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2012: June

This month were gave our opinion on boldness at the Nationals, innovation at Brass in Concert and the Spring Festival and praise the audiences at the Europeans.

Bold musical choices

Kapitol Promotions has been seen in some quarters as an inherently conservative custodian of the National Finals.

However, the decision to commission three new works for the event in Cheltenham and to use Howard Snell’s kaleidoscopic arrangement of ‘Daphis & Chloe’ at London must rank as one of the most innovative and welcome for many years.

It also reflects the organisers new found confidence in both contest weekends too – following a welcome response to the modern facilities at Cheltenham Racecourse, and the growing sense of occasion that is now being felt by performers and listeners alike at the Royal Albert Hall.

The boldness of these musical decisions is to be especially applauded though.

Howard Snell’s brilliance in understand the sound palette capabilities of the brass band is unsurpassed – the crowning glory of which has always been his stunning realisation of Ravel’s mesmeric score.

The audience is in for the rarest of contesting treats in Kensington if the very best bands play to the top of their form.

Meanwhile, listeners at The Centaur in September can also enjoy three diverse works (time constraints perhaps stopped a fourth being employed) from composers who certainly bring exciting musical voices to the stage in Tom Davoren, R Huw Cole and Jonathan Bates.

A bold musical strategy has been employed by Kapitol and the National Music Panel – and one that deserves to succeed.  

Make sure you book your tickets now.

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Innovation at BiC and Spring Festival

In many ways, the decisions of the Brass in Concert and Spring Festival organisers to totally revamp their adjudication process and to consider an overhaul of the draw mechanisms respectively, also show a welcome display bold innovation.

Brass in Concert has certainly listened to what had become a growing chorus of frustration from competitors, listeners and critics alike in implementing a much fairer, much more focussed adjudication system.

Now the bands can entertain what has always been an appreciative audience, without having to balance it by trying to artificially manipulate their programmes to fit preconceived ideas of prescriptive presentation and performance.

It may take a little getting used to, but in doing so Brass in Concert has opened up an exciting long term future for itself with this confident approach.

So too the Spring Festival, which has shown a forward thinking desire to help the 80 financially hard pressed bands that contribute to making the Winter Garden’s event such a unique banding occasion .

Forget any complaints about the judges now having an inkling of what bands will play where – that’s an adjudication red herring. If you don’t trust the judges don’t employ them.

This is all to do with helping bands plan in advance for what can be a very expensive and time consuming weekend by being able to plan their contest day in advance.

It’s a pragmatic, sensible and well thought out proposal that demands to be implemented as soon as possible.

Perhaps other major contest may want to follow these leads in their own ways too?

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In praise of the European audiences

Even though there was so much to enjoy at the recent European Championship in Rotterdam, the lasting impression of the whole event was the way in which the audiences at the De Doelen Hall became such an integral part of the musical experience.

The responses both before and after performances weren’t displays of biased, jingoistic cheering and brainless flag waving – every band was treated to an enthusiastic appreciation of their excellence.

Regardless of which country they represented, the audience sat in to listen to them all; invariably standing, cheering and applauding until their hands ached after performances had drawn to their conclusion.

This was a fabulous example of what a modern, inclusive brass band contest should be all about; musical entertainment that engages the listener’s response on both the intellectual as well as the simply visceral level.  

It was also a brilliant reminder of just what makes a brass band contest a truly thrilling experience too.  

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The Fairey Band -

Sunday 20 October • . The Hawth,. Hawth Avenue, Crawley. RH10 6YZ RH10 6YZ


Regent Hall Concerts - Fulham Brass Band

Friday 25 October • Regent Hall (The Salvation Army). 275 Oxford Street Opp. RESERVED. London . W1C 2DJ


Haverhill Silver Band - Best of Brass

Saturday 26 October • Thaxted Parish Church,. Thaxted. Dunmow,. CM6 2PL


Foden's Band - Victoria Hall, Hanley

Sunday 27 October • Victoria Hall, Bagnall Strett, Stoke on Trent, ST1 3AD


Regent Hall Concerts - Royal Greenwich Brass Band

Friday 1 November • Charlton House. Charlton Road. London. SE7 8RE SE7 8RE


Waltham St. Lawrence Silver Band

October 20 • Our friendly non-contesting band, within easy reach of Maidenhead, Bracknell and Reading, seeks 2nd & 3rd cornets, a trombone player and Bb bass. Other players also welcome!


Upper Rhondda Brass Band

October 19 • Principle Cornet - We have a new vacancy for this position. We are a 3rd section band, with a full schedule coming up over the rest of the contesting season, into the Christmas period and onward into the New year.


Upper Rhondda Brass Band

October 19 • As one of our young players is leaving to further his Education in America, we are looking for a Sop player. We also have Vacancies for Principle and assistant Solo Cornet, for B-flat and E-flat Basses and a Tuned Percussionist.


Sandy Smith


Conductor, teacher, adjudicator and arranger


               

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