behind the empty seats

If 4BR really wants to know why less and less people are attending the British Open then there is a simple answer.

Neutrals are getting fed up with the antics of conductors and supporters at the end of performances.

It has become tasteless, crass and at times, downright offensive.

I was sat in a section of the hall which contained sponsors, highly respected former conductors, adjudicators and many people who had come simply to enjoy the music making in the right spirit.

At the end of at least three so called ‘named bands’ we were treated to a chorus of moronic whistling and cheers from some ‘supporters’ – responses that bore little appreciation to the performances themselves.

The odd thing was that they seemed to go on as long as the conductor down on the stage brought every last player to their feet to take a misplaced bow at the front of the stage.

Thankfully the judges were not moved – unlike a number of the audience who simply got up and left their seats.

Stephen Hughes

Well done lads  

Just a quick note to say thank you for the coverage 4BR provided at the British Open.

Really enjoyed the live coverage, even if I didn’t always agree with the comments you made at times!

Great pictures from Ian Clowes and the retrospectives certainly made you think.

Well done.

Julian Jones

Opinions or predictions?

Well done for your coverage of the British Open, it is a valuable service to those who could not be there.

Can you clarify what you mean by '4BR prediction' at the end of your live comments?

Is this the order your writer would have them in if he was judging OR the order he believes the judges will place them in?

The two in many cases could be different.

Peter Richardson

Looking for a CD

Please could you help me I am looking for a CD which as the music on it called Introduction and Spiritoso by JB Senaille and arranged by Denis Wright.
My husband plays the euphonium and the band he plays for would like him to play this piece so he would like to hear how it should be played before he attempts it.
I have looked in all the usual places I can find the sheet music but we have that, I would be extremely grateful for any help you can give me.
Joy Inglis

Luton Brass Band - Masterclass with David Daws

Wednesday 27 September • St Augustine's Church, Luton LU3 2JR

South Yorkshire Police -

Saturday 30 September • Sheffield Catherdral. Church Street. Sheffield. S1 1HA

Epping Forest Band - Thundersley Brass Band

Saturday 30 September • Salvation Army Hall, Hadleigh, Essex SS7 20F

Friary Brass Band - guest soloist Tom Smith

Saturday 30 September • Trinity Methodist Church. Brewery Road. Woking GU21 4LH

Contest: Bolsover Festival of Brass

Saturday 30 September • Shirebrook Academy, Common Lane, Shirebrook. Derbyshire NG20 8QF

Ringwood and Burley Band

September 29 • Musical Director required for a friendly, non-contesting band. We take part at various local events and also present two concerts annually. Rehearsals are held weekly in Ringwood, Hampshire. There are vacancies for players to join us.

Harlow Brass Band

September 29 • Seeking a MUSICAL DIRECTOR - We are a friendly, non-contesting band who play to a good standard. We hold our own Spring and Christmas concerts and provide entertainment at various local events throughout the year.

East of England Co-op Band

September 27 • We are looking for an Eb or Bb bass player to fill a vacancy due to a player's relocation. We are a friendly and ambitious Championship section band who rehearse in Ipswich, Suffolk on a Monday evening. We have a healthy concert and contest diary.

Michael Bennett

BSc, RNCM (Perf)
Performer, Composer, Arranger, Teacher


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