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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 



Contest: 100thSpring Festival

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


Contest: 168th British Open

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


Contest: Lower Section National Finals

Saturday 18 September • The Centaur, Cheltenham Race Course, Prestbury, Cheltenham GL40 4SH


Contest: Lower Section National Finals

Sunday 19 September • The Centaur, Cheltenham Racecourse, Prestbury, Cheltenham, GL40 4SH


Contest: National Brass Band Championship of Great Britain

Saturday 2 October • Kensington Gore, South Kensington, London SW7 2AP


City of Bristol Brass Band

April 9 • A FLUGEL player is required by City of Bristol Brass Band (competing in the First Section) with immediate effect. The successful applicant will join a successful, friendly band with some exciting concerts and contests in the diary.


Otterbourne Brass

April 7 • If during the last 12 months you have realised how much time two rehearsals a week plus engagements takes then Otterbourne Brass rehearse once a week and presently has vacancies for bass and trombone players. Other instruments may also apply


Wotton and District Silver Band

April 5 • When we all get back to business we will be seeking to fill our vacancies for MUSICAL DIRECTOR and Eb BASS.


David Frame


Bass/Tenor Trombone Player, Adjudicator (Member of AoBBA) Occasional Conductor


               

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