Contesting with a twist?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by midwalesman, Apr 25, 2006.

  1. midwalesman

    midwalesman Member


    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?
  2. Bob Sherunkle

    Bob Sherunkle Member

    I like the idea of putting players in bags but there could be health and safety implications.

    I suspect
    a) no
    b) no
    c) no
  3. Nuke

    Nuke Active Member

    You mean like a band lottery before each contest? if i get your idea right then;

    Whats the motivation to play the piece to the highest standard then?

    If you pick your players out of a bag then conductors wont want to spend weeks and weeks getting a piece right only to have a different band infront of them on the day.
    How do you decide which band is which? majority player spread or what? Open to sabotage again by making sure the players havent seen the piece and are sightreading on the day.

    If i didnt get the right end of the stick ignore all the above cause youve lost me .
  4. GingerMaestro

    GingerMaestro Active Member

    I had a similar thought but instead of picking players out of a bag you pick the testpiece out.

    All the test pieces would be of the standard of the appropriate section and once you have picked out your testpiece and been given the score and parts your band have either 30 mins or 1 hour to look at it and then go on stage and give your performance of the piece could be a chalenge but good fun I think
  5. Bayerd

    Bayerd Active Member

    I'm not sure this would work as a standalone, is it meant as a sight reading test, or how quickly an established work can be raised?

    Either way, I can't see where the appeal for the audience would come in, surely that length of time is not nearly long enough to work on any aspect of the piece. This would surely make it even easier for the bands with the better quality players to rise to the top in a sightreading test. Using established works and you come into the realms of the bands with the most players who have seen it before doing well. Not only that, wouldn't quality suffer as a result?
  6. horn__blower

    horn__blower Member

    well, i thought it sounded kinda fun.
    if enuff ppl were up for a laugh and stuff, it wud work well.
    i see wot ppl r saying about lack of motivation and all, but cud be a good experience, bit of a laff, and chance to get to know diff ppl.
  7. tubaloopy

    tubaloopy Member

    Lets face it Mr B 1 month is not usually enough time for you master a piece!!!!
  8. Bayerd

    Bayerd Active Member


    Been getting away with it very nicely for years
  9. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    I can't see it working as a stand-alone event, but how about this one for a fill-in while the results are being collated:

    Rather like the horse of the year show or similar, where they occasionally draw lots to choose horses or pairings for relay races, you could have various players on hand, with a range of suitable instruments. You can use your own mouthpiece but then take pot luck as to which instrument you draw and which piece you have to play. No opportunity for a rehearsal with the accompanist, just a few moments to blow some air through the instrument then off you go - could be one way of sorting out the wheat from the chaff!
  10. Nuke

    Nuke Active Member

    You mean like a soloist thing? where you give them an instrument and a piece and say away you go.
    Like the sound of that
  11. ian perks

    ian perks Active Member

    I would like to say
    YES to answer c
    Even better the bands do not know what the test piece will be until they walk out on the stage and sit down:
    Now that would be intresting, they could be faced with :
    Year Of The Dragon/Between The Moon And Mexico
  12. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    Or how about "Aubade", especially for the baritone players?
  13. ploughboy

    ploughboy Active Member

    What about if it was an entertainment contest!!

    That'd make it more fun all round!
    Just imagine the chaos trying to have players moving round on stage during a program!
  14. midwalesman

    midwalesman Member

    I can see what people are saying about the motivation. But to be fair I think it was hornblower who had the right spiel on this idea. It's for fun, a weekend that encourages socialising and not the normal stick with each other's band mates and thats it and raise band profile for general public in a park and raise money for charity rather than for the pockets of organisers.

    It's frustrating to think that it seems today that the whole drive of banding is for contesting, get the best players = for contesting, work like hell for months = contesting.

    Just one question: Banding initially started without any contests! The point: Improvement of the individual and happiness in their general life (which didn't involve getting stressed out about a top Bb and costing everyone else the contest.

    As an idea this highlights the festival contest idea, why not entertainment programme. I think bands do too many contests in a year that have the same format, almost the same repertoire, the same intensity, much of the sameness.

    For a change however, would it not be fun to gather for a big event where the players of the band have fun, get to have drinks, work under different conductors with different rehearsal methods, meet others who do the same as you in other bands (i.e stress!! lol)

    As for adjudication criteria, how about calling bands nicknamed type Sunday league type names like Pheonix etc? players then represent that band? Who needs contest motivation to play your parts right? Isn't that what you should do everytime you play an instrument, personal pride?

    Have informal concert in the evening, perhaps even with a group like the dirty dozen or ****ywood brass. All of this would be in the summer, sun, beer, campfire (well that might be dangerous mixed together!)
    My overall point in this was to get something different, a band contest in a park that didn't involve just playing a march and trudging off, and also getting general people interestd in bands whilst they are out for a walk.
    Ah well, seems that people don't want to have fun anymore....and to be frank, after all these formal contests who gives a rats bottom about who wins anyway...two weeks later its forgotten!!

    Jeez, hmmm...banding the haven of Bram Wiggins said in the 1970's about change and new repertoire (Sounding Brass (Issue 2, Vol 6))

    "This attitude (traditional formality) is often the case of the canary refusing to leave the comfort of the cage even to take a quick glance around before scampering back to the security of his prison."

    and even more telling

    "How comfortable it is to continue to accept the static and the familiar!"

    Ranting....well and truly over. It was a fun concept and goes back to what banding was originally formed for, socialising and having fun.
  15. Will the Sec

    Will the Sec Active Member

    This method of contesting has been used in Germany in the past. Will PM the person who told me about it and ask them for more details. I seem to recall that the band just kept playing until the whole thing stopped...
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2006
  16. persins

    persins Member

    This sounds like an opportunity for an almighty **** up and as far as I'm concerned a spot on idea!!! It would be great as an informal gathering where you can experiment with loads of different things. More like a brass festival than a contest. Perhaps numerous different events as have been mentioned above could be combined into a load of different mini contests?! Not sure it would be possible to organise whole bands to turn up but open invitations to players could have interesting results!!!

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