Perhaps it was that I was reading two articles on 4BR on April 1st, and the joke was on me, but I am not sure.
One article was about people calling for a "vote of no confidence" in BBE, claiming that it was inept, badly organised and did nothing for the brass band movement etc. and extolling Kapitol Promotions.
Next there was an article explaining how BBE was organizing the annual Youth Contest at the RNCM.
So here we have an organisation, encouraging the youth bands; and organising it extremely well, in a modern, accessible venue which most bands can attend at low cost.
Then we have Kapitol Promotions which continues to run an outdated, cumbersome competition, whose financial rewards do not meet the outlay of attending, even if your band is placed first: A contest of often unlistenable music, held in the run-down, shabby Albert Hall with its poor acoustics and non-existent parking facilities.
A competition which lumbers on; drawn on the day; adjudicated incognito with hand-written remarks sheets which are sometimes so indecipherable as to serve no useful purpose in helping bands to make adjustments to their playing ( which I, naively, thought is what it was all about!)
I was at Blackpool for the North West Regional Championship.
I sat in the Opera House to listen to Double Champions, Fodens. I looked around; the place was less than half-full. I think of the list of contests which have folded; I think of the concert venues which no longer host brass band events.
I think of the bands who have gone to the wall, not for lack of musical excellence, but because of financial realities.
I do not see that Kapitol Promotions track record and obstinate attitude is the way forward.
"Vote of Confidence"?
I am confident that there will still be brass bands in ten years time; I am not sure that contesting, in its current form, can possibly survive.
A weighty question
First of all let me congratulate you on my favourite website.
I am writing, however, to offer a slight criticism of the weightings for your ranking system.
I do know that it is an impossible task to come up with a completely fair system but two things have prompted me to contact you.
Firstly, in common with many 4barsrest readers, I have been following the Norwegian bands online both at their contests and the recent series Korpsfiksert.
I have been highly impressed with the standard of the top two bands and wonder why they are not further up your world ranking charts.
Secondly, when listening to Brighouse's winning performance of 'Breath of Souls' I was also struck by how they struggled with the technical difficulties of the piece and while it was a creditable performance I did not think that it matched up with your relative rankings of the band compared to the rest of the world.
In short, I think you should revisit your weightings for some European championships.
Just my twopence worth and again thank you for all the excellent work you do for Brass Bands everywhere.
Paul McCann (member NABBC)
Stumping up some Archive cash
I have just been reading the article about the Brass Band Archive.
I don’t know if it has ever been suggested, but could the bands within our great movement give an annual subscription to the Archive?
I am sure that all bands would help to keep the Archive going, if only in a small way.
Brian D. Rostron ABBA
I can only imagine that you must get many e-mails from people thinking how they were hard done by at contests and in particular with your Twitter account.
However, I was really very surprised that you didn't mention the excellent euphonium from Staines in Harmony Music at the London & Southern Counties Regional Championships
I listened to all bands and thought that his solo in the piece was excellent: No splits either like Redbridge and other bands.
This after hearing Redbridge and Zone One - especially as Staines were number 3, as you very well know.
Just a thought perhaps for the future. I do still enjoy your tweets though and will perhaps continue to follow you.
I apologise for being somewhat pedantic, but I would like to point out that, contrary to the statement on 4BR that, ‘Medway continued their good run of Area form by claiming their second successive top six finish in fourth’ in Matthew Ruell’s otherwise excellent report on the London & Southern Counties Championship section regional contest, it was actually Medway’s sixth consecutive top-6 placing.
In the last 6 years, we have placed (in reverse order) 4, 5, 6, 5, 6 & 6. Not bad consistency - and we are wondering how many other Championship Section bands can show anything similar?
How is it that all the area's as well as having the results, they also award such trophies like ‘Best Euph’ or ‘Best Basses’, or best whatever, and yet the only area that does not do this is the North West.
It took years to get the North West to merely put two men in the box without any fiddling with votes, and now it looks like they are dragging their heels again.
Can't win every time
Bob Childs, by his recent comments on Facebook, is very annoyed about Black Dyke’s placing at the recent Yorkshire Regional contest.
Maybe Messrs Boddice and Wiffen were not everybody’s choice for adjudicators at this challenging event, but consider their decision.
With the exceptions of Carlton Main and Black Dyke, some of us could have come up with those same places before the contest even took place.
It ill becomes a fine musician as Bob Childs to write as he did.
It’s taken Alex Ferguson twenty five years, and he has still not realised that he has no divine right to win every time.
German brass bands
First of all thanks for your great coverage on 4BR of the Welsh Regionals.
I'm emailing you to ask about German Brass bands.
As a part of my university degree I'm moving to Germany in October to study in Regensburg University for a year, and I've spent a lot of time looking for different German brass bands. To be honest I don't have a clue how it is over there. Is there a German national competition and things like that?
I've found one band called Brass Band Regensburg, but before I email them, I’d like to know some background info about German banding if anyone can help?.
I'd really like to know what brass banding is like over there, and thought 4BR and its readers could help?
Qualifiers - what qualifiers?
Just what on earth is happening at 4BR these days?
Having read in the 4BR news that the City Chester Band are not going to Cheltenham, may I ask if any other North West Area qualifiers are finding themselves in the same situation?
Frank & Hilary Wood
More on the music please
Whilst I applaud your presence at the Yorkshire regional championships I really don't want to know who had green hair or what the bands and conductors were wearing!
A bit more on the actual performances would be nice! Thank you!
I would like to correct a small error in 4BR's report on the attempt on the world record for a tuba ensemble.
The world official world record for the largest tuba ensemble - 502 tubas and euphoniums - was set in December 2007 in Disneyland, Anaheim, California, not Florida as stated.
I should know because I was there as the special guest of TubaChristmas 2007 and helped to get the event registered in the Guinness Book of Records.
Rodney S. Newton MA, ALFS, Hon. BC, FRSA
When will the comments return....
This is not the first time that the comments page has been ignored; over the last couple of years I have written asking why there have been no updates to the comments page.
This time I have written a letter (a comment) but not seen it posted, then a second question as to why are you not posting or keeping the comments page updated.
Now I find that I must write to you all about this as surely one of you may be able to do something about this grave oversight.
The last letter you posted was in January (coincidently from me) and we are now in the latter half of March.
Wake up please and open your mail box.