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2013: December

The 4BR editorial opinions on thinking outside the entertainment box, adding contest purpose and in praise of the Swiss...

Thinking outside the entertainment box

The result of the recent Brass in Concert Championship may not have come as a total surprise, but there were certainly more than a few eyebrows raised about how it was achieved.

Adjudication (be it the quality of musical performance, programme content or entertainment and presentation) will always be a subjective matter - even when the contest itself provides a mission statement that it hopes will provide bands with a guiding template for artistic inspiration.

One of the great strengths of Brass in Concert is that this new musical ethos is aimed at encouraging bands to provide a much broader spectrum of musical repertoire. 

As a result, it should come no surprise that opinions about the entertainment provided, both official and unofficial, will vary - although perhaps not as widely as was the case this year at The Sage.

However, so much the better for the greater good of brass banding that we are not presented with the laughable excuse of ‘...we have agreed on every position from 1 to 20 etc’, which is all too often the default mode of poorly informed, weak willed judges.

The odd raised eyebrow is therefore not too bad a price to pay for a contest that actively encourages its competitors to explore new musical genres, provide slicker more inventive presentation and produce better balanced programme content.

There is no perfect way of judging an entertainment contest - but Brass in Concert gets closer than most.

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


An added contest purpose

There is little doubt that many local association contests are struggling. 

Despite the hard work and commitment of volunteers, financial cutbacks in local authorities, venue price hikes and increased travel costs are making it increasingly difficult to run local events in a sustainable long term way.

Players and supporters are also pondering what is the purpose of competing if all you get out of the investment in time, energy and commitment is a couple of hundred quid at best for your band - even if you win.

It’s therefore encouraging to see the organisers of the British Open Championship working in partnership with local organisers to provide an added sense of purpose to both their contest structures.

The progressive Wychavon Contest is one of the first to benefit - with its winner or highest placed band not already competing at the Spring Festival in Blackpool, gaining an automatic invitation to compete there in future, with the aim of gaining a foothold on a potential ladder of success that could ultimately lead to the British Open itself.  

It is understood that other events may soon join in a partnership that will ultimately give competing bands the opportunity to aim for more than just winning enough money to pay for their bus and the engraving of the trophy.

And that is surely what the purpose of contesting is all about.

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


In praise of the Swiss

The Swiss have always been people who know how to do things well.

The organisation of their National Championships in Montreux (and not forgetting their hosting of the 2011 European Championships) is a case in point. 

The desire to produce an event that both showcased as well as developed their increasingly impressive banding movement is admirable; delivered with an understated level of professionalism that should be the envy of the rest of the world.

Swiss diplomacy has ensured that successful long term business partnerships have been developed slowly but surely, backed by regular new music commissions and initiatives such as a Sunday morning Gala Concert - all of which proved to be a great success this year.

All this and the bands themselves are getting increasingly more impressive too - especially at elite level, where they could be on the verge of making a long awaited breakthrough at the European Championship.

Say it quietly (and in about 4 different languages) as they do at Geneva airport, but Swiss brass banding excellence could well be shown in more ways than one in the years to come.

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



Regent Hall Concerts - Canon Brass (brass quintet) from the Royal College

Friday 25 January • Regent Hall (The Salvation Army). 275 Oxford Street Opp. RESERVED. London . W1C 2DJ


Foden's Band - RNCM Brass Band Festival

Friday 25 January • 124 Oxford Rd, Manchester M13 9RD


Black Dyke Band - International Staff Band of Salvation Army - RNCM

Saturday 26 January • Royal Northern College of Music, 124 Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9RD


Grimethorpe Colliery Band - Concert at Yarm School, North Yorkshire

Saturday 26 January • Yarm School. . The Friarage. . Yarm, North Yorkshire. . TS15 9EJ T15 9EJ


Grimethorpe Colliery Band - Concert at Yarm School, North Yorkshire

Saturday 26 January • Yarm School. . The Friarage. . Yarm, North Yorkshire. . TS15 9EJ T15 9EJ


Hucknall & Linby Brass

January 22 • Hucknall & Linby MC Brass ( 1st Section) are looking for a percussionist to complete their line up for 2019. Rehearsing Thursdays 7.30 -9.30pm in Hucknall, Nottingham.


Lofthouse Brass Band

January 22 • Lofthouse Brass Band are seeking a SOLO CORNET PLAYER to complete their line up. We are a friendly 3rd section band with a sensible schedule of concerts, contests and social events (meals out, quiz nights, race nights...) throughout the year.


chadderton brass band

January 22 • Chadderton Band is a non contesting band requiring players of all ages and abilities. Come along and give us a try, we are a friendly band playing at numerous concerts throughout the year. Experienced Conductor required. Vacancy on percussion.


David W. Ashworth

RSCM, ABBA Exec Member, NABBC PRO.
Conductor, Band Trainer and Adjudicator