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2015: July

We return with our strong editorial views on competitive fairness, ABBA taking a lead and maintaining the shop front experience of independent retailers.

Competitive fairness

The fundamental ethos that underpins any form of competition is fairness to all who take part.

Manipulating the level playing field before a ball, engine or starting gun has been kicked, ignited or shot in anger undermines the very essence of why people participate in the first place.

You win, lose or draw on the basis of equanimity. It is what makes it such compelling entertainment.

What applies to football, motor sport or athletic tournaments also applies to brass band contests though. 

Would the Football Association allow Manchester United to play all their FA Cup ties at Old Trafford, or Bernie Ecclestone let Ferrari start on the first row of the grid at the Monte Carlo Grand Prix?

Just think what people would say if the Olympic Committee gave Usain Bolt a half a yard head start in the 100 meters just to appease commercial interests or audience interest?

All that and it would be made even worse if none of them had asked for, or had any expectation of being given any different treatment from their rivals.

Audiences and even sponsors may turn a blind eye once - but not a second time at the expense of competitive integrity.

Once lost it is hard for it ever to be found again: It is a myopic answer that leads to long term disability and terminal decline.

The FA Cup has survived and prospered, Monte Carlo remains as glamourous as ever, and the 100 meters remains the Blue Riband at the Olympics despite crowd favourites getting knocked out, not qualifying or even failing a drugs test.

It's why audiences continue to support them - paying hard earned cash to see the best against the rest - all because the competitive level playing field that does not favour reputation or popularity.

Football tournaments, Grand Prix entrepreneurs and even the Olympics have tampered with the level playing field at their peril - from exemptions and double points to reinstated drug cheats.

Brass band competitions should be the same. If not, contesting will soon become an irrelevance even to ourselves.

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


ABBA taking the lead

Over the last couple of years the Association of Brass Band Adjudicators has quietly undergone an extensive revolution - one that has seen the implementation of a long overdue reappraisal of both its structure and purpose.

Its proposals will be made public in the near future - but early reports suggest a much more progressive, transparent approach to meet its stated aims and objectives.

It is likely to see a much greater emphasis placed on quality and on-going professional development through validation and accreditation; with the methods and outcomes of adjudication undertaken by its members also open to scrutiny and debate.

The outcome of this welcome piece of self-assessment should be of great benefit to the brass band movement - although it will only work if other organisations are prepared to work alongside the judges to support them in their endeavours.

Brass band contesting needs to employ the best judges - ones that are paid a professional rate for a highly professional job.

The Association of Brass Band Adjudicators has taken a lead to ensure that they have done just that. Now others have to do the same.

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


In praise of the independent retailer

In an age of ever increasing commercial pressures, it’s great see a plethora of small independent music shops and retailers still managing to prosper.

And despite people purchasing everything from valve oil to drum kits on-line as easily as clicking a mouse to get the weekly shopping from Tesco, you still can’t beat the first hand experience and knowledge you can tap into when meeting people who have put their heart and soul into their businesses.

Most retailers now have an on-line presence - but many still retain the ‘shop front’ ability to have that face to face discussion, offer tips and advice and give you a deal that suits you, rather than the manufacturers in built profit margin. 

So if you have a wedge of cash on the hip ready to spend on a brass band instrument or two, why not give them a ring, or take time to drop in at their shop.  

You will be assured of a warm welcome (maybe even a cup of tea) - and you will invariably leave with a better deal than you first thought you could get when you walked through the door.

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



Foden's Band - RNCM Brass Band Festival

Friday 26 January • RNCM. 124 Oxford Rd, Manchester, M13 9RD M13 9RD


Regent Hall Concerts - The Countess Of Wessex's String Orchestra

Friday 26 January • Charlton House. Charlton Road. London. SE7 8RE SE7 8RE


Elland Silver Band - Elland Silver Youth & The Cory Band

Saturday 27 January • Halifax Minster HX51 1 QL


Tredegar Town Band - RNCM Brass Band Festival

Saturday 27 January • RNCM. 124 Oxford Rd, Manchester, M13 9RD M13 9RD


Black Dyke Band - RNCM Brass Band Festival

Saturday 27 January • RNCM, 124 Oxford Rd, Manchester M13 9RD


East London Brass

January 22 • Champ Section Band are looking for a top quality BASS TROMBONE PLAYER to complete their line up for some very exciting concerts and major contests in 2018/2019. We are only 5 mins walk from Walthamstow Central tube/train/bus station.


St Albans City Band

January 22 • Want to start 2018 with a change? Fancy another blow each week? We are a friendly community band looking for new players to join our group. All welcome but especially cornet, horn, baritone, Bb Bass and Percussion.


Waltham St. Lawrence Silver Band

January 21 • We are a friendly non-contesting community band within easy reach of Maidenhead, Bracknell and Reading. We look forward to an exciting year under our new MD, Steve Block, and urgently need cornet players, both front and back row, baritones and BBb bass..


James Chamberlain

BMus (Hons) PGCE
Conductor, Teacher