2015: January

The return of the comments (which now include comments made on the 4BR Facebook site).

From Brass in Concert and Butlins to player shortages, poverty and Je Suis Charlie...

No tick boxes at Brass in Concert

There are no expectations or tick boxes imposed by the organising management of the Brass in Concert Championship.

It is quite the reverse, as in line with our mission statement the rules state that the contest is free of artistic restriction. 

Bands perform at a top-class venue with up-to-date facilities, and are able to choose how they use these and the stage space. The only restriction imposed upon them is on overall performance duration.

In respect of the point made about good music played well, the current adjudication structure ensures that 60% of marks are allocated to quality of performance.

The Brass in Concert Championship Mission Statement reads:

‘The Brass in Concert Championship strives to provide a platform for the finest brass bands in the world to display, free of artistic restriction, their excellence as performers of high quality original and arranged brass band music, through programmers and presentation reflecting the most current and progressive form of the genre and designed to appeal to both the general listener and aficionados of the discipline.’

Careful examination of the current judging system will show that all of the points contained in the mission statement are addressed and taken into account in what we consider to be the correct proportion in the adjudication of the contest.

John Woods
On Behalf of Brass in Concert Championships Ltd

Player shortages

A lot of the recent posts in this group and other brass band-related pages are advertising for players to fill vacancies at bands preparing for the regional contests. 

I'm aware that bands in my part of the world (North Wales), particularly in the lower sections, are struggling to find players, but the problem seems to be UK-wide. It isn't difficult to imagine that a number of these bands will have to withdraw from contests if they are unable to find and register the players they need

Is it time to have a root and branch review of the registration system in order to make it a bit more flexible I wonder? 

Perhaps relax the rules with regard to borrowing players from other bands? 

Whilst I understand the purpose of the registration system, it would appear that some bands are abusing it by registering players under a false name, so 'Fred Smith' might be playing with a 4th Section band in one region and perhaps his apparent identical twin, 'Harry Jones', is playing with another band, either in a different region or possibly the same one, but in a different section. 

If the current system allows such abuses to take place then surely it is time the whole process was looked at...

Brian Mottershead

Posted on the 4BR Group Facebook Page

Cynical attempt

Having read you review of the Championship Section at the Butlins Mineworkers Championship, I agree with you viewpoint about the ‘need’ for so called ‘elite’ bands to borrow star players to be able to compete at such contests.

We all know players have jobs, family and other commitments, but it has also become an easy excuse to use for bringing in players from other bands (Cory seem to have been well represented this year).

As you suggested - it does look at times to be like a rather cynical and depressing attempt by bands to pad out their resources in key positions. How many did in fact have to borrow a second cornet player as you said?

Why can’t Butlins stop this in the top section at least? Any band that cannot field a full complement of players at this level should be playing at this level in the first place.
It’s strange how they can all field a full band come the Areas?

Stephanie Richardson

Pleading poverty

I have just read your article about the lack of entries for the top section at Butlins and agree with your well put arguments entirely. 

In an era when bands are appearing on television and radio begging for cash, how can they ignore the obvious chance of winning some?  

It further beggars belief when I see players there guesting with other bands. 

I am tempted to consider putting together a scratch band of players, in aid of charity and competing. But would this be fair?

Would Butlins be happy with relaxing registration rules to allow it?

Sadly, I suspect we will all still enjoy a fantastic event,  but muse long and hard as to what the top section could be like given some thought from the so called elite bands. 

Kevin Holdgate

Ideas on the back of a march card please...

I've been depping with a few bands recently and note that there are several in the 4th, at least one in the 3rd, and another in the 2nd Section that are struggling to field a band for the Yorkshire Area in March. 

Lack of cornets seems to be the main but certainly not only problem.

Nice though it is to catch up with other deps playing gigs with a range of bands, I do wonder how this replicates across the country.

Is the banding movement dying at its grass roots base? And what might be done about it? 

Ideas on the back of a march card ...

Russell Cavanagh

Silver trumpet for a Golden Jubilee

I was very interested to see your recent topic on Royal Patronage of the West of England Bandsmens Festival (Bugle Band Festival).


Your stated that a bandsman was presented with a silver trumpet at the Golden Jubilee event in 1974, but no name was give. Does anyone know who won it?

Ann Hawkey

Wrong composer

Your review of ‘Cairo Red Shield’ on a Black Dyke CD, ‘World Class Marches of the Salvation Army Vol 2’ incorrectly states that it was written by Arthur Raikes.

It was written by Albert Stanley Raikes who was until he passed away in 1993, my grandfather.
There are numerous incorrect references on the internet which of course are almost self-perpetuating, although I would be very grateful if you would please correct your review as soon as possible.

Viv McMillan

Shocked by Je Suis Charlie

I was shocked to see your website has a large 'Je Suis Charlie' image on the homepage and on closer inspection there is no editorial or relevant story attached to it, so it is purely a political statement. 

Whilst I have strong views on the events in Paris and the wider global situation regarding freedom and terrorism I was disappointed to see a brass band news journal using their website to convey such messages. 

Obviously freedom of speech says you have every right to advertise and promote whatever you would like to, however I don't recall seeing you take a stance on other political / global issues such as UK austerity, the NHS, immigration (excluding brass players being flown in for a contest) or 9/11. 

Personally, I hope the site isn't going to continue in this vein.

Steve March

Posted on the 4BR Group Facebook page
172 responses were written by readers

Welcome back

Welcome back 4BR comments. Great opportunity for all of us to voice our points of view so I hope you get the support for this section from fellow readers.

As we start to prepare for the areas, I wish everyone involved the very best. 

We have been given some great pieces to test us this year and the panel should be congratulated.

Should make for a good showcase of our music, and keep audiences interested.

Graham Rix

Looking for help

I am looking for some information regarding a 78rpm record that was recorded by my grandfather William (Bill) Clegg. 

He was the soprano cornet player with the famous Bickershaw Colliery Band and a former winner of the Alexander Owen Scholarship in 1928. 

He recorded ‘The Nightingale’ on the 78rpm, but we have never been able to find a replacement to the one I broke by sitting on it as a little girl!
Can anyone help?

Susan Butler


Congratulations on the return of the comments section - although it has taken you some time to sort out!

I see it coincides with your usual attacks on Brass Bands England and other bodies who are trying to do something good for the brass band movement.

Still, on this occasion with respect to their claims about directly raising money for bands, you may be right.

We do need to support BBE - so perhaps you will also praise them when they do achieve something of note?

Ian Lancaster

Pointless BiC

What has happened to the Brass in Concert Championship?

It used to be an occasion when we sat back and enjoyed the music making - brass band music making that is, without the need for voice-overs, films and light shows.

Now bands have to try and tick as many of the boxes imposed on them by the contest organisers: Whatever happened to good music played well?

It’s not often I feel sorry for the judges, but their ability to make informed decisions is rendered pointless by a scoring system that nobody really understands or appreciates.

David Warren

Compare and contrast

All other countries have a link to bring up their own list (e.g.  New Zealand etc.) in your ranking system, so why do you not have one which brings up all of the UK?
I’m interested in seeing how my band is ranked against its contemporary’s across the whole of the UK not the rest of the world (and not just in the region)
I don’t think you can compare bands in places like the US and NZ with British bands as we compete in different circles with different standards of competition, and so whilst a worldwide ranking is useful to know, I’m not sure how accurate it is when you look further down the list.
Jeremy Home

What alternatives?

I recently read with interest and sadness the past comments, 'Adjudicating Guidelines' by J. Hughes, and I guess a timely riposte 'Insulting to Judges' by Paul Cosh. 

Isn't it an increasing and disappointing trend to look for others to blame for our own short comings/failures. 

My favourite poem is 'The man in the Glass' and encapsulates perfectly the need for us to look at ourselves before pointing the finger at others. 

Adjudicating is a thankless task: Only one band is ever going to be truly happy and we often forget it is totally subjective often determined by individual tastes. 

I have played at Championship level most of my banding career and sit in awe at the ability of adjudicators to differentiate between some quite outstanding performances. To get it right and do so whilst concentrating for periods of up to 7/8 hours is a thankless task? Try doing that at your place of work? 

In my experience there has never been a case of premeditated malice in the adjudicator box; only men and women of the highest integrity doing their best. I might not agree with them but that is totally different to what some continue to suggest is cheating.

So if some are so unhappy let's hear what the alternatives are? You don't always know what you have until you haven't got it!

Craig Williams

Risk integrity

It seems to me preposterous that anyone should object to conductors of bands competing in an Area contest, adjudicating in another Area in the same section. 

They will understand the DNA of the piece and therefore be well equipped to judge.

It is ludicrous and in my opinion, insulting, to believe that any adjudicator would risk their integrity by showing any bias.

Graham Rix

Just some more lookalikes...

Welsh adjudicator C Brian Buckley and the purveyor of a popular brand of fried chicken, Colonel Saunders

Richard Evans and Only Fools and Horses actor Buster Merryweather

Tom Davoren and Doctor Who number 4, Tom Baker.

David Horsfield and Barry Fitzgerald (old Irish actor in The Quiet Man)

Alan Fernie and Peter Kay (as Max in Phoenix Nights)

Professor Nicholas Childs (with moustache) and ‘Flog It!’ antiques expert Tim Wonnacott.

Brett Baker and Simon Bird (from the Inbetweeners)

Thanks to: 
Alec Gallagher
Andrew Brooks
Kenton Beard 
Bo Thompson

Pontardulais Town Band - Annual Concert - The storytellers present.....

Saturday 22 June • Pontarddulais Comprehensive School, Caecerrig Road, Pontarddulais. SA4 8PD

Boarshurst Silver Band - Sunday Brass Concert - Strata Brass

Sunday 23 June • Boarshurst Band Club, Greenbridge Lane OL3 7EW

Wotton-under-Edge Silver Band - Foden's Band

Sunday 23 June • Renishaw Innovation Centre,. New Mills, Kingswood, Wotton-under-Edge,. Gloucestershire GL12 8JR

West Midlands Police Band - Sovereign Brass and Brett Baker (Trombone)

Sunday 23 June • Tipton Green Methodist Church. Park Lane West. Tipton. Sandwell. DY1 4QF

Brass Bands England - Youth Fest 2024

Friday 28 June • Barnsley Civic, Hanson Street, Barnsley S70 2HZ

Dobcross Silver Band

June 23 • Dobcross Silver Band seek applications for the position of BASS TROMBONE to join our talented section . We are a progressive 3rd section band who work and play hard. This is a rare opportunity to be part of something rather special!

Rainford Band

June 22 • North West Championship Section Rainford Band are inviting applications for a Solo Baritone player. . We rehearse on Monday and Thursday evenings 19.45 - 21.45 in our band room with good links to M6 and M62 motorways.

Harlow Brass Band

June 20 • Come and join our friendly and welcoming band. We have vacancies for TROMBONES, BACK ROW CORNETS AND PERCUSSION. We hold our own Spring and Christmas Concerts and play at various local events throughout the year.

Andrew White

MA(Ed Man), B Ed (Hons), BBCM, ADNCB, PGCE, Cert Ed
Conductor, Arranger, Adjudicator & Educationist


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