Preston Contest

Discussion in 'The Adjudicators' Comments' started by Fishsta, Feb 9, 2003.

  1. Fishsta

    Fishsta Active Member

    Didn't stay long enough to get a full set of results, but the third section seems to have caused quite a lot of controversy...

    1) Greenfield
    2) Hebdon Bridge
    3) Timperley

    (Please note, these are off the top of my head.. apologies if I got it wrong.)

    Boarshurst came 5th, Lostock Hall came 12th.

    12 bands competed.

    I would be interested to hear from anyone who heard any of the performances...
  2. sparkling_quavers

    sparkling_quavers Active Member

    4th Section:

    Best Soloist: Solo Cornet from Nelson Brass
    1. Nelson Brass 190
    2. Rivington & Adlington 188
    3. Uppermill 186

    3rd Section:

    Best Soloist: Solo Cornet from Trinity Girls

    1. Greenfield 183
    2. Hebden Bridge 181
    3. Timperley 178

    2nd Section

    Best Soloist: Solo Horn from Blackpool Brass

    1. Wire Brass 185
    2. Poulton le Fylde 182
    3. Eagley 181

    1st/Championship Section:

    Best Soloist: Euphonium from Wingates

    1. Wingates 190
    2. Pemberton Old Wigan 189
    3. Hepworth 188
  3. sparkling_quavers

    sparkling_quavers Active Member

    Well done to Wire Brass for an excellent performance in the 2nd section. My money was on Dobcross Silver in the top section. I thought their performance was outstanding. I would be interested if anyone knows where they were placed.
    The conductor of Wingates collapsed in the bar during the afternoon as well. Lets hope he is okay and back on top-form ASAP!
  4. Heather

    Heather Member

    Well Done to Eagley (my old band) in coming 3rd at Preston.
    What was the controvesy in the 3rd all about????
  5. Fishsta

    Fishsta Active Member

    Hmm. Not going to pass comment on that. What's done is done, and that's all there is to it.

    Be interesting to see if anything appears on or anywhere else about it, though.
  6. Heather

    Heather Member

    I did hear something from a member of our band saying that he couldn't believe the placing a certain band got...and that was in the 3rd section!
  7. Sarahjo

    Sarahjo New Member

    I heard something on the grape vine that the adjuticator didn't want to listen to the area piece!!! whether that is true or not I don't know, but that may explain some of the results!?!?!?
  8. Fishsta

    Fishsta Active Member

    Now here's an interesting bit of gossip...

    How much influence can you have on what draw you get in a contest?

    The reason I ask is not to accuse anyone of "cheating", or, perhaps I should say "competing in a way that is not in the spirit of the contest", but just to clarify in my mind what the rules are.

    Just taking Sunday's Third Section at Preston as a completely random example, and correct me if there's any innacuracy:

    2 bands requested an early draw in advance: Trinity Girls and Hesketh Bank. They were drawn 1 & 3.
    At the end of the draw, the band drawn last (12th) was Eccleston.
    At this point, a representative of Greenfield requested a later draw than their current 9th draw. They swapped with Eccleston.

    Now I can understand there are reasons why you would want an early or late draw, players working, for example. But I don't see how it can be truly fair for bands to virtually decide what draw they get... The whole idea is for the adjudicator to have NO idea who is on stage. All it takes is for a couple of his friends to say, "XXXX's conductor is on a night shift before the contest, so they're asking for a late draw." or for someone to gossip within earshot, "And old Bill on Bass Trombone has to go and water next door's prize tomatoes, so he really needs to get away early, in fact, his band have requested an early draw."

    And with that, the adjudicator can't honestly say he has NO idea who's on stage at the start and end of contests.

    Are you really just allowed to SWAP draws with another band?

    As I say, I'm certainly not accusing anyone of doing this for the wrong reasons at Preston, but I'm sure you'll agree, with all the controversy over the results, this only adds to it.

    Has anyone read Here's what they said: (Full article at )

    "If a spread of 25 points was unusual in the previous section a 28 point difference emphasised Trevor Halliwell’s opinion in this section as well. Critical of intonation across the whole of the playing (with the exception of the winning band in fairness) he did point out that he had noted an definate improvement in the standard of playing since he last adjudicated in the region. This was one of those days, that happens, when a good deal of discussion took place in the bar following the announcement of the results!"

    I'll just re-iterate, I'm not complaining about our positioning, or about the positioning of the prize-winning bands, but I do believe I have every right to complain about the ability to practically CHOOSE what draw you get. It doesn't keep the playing field level. Maybe it wouldn't have changed the results in the Third section, but what's important to me is that the oppurtunity should simply NOT BE THERE.

  9. Heather

    Heather Member

    I couldn't agree more Fishta.
    It sounds very fishy (if you'll excuse the pun!!) to me.
    The scenario of bands requesting an early draw has been going on for ages and is understandable in many cases but I've never heard of bands swapping for a late draw. Its pathetic and I hope it doesn't happen again.
    After all, a late draw is normally preferable to most bands and it seems unfair that a band has been allowed to swap. Why couldn't all the other bands follow suit????
    If this is going to be allowed we might aswell do away with draws altogether and perhaps just ask bands where they would like to play a few weeks before a contest then a list of playing order can be drawn up to please everybody!!!!...ha ha!
    I'm surprised that this was allowed at Preston Contest as the organisers are always 'on the ball' and strict about adhering to rules.
  10. Straightmute

    Straightmute Active Member

    This is an interesting point. I'm sure that we'd all like to see more bands able to take part in contests and I'm personally in favour of anything which will free us from 'red tape'. If some bands can only compete on the proviso that they have an early/late draw I'd personally have no problem with that, but if it wasn't for good reason...

    There was a case at the NW areas involving a band from the Isle of Man - clearly their case, involving more complex and lengthy travel arrangements - would seem to deserve some flexibility on the part of the organisers and fellow bandsmen.

    In my experience, requests for early/late draws are only accepted if the bands' representatives at the draw approve them. I wonder what was said at the draw in this instance.

  11. Heather

    Heather Member

    By the sound of it the late draw swap was done after the official draw, but I might be wrong.
  12. Wonky_Baton

    Wonky_Baton Active Member

    If out band had a late draw I'd swap with anyone. there is nowt worse than waiting around all day to play while all around you are getting merry on drink. Last year at Preston I waited around 8 hours to play after travelling from the north east to play in the top section. We played 2nd last and came 4th but I had terrible heartburn trying to fill a whole days drinking into an hour.8)
  13. glasbac

    glasbac New Member

    Presto Contest

    Reference the draw controversy, don't the fouth section have a pre-draw? Why can't this be done in all sections? Then you know roughly when you need to arrive at the contest.
    Also how about more than 1 man in the box. It's been done before, did it cause too much controversy?
  14. TheMusicMan

    TheMusicMan tMP Founder Staff Member

    Re: Presto Contest

    ... dare I offer my opinion here? becasue I think it could open a can of worms.... :lol: It's ALL about accountability - and quite simply, with adjudicators, there is none. It's as simple as that. Not a criticism, but a fact. Make adjudicators accountable to someone/something and adjudicators' ....

    • standards rise
      performance is monitored and made public
      become consistently consistent "en masse"
      are aware they are being judged themselves
      confidence and agreement in their results grows
    Presently, all adjudicators are a law unto themselves and they answer to no-one. Most adjudicators are good, some are very good and a few are brilliant. However, some simply perform well below expectations and something should be done.

    ... more to follow if this prompts interest!!!
  15. Fishsta

    Fishsta Active Member

    Re: Presto Contest

    All of which are GOOD THINGS.

    One point I'd like to make is that I can accept my point of view isn't always shared by the adjudicator, but when so many people are saying the same thing, you start to wonder who's actually getting things right.

    It's like a Rugby match... if a referee misses a decision, the crowd usually spot it (and let him know he's missed it), could we have some sort of "adjudicator review" system? A representative of each band fills in a sheet, rating him/her on a scale of 1 to 10 on items such as:

    Agreement with results
    Constructive remarks

    And then at the end, maybe a section for "other info" or elaborations on why you are in disagreement with the results, or whatever.

    I'm all for quality control.
  16. sparkling_quavers

    sparkling_quavers Active Member

    People are still going to be biased towards their band even if not intentionally. It also sounds very different on the stage to how it does in the audience. From my experience I am concentrating that hard on my part that I have missed glaring errors in other sections! It is easy to say (in a hightened state of emotion!) 'what complete b*******' when reading the remarks in the bar. You will find that you remember what you want to remember which obviously is human nature but it's often not a very good model of what actually went on on the contest stage. When running through the comments in the bandroom in the next rehearsal the memories will be clouded with emotion, beer the 'remembering what you want to hear syndrome'. I am not saying that all bandsman come off the stage and give themselves a pat on the back and think they were the flugel, cornet, bass of the day but it is just difficult to make realistic judgements on your own performance.

    At Pontins last year they had a system where you could buy a recording of your bands performance on CD. It was something like £5 and with that you bought the copyright so you could run as many copies for members as you like. This could be used along with the adjucators comments at the first rehearsal back.

    The problem with an adjucator-review system is that you would really need to have listened to all performances. Players cannot do this because of the warm-up and registration times! It is an interesting suggestion though maybe 10 members of the audience could be picked at random at the beginning of the contest. But then do Tom, Dick or Harry know what they should be looking for? The adjucator will have his set of critera which he/she is looking for...intonation in bases at bar 36 etc..... The problem lies in that all adjucators will be looking for different things. A fairer system would perhaps be one that had a set critera which was known about. Having a 'panel' of adjudicators is obviously the other option. This could perhaps be implimented at the big contests but you need to look at finances when talking about the smaller events.

    I don't think there necessarily is a 'fair system'......whatever system we use there will be problems!!!!
  17. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    This is clearly a subject that goes round and round. As I see it, the biggest problem is one of communication betweeen the adjudicators and both the bands and the audience. One idea that has been put forward elsewhere is for there to be some kind of forum where the adjudicators can outline, in broad terms, what they are looking for, for the benefit of those conducting on the day. As things stand, one may be looking for a note-perfect reading of the score, whereas another may be expecting more in the way of interpretation, as you would get in a concert performance. Most composers would say that the score represents little more than a guide to how the music should be presented, and even those who say otherwise (Stravinsky for example) often show much variation in their own recordings and interpretation.

    The other area is that of communication with the bands/audience after the event. Whilst I realise people do not want to be kept waiting too long for the results at the end of a long day's contesting, I feel it would be most helpful if there were a formal summing up from one of the adjudicators - on the time factor, I'm sure that some of the other "thanks" often meted out to all and sundry could easily be condensed greatly. If the audience received some explanation of what criteria the adjudicators had used, at least they could review the performances thay had heard against that - we may still disagree, but it may help to explain apparently inconsistent placings. I can think of a couple of results in recent years where those in the hall, at least where I was sitting, were baffled by some of the placings - I think particularly of Black Dyke on Between the Moon and Mexico, where their quiet playing had the audience on the edge of their seats with its intensity, and Grimethorpe on The Maunsell Forts, where a performance met with tumultuous applause in the hall only warranted a lowly 14th in the adjudicator's opinion.

    From my experience of other musical competitions none of this would be impossible to organise, given a little goodwill on all sides, and may well lead to audience being more sympathetic towards adjudicators, who have a tough enough job to do without making it worse by alienating the paying public, not to mention the players and conductors.
  18. Brian

    Brian Member


    I read the comments on this website daily from my home in Thailand, and can only suggest the following to those unsatisfied bandsmen/women on adjudications.1) Don't contest. 2) If you are a conductor, or aspiring conductor, join the National Association of Brass Band Conductors, and go to regional meetings, as do lots of the adjudicators you critisize..They, as members take part in seminars/talks on what they look for frequently..and for the Area Contests, they go through all the test pieces, except the Championship, discussing the difficulties of each part of the pieces and often how to overcome them..I had the opportunity to adjudicate on several occasions, from slow melody,quartet,air varie to full band, and there's one thing for sure, as the adjudicator you will never satisfy everybody... But you have to be open with yourself and say "That is my honest opinion of what I heard and from where in the hall I heard it".Nobody else in the hall heard it from the same position, and in lots of halls there can be a vast difference.
  19. Curious

    Curious Member

    Re: Adjudicating

    There's a lot of sense here Brian. In 50 odd years of contesting my father has always said he's had more Firsts with bad adjudications and a number of low positions with good remarks than the other way around!

    Perhaps it is a case of taking the rough with the smooth. We won a section final in London in the 90's and the band were staggered. But we didn't criticise the adjudicators ARF ARF!!
  20. Aidan

    Aidan Active Member

    ms sparkling_quavers..
    dobX came 4th i think, just in case u still didnt know.. and my money was on them to win aswell, they had the best band sound on the day in my opinion.. hepworth also played a blinder and i had them in 2nd with wingates in 3rd.

Share This Page