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2015: April

This month we give our opinions on the costs of quality judgement, improving Ball skills and in praise of the rules...

Quality judgement costs

4BR may have had a few gripes in the past about the Association of Brass Band Adjudicators (ABBA), but we have never accused their members of not being worth the money they are paid for providing their essential service to the brass band movement.

However, you would be surprised at just how little many contests value their expertise in pounds, shillings and pence.

So with ABBA now making progressive strides in the future professional development of its members, perhaps the time has come for a formalised table of fees to be agreed between both parties - rather than the current system of ‘ad-hoc’ agreements that currently exist.

It would surely benefit all those who take part in competitions. 

Bands invest so much financial time and energy in their contest preparation that it seems absurd that we seem reluctant to do the same with adjudicators.  If we really want to improve all our standards, then we should be prepared to pay a proper professional rate for a highly professional job. 

ABBA has shown its desire to justify its value to the future of contesting in the UK, so perhaps it’s time for the rest of us to do the same.

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


Improving Ball skills

It has taken a while, but the true brass band musical genius of Eric Ball may finally have been revealed - via the compositional pen of Peter Graham.

The damaging effects of our headlong pursuit of mind boggling technique came to roost around the country on ‘The Torchbearer’ - as far too any bands and conductors found themselves unable to coherently translate a musical language that seemed almost alien to them.

The subtleties of dynamic, tempo, balance and texture - the hallmarks of the great man’s writing, were rarely heard. Instead we got the pulp fiction approach - visceral blood and guts splashed all over the place. 

What required skill and understanding was replaced by blunt-witted special effects. 

However, what may be saddest outcome of all is that it remains debatable whether bands have now lost the ability to showcase those once inherent Ball skills for good...

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


In praise of the rules

There must have been one heck of an increase in Google search engine traffic in the past two weeks looking at how to spell schadenfreude in a grammatical Yorkshire accent... 

Black Dyke’s disqualification from the Regional Championship in Bradford and subsequent qualification confirmation for the National Final was met in equal measure by surprise, bafflement, anger and wry smiles of puzzled delight.

However, what it also showed was that very few people (including a Band Secretary or two around the UK) pay more than scant attention to their understanding of both National and Registration rules.

Black Dyke’s disqualification may have done us all a favour then.   

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



Lewes, Glynde and Beddingham Brass Band - Eastbourne Bandstand - 1812 concert

Wednesday 29 May • Bandstand, Grand Parade, Eastbourne BN21 3AD


Black Dyke Band - George Lawton Hall, Mossley

Thursday 30 May • George Lawton Hall, Stamford St, Mossley, Ashton-under-Lyne OL5 0HR


Clifton International Festival of Music - Let Trumpets Sound - Crispian Steele-Perkins

Saturday 1 June • Clifton Cathedral, Clifton Park, Bristol BS8 3BX BS8 3BX


Foden's Band - St Andrews Hall

Sunday 2 June • St Andrews Plain, Norwich, Norfolk NR3 1AU


East Anglian Brass Band Association - Concert by the Fodens Band

Sunday 2 June • St Andrew's Hall. St Andrew's Plain. Norwich NR3 1AU


Bollington Brass Band

May 25 • Bollington Brass Band require a Kit and a tutti cornet player to complete our line up. We will be playing at the 2nd section National Finals this September before promotion to the North West 1st section..


Dobcross Silver Band

May 25 • Dobcross Silver Band are looking for a B FLAT BASS player for Whit Friday.. Come and join a Saddleworth band, playing the Saddleworth circuit, including our very own Dobcross contest.. . A great chance to come and enjoy an unforgettable experience!


Stannington Brass Band

May 25 • A rare opportunity has arisen to join one of Sheffield's leading bands with a vacancy for an EEb TUBA PLAYER to complete our bass section. We have a good band room atmosphere and a calendar of interesting concerts and contests.


David Hirst

MA, B.Ed (Hons), LTCL
Conductor, adjudicator and arranger