The Perfect Brass Band Contest . . .

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Roger Thorne, Dec 30, 2005.


The Perfect Brass Band Contest

  1. Set Test Piece

    47 vote(s)
  2. Own Choice Test Piece

    32 vote(s)
  3. Entertainments Contest

    14 vote(s)
  4. Open Adjudication

    16 vote(s)
  5. Closed Adjudication

    45 vote(s)
  6. Solo & Quartet Competitions

    7 vote(s)
  7. 10 Piece Competitions

    2 vote(s)
  8. Full Band Competitions

    41 vote(s)
  9. Prize Money

    49 vote(s)
  10. Prestige

    27 vote(s)
  11. Warm Up Facilities

    65 vote(s)
  12. Refreshments

    42 vote(s)
  13. Admission Costs

    16 vote(s)
  14. Car & Coach Parking

    46 vote(s)
  15. Start & Finish Times

    38 vote(s)
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Roger Thorne

    Roger Thorne Active Member

    Over the last three years we have had some fantastic threads on tMP regarding Band Contests. We've discussed Venues, Adjudicators, Test Pieces, Results, Prizes, Uniforms (including socks!) and many other subjects associated with contesting. It is noticable however, that many posts within these threads are negative, so here's your chance to be 'positive' and answer the following question:

    What do you feel are the perfect ingredients for a successful brass band competition?

    I've included a Poll with a few thoughts, but there are numerous other things that could enhance or benefit your bands day out. So vote on the Poll and add a few lines of text on what you think makes the perfect Brass Band Contest.

    Remember, think Positive!

  2. Rapier

    Rapier Supporting Member

    Well, I voted for Set Test Piece. Warm Up/rehearsal rooms. Parking. Open Adjudication and Sensible Admission costs. Playing for lower section bands I don't want to pay a fortune to compete, just to line the pockets of Championship Bands, who with sponsorship and sell out concerts don't need the money. The prestige of winning a Trophy should be the aim. At contests I always feel treated as a nuisance and to be got out of the way so that 'proper' bands can perform.
  3. The Cornet King

    The Cornet King Active Member

    I've said an own choice test piece, which gives all the bands a chance to play something that airs towards their relative strengths, whilst also giving the audience a chance to hear a number of varying pieces, as opposed to having to sit through 10-15 of the same piece. Any adjudicator worth his salt should still be able to place the bands in order of merit.

    Good warm up area is essential, otherwise like at St George's Hall you play your first note on stage stone cold after not being allowed to blow for the previous 10 minutes.
    There has to be good availabilty of refreshments :guiness and grub because, lets face it thats the main area for socialising and a band contest wouldnt be the same without the chance to bump into loads of different people throughout the day.

    Finally, like Rapier said, lower section bands don't want to fork out loads of money as an entry fee. A perfect contest should be able to attract lots of bands from far and wide without charging the earth. The aim of the day is to win and have bragging rights for the rest of the year :icon_wink: , so a prestigious contest is always a good one!:icon_cheesygrin:
  4. WhatSharp?

    WhatSharp? Active Member

    what about a set test AND an own choice?

    Also there's no option for more than one adjudicator (an absolute must I feel).
  5. Charmed

    Charmed Active Member

    I have to agree with most of what you have said. However, as I have mentioned on another thread, the prize money can be a factor. For bands with no sponsorship, if the entrance fee and cost of hiring a coach for the day adds up to more than the possible winnings, then it can be difficult to make the decision to enter. Of course receiving a trophy is a fantastic, and may, at the time, compensate for being out of pocket, but if you are a band that struggles financially, then reality soon hits!
  6. DublinBass

    DublinBass Supporting Member

    I think this is a tricky question.

    What I like best as an audience member is either entertainment or own choice most of the time so I can here a variety of music (especially as I am still learning the test piece repetoire. I really don't care how it is adjudicated.

    As a bandmember I like to have everybody play the same piece and separate adjudicators to try to keep things as fair as possible.

    From which perspective should we answer this question Roger?
  7. Rapier

    Rapier Supporting Member

    I'm surprised by that. I guest for a band in contests, and ALL of the players and the 3 or 4 guests have to pay our share of the contest fees/music/coach etc (even if you don't go in the coach, like me!). The Band could not afford to contest otherwise, and certainly with no expectation of being the lucky winner of the Contesting Lottery! :icon_cool:
  8. LeDragon

    LeDragon Active Member

    I've voted for a set test piece contest with closed adjudication (preferably 3 adjudicators in separate boxes), with warm up facilities and car/coach parking.
  9. LeDragon

    LeDragon Active Member

    That's an incredibly broad and sweeping statement that simply isn't true - there are lots of championship section bands that are short of cash.
  10. Rapier

    Rapier Supporting Member

    Maybe. :icon_cheesygrin:
    Tell you what, let's swap your bands bank balance and my bands! ( I think I'm on safe ground with that one, we can't even afford to contest! We're not 'short of cash', we haven't got any. Surely you are not called the BT Band for free?) ;)
  11. Di

    Di Active Member

    Now now guys, lets try and remember the question and request by Roger to "THINK POSITIVE" :icon_wink:
  12. LeDragon

    LeDragon Active Member

    Lets swap your current bands bank balance for the bank balance of the band I played for before BT. The band that won the Welsh area twice in the late 90's, represented Wales twice at the Europeans in the late 90's and played in three National Finals in the late 90's yet are now defunct because they had no money whatsoever to continue - players from the band were ploughing their own money in right up until the end when it just got too much. To use your earlier quote in this context - they didn't have sponsorship and they didn't have sell out concerts. Not all Championship bands are Black Dyke's or Grimethorpe's!
  13. Charmed

    Charmed Active Member

    True - Hatfield are now Championship but have no money.

    But on a POSITIVE - the band will continue because the band members love the band and work hard. They enjoy contesting despite the hard work and have had wonderful success over the last few years.

    Long may it continue
  14. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    OK lets leave the debate of section ranking verses bank balance for elsewhere shall we? This is a thread about your ideal contest - can we keep it on topic please?
  15. NeilW

    NeilW Member

    Another key issue for a contest is "where is it".

    If its on the outer rim of the universe (aka Skegness) many bands aren't going to be able to get there as it simply takes too long (most of a day each way, which means at least one day off work...) as well as costing a fortune.

    Our band are even investigating alternatives to hiring a coach for the areas to reduce the (significant) costs...

  16. andyp

    andyp Active Member

    I think the lack of warm-up rooms at contests (with the notable exception of Harrogate, which was good for other reasons, helpful stage crew etc) is a disgrace. If there's no room available at the hall, why not let the band have a couple of minutes random blowing on stage before they start? It's what orchestras do. after all, to check tuning. And it'd stop the constant cries of ssshhhhh! from backstage, too.
    I also went for open adjudication, however it might be interesting to give the adjudicator(s) the choice? As long as it's the same for all bands that seems the fairest way to me, one may want to listen unencumbered by a box, but another may not want his concentration disturbed by watching an over-enthusiastic conductor!
    Whichever way, I'd like to see more of something I've only seen once, a "secretary" in the box (if box there be) for the adjudicator to dictate his remarks to. They were the best, most accurate, most constructive and most LEGIBLE remarks I'v ever seen in twenty-odd years of banding. I don't think anyone can really listen and write with 100% concentration at the same time,anyone who's ever attended student lectures knows that!
    (definition of a lecture: a means of getting information from the lecturer's notes to the student's notes without it passing through either of their minds.)
  17. ian perks

    ian perks Active Member

    A good thread this one is with plenty of points to think about:
    I have only voted for 2 :Open adjuication i am in 100% of it at all Contests and 2 adjudicators at every major contest AS WELL quite easy to do put them in a clear box where thet can see the bands that way no members of the audience can say anything to them.
    I am in favour of a set test piece as well all though i do like test piece contests as well.
    The only problem i find with own choice contests and have seen and heard it: A good number of lower section bands play pieces FAR to big for them selves and just make it sound poor, but think they have been clever in doing it and trying to score a few browine points with the adjudicator but it does not WORK !!!!:icon_rolleyes:
    But when it comes to that particular piece been picked for a AREA CONTEST o dear they start to moan"Its to Difficult for our section to play !!!!!!!!!"
  18. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    To be allowed to warm up or just blow a few notes on stage prior to performance.

    Positive thoughts from conductors/players who might perceive a set test piece to be too difficult. By going 'public' with these moans, for all the band to see, it's going to have a negative effect on them too!

    Open adjudication, at every contest.

    For the bigger contests (areas/nationals etc.), three adjudicators booked but two adjudicating at any one time, leaving the third (taking it in turns) to go 'backstage' after the performance with the conductor to discuss the relative merits (or otherwise) of the performance they just gave. Adjudicator to be armed with a recording of said performance for both judge and conductor to analyse.

    There's no such thing as the 'perfect' contest, but these are my offerings to at least (maybe) somewhat improve matters. ;)
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2005
  19. Will the Sec

    Will the Sec Active Member

    The perfect brass band contest would be one where a suitable selection of the first 8 points listed are in place.

    Of the remaining points, if you fail to notice any of these until you're on the coach home, remember to write to the organisors to let them know they've done a good job.

    Personally, I can only recall one contest (out of about 50 I've been to) where there was a genuine case for the organisors to be sanctioned. They paid the ultimate penalty for a poorly run contest - it has never run since.
  20. Dave Euph

    Dave Euph Member

    Warm-up facilities are an absolute MUST! Mostly because I can't stand playing cold, but then should I be expected too?

    When I played at Wilko's contest in 2004, I got virtually no chance to warm-up (partly thanks to an early draw). Being as I was pretty much the only person playing in the opening bar this was pretty distressing for me and as a result it wasn't perfect.

    I'm also a fan of open adjudication, but that's a different argument that I'd rather not raise in this thread.

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