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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



Regent Hall Concerts - RAF Wind Soloists

Friday 19 January • Charlton House. Charlton Road. London. SE7 8RE SE7 8RE


Black Dyke Band - Morley Town Hall

Saturday 20 January • Morley Town Hall, Morley, Leeds LS27 8DX


Wantage Silver - Gary Curtin

Saturday 20 January • Reading Central Salvation Army RG1 7JR


The Brighouse & Rastrick Band - EYMS Brass Band at Hull City Hall

Saturday 20 January • Hull City Hall. 67 Carr Lane,. Kingston upon Hull HU1 3RQ


The Hepworth Band - Soprano Sarah Ogden

Sunday 21 January • Christ Church, Sude Hill, New Mill, Holmfirth HD9 7BL


Milnrow Band

January 17 • *PRINCIPAL TROMBONE*. The Milnrow Band has a vacancy for Principal trombone.. Our own Bandroom is easily accessible by car (J21 M62) or by the Manchester Metrolink.


Milnrow Band

January 17 • *Cornet Vacancies* Due to maternity leave and work commitments, The Milnrow Band has immediate vacancies for 2 FIRST CLASS CORNET PLAYERS (positions negotiable). Our own Bandroom is easily accessible by car (J21 M62) or by the Manchester Metrolink.


Rhyl Silver Band

January 16 • Rhyl Silver Training Band seeks players in all sections but particularly cornets, trombones and basses. All ages and abilities accepted in this easy going friendly band.. . We rehearse Fridays 6.00 - 7.30pm in our purpose built premises.


Christopher Houlding

MMus, GGSM, LRAM
Conductor, Performer, Educator