I would like to hear opinions regarding the announcement on 4barsrest regarding the xylophone part for the forthcoming 2nd Section Regional contests. Is it not just another kick in the teeth for talented percussionists who ache to get their teeth into some decent percussion parts on the contest stage? The xylo part was optional according to the score which allows bands with no xylo or percussionist to play it to still compete without fear of being penalised, some would disagree with this including me, as pieces should not be picked for contests if parts are going to have to be left out by all or some bands, would you like to put in hours of practice and rehearsal then play your heart out on the contest stage knowing that the adjudicator isn't paying any attention to you or including you in the ensemble? To be told you are playing an optional part is bad enough without being told you cannot play it! If percussion is included in a test piece then it should count in the result, why choose a test piece and leave a section out? I don't recall an anouncement stating that the trombone section don't have to play their part if it's too difficult, or the back row cornets!! There is little wonder lots of bands have no permanent percussionists and have to pay for them when they need them at contests and concerts is there? Come on you people who choose these test pieces, if you want to revert back to the days of snare and bass drum only, you're going the right way about it because you will have sent all the decent percussionists back to orchestral playing and that will never do at all!!!