SBBA does it again.

Discussion in 'The Adjudicators' Comments' started by Neillyboy, Mar 11, 2012.

  1. Neillyboy

    Neillyboy Member

    Can I congratulate the Scottish brass banding association again on a magnificent contest weekend with lots of highs and lows, some surprise adjudicator decisions and a lot of beer!!

    A couple of observations I want to flag up and get a general opinion on.

    Predraw for sections 1-4. I have to disagree with the decision to do that. Individual bands were told what number they were drawn and within 20 minutes, the bright spark with all the band contacts had found a draw out and posted it on fb. What a pointless exercise. Why don't they keep it as it was and get the 10 or so bands there at the start of the section so some can listen, some can wander about the stalls, and give an opportunity for more networking. That way the draw is decided on the day and bands don't dwell on the order for weeks beforehand.

    Another observation I had, especially in my section (2nd) was that there were several bands present who had brought in a lot of reps. Now I understand that bands need to survive and half a band doesn't win contests but one band especially had many players from rso playing for it and as a consequence, they came pretty high up the rankings. I don't see that itself as the problem, the problem I see is that those deps won't be there one next week and a band still has to sustain itself. There will never be any consistent teamwork. And say a band goes up a section in that state, thy will really struggle.

    Lastly, I noticed a lot of bands playing with 3 tubas. I understand tuba players are scarce, (especially Bb players) and it is a big instrument to fill, however there are so many avenues that could be taken to get 4 tubas on the stand for contests. One example I came across was a band last yer who moved their spare 3rd cornet onto Bb for a contest . Another avenue I have seen is shifting 2nd Eb to Bb and using. Spare to cover Eb.

    So slate me, scrutinise me or praise me. What are your views?
  2. tricky dicky

    tricky dicky New Member

    A pre draw in a large geographical area would be beneficial, in my opinion, as it would give some idea of the time you needed to be at the venue rather than having to leave the bandroom at 6.30am on a Sunday morning and potentially hang around for two or three hours if drawn towards the end. It enables bands to better plan their travel and rehearsal timings on the day.
  3. Souter

    Souter Member

    I did a big huge reply to this and then got booted off and lost it!!! So potted version thus :-

    For a rural band like ours, this has been the best Scottish I have been at - and that now numbers over 30, the 3rd section was first on, now usually the band would leave at 6AM, this year they left at 8AM, knowing when and where we needed to be and at what time. The bus cost was over £200 less than last year as we were able to hire it for less hours. Usually we would get to the scottish in time to drop off a rep for the draw, then hang around a rehearsal venue waiting on the dreaded phone call to say draw 1 or 2, rush back to the hall, get changed on the bus and get all flustered. From a personal point of view I was actually able to spend the night before in my own bed in Edinburgh and saunter up to the bus station to get a service bus through to Glenrothes, normally because of the stupid o'clock times I would spend the night at my parents and travel up on the band bus. As for numbers listening we had a lot more than the usual 3 men in flat caps and a dug in listening this year. Previously because of bus drivershours, we have actually had to leave before the results.

    I also hope that with the foresight that SBBA has shown here with this initiative that it may lead to the highland bands like Elgin, Keith etc and the far flung rural bands like Creetown, Sanquhar and Stranraer rejoin the fold and start to contest again, knowing that the day won't involve leaving at pre 5AM to play 15 minutes of music and head straight home again.

    So well done SBBA in democratically consulting the constituent bands on the issue of pre-draws and credit where credit is due.
  4. George BB

    George BB Member

    So Scotland leads the way to sanity at last. Is it too much to hope that the rest of the UK will follow?
  5. IanHeard

    IanHeard Member

    Well done SBBA.
    Things are looking good in Wales, but in dear old England we seem to be as far away as ever.
  6. Neillyboy

    Neillyboy Member

    On more thought about the predraw, the more I think about it, the better it stands. Instead of telling bands weeks before, tell them a few days before. That gives time to finalise times or busses etc.

    So what about the other points I flagged up?
  7. Neillyboy

    Bringing in Deps for contests is nothing new (and as bands can't play guests at the Scottish Championships then the next option is to bring in professional players who will do the job with the minimum of rehearsals), and as there are no rules to govern it then its going to happen, but you are right it's not sustainable and many of the bands that employ this strategy will be sitting with empty band halls next week which hopefully will make them think that any victory gained from bringing in professional deps is a very hollow victory indeed.

    But well done to SBBA for a very slick contest, run like clockwork as normal.
  8. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    A "brass band" does not have to mean an ensemble that rehearses with all bums on seats week in week out. We tend to see this as the ideal (and usually rightly so), but there are many shades of grey. If a band would be unable to compete without deps, but has the clout (whether that be favour-based or financial) to pull together a good team just for the day, is it better for it to not attend the contest than for it to take the stage with a team that don't commit to the band every rehearsal? Better for a band to be there in name only than not at all, I would submit.

    We should also recognise that use of better players who cannot commit to a band in the traditional way is old old news - it's been going on as long as contesting has. It is also a valid solution to the need for a good player on a particular seat in the absence of a local one of sufficient quality who can commit - and there are lots of good players out there who enjoy having a quasi-regular place to sit in a band but can't commit to a full-scale band schedule (e.g. military musicians). Someone who comes in on a week's notice at every engagement and does a stellar job is often a better way forward for the whole band's performance than someone who is there at every rehearsal but can't play nearly so well. There are a few bands out there where the whole band is run on this principle, and they should be applauded for providing a high-quality banding outlet for those who cannot commit the way we can.

    A third point - if you are going to buy somebody in, you might as well buy in someone excellent. You can pay lots of money and get complete numpties - I remember us being stung for lots of cash at the Yeovil contest by a couple of military cornet players a few years ago who were distinctly inferior to the two regular players that they were subbing for. Might as well play your cards well - after all, the objective of the exercise is to compete.
  9. Kofi

    Kofi Member

    I thought the contest was really well run, and the pre-draw was proven to be the right decision. I don't think there is any value in leaving it until a few days before the contest to tell the bands though. As far as deps are concerned, at least at the Regionals you know that the vast majority of players are playing for their own band as you can't have guests (thankfully). My only problem was that I have loads of players willing and able to play but I had to choose between them; a good problem to have but it's the part of the job I really hate. Same problem for the finals so maybe we need a B band sooner rather than later!
  10. dtb

    dtb New Member

    The issue of someone with "contacts" posting the running order on a social networking site will happen whether there's a pre-draw or not, the same smart individual will just do the same thing on the day. If the concern is that an adjudicator will get sight of said list and let it affect his/her decision, then we have a bigger problem if that IS the case. What is fundamentally being said here is that we don't trust adjudicators to be professional and impartial and so the job they are trained for and paid to do. Well I genuinely believe that the VAST majority are just that.
    the booking the bus a few days ahead thing is just NOT practical, buses are scheduled weeks in advance and leaving it to a few days will mean no buses available.
    And finally, I agree with all previous posters that SBBA always run a great show. Pretty much perfect timings, slick management and all the kit and facilities you need for a great contest. HUGE thumbs up and thank you to the whole SBBA team.
  11. AlanD

    AlanD Member

    Just a question but wasnt the pre draw done a few weeks prior to the contest?