Cheltenham observations

Discussion in 'The Adjudicators' Comments' started by fabled inferno, Sep 25, 2012.

  1. I went to Cheltenham last year as a punter and was impressed with the whole thing. This year I went as a competitor and was equally impressed. There was bags of room back stage, good organisation and the whole day went very smoothly.

    I enjoyed the bloke who performed MC duties. It was a nice change to have a spot of levity introduced to the proceedings as opposed to the usual cold dead, funerial feel that pervades major contests. The funniest bit of his performance though was unintentional. He spent a lot of time telling us how short the various speeches were going to be at the end of the contest. He explained and apologised at great length, repeatedly. The following speech givers also felt obliged to explain and apologise about the length of their speeches. Having concluded the speeches, the MC then had to make further comments about the length of the speeches we had just heard. The whole thing could have been twenty minutes shorter without all the blathering about how short is was going to be!

    I also noticed the high number of "Mime Artist" percussion players. I cant see the point of playing percussion items so quietly that they cant be heard (i was sitting on the front row on the percussion side). This style of playing seems to require exaggerated and ostentatious hand and arm movements, presumably to compensate in some way for the lack of any sound or to attempt assure the MD that despite clear evidence to the contrary that they are contributing to the performance!

    Also on display as at many contests, was at least one of those bands that, for reasons best known to themselves, were convinced they "had it in the bag". How exactly does a band achieve such a breath taking level of arrogance and lack of respect for fellow competitors?
  2. Sonorous

    Sonorous New Member

    Interesting comments. Without knowing specific details it's very difficult to tell how justified they are..

    1) Percussion: it is perfectly musical to have parts, sounds, notes etc that don't specifically register individually to you, that simply enhance the sound that you're hearing.. eg a timpanist may be performing a very soft roll that you can't actually hear consciously (as an individual thing) but it's actually adding depth to the band sound without you realising. (Edit - I know from watcing top class percussionists that the very quietest of playing often requires large sweeping arm gestures...) If these are parts that really should be audible (eg glock solos) it seems silly to pretend to play it when the adjudicator is in a box. Maybe the accoustics didn't help? Or maybe they simply panicked on the day and ended up playing air percussion out of sheer terror? Give some specifics to justify your comments please.

    2) The Band that were convinced they had it in the bag?.... Do spill the beans on who it was! Was it simply a case of them being very happy with their performance? Or were they lauding their superiority over other bandsmen? Or is this simply sour grapes by a band that was further down the results table?....Were they justified or did they have egg on their faces come results time? Details give meat to your accusations, and maybe if they know they appeared this way they'll make sure they don't do this again?....

    Fess up.
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2012
  3. Sonorous

    Sonorous New Member

    Just checked out the second section comments on 4bars rest. It sounds as if the problem with percussion may have been the other way round, with some percussionists deciding they were the soloists of the band!!
  4. 4thmandown

    4thmandown Member

    Don't they always! :)
  5. If I remember correctly there were four different sections playing over the weekend, not just the second section. The mime artists seemed to be in evidence more in the third and first sections. I dont need to "justify" my observations, I am simply describing what I saw, but didnt hear. You could be right about the "sheer terror" explanation though. I really felt for some of the First section perc sections who came out on to stage ashen faced with fear. That really was going a bit far of the composer in my opinion. Perc players do become accustomed to having to sort out the mess that composers leave them to deal with, but the Vivat composer seemed to be treating the perc section with something close to contempt!

    The perc players had far too much to do even for three good players and it really does get ridiculous when players have to run about like headless chickens all he way through the piece.

    Back to Sonorous's points, yes I agree its "silly to pretend to play it" thats the point I was some length!

    I certainly have no intentions of naming names or bands for obvious reasons, much as you might like me to. The band I saw did end up with "egg on their faces" as you put it. There would have been no point in talking about this issue if they had won obviously!....(dear oh dear!)

    The worst example of this was some years ago at a contest when the "its in the bag" band were convinced they were the winners only to find they were given second place. Rather than cheering and celebrating like most bands would do, they all stood in complete silence. Its hard to imagine this wasnt a planned reaction in the event of it not being "in the bag" and came across as a calculated insult to all who had taken part.
  6. Is it customary for Welsh bands to wear Kilts? That was a new one on me at Cheltenham!
  7. Sonorous

    Sonorous New Member

    Thank you, you have provided the 'meat' required to make your points more than just an unneccesary grip.

    Although I would suggest that on the percussion issue, your point seems to have been more that the percussion parts were overly hard and that some percussionists struggled with it. Not what was first hinted at in your first point.

    Glad you at least enjoyed the contest :)
  8. Cornet Nev.

    Cornet Nev. Member

    OK, I wasn't there, however the band I used to play with were, and from the comments I have heard or read since, were well overjoyed with their result and rightly so. However, I would be interested in the thoughts of those who did attend, as a player or only as an observer, and your interpretation of the results, were there any surprises, any doubts, or any other relevant thoughts. Just interested in opinions and feelings that can only come from those who were there.
  9. katieeuph

    katieeuph Member

    I agree with the OP's comments about the MC- he was witty and very charming and was lovely to everyone when we were about to go onstage, making some really encouraging comments to the band and trying to put the players at ease. I agree that some bands appeared to assume they had it in the bag (but shan't say in which section, as I was there on both days). There was some very hushed silence from some parts of the hall!!
  11. T Winch

    T Winch Member


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