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2011: September

This month we give our opinion on the Rothwell Incident, an ethical foreign policy and praise the backstage boys...

The Rothwell Incident

It may not readily seem it, but the player who sent adjudicator Kevin Wadsworth a text message that resulted in Rothwell Temperance having to withdraw from the Doctor Martin contest has done the brass band world a huge favour.

Whoever it was has shown us once and for all that in a 21st century age of technology, 19th century ideas of confidentiality are laughable.

As laudable the actions of Kevin Wadsworth, the Association of Brass Band Adjudicators, the contest organisers and Rothwell themselves after the incident was revealed, none of this needed to happen.

At any contest, at any competitive level, trust in the adjudicator the key.

Only two questions need ever be asked in this respect:

Do the organisers and the competitors trust in the choice of adjudicator having the necessary skills to judge the contest in question?

And if they do:

Do the organisers and competitors trust them to make those judgements with impartiality?

If both questions can be answered in the positive, forget the pretence to any form of halfway house confidentiality such as pre-draws etc – all of which as has been shown in the Rothwell incident, are open to abuse – from friend or foe alike.

If not – just get another judge.

In today’s technological age, we must have total transparency to gain total trust.
 
If we do, then let the adjudicator decide how they wish to judge a contest where they have full knowledge of who is competing and when.

It’s not that hard a concept to embrace if we do.

What do you think?
Send an email to:
comments@4barsrest.com


An ethical foreign policy

It was the late Robin Cook MP, who as Foreign Secretary became a hostage to fortune with his desire to implement an enforceable ‘ethical foreign’ policy.

Given how many overseas players are now seen performing at major (and minor) competitions, you do wonder if the time has come for contest organisers to try and implement such a policy too.

As welcome as it is to hear the very best players from around the world, it has fast become an excuse for bands to import, what can be seen as increasingly spurious, ‘uniforms of contesting convenience’.   

The best bands will always attract the best players – from home or abroad, but surely the time has come to insist on those players meeting an acceptable and readily transparent ‘qualification’ period before being able to take to the stage with their new bands.

Whatever rules are currently in place - from European Championship to domestic entertainment contests - they do not work, and are open to a degree of ethical manipulation even Tony Blair would have steered clear of.

The difficulty will of course be on how to implement new rules, but something at the very least must be seen to be done, before we witness the spectacle of a band forgoing any degree of ethical consciousness and taking to the contesting stage with a host of mercenary players with little or no direct connection to the band they profess to represent.

What do you think?
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comments@4barsrest.com


In praise of the backstage boys

It’s easy to forget those you do not see.

Thankfully, Malcolm Wood’s recent article on the backstage work of the army of volunteers who made the British Open Championship run so well was an eye opener.

Without these people, contests great and small would not exist, yet we take their outstanding contributions very much for granted.  We also assume they will continue to provide of their valuable time and energy for ever and a day too.

We should be so lucky, because for the most part they are a generation that is getting older and is not being replaced.

The Norwegians for instance, insist on young players taking an active role in contest administration at major events – a decision that sees their National Championships take place amid a buzz of youthful enthusiasm.

They learn from those who have done the backstage work before them.

If we are to enjoy brass band contests run as well as we have come to expect in the years to come, perhaps now is the time for the new generation in the UK to start lending a helping hand too.   

It will be gratefully accepted we are sure.

What do you think?
Send an email to:
comments@4barsrest.com



The Marple Band - Marple Band Family Christmas Concert

Friday 18 December • Marple Conservative Club, church Lane, Marple, SK6 6AY


Black Dyke Band - Brighouse & Rastrick, Huddersfield Town Hall

Saturday 27 March • Corporation St, Huddersfield HD1 2TA


Contest: 100thSpring Festival

Saturday 8 May • 97 Church St, Blackpool, FY1 1HL


Contest: Whit Friday March Contests

Friday 28 May • Saddleworth & Tameside OL3


Contest: 168th British Open

Saturday 11 September • Symphony Hall, Broad Street, Birmingham. B1 2EA


Chadderton Band

November 17 • Chadderton Band is a non-contesting band playing at various events throughout the year. We are a friendly band looking for players of all ages and abilities on all sections + EUPH and percussion. Most welcome to come along and have a blow give us a try.


Crewe Brass

November 12 • Crewe Brass require an Eb or Bb Bass to complete the "engine room" line up. We are also seeking a Tuned Percussionist to complete our section.


Shipston Town Band

November 1 • We are currently looking to recruit a Bass Trombone BBb bass and EEb bass to bring the band up to strength ready for when things return to normal. We are graded section 3 in the Midlands taking part in a good range of concerts and contests


Prof. Christopher Houlding

MMus, GGSM, LRAM
Conductor, Performer, Educator


               

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