Welcome to tMp Graham, congratulations on another victory!! Lord help the rest of the Midlands 3rd section at Burton Completely agree with you on all points reference outward facing instruments, its leaves no margin for error and while its great for big band stuff it does tend to unbalance a full ensemble. Especially one of (and I mean no disrespect whatsoever) less experienced / able players. Remember, upward facing instruments will sound the same no matter where they are sat on stage, however the blend can vary depending on their surroundings and the middle of the band layout can make a big difference to tone colour. Its a massive risk to rearrange your regular seating but providing the players have the ear to adapt to it, the technique to carry it off and the piece is suitable, these layout changes can make the world of difference.