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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: Whit Friday March Contests

Friday 25 May • Saddleworth & Tameside OL3


Black Dyke Band - Huddersfield Town Hall - Massed Male Voice Choirs

Saturday 26 May • Huddersfield Town Hall, Corporation St, Huddersfield HD1 2TA


Foden's Band - Edwin Firth Commemoration Event - Sandbach

Friday 1 June • Sandbach School, Crewe Rd, Sandbach CW11 3NS


Contest: French Open Championships 2018

Friday 1 June • Amboise 37400


Contest: French Open Championships 2018

Saturday 2 June • Amboise 37400


The Corsham Band

May 24 • Due to work commitments, a vacancy has arisen for a Tenor Trombone player. First or Second position available. We are a newly promoted Second Section band with a friendly and enthusiastic team.


Littleport Brass Band

May 23 • Littleport Brass are seeking cornets and a baritone (position negotiable).. Littleport Brass is a 2nd section contesting and friendly band from Littleport near Ely in Cambridgeshire. We rehearse once a week on a Wednesday evening.


Littleport Brass Band

May 23 • We are inviting applications for a confident and experienced Musical Director. Littleport Brass is a 2nd section contesting band from Littleport near Ely in Cambridgeshire. We rehearse once a week on a Wednesday evening.


Derek Renshaw

ABBA Member
Conductor, Band Trainer and Adjudicator.