Its 6pm, the final "dong" of big ben is dying in the damp air, the mist in low on the Thames and opposite Hyde park a single light can be seen in the upper circle bar of the Royal Albert hall. The reception room is large, like a regal drawing room. Rich reds, deep blues, guilted funature and large oil paintings ooze the spendour of an unstated regal lament, obvious to those not used to such surroundings and acceptable to those used to finer. 21 ladies and gentlemen, dressed in band walking outs, look at each other with nervous glances as the committee enter the room. The test piece is presented and adjudicators and composer (if alive) give a summary of what they will be looking for in 16 hours time, when the first band takes the stage for the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain, arguably the most coveted prize in the banding world. Imagine having to play a piece at 16 hours notice. The intense thoughts of a musical director, the focus that would be required by the players, the preparation in anticipation of what may or may not be in that 14 minutes of musical test! I suggest that a competition where bands have to perform a work, of reasonable diffuculty for the cirumstances, would prove a much better test of which band is actually the best, and would be a magnificent exhibition of banding prowess, musical directorship, and many other aspects we currently do not explore. A different disipline, that could only compliment what we already have, but i think actualy a better or at least tougher test. It would certainly sort the men out from the boys! What do you think??