Gala Concerts - are they worth the effort?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by PeterBale, Oct 7, 2003.


What do you want to see at a Gala Concert?

  1. Massed bands

  2. One solo band

    0 vote(s)
  3. Two bands

  4. More than two bands

  5. A mixture with groups from outside of contesting

  6. Star soloists

  1. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    I thought I would launch this topic to see what other people think about the idea of Gala Concerts. Although I've attended the last two, I'm not planning to go this year (at the moment, anyway), largely because I don't find much of the programme particularly inspiring, with two old war-horses forming the bulk of the massed section.

    I realise inviting three bands each to do a set, and then uniting will hopefully draw supporters from all over, but I can't help thinking that it is all a little disjointed - not least with the setting of the stage in between etc. - and wonder whether they would have been better to invite either one band to do a full concert, or two bands to do half each, with soloist if required. They could each be asked to include a substantial original work in their programme, particularly as the test pieces at both the Open and the National this year have been arrangements, all be it very fine ones.

    Those are my initial thoughts on the subject - over to you :!:
  2. leisa

    leisa Active Member

    i like gala concerts we do one with stockport every year it was BT last year and faireys this year! it's top massed bands are good too, theyre always gr8 fun! when i was at school we have one every year with either YBS, Leyland or Dyke with a workshop in the daytime! i used to look forward to that all year.....think every1 did! :)
  3. drummerboy

    drummerboy Member

    I've been to the British Open Gala Concert the past two years, and I've also played in some youth gala concerts too. What i like to see from whoever is playing is diversity. Such as this year's british open gala, bands did different things, from just lighter pieces (like Fairey), to including test pieces in their program (like Cory). It made it interesting, and not repetitive in style/content. But sometimes it can sound the same if people are not careful. The other danger is when resetting the stage takes a long time, or bands go massively over time. I like to see things a bit special in gala concerts (such as the David Daws/Roger Webster cornet duets a few years back at the nationals gala concert), otherwise it doesnt really make it a gala concert, more a load of bands playing in one afternoon/evening.
  4. Accidental

    Accidental Supporting Member

    Gala concerts are great in principle, and we nearly always go, but often find the paying audience are let down by uninspired programming or (worse!) obvious lack of rehearsal. The last couple of years at the finals have been too long and disjointed, and I'm not convinced the average brass band audience wants to listen to so much dance/swing/symphonic brass - at least not on finals day anyway. This year doesn't look like it'll be much better but I'm still going - live in hope!!

    But ..... if Sheila Tracey is compereing again I'm taking a gun!!!
  5. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    John Maines at the Best of British Brass in Birmingham was excellent - little snippets of background to the music, enlivened by unforced humour, and keeping everything flowing smoothly.
  6. ploughboy

    ploughboy Active Member

    Having seen several massed bands concerts I do find it become's a battle of who can play loudist! And you just end up with volume and not the sort of varied performance we would enjoy. One band in each half is just right, a variation of soloist and repitoire, with the various style's that each of our top bands have.
  7. Kerwintootle

    Kerwintootle Member

    I will have the pleasure of playing at my first gala concert at the Nationals.

    I think you're right Peter when you say that with three bands the organisers are trying to cater to many tastes and showing off the National Champions of England, Wales and Scotland.

    As far as the logistics go, we'll have to wait and see. However, I for one can't wait to hear Derek Watkins, we'll be accompanying him for one item.

  8. backrowbloke

    backrowbloke Member

    I always found massed band concerts very much a case of 'one upmanship' - similar to the 'who can lay loudest'.

    As for a gala concert after a contest - I've always found them a let-down after the results - the performers always seemed tired (or tipsy) and keen to get away
  9. aimee_euph

    aimee_euph Member

    my youth band has a gala concert every year, featuring the A Band, B band and C Band. That's about it. Then we have a "Brass Explosion" at Christmas where all 3bands do a bit then massed bands at the end. It's loads of fun, and it's nice for the ickle peopl;e of C Band to play with A Band, they seem to enjoy it!
  10. leisa

    leisa Active Member

    Stockport are doin onje this year with ST Helens youth and Wardle with Bollywood brass (indian brass band) that should be fun!
  11. Accidental

    Accidental Supporting Member

    Well I'm happy to say after last nigtht my faith is restored. Even the Marines bits and the awful compering were ok. Yes, 2 bands would have been better, but it didn't run ridiculously late his time, the programme was a good mis and the soloist Derek Watkins was superb.

    And Kerwintootle if you're out there - nice one!!!!

    Alex :)
  12. Accidental

    Accidental Supporting Member

    mix, even!
  13. Cornetto

    Cornetto Member

    You missed a treat!! Derek Watkins was superb especially! The marines drum corp were something else too. Cant really comment on rest I didn't exactly have the best seat as far as listening went!
  14. Kerwintootle

    Kerwintootle Member


    I tell you I was flaming nervous playing that soprano solo in Wagner's Introduction to Act 111 Lohengrin in the massed bands.

    I swear I could feel the hot breath of the Fariey and Cory cornet and bass section on my neck.

    It was my first gala concert and I loved it. Macarthur Park with Derek Watkins was out of this world.
  15. Kerwintootle

    Kerwintootle Member

    Just to add this point. Cheers to Steve Barnsley (sop with Cory) who is a great player and thoroughly nice bloke. :)
  16. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    I'm glad you enjoyed the concert - I'd heard mixed reports from friends who had gone. They also said there were a lot of empty seats - can anyone comment on that?

    As for Derek Watkins, those of us at Regent Hall on Friday had the unexpected treat of finding him not only leading the Royal Academy Brass but playing with them, including a tremendous duet with Ben Godfrey (report to follow on 4barsrest), and all for free :!: :lol: :lol:
  17. Kerwintootle

    Kerwintootle Member

    Hi Peter,

    Place looked packed to me. Didn't notice any empty seats.
  18. Seedhouse

    Seedhouse Active Member

    I really enjoyed watching the Euph "Superstar" Quartet on the Jubilee Brass Vid from last year, I thought it was amazing (being a Eupher!).
    :D :wink: I also enjoyed most of the music, I think Gala Concerts should just be entertaining- so that the band and audience can just relax.
  19. Brian Kelly

    Brian Kelly Active Member

    I enjoyed the Gala concert at the RAH, and Derek Watkins was simply awesome! However, there were a lot of empty seats, especially in the arena, which was less than 1/2 full. Unless attendance picks up again, then I can see the Gala concert being killed off again. :( Alas, it seems that either Fairey, Corey and Scottish Co-Op do not have the large number of dedicated fans that the ISB and Black Dyke have, or that many Salvationists and Pondashers will only turn out to listen to their favourite band. Apologies to those Salvationists and Pondashers like me who do listen to other bands!

    With the benefit of hindsight, it would probably have been better to have had the Gala concert as the Eric Ball Memorial concert with the ISB and Black Dyke instead of having a separate event in Nottingham.
  20. Hornblower RN

    Hornblower RN Member

    I and my partner thoroughly enjoyed the concert and yes there were stacks of empty seats. David Childs of Cory was again superb and did I see tears in Bob Childs eyes after his son had played Napoli? I'm sure I did .......he must have been so proud!! Derek Watkins was certainly the icing on the cake though...what an artist!! Apparently his last note when playing Macarthur Park was D above super C....not super C as indicated in the programme. Incredible!! Do I like gala concerts? You bet I do!! :lol:

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