Hi, Contesting, the mainstay of the brass band movement, the pillar of strength on which we lean (say some!!) has its positives and negatives. However, as much as we all enjoy the buzz of playing and even more the socialising afterwards (the cups of teas and gentlemanly banter) the whole event is filled with tension and very little is gained from the whole event, other than a large hangover the next day!(which is good and bad! I'm not complaining) Lets face it, as much as we blow and blow the traditional house will not fall down or at least get fortified by windbreakers or something! I digress...Brass Band Aid is doing a great job in raising money for countries that have far more things to moan about than we do and this motivated the fruition of this idea. Would it not be interesting to have a contest where the soloist players of each of the top bands form a core membership of a band that is constructed from a variety of players from the other 9 competing bands i.e there would be a bag which has 2nd cornet players, 2nd horns, 2nd trombones etc....a representative of the bands involved pulls out the players, and they then know which band they would play for. This could also apply for the conductors.. Bare in mind, this is for fun and undoubtedly bands would not go for it on the grounds of losing out on prestige and money!!! However, if players got together and did this it would be a good event, if outside, it could be at a site where the younger players could put up tents in the summer, have many beers have some fun and raise cash for charity. Lets face it, we get hammered anyway at these contests, it would make new friends, or have a laugh at each other without the agro involved with a tension filled Open or Nationals? The question is would a) bands be interested? b) would there be enough interest in players wise? and c) would the general audiences be interested?