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2003 All England Masters Championship

50 Things you need to know about “The Masters” – honest!

Corn Exchange
Cambridge
Sunday 25th May

Starts at 12.00 noon


1. The first contest took place in 1989 when 16 bands accepted the invitation to compete at Cambridge. The winners were Leyland DAF, whilst the band that came last were Hartford Motors Concert. Whatever happened to them?

2. Five of the bands there that day are no longer with us - Lewington Yamaha who came 7th, William Davis Construction who came 11th, Hyundai Heart of England who came 12th, Sun Life who came 6th and Kennedy Swinton who came 3rd under the baton of a very young David King.

3. Only Leyland, Ever Ready and Besses O’ th’ Barn of the 1989 competitors are playing at the contest in 2003. Leyland won the first contest, Ever Ready came 9th and Besses 10th. What are the odds they come the same this year?


4. The most successful band at the contest is Fodens with five wins in 1990 and 1991, 1994, 1995 and 2002 to their name. Next comes Brighouse and Rastrick with three wins in 1993, 1998 and 2001, YBS with two in 1999 and 2000, Leyland with two in 1989 and 1992 and Williams Fairey with two in 1996 and 1997.

5. No band has won the title just once, whilst Fodens, Fairey and YBS have all successfully retained their title the year following their first victory. No band has yet done a hat trick.

6. The winning conductors also follow the same course, with the most successful being Howard Snell with four wins, followed by Alan Withington with three, David King, Richard Evans and James Gourlay with two apiece. Russell Gray joined that select list last year.

7. Under the old system of traditional points awarded, the highest winning score was 199 points given to BBS Fodens for their performance of “Paganini Variations” in 1995. The band that came 7th that day, Sun Life had to make do with 192 points!

8. The lowest winning score under the old system was Williams Fairey’s 195 points when they won on “Jazz” in 1997.

9. The lowest points awarded to a competing band under the old system was 170 points awarded to Kennedy Swinton conducted by K. Bolton in 1992 for their performance of “Cambridge Variations”.

10. The Leyland band are the only band to have competed at all 15 “All England Masters” contests. Fodens and Fairey’s have 14 apiece (both missed the first contest), whilst Ever Ready have 13 appearances to date.

11. Those bands that have only appeared the once are Hartford Motors Concert, Hyundai Heart of England, Lewington Yamaha and St. Austell (1989) and Polypipe Rossington in 1997.

12. Other bands that have appeared here and are no longer with us are Todmorden Old and Wallace Arnold Rothwell.

13. The best winning score under the new adjudication system brought in for 1998 has been 4 points – on the two winning occasions from YBS in 1999 and 2000 and by Fdens last year.

14. The highest winning score has been 8 points by Brighouse and Rastrick in 2001 when placed 3rd, 3rd and 2nd by the judges.

15. On the two occasions Brighouse have won the title under the new system not one of the judges has individually placed them 1st. In 1998 they were awarded 3rd, 2nd and 2nd and in 2001 they were awarded 3rd, 3rd and 2nd.

16. Since 1998, YBS have been awarded at least two 1st positions by the judges each year to 2001, but have only won the contest twice in the same period. In 1998 they gained two 1st places and a 13th, 1999 and 2000 they gained two 1sts and a 2nd and 2001 they gained two 1st places and a 7th. Last year they had to make do with 3rd, 8th and 9th.

17. The highest points total under the new system was 63 points – awarded to Rhodian Brass in 1998. They were placed 21st by all three judges. Next worse is the 62 points gained by Rolls Royce (Coventry) in 2001.

18. Since 1998 the three judges have only agreed twice in a total of 104 performances on the same placing for a band. Rhodian in 1998 (21st by all three) and Sellers International in 1999 (19th by all three).

19. The following bands have all been placed 1st at least once by a single judge since the new system came in: YBS – 1st on 8 occasions. Fodens on 1st on 2 occasions, Williams Fairey – 1st on 2 occasions. Brighouse and Rastrick – 1st on 1 occasion. DUT Yorkshire Imperial – 1st on 1 occasion. NSK – RHP Ransome – 1st on 1 occasion.

20. Brighouse gained their 1st place in coming 2nd overall in 1999, whilst Williams Fairey got the top spot in coming 2nd in 2000. Yorkshire Imps got a 1st in coming 6th last year whilst Ransome got it in coming 12th overall in 1998.

21. Just 13 judges have been used in the 13 years to 2002.

22. Top of the judges list comes David Read and William Relton followed by James Scott. Below this Kenneth Dennison and Philip Jones have done it 3 times and Eric Crees, Philip Sparke and Geoffrey Brand twice.

23. Those used just the once have been Dr Roy Newsome, Geoffrey Whitham, Sir David Willcocks, Trevor Green and Barry Forgie.

24. Some high profile Musical Directors never to have won the Masters include Nicholas Childs (a best of 5th place), Major Peter Parkes (a best of 2nd on three occasions), Frank Renton (a best of 2nd in 2002) and James Watson (a best of 2nd with Desford in 1989).

25. James Scott and Roy Newsome are the only men to have both conducted and adjudicated at the contest. James Scott took Yorkshire Imperial twice in 1997 and 1989 and Wingates in 1996. Roy Newsome has done it with Besses O’ th’ Barn in 1989 and Sun Life in 1995.

26. Howard Snell has the amazing record of four wins, two second places (once with Wingates in 1997), one third place, one fifth place, one 9th place (with Williams Fairey) and one 14th place (with Wingates in 1998) in his 10 appearances at the contest.

27. Alan Withington comes next best with three wins, one second, two thirds, a fourth, two fifths and an 11th in his 10 attempts here.

28. The best overall record goes to Fodens who have 5 wins, one second, one third, one fourth, two fifths and two 6th places to their name since 1990. Only 12th place in 2000 spoils their record.

29. The next best overall record must go to Williams Fairey with only two finishes outside the top six in 12 attempts since 1990. 11th in 1995 spoilt a record of 2 wins, 6 seconds, two thirds and a sixth.

30. Third best is Brighouse with three wins, a second, two thirds, a fourth and two fifth places, plus a 11th place in 1992 and 8th last year from 11 attempts.

31. YBS come fourth with 9 consecutive top 6 finishes including two wins, a second, two thirds, a fourth and a three sixth places since 1994.

32. Leyland make up the nap hand with two wins, two seconds, three thirds, one fourth, one fifth and one sixth place plus a 7th, 10th, 12th and 13th in the 14 attempts here. From 1989 to 1998 they never finished lower than sixth.

33. Some names you may or may not have heard of who have taken the baton at the contest include Paul Hindmarsh of the BBC who took Besses a couple of times, Robert Wiffen, now with the RAF Central Band took Desford and Sun Life and returns with Woodfalls this year, Keith Wilkinson who took William Davis and is now in Ohio with the Salvation Army and David James who took Kennedy Swinton and needs no introduction.

34. The only refugee Albanian violinist to conduct at the contest was we believe Eno Koco who directed Rhodian Brass in 1995.

35. Brighouse and Rastrick’s win in 1993 was the first major UK title they had won since 1980 – a gap of 13 years.

36. The Gala Concert that year finished at the time of 10.20pm – the longest on record and featured an overture played at 9.40pm!

37. Five of the test pieces used here have been specially commissioned for the contest. “Cambridge Variations” in 1992, “Hymn at Sunrise” in 1996, “Jazz” in 1997, “Tristan Encounters” in 1999 and “Chivalry” this year.

38. 2001 saw the third Philip Wilby work to be used at the contest following “Paganini Variations” in 1995 and “Jazz” in 1997. Only Philip Sparke with “Harmony Music” in 1991 and “Cambridge Variations” in 1992 plus Martin Ellerby this year has had their works used more than once.

39. The three separate boxes for each of the adjudicators was first used in 1998. It continues to this day.

40. The choice of the adjudicators was made by the bands themselves for the first time on 2000. Their choice was David Read, James Scott and William Relton. Others nominated were Roy Newsome, Goff Richards and Howard Snell.

41. The choice of test piece was also first made in 2000 when the bands chose from a short list and picked “Contest Music”. The other pieces on offer that year were “The New Jerusalem”, “On Alderley Edge”, “Revelation”, “Salamander” and “Songs for BL”.

42. The 2001 list saw “Pageantry” chosen ahead of “Between the Moon and Mexico”, “Festival Music”, “On Alderley Edge”, “Revelation” and “The New Jerusalem”. The judges were chosen as Roy Newsome, James Williams, David Read and James Scott. James Williams couldn’t take the appointment, as he was due to accept the Masters Dedicated Service award.

43. Others on the list were Eric Crees, Philip McCann, Goff Richards, Nicholas Childs, Rod Franks, John Miller and John Wallace to name a few.

44. This year the choice of test piece has been made by the organisers, as has the choice of adjudicators.

45. Of the conductors who filled the top six places at the first contest in 1989 only David King remains to try and win the title here again this year.

46. Some of the MD’s who have had the misfortune to direct their bands into last place at the contest include, Dave Lea, Graham O’Connor (twice), Peter Parkes, Ian Craddock, Melvin White, Jeremy Wise, Mark Bentham, Keith Wilkinson, John Norris, Kevin Bolton and Nigel Taken.

47. Brighouse are the only band to win the Masters since 1995, after being drawn in the first half of the contest. On both occasions they triumphed off number 9 in 1998 and 2001. All other winners have come in the second half with Fodens and Fairey winning off last band on in 1995 and 1996, YBS winning as last but one on stage in 1999, number 18 in 2000 and Fairey as number 15 in 1997.

48. In 1998, adjudicator Eric Crees chose the first nine bands correctly - although not in the right final overall order.

49. Lynda Nicholson became the first and only woman so far to conduct at the contest in 2002.

50. This year will see the 272nd performance at the Masters when the last band plays. Close to £100,000 in prize money has been awarded since 1989, whilst over 70 conductors have taken the stage hoping to win. (only 6 have ever done so)

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