Police protection for adjudicators!

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by jackocorn, Mar 19, 2007.

  1. jackocorn

    jackocorn Member

    I found this by chance in a book owned by my Father, “Music Masterpieces Vol. VI”. This was written 80 years ago – nothing’s changed.

    Judging a Brass Band Contest


    The Well-known Composer and Conductor,
    Who adjudicated at the 1926 Crystal Palace
    National Brass Band Contest

    The two judges are not notified of their appointment until the evening prior to the contest. Upon their arrival at the Crystal Palace they are escorted to a remote corner of the gallery in the concert room.

    Thick, heavy baize is stretched across one side of the judges' compartment, and tied down in every possible manner. The key is handed to one of two policemen who stand on guard throughout the contest.

    The judges now proceed to agree as to their plans for marking, and the particular points they are to watch for and report on. Meanwhile, the bandmasters of the competing bands are down below balloting for places and order of playing.

    There is a confused murmur of some three or four thousand people below - ardentsupporters of each band who have traveled overnight from the Midlands and the North to cheer their heroes to victory.

    A tramp! tramp! of feet on the wooden platform below. The ballot is over, and the first band is taking up its position.

    The hubbub subsides. The judges know that the band is ready to start and is waiting their pleasure, A whistle is blown. Dead silence. Crash! They have started the great test-piece.

    Immediately with pencil to paper and full score of the music in front of them, the judges start scribbling as hard as they can go.

    “Good start, continuing well; ah, bar number eight, second horn makes a bad slip; first cornet plays out of tune at bar nineteen, wrong note with first trombone at bar twenty-two; basses are tumbling over the runs at bars thirty and forty; soprano comet solo good at bar sixty; interpretation too fast after the Allegro; confused playing here," and so on

    This is a crude example of the adjudicator’s notes as the playing proceeds.
    At the conclusion of the first band's performance, and in spite of the tumultuous applause which invariably ensues from its supporters, the judges have to make up their minds in not more than four minutes as to the merits of the band.
    Sounds of applause from below announce
    to the judges the arrival of band No. 2.

    Again the sudden stillness. The whistle is blown. The band commences. Again pencils to paper and ears all alert, not only for mere mistakes, but for some quality which will beat the band already heard.

    The piece concluded, the judges now compare notes and decide on the difference between the two bands. Frequently it happens that the difference is so marked that there is no question about it that band No. 2 is either not as good or better than band No. 1.

    The same formula maintains with the succeeding bands, only as the number of bands increases so does the difficulty of judging increase.

    The judges, having had nearly six hours of this, and heard twenty bands, then put their heads together and compare notes and markings

    Having come to a final decision, we both sign our names to the official papers. The door of the judging compartment is then opened for the first time by the police officials, and our task is concluded.

    The sealed packets containing our notes and final decision are handed over to the police, who take them to the promoter of the contest. This individual then an*nounces the results to the assembled multitude. At this stage there is usually any amount of heart-burnings and "weep*ing and gnashing of teeth!"

    Imprecations on the judges are, at a classic contest, usually smothered; but there are occasions when they have been hurled at them.

    I recollect being the judge at a contest in a big city in the northern mining district. I had heard some twenty-four bands play the contest piece and had made my decision.

    After announcing the first and second prize-winners, pandemonium arose, and the remaining results had to be given out on large cards.

    Upon leaving the hall I ran into a crowd of contestants. One huge bandsman with a large brass bass slung over his shoulders “spotted “me.

    The gentleman was assuming a threat*ening attitude when the gigantic policeman intervened and escorted me to the station. In the train, however, I encountered my friends once again, and was recognized.

    All ended happily, however, and when I had given them point and detail of my judgment and named the instruments which had failed, they decided to "sack 'em!”.

    Other articles in this Volume alone include:

    “Singing Like a Man” [by a woman?]
    ”The Cost of a Musical Career”
    ”Famous Musicians I have met”
    ”Why I shall retire at fifty” [getting close!]
    ”Is Music in England Dead?”
    ”Music and matrimony” [sounds a bit too familiar]
    And my favourites
    “My Fighting Parts”
    ”Why I like Dainty Parts”

    I feel sure I can start some new threads with those!
  2. Straightmute

    Straightmute Active Member

    I wish I had seen this before! After adjudicating at the National Finals last year, and at the North of England Championships last weekend, I innocently wandered to the bar for a much-needed pint, inadvertently exposing myself to all manner of dangers.

    Or maybe it's only the judges who get the wrong results that need police protection. :cool:
  3. ronnie_the_lizard

    ronnie_the_lizard Active Member

    I wasn't there, but somehow I doubt that there were 3-4,000 band supporters there last weekend..... :(
  4. JessopSmythe

    JessopSmythe Active Member

    There's one thing that's changed! When was the last time you saw 4000 people at a contest all at the same time?
  5. Jan H

    Jan H Moderator Staff Member

    Must have been in Kerkrade 2005... for the wind band contest :biggrin:
  6. QAD

    QAD Member

    Didn't think I was that bad St. Mute, although I probably should have tried to steer you away from the Rab C Nesbitt of Forest banding....;)
  7. Alan Fernie

    Alan Fernie Member

    David! I was lucky enough to do my first "proper" band contest in the box with David Read, and one of the best bits of advice I got from him that day was " after the results leave the premises as quickly as you can!!" - works for me! (Except we now have the added danger of tMp to endure - at least we can use it try to explain ourselves.......maybe!)
  8. robcav

    robcav Member

    Wasn't there, rather ironically, a case in recent years, where the conductor of a police band 'walled up' a judge at a fairly significant contest because the result hadn't gone his way? This could be apocryphal or I may have dreamed it. Worrying...my dreams that is!
  9. JR

    JR Member

    no you didnt dream it Rob but you would have been still at school methinks - it was 1988...

  10. michellegarbutt

    michellegarbutt Supporting Member

    I only said Hello. I didn't think I was that frightening
  11. Straightmute

    Straightmute Active Member

    Obviously I do that when I'm judging in Scotland!

  12. robcav

    robcav Member

    Ah...You flatter me John, but you're right in a sense. I'd just finished university.
  13. FlugelD

    FlugelD Member

    At a ranking contest I played at within the past 7-8 years, the adjudicator chose (IIRC) bands 1-4, then 2 tied for 5th, and the rest tied for 7th.

    He made his speech at the end with his briefcase under his arm, and his car keys were in his hand before he (hurriedly) left the stage.

    I don't think he's adjudicated north of the border since....

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