4BR Alternative Awards - The best of the worst so to speak in 2008...


This year we have decided to hand out a few alternative gongs to those we felt deserved something special to remember 2008 by.

4BR Alternative AwaedsThere is plenty we should be proud of in the banding world, but it is fair to say not everything goes according to plan at times too.

These are our top 10 gaffes, disasters, turkeys and own goals of the past twelve months.

We hope the awards are accepted in good grace, humour and with a very large pinch of salt…

European1. The ‘Result we’ve decided upon doesn’t quite add up Award’ – sponsored by President Mugabe of Zimbabwe. 

The nominations are:

a) The judges decision in the own choice section of the European Brass Band Championships in Stavanger

Music is all about opinions – and theirs of Brass Band Oberosterreich was the only one that counted of course on the day – but it remains a mystery that not even Mulder and Scully from the X Files could explain with rationality. 

b) Brass in Concert

Rumours that the organisers employed the same people to sort out the results as those employed by the BBC for the Strictly Come Dancing voting process are said to be totally unfounded – an odd one though.

c) The Nationals Music Panel

Some of the picks for Harrogate, the ‘mini me’ size of the London test piece and ‘Pentacle’ to come in a few months time. Need we say more…

And the winner is..... 

The judges at the 2008 European Championships - strange wasn't quite the word some people used to describe it...

Albert Hall2. The ‘Doing it on the cheap opening and closing ceremony Award’ – sponsored by Boris Johnson and the London Olympic Bid team.  

The nominations are:

a) The results ceremony at the National Finals at the Royal Albert Hall.

Car crash territory. Simply toe curlingly awful.

b) The draw at the European Championships in Stavanger.

For all of those present that thought the Norwegians were perhaps getting a bit too smug about the way things were going at the Europeans. The draw was a complete and utter cock up.

c) The presentation of the BBC Young Musician of the Year contest in Cardiff.

Not the final, but everything else at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. We know the licence fee is under threat but having background props that looked as if they were made by kids sending something into ‘Vision On’ all those years ago was as cheap as it comes.   

And the winner is..... 

The results ceremony at the Royal Albert Hall - a classic of its type. 

Winter Gardens3. The ‘Incomprehensible Speech Award' – sponsored by George W Bush 

The nominations are:

a) Mrs Robert Redhead’s address to the audience at the English Nationals

Well meaning, honest, heartfelt and genuine – and completely and totally misplaced. There is a time and place to be informed that we must find God – at the end of a secular brass band contest perhaps isn’t one of them.

b) Major Peter Parkes at the British Open.

A quite brilliant, if altogether surreal address by the person nominated by the three judges to talk to the audience at the end of the most prestigious brass band contest in the world. One mention of the test piece and no mention at all of what the judges were looking for. Fabulous.

c) The conspiracy theorist in a chip shop on Blackpool’s Golden Mile.

Strange to say the least. 4BR Editor informed with a nudge, a wink and a say no more by a well oiled bandsman who believed the results of the three Spring Festival contests had been ‘fixed’ by a combination of the Welsh ‘Taffia’, golf and a wizard way with numbers not even Carol Vorderman could make add up.   

And the winner is..... 

Chip shop man - Proof that paranoia still reigns - not not just from banding's answer to Deep Throat...

Obrasso CD4.  The ‘Flogging a Dead Horse Award’ – sponsored by Woolworth and MFI. 

The nominations are:

a) Obrasso Recordings for ‘The Greatest Musical Hits’ CD.

It is said that if you put 200 monkeys in a room with a pen and paper, with the passage of time they will produce a sonnet of Shakespearean quality. Or they could also come up with a CD release like this one.

b) British Bandsman television DVD

’The new dimension in banding’ as it was hailed, came and possibly went without making any discernible impact at all. Outstanding copies destined to be found in the bargain basket in a petrol station near you any time in the future…

c) 4BRs ‘Scouting Report’.

Not update since May 2008. There are plenty of great young players out there, but we haven’t got off our backsides to find them for six months. Inexcusably lazy.

And the winner is..... 

Obrasso - what a corker. Hard to find a description  to match its awfulness.

Desford5. The ‘Lets do something we think is very funny and worry about the consequences afterwards Award’ – sponsored by Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross

The nominations are:

a) Desford’s humour entry at Brass in Concert

Simple unbelievable. 

b) The opening ceremony at the 2008 Europeans in Stavanger.

A quite surreal mix and match – from the ‘knighting’ of Frank Renton to two people trying to funny in North Sea fisherman outfits. Proof if ever there was some that the international language of friendship and understanding is not to be found through ‘own brand’ national humour.

c) Fairey at Brass in Concert.

Not their fault at all – but someone out there thought they may have been worth a mention…

And the winner is..... 

Desford at Brass in Concert - had to be seen to be believed... 

Perth6.  The ‘Cut and paste Award’ – sponsored by Blue Peter

The nominations are:

a) Conductors at the English Nationals

Those who decided to give a non too taxing soprano cornet part to a variety of solo cornet players. Did they honestly think they could get away with it?

b) Conductors at the Scottish Open

Those especially who once again decided to add stock value to the makers of Sibelius software by rewriting entire pages of the ‘St Magnus’ score to make it easier for themselves to conduct and their bands to play.  It still sounded wrong though.
c) Cory at the Welsh Regional Championship.

They denied that they had used pedal notes to ‘enhance’ their ‘Festival Music’ experience in Swansea, but Alan Morrison thought otherwise and docked them points. Leaks of a musical kind later proved Mr Morrison right.  

And the winner is..... 

Conductors at the Scottish Open - proof that taking the easy option will never sound right...

Fodens7. The 'Wrong time, wrong place Award' - sponsored by Shadow Chancellor George Osborne and anyone looking for a big donation from a Russian Oligarch on a holiday yacht.

The nominations are:

a) Kevin Crockford of Grimethorpe Colliery Band at the Nationals

If you are to come in the wrong place, two beats earlier on a top C at treble forte then you better make sure it’s a corker. He did – brilliantly. 

b) Fodens opening number at Brass in Concert

As we said at the time - as imbalanced as Heather Mills McCartney on a unicycle. Great idea, made a complete and utter ’horlicks’ of.

c) The Europeans in England in 2012

To anyone thinking that having the 2012 European Brass Band Championships in England would be a great idea.

After the experience of Birmingham in 2007, the credit crunch, the absolute disdain of government towards brass bands and with the Olympics soaking up every last bit of spare cash that is going for the next three years – it would be a disaster – especially if a private company got it hands on it.

And the winner is..... 

Fodens at Brass in Concert - a pity, as if it had worked it would have been brilliant - but it didn't, and it was awful...


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