Open result

Discussion in 'The Adjudicators' Comments' started by berkshire_baritone, Sep 10, 2017.

  1. Fettler

    Fettler Member

    I don't think anyone who was there has said it was bad adjudication in fairness. Happily there seems to be a consensus amongst those of you who were there that the result was a fair one.
    That then begs the question if the criteria based system as trialed by Mr mead has its problems, or is it just that not being in a box ams knowing who is playing colours perceptions?
  2. Scott

    Scott New Member

    Thanks for your kind words :)

    We were pleased with our performance and more importantly our conductor was too! It's fun to be back in such a wonderful competition playing against the best bands in amazing venue (with an awesome composition!). Really, genuinely enjoyable. Makes the hours of travel & rehearsal worth it.

    Well done to all the prize winners, gutted I didn't get to hear Cory or Valasia. Incredible performances by all accounts.

    For the many that couldn't make it to the contest or with full bladders or empty pint glasses at the time we played, I'm sure there might be a black market recording or 2 kicking around. Not that I condone such activities of course...

    Appreciate all the positive comments left by people here and on social media.

    Anyway, off to practise Gallery now :)
    Slider1 likes this.
  3. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    Correct; it isn't. It's fair to say Cory seemed (anecdotally) to be the hall's favourites and they were certainly technically impeccable, but to imply that everyone staggered out from the results looking like Doc from 'Back to the Future' - 'shock waves of surprise' or whatever 4br says this morning - is a bit much. Valaisia were stunning and widely acknowledged as such by the people I spoke to. But, hyperbole sells papers (or the online equivalent)...

    Or to many parts of the auditorium. I found those criticisms (particularly of Valaisia) to be deeply unfair and from where I was sitting (tier above and about 20 seats to the left of the press seats), quite wrong. And equally I thought there were some indifferent performances that were unfairly praised...

    That's the thing with these live comments, they're just some bloke's opinion sat in the hall, not Holy Writ - people read what the live comments say and compare that to the results and then make a value judgement on (a) the validity of the results and (b) the presumed incompetence and/or venality of either the adjudicator or the commentator without having heard a single note of the contest. Personally I found Fodens' performance to be my favourite - not without the odd clip but SO musical and packed with emotion. But's hey, that's just my opinion. Opinions are like arses. Everyone's got one.
    Jack E, Euphonium Lite and tat like this.
  4. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    Even if you're awarding criteria based marks, it's still one bloke's opinion. That's the issue. I like criteria marking, I think it's by and large A Good Thing, especially for big contests like the NW Area 4th section where there's often 25+ bands which must be tricky to sort out. Still has to implemented by actual people, with all their flaws, bias and personal preferences though.

    I know a lot of adjudicators say this about being in the open - that knowing who's playing is a distraction (and the implication being that it can colour perceptions) etc etc. - but that just seems to me like an argument to pay more and get more adjudicators from outside of banding. How about a panel of five to pick the winners - for example, couple of pro brass players like Gareth Small, couple of conservatoire staff like John Miller, plus the composer of the piece - and a separate judge to pick best soloists like BiC do? Sit them in the open at a big table so they can see if sop players are playing solo cornet parts, dusters and drawstring bags are being used to get better pianissimos and time sigs have been rewritten to make them easier to wag. Maybe give them a few criteria each to focus on, so three focus on technique, tuning and ensemble, the other two focus on interpretation and musicality. And get Iwan to interview them instead of the conductors ("the band did all I asked of them, it's in the lap of the gods now, etc etc") in between each band, for immediate adjudicator feedback live in the hall, so we don't have to just sit and watch The Dance of Ray Payne And Percussionists for 10 minutes...
    Fettler likes this.
  5. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Old photos show us that the box at the RAH finals used to be placed right next to the stage. Is it fair to say that boxes at big contests have in general moved further from the stage over the years as a pattern?

    Honestly don't have a good feel for the answer.
  6. damarocto

    damarocto Member

    Sorry can't agree with a few points here.
    5 adjudicators! Imagine that at Blackpool, 20 plus 5 composers/arrangers if they're still alive! How much would that cost?
    I understand your point, but I am still against open adjudication and this has been proved yet again by 4 barsrest!
    They try, but they still can't stop listening with their eyes! Completely unfair comments about andy mac at Wingates and the winners were criticised for turning the trombones inside to acheive the necessary pp!! Which incidentally was very well conceived and effective and not as 4 bars rest portrayed it.
    Also, whoever you put on any panel, could you see them placing dyke next to last!!
  7. Fettler

    Fettler Member

    I think it's unfair to imply anything underhand by the 4br crowd in 'listening with their eyes'. It's a very human thing that we all do. I'll freely admit to having a certain level of expectation /preconception when I see the black and gold of Dyke, the red of Cory, and in a different way the blue and gold of Wingates take the stage. It would be interesting to shove Mr mead and Mr Thomas in a box at the next major contest and see how they fair in comparison. It may be the case that the criteria based system is excellent and if everyone is 'blindfolded' there may be less discrepancy?
  8. damarocto

    damarocto Member

    Sorry! Im not implying underhandedness. Just a natural as you say! human thing to do! Which is why imo! Closed adjudication is best!!
  9. tallyman

    tallyman Member

    Not quite a consensus, there was a certain scotsman who shall remain nameless kicking off at the results ceremony because his band were not given 1st place, his language was so colourful it even got a mention in the 4barsrest report.
    Parsonson likes this.
  10. Fettler

    Fettler Member

    When I fist read that it was someone on stage during the results I took it to mean one of the adjudicators had been drinking and was ballooning around. To be honest it's a relief that your post makes it clear that it was just a disgruntled band representative.
    It says scotsman in the report - you'd have thought Whitburn would be rightly chuffed with their second place in their first year back in the open? Still, I suppose it's that sort of intensity that breeds success.
    Parsonson likes this.
  11. tallyman

    tallyman Member

    He definately did'nt play for Whitburn.
    Parsonson likes this.
  12. Fettler

    Fettler Member

    Oh ok, it's just when you said Scottish and disgruntled at not coming first I assumed that. Scottish conductor then?
  13. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    Fettler likes this.
  14. Fettler

    Fettler Member

    It does appear that nothing heard by the 4br guys was missed in the box, and I think you are right - the closing remarks particularly of the winning band show they went for the best performance.
    I think this is,a good thing, as the alternative is to just sit there knocking a point off for each split and essentially adjudicating as if it was high jumping or something.
  15. Hsop

    Hsop Member

    The adjudications remarks are interesting to read but somehow appear to be very critical of what were judged to be the three best performances of the day. Stephen Roberts in particular uses certain phrases such as "brash tones", "very brassy", "not quite in tune", "bit messy" "a bit untidy", "not in tune", "not in time", "intonation a bit suspect". Were these issues heard by everyone else in the hall too from the podium finishers? It would be interesting to see the feedback given to bands at the lower end of the spectrum if these are remarks given to the winners.
    Slider1 likes this.
  16. Scott

    Scott New Member

    At that level the judges have to be hyper-critical of every little thing. A clipped note in the Open could cost you several places.

    I'd be surprised if every single band didn't have at least several criticisms levelled at them. All bands at that competition, regardless of placing, are extremely capable and talented. If a quaver or two of dodgy intonation happens, it quite rightly gets noted.
  17. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    I presume you're meaning the NW area? I was really meaning that we should do this for the biggest events - the Open and the RAH Finals. Should have made that clearer, sorry. Maybe a panel of 3 for top section areas. I certainly wouldn't do it for lower section contests, even finals, because there's no need. I would still put the adjudicators in the open and pre-draw the contest a month ahead though, having done the "arrive at 8am, play at 4pm" thing in the lower sections at Blackpool too often for my liking!

    If what you're saying is that "brass bands can't afford more rigorous independent adjudication" rather than "we don't need it", I kind of agree. But that's a different conversation to have.

    Well I wasn't suggesting that you get Chris Thomas, Steven Mead or Iwan Fox to do it. Hence why I suggested 'non-banders'; people with no lengthy history in or pre-judgement of banding, but who know music and brass playing inside out. It used to happen at the RAH finals quite often, going back a few decades - they'd rope in an orchestral conductor or someone similar to join the panel. I worry that brass band adjudication has very much become a closed shop, with the door firmly locked to anyone who hasn't got 20 years elite top section banding under their belts, thus almost building in some perception of bias or shenanigans to almost any and every result. Look at next year's Yorkshire area, where Bob Childs is to adjudicate - there are already people saying that this isn't right, even though (a) theoretically it's closed adjudication and (b) Bob's integrity and musical judgement are beyond question. These (unfair) questions wouldn't even arise if the adjudicators were (for example) John Wallace and Terry Hext, would they?

    Plus, how come open adjudication is used without criticism for almost every other musical competition or assessment? Cardiff Singer of the World? BBC YMOTY? Leeds Piano Competition? Donatella Flick Conducting Competition? Every student recital ever? Every ABRSM exam ever? Even Band Cymru, on S4C and Brass in Concert. All done in the open, with no accusations of "listening with their eyes".

    Yes, if they weren't very good (and they weren't at the Open, although I'm sure they'll come out punching at the cake tin). That's the beauty of using non-banders; they're not obsessed with heritage and reputation in the way that some of us brought up in the movement are, they'll listen to the performance and judge on that even if they can see the performers.
    Fettler and Euphonium Lite like this.

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