Friday Whiticisms and much much more!!!

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by midwalesman, Jun 14, 2006.

  1. midwalesman

    midwalesman Member

    Having read the recent comments on 4barsrest (

    I have been motivated to reply to some of the views that have been expressed. I will deal with these in a concise bullet-form style to avoid people fearing one of my long rants without drawing breath. Here goes:-

    a) Whit Friday:- This is the ONLY brass band contest that can draw the crowds that bands historically could draw. The question is why? Simple, it's outdoors, it's in the public domain (and not locked in isolation in a big hall miles away from the stronghold of banding), people can talk and socialise and listen to banding without going into a different area of the village, people can move from village to village, different pieces are played (admittedly Ravenswood seemed a bit of a favourite), remains the only contest where a style of test piece appears on a band concert programme without the bands/conductors in question break out in hives in case the audience don't want to be educated!!

    b) Test piece selection and wet knickers moment:- In an ideal world you have a National contest where there is a common policy with the British Open. For example, in 2007 the Nationals has a selection of 18 test pieces for 18 bands or however many bands are there and the Open would have a new commission and then alternate every year. I can hear the adjudicators shudder from here! But at the end of the day we all want to entertain and not simply play for the adjudicator in the box. Imagine the interest a) from the players to see what piece they would get b) from the general lay person who would want to see their favourite piece played by a different band other than the well known ones and vice versa, what piece your favourite band will be given.

    History has its place and to be perfectly honest we shoot ourselves in the foot by having people who choose the wrong historical facts! Historically bands had more interest and better audience attendence outdoors, when we went indoors that was when we started this decline in audience attendence.

    Therefore would it not be best to actually have a major contest outdoors, in a major park maybe, in the summer and have people come and go and socialise as they please whilst bands can play own choice test pieces and a. n. other piece. Wouldnt that really get bands back to the people that bands were original formed for?

    Discuss points a) or b)
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2006
  2. BryonySnell

    BryonySnell Member

    Your rants..... they couldn't get more tiring to read!!! It's taken my 10 minutes to get through it, i still can't take it all in, probably cos I'm still knackered from Whits...!!!!
    But i think you have a point!
    We have Bugle this weekend, a great outdoor contest especially for the Cornish, however it has also dwindled....
    Me for one would like to see more contests outside, the wind, rain and thunderstorms make it so much more entertaining!!!
  3. tam-tam2

    tam-tam2 Member

    Bugle choose marches like Brilliant and test pieces like Diamond least it's Year of the Dragon in the Championship Section...JonP. did you do the Whit Marches for Briggus after you said you were at Weston? Ravenswood again?
  4. TheMusicMan

    TheMusicMan tMP Founder Staff Member

    He sure did Tim...

    Check here
  5. iancwilx

    iancwilx Active Member

    I recall playing a couple of times at the Edinburgh Festival Invitation Contest which was held in the open air on the Ross Bandstand in Princes Street Gardens.
    Phil McCann was playing that beautiful cornet solo in Resurgam displaying his lovely tone to the full, when an express train thundered past on the railway line that runs just behind the bandstand - one of those unforgettable banding moments !
    - Wilky
  6. sugarandspice

    sugarandspice Active Member

    Nice try but those definately aren't bullet points! It's just a mini essay in disguise! :)

    I of course also need to mention Bugle, the system seems to work, it's like a mini whit friday and gets a lot of support from "normal people". The out door factor is definately part of the appeal. it just seems more relaxed and people socailise while listening to the bands. we need more of it! but how?!

    Ummm, what was it we were meant to say bryony? "we had a really good time up north?!"
  7. Liz Courts

    Liz Courts Active Member

    Hehe, that's as far as I got ;)

    But people seem to be mentioning Bugle. Bugle's great! Bands people can take their children to Bugle without fear of them disrupting the performances too much, and, as Kelly said, you can socialise whilst listening, so any non-banding other-halves should enjoy it too!

    Whit Friday is also brilliant. In fact, I had a great weekend up north, and Saturday night's entertainment was almost as good as Friday's! :D
  8. starperformer

    starperformer Member

    midwalesman, this is mostly in response to point (a) above.

    how, in your opinion, would the major outdoor contest that you propose overcome the major obstacles below?

    * the whit friday marches enjoy, at best, hit-and-miss attendance from the best bands despite the events' popularity - and i suspect that members of some of the bands who don't attend would be less enthusiastic than you about the contests
    * the english championships seem to be proving that the big-name bands aren't interested in having yet another pointless contest on the calendar
    * there are existing outdoor contests such as the ones alluded to above and it sounds like they only have limited draw
    * the heated debates that one always gets following suggestions to make any changes to the national or british open contests demonstrates that changing any current major contest to be an outdoor public event would meet with vigorous opposition

    in partial response to (b), i don't think that it would make an enormous amount of difference for the national and open to cooperate on test piece selection. both contests are under enormous pressure to select a variety of pieces, with quite a short list of acceptable choices to choose from.
  9. midwalesman

    midwalesman Member

    * The hit and miss aspect of some of the top bands has more to do with financial reasons than anything else. I personally think those kinds of bands demonstrate a complete disregard to the spirit of banding as it should be. As much as I find it frustrating with the drunken bands being in the way, they are probably more important to the band movement than the best bands! It is a shame that they seem to only want to do the contest if they have nothing better to do or don't have a lucrative concert on the night or next day!
    *I agree with you, I and a load others would prefer to have less contests in a year, but then again less predictable, boring and quite obviously dated contests with outdated test pieces are the ones we complain about! I can safely say that nearly every member of B+R like the Whit Friday march competitions more than the other contests in a year, because of the atmosphere, socialising, being recognised by the lay person and it not merely being an event where bandsmen entertain bandsmen!!
    *True there might be a limited draw, but then again, if you had a contest in a park, like the bowl in London (can't remember name), there would be more people likely to walk by and hear the music than walk by the Albert Hall and see a load of people in blazers talking and not hearing the music itself. Proms in the park concerts have been a good idea, and I think Grimey were wise to actually do that concert instead of the open.
    *Any change in banding meets rigourous argument. Maintaining a Victorian museum culture has always been the foremost of the argument, but is it not strange that the reasons behind the very first contests have now been more or less swamped. i.e Burton Constable contest, widely seen as the first contest in 1844 originated because Sir Clifford Constable thought it would be entertaining for the people who attended his summer fair. Similarly the reason behind contests been held in the Zoological Gardens, Belle Vue and the Crystal Palace centre which had a lot more accessibility for people.

    As for musical co-operation between events. Would it not be nice to have all the contests under one umbrella with one sense of purpose, instead of several disparate events that have little or no connection or real need to co-operate. I think opening a contest to be own choice would help draw people back to the contest, especially if bands can be encouraged to play test pieces (within reason) in concert programmes, a feature of concerts in the late 19th century and early 20th century. People were then aware of what contest pieces were and did not have two seperate distinct repertoires.
  10. starperformer

    starperformer Member

    couldn't agree more.

    but B+R is probably unique in its whit friday heritage, so i don't think this point necessarily applies to other leading bands

    i don't think this would make any discernible difference - the major contests all have to choose different pieces each year, from essentially the same pool of available pieces, and it is common sense that they don't pick the same piece as a rival contest in the same year.

    the own choice argument is a whole separate debate. but i think any contest that wants to be the "third biggie" (like the euros or the masters) does need to experiment in some way to pull in the audiences and the bands, because the nationals and open have the set test piece market sewn up.

    there is only so much market for big set piece competitions. to be successful, they must be prestigious (historically). there are two variants of this sort of comp - anyone can win, like the nationals, or the best bands guaranteed, like the open. it's like football league vs. FA cup.
  11. 2nd man down

    2nd man down Moderator Staff Member

    Isn't Hardraw Scar a reasonably well attended (both bands and audience), outdoor, own choice test piece and hymn contest?

    The format of this one has always appeared to work quite well from what I've seen. (knowing my luck it's been cancelled in the last few years since i was there last and I've just made a right prat of myself)
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2006
  12. Janet Watkins

    Janet Watkins Member

    According to the IBEW events listings, the Hardraw Scar contest is on 10th September this year.


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