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2012: June

This month were gave our opinion on boldness at the Nationals, innovation at Brass in Concert and the Spring Festival and praise the audiences at the Europeans.

Bold musical choices

Kapitol Promotions has been seen in some quarters as an inherently conservative custodian of the National Finals.

However, the decision to commission three new works for the event in Cheltenham and to use Howard Snell’s kaleidoscopic arrangement of ‘Daphis & Chloe’ at London must rank as one of the most innovative and welcome for many years.

It also reflects the organisers new found confidence in both contest weekends too – following a welcome response to the modern facilities at Cheltenham Racecourse, and the growing sense of occasion that is now being felt by performers and listeners alike at the Royal Albert Hall.

The boldness of these musical decisions is to be especially applauded though.

Howard Snell’s brilliance in understand the sound palette capabilities of the brass band is unsurpassed – the crowning glory of which has always been his stunning realisation of Ravel’s mesmeric score.

The audience is in for the rarest of contesting treats in Kensington if the very best bands play to the top of their form.

Meanwhile, listeners at The Centaur in September can also enjoy three diverse works (time constraints perhaps stopped a fourth being employed) from composers who certainly bring exciting musical voices to the stage in Tom Davoren, R Huw Cole and Jonathan Bates.

A bold musical strategy has been employed by Kapitol and the National Music Panel – and one that deserves to succeed.  

Make sure you book your tickets now.

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Innovation at BiC and Spring Festival

In many ways, the decisions of the Brass in Concert and Spring Festival organisers to totally revamp their adjudication process and to consider an overhaul of the draw mechanisms respectively, also show a welcome display bold innovation.

Brass in Concert has certainly listened to what had become a growing chorus of frustration from competitors, listeners and critics alike in implementing a much fairer, much more focussed adjudication system.

Now the bands can entertain what has always been an appreciative audience, without having to balance it by trying to artificially manipulate their programmes to fit preconceived ideas of prescriptive presentation and performance.

It may take a little getting used to, but in doing so Brass in Concert has opened up an exciting long term future for itself with this confident approach.

So too the Spring Festival, which has shown a forward thinking desire to help the 80 financially hard pressed bands that contribute to making the Winter Garden’s event such a unique banding occasion .

Forget any complaints about the judges now having an inkling of what bands will play where – that’s an adjudication red herring. If you don’t trust the judges don’t employ them.

This is all to do with helping bands plan in advance for what can be a very expensive and time consuming weekend by being able to plan their contest day in advance.

It’s a pragmatic, sensible and well thought out proposal that demands to be implemented as soon as possible.

Perhaps other major contest may want to follow these leads in their own ways too?

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In praise of the European audiences

Even though there was so much to enjoy at the recent European Championship in Rotterdam, the lasting impression of the whole event was the way in which the audiences at the De Doelen Hall became such an integral part of the musical experience.

The responses both before and after performances weren’t displays of biased, jingoistic cheering and brainless flag waving – every band was treated to an enthusiastic appreciation of their excellence.

Regardless of which country they represented, the audience sat in to listen to them all; invariably standing, cheering and applauding until their hands ached after performances had drawn to their conclusion.

This was a fabulous example of what a modern, inclusive brass band contest should be all about; musical entertainment that engages the listener’s response on both the intellectual as well as the simply visceral level.  

It was also a brilliant reminder of just what makes a brass band contest a truly thrilling experience too.  

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Contest: Swiss National Championships

Saturday 26 November • Stravinski Hall, Montreaux. Claude-Nobs 5, 1820 Montreaux, Switzerland 1820


Boarshurst Silver Band - Diggle Community Brass

Sunday 27 November • Boarshurst Band Club. Greenbridge Lane. Greenfield. Saddleworth OL3 7EW


Mereside Brass - Tatton Park Farm when Father Christmas is visiting

Sunday 27 November • Tatton Park Farm. Knutsford. Cheshire. WA16 6QN (Sat Nav WA16 6SG) WA16 6SG


Dobcross Silver Band - The Hammonds Band

Sunday 27 November • Dobcross Band Club. Platt Lane. Dobcross. Saddleworth OL3 5AD OL3 5AD


Regent Hall Concerts - Band of the RAF Regiment Symphonic Brass Ensemble

Friday 2 December • Regent Hall (The Salvation Army). 275 Oxford Street. London W1C2DJ


Greenfield Brass Band

November 24 • We are a friendly, progressive 3rd Section Band based in Saddleworth and are looking to fill the following positions prior to the North West Area.. Bass Trombone,. Solo Baritone,. Percussion (Tuned or Kit) . . Rehearsals Mon & Thurs at Friezland Bowling Club


Mereside Brass

November 23 • Mereside Brass (Rudheath, Northwich) are looking for a front row CORNET, possibly PRINCIPAL for the right player. We are a friendly 4th Section band, currently not contesting but with a sensible calendar of jobs and band social events


Easingwold Town Band

November 22 • . We are a 4th Section band with vacancies for soprano cornet, front-row cornet and Eb bass. We offer a friendly welcome at our bandroom in Easingwold, 12 miles north of York (postcode YO61 3DB). Rehearsals Monday 7.30 to 9.15 p.m. Come for a blow!


John Ward


Conductor, Adjudicator


               

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