Can a top section band maintain playing standards without contests?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Statto, Nov 23, 2010.

  1. Statto

    Statto Member

    Bactiguard Wire Brass has announced that they will cease contesting at the end of the year.

    link to 4br report

    The band has had a very quick rise up through the rankings and experienced a lot of success (including being not too far away from qualifying for the British Open) so will the players miss contesting and will their quality suffer?

    It's certainly a brave move but is there life after contesting?

    contest record
  2. bariwizard

    bariwizard Member

    I'm sure Desford or Grimethorpe tried this before and are both still ok. By the sounds of things it had become a case of can they maintain standards withcontests for wire. I don't think there is any problem as long as personal pride around the stands (and middle) keeps standards up, but other local contesting bands will doubtless try and use wire's non-contesting status to solve their own problems. Ultimately then player poaching may degrade the band. I hope not, & good luck to all involved.
  3. Zappa

    Zappa Member

    At first it seemed strange, but upon reflection it doesn't suprise me. Everyone knows the constant struggle to get a full band is frustrating and draining - for conductors it's even worse!

    Paul is a conductor whom in my experience is extremely organised and focused, so it must be even more frustrating when he can't get the bodies around the stand. I also think he is hugely talented MD and is capable of great things, he probably knows this, which frustrates him even more ...

    Who knows, the 12 piece may have some really exciting things planned in 2011 and we may hear alot more from them yet ... I hope so. A tight 12 piece, performing concerts beyond the norm could be fantastic ... I suppose we'll see, but the best of luck to them!
  4. Playabit

    Playabit Member

    Wire Brass have done so well since they first formed, this decision must have been well thought out....but i could not imagine being in a non contesting band...although Paul is a well respected MD i feel by not contesting he will have to keep a tight reign on the band or he will lose players that may still want to contest and we all know when a number of players leave a band that band can suffer a great deal of damage, and before long the Championship Section Band that they are today could be gone tomorrow...

    That said good luck to them for the future and lets hope it is not the demise of another brass band within the northwest, so many have gone alraedy since i started playing 30 odd years ago...
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2010
  5. Cath Ata

    Cath Ata New Member

    Will never work. They wont do enough pressure contests to keep the interest of the players.
  6. timbloke

    timbloke Member

    Interesting that this is another band taking this route following Yorkshire Co-operative going down the same route earlier in the year - And I'm sure there are, and will be more bands opting out of contesting. My early playing days were in a very high standard non-contesting band, I therefore know the format can work - admittedly where I grew I there were fewer bands to tempt players away than there are in Warrington or Brighouse.

    What it does do is to free the band up to focus on a series of exciting concerts, as and when they want them and lots of time to get a programme up early in the year without the distraction of the area. Having heard Wire play on numerous occasions, I think they will easily be able to put on some very exciting concerts. Best of luck to them. :clap:

    At the same time, perhaps it raises the question - when will the rules around contests be changed to make them more appealing to all bands?
  7. iancwilx

    iancwilx Well-Known Member

    Yorkshire Evening Post Band made the brave decision to cut down to a 10/12 piece outfit quite a few years ago and I hear they are still operating to a high standard.
    In fact, they attracted talented musicians who have no interest in contesting.

    - Mr Wilx
  8. DublinBass

    DublinBass Supporting Member

    That can work in theory. However, when there is no external accountability, there is also rarely internal accountability to keep the standard up. I've seen a band in our area stop contesting. They are still good, but only a shell of what they were when contesting.
  9. BassoProfundo

    BassoProfundo Member

    Good luck to them. But I'd be looking for another band. Concerts are a pain - would much rather contest!
  10. Playabit

    Playabit Member

    Contesting gives us a bench mark and we strive to do better at each contest....and this way we improve or maintain standards achieved..
  11. Bayerd

    Bayerd Active Member

    Which is something that Wire will also be able to do. I would think that a period of natural selection will take place, with those involved in the set up that can't live with out contesting to be replaced with players that are as equally capable, but would rather play in concerts.

    It'll be interesting to see how they keep their profile up sufficiently to keep audiences....
  12. bariwizard

    bariwizard Member

    I think that is true for 99% of bands, but for the very best ones their contest standard is simply an extension of their normal standard in rehearsals and concerts - which is why they are so good. Once a band like wire have done the rapid rise through the sections (which must be a real buzz) it must be hard to change mentality from contesting every other week to just doing the big ones. Maybe as a band they are experiencing a bit of "burnout" and just need to take a step back for a while.
  13. Rapier

    Rapier Supporting Member

    And I'm the total opposite. I love concerts, where we play to entertain an audience and not just one piece to a man in a box.
  14. Bones

    Bones Member

    I think there is a big distinction between the two.

    If Paul cannot get a band together, and is looking to be a concert ensemble, the different musical opportunities are there. There is a wealth of 10 piece music available, all of which require a different mindset.

    I play with Harlequin brass and can tell you easily it is some of the most challenging playing I have ever done. And not a contest in sight
  15. Yes Good luck to them. Chasing players for a full contesting band is tough.
    We play because we like to play.

    Personally i love the concert format and contesting. But if the concerts were consistently of a high standard with new music i could live without the contests.

    So play to enjoy it i say.
  16. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member

    Tim, the press release may have been that Yorkshire Co-op band had merely stopped contesting, but the actual upshot of that was that the band ceased to exist in all but name. To my knowledge, other ensembles have stepped in and met their commitments.

    I hasten to add I've no knowledge at all of the situation at Wire, and I really hope that it isn't the case with them. But occasionally the announcement to 'stop contesting' is in fact, the announcement of the death of the band.

    To form a non-contesting ensemble can be very successful - particularly if you can have players who've been there, seen it and done it and have simply had enough of contesting. I play in a small brass ensemble myself, run by the members just for the love of playing, and we're not doing too badly. But then we are all members of championship-level contesting bands as well as that, so we do have that outlet of our various playing desires at our disposal.

    Here's hoping that Wire go on to be a very succesful non-contesting outfit. Good luck, folks.....


    It s a shame this has happened....but at least they have the guts to face up to the problem.There are several "championship " bands in a far worse position who rely on filling the positions for the area wih expensive practice they have half a band again !I know scores of good players who have packed in because of these reasons.Yes you can have more fun playing in a 10 piece group and you don t have to spend 3 months on Resurgam !
  18. iancwilx

    iancwilx Well-Known Member

    Ayup Stuart - I like "Resurgam" (Though I must admit I nearly know the bass part by heart !!)

    - Mr Wilx
  19. MattB

    MattB Member

    That's assuming that people who go to watch our bands in concerts have any interest in the archaic contesting side of our movement. Judging by the amount of members of the PUBLIC who attend contests I'd say Wire will have more success keeping up their profile by the standard of concerts they put on to paying members, rather than reporting back on contest results to people who either already know or get told about it during a concert!
  20. tubafran

    tubafran Active Member

    Didn't Ransomes announce something similar a few years back - retired from contesting to concentrate on concerts. Was it a successful move for them? Cant say Ive seen any news about their concerts and the web site is closed.

    There is one local band in Derbyshire that has successfully achieved this and that is Masson Mills Band - but I think the majority of their players also contest with other local bands.

    Good luck to Wire in their new venture