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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



Sherborne Town Youth Band - Sherborne Town Band

Sunday 17 June • Pageant Gardens, Sherborne, DORSET, DT9 3NW DT9 3NW


Roberts Bakery Band - Brass on the Grass

Sunday 17 June • Congleton Park. Park Road. Congleton. Cheshire. CW12 1JG


Trinity Girls Brass Band -

Sunday 17 June • Jubilee Park, Wigan Road, Ashton-in-Makerfield WN4 9BH


Leicestershire Co-op Band - Leicestershire Co-op Snibston Brass Band take cent

Sunday 17 June • Century Theatre. Ashby Road. Coalville . Leicestershire. LE67 3LN LE67 3LN


The Fairey Band -

Sunday 17 June • Playhouse Theatre. Marine Ave. Whitley Bay. NE26 1LZ. United Kingdom NE261LZ


Ripon City band

June 17 • Ripon City Band require EEb Bass, Bb Cornet and Percussion (Kit and/or tuned). We are a welcoming First Section band with a varied programme of engagements and contests. We rehearse in Ripon on Tuesday and Friday evenings at 7.40.


Glossop Old Band

June 16 • Glossop Old Band is looking to appoint a new Musical Director. We are a friendly first section band with some contesting and a good mix of concerts. Rehearsals are on Tuesday evenings 8.00-10.00pm at our Band Club at Derby Street, Glossop, SK13 8LP


Bradwell Silver band

June 15 • Bradwell Silver Band invites applicants for a seat in our Solo Cornet section.. Currently L&SC 4th Section Regional Champions and are promoted to 3rd section in 2019, we are a friendly, contesting band with a sensible list of engagements.


Sandy Smith


Conductor, teacher, adjudicator and arranger