Great response from Moomin. It raises interesting questions about what the objectives of contesting are. Here's my MD perspective. Firstly on cheating:- It's a really good challenge as to whether swapping parts is cheating. I consider making bands play an incoherent arrangement cheating a fine composer like Holst though! I call the transplanting of parts to more able players or different instruments "gaming", maybe it's like using a nightwatchman in cricket. I used to play sop and front row - gaming comes naturally from those parts, "what's the point of 4 of us playing pp" "what's the point me on sop playing the same as front row for 8 bars - I need a rest!" And note that a Band I played in once drafted players in from abroad to play the key parts and many bands stand some of their players down to bring in better players who aren't regulars, this is worse than gaming in my view especially if those players are professionals. "isn’t one the original objectives of the piece (to test specific parts of the Band) deliberately defeated?" I don't see that the objective of a piece of music is to test specific parts of the Band. Composers don't write pieces to be tests, they write them to convey their musical ideas. So I consider it my goal to best convey those ideas to an audience. I don't see the purpose of a score to "test specific parts of the Band" and the composers I've spoken to don't see that. The purpose of the score is to organise the music to convey the ideas of the composer. The MD has to take the score and interpret it for the audience and hope that something of what the composer intended or a fresh interpretation of the composer's intention makes a connection with the audience. That's the beauty of performing music. I'm choosing to put some of the baritone parts onto trombone as I prefer the tonal quality of the trombone in this instance, it's more orchestral and it actually mirrors what Holst wrote on his original score. If this gets picked up and commented on and we're marked down I'll put it down to the adjudicator having more respect for Sydney Herbert than for one of Britain's greatest composers. What I'm hoping the adjudicator hears is an amazing well balanced tuneful ensemble for the section where I've done this that stands out from other bands. What I'll probably get is all the predictable complaints about tuning and intonation - which would be well justified! My objectives for a contest is to use contests as a process to improve the Band, that's in everyone's interest. So last year for Napoleon we didn't game the piece, each player had to play their own part and we all improved as a result. That met my original objective. We happened to come 2nd for our first outing in the third section - very satisfying! However this year, I'm content on gaming the piece as I don't see many improvement incentives from rehearsing and the arrangement is not a helpful one to improving the band so gaming the piece to ensure a more satisfying performance is what I'll do. I always tell the players the objective of the contest is to improve and to perform the piece to the best of our ability to delight the audience.