University Challenge

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Di, Oct 20, 2008.

  1. Di

    Di Active Member

    With the many universities/colleges/conservatoires around the country sporting brass bands, I have not come across a contest run for said organisations. Is this something I've totally missed or has it not been done? There are, of course, numerous youth band contests, but these are usually restricted in the region of 19 years of age.

    So, has it been done? Should it, could it be done? And of course, who would do it? :)
  2. Hells Bones

    Hells Bones Active Member

    There was an inter-conservatoire Brass Quintet competition last year (academic)

    If I remember rightly I think it was one set piece and one own choice.

    You'll be glad to know, Di, that the college that won is the college your daughter attends ;)
  3. Di

    Di Active Member

    Right, so I missed that. Was it not picked up by the brass band media or did I miss that too?

    But only a "quintet" contest? Why not a full blown ('scuse the pun ;) ) full band contest with full brass brass media in attendance like the National Youth Champs etc?

    Yay. :clap: She is in a quartet over there (in that there foreign country ;) ).
  4. Hells Bones

    Hells Bones Active Member

    I think it was at the Brass Arts festival?
    At the Royal Northern, Cory went up there and did the Gregson Tuba Concerto.

    I know she is, the Brass Department tends to know what everyone is doing ;)

    And you still haven't come over for a brew!
  5. James Yelland

    James Yelland Active Member

    Perhaps they feel that their students are sufficiently self-motivated, and that their tutors provide all the additional motivation necessary to allow them (the students) to appreciate and understand the music they are playing, and to spur them on to better standards of performance - the latter of which is often cited by bandsmen as justification for the endless treadmill of contests.
  6. lynchie

    lynchie Active Member

    The Universities of Warwick, Durham and Leeds have been having a joint concert annually for the last few years, and I believe some other Universities have been invited, in an effort to make it more of a "festival" type thing, but been unable to make it.

    Not a contest as such, but still a chance to show off the talent that's there.
  7. Zeek

    Zeek Member

    I dont know what its like at other uni's but some struggle to get a full band 25 brass and 2-4 percussionists, we still manage to have the 2 bands running.
  8. sugarandspice

    sugarandspice Active Member

    We have an orchestra but not a brass band, we are generally encouraged to feed into local organisations/ensembles etc,

    I can't really see how a contest for uni's would work logistically, Uni's are pretty spread out across the country really, is there really a central place where it could be held? Would bands be prepared to pay the travelling costs and would the contest make any money? I can't imagine the audience being greatly filled really.
  9. scotchgirl

    scotchgirl Active Member

    Players at uni are generally signed with other holding a contest under registry rules would be a nightmare....perhaps that's one of the reasons...although I suppose you wouldn't HAVE to use registry rules lol!
  10. Super Ph

    Super Ph Member

    not many unis have 25 banders in total! and most of the decent players take the opportunity to do other other stuff than banding, which is hardly university-friendly.
  11. Di

    Di Active Member

    I did have somewhere in my original original post (must have edited it out) about it obviously needing to be a non-registered affair.

    I find it odd that a music uni/college offering a brass band studies course do not enrol enough folks to fill a band, but I believe you all if you say so. ;)
  12. trumpetmike

    trumpetmike Well-Known Member

    So - who would win, Huddersfield or Salford?

    Would this be university only, or could the music colleges join in?
    I wonder how annoyed the music colleges would be when they didn't take all the glory (which would be my guess as to the result).

    It could certainly be interesting, but I have a feeling that the costs involved would be very restrictive for many.
    On top of that, many players in university bands are there to enjoy their playing, rather than add banding to the pressures of their courses - would they really want another contest to work towards.
  13. Di

    Di Active Member

    Yes, it would include all music unis/colleges/conservatoires. That was in my post still. ;)

    Of course, yes, they are there to enjoy themselves, and they obviously love their music so much they've devoted 3/4 years of full time practice. :D Would it be so off-putting to have one contest a year? Make it an enjoyable format, maybe similar to Butlins where you have an Entertainment and an Own Choice? Although that could involve an overnight stay, which would bump up the costs, which is another point that has been raised. I don't know, I'm just throwing ideas in here. :)
  14. stopher

    stopher Member

    Could be like University Challenge - bring out Paxman or even Bamber Gascoigne to adjudicate! If you had Paxman, I'd hate to see the comments after! Make it an Entertainment contest and you could have "your starter for 10"

    I Know Bangor have just started their uni brass band - seem to have a decent crowd and a lot of potential if everyone turns up!
  15. Owen S

    Owen S Member

    I think that two very different groups of bands are being grouped together. There are brass bands run by the music colleges / conservatoires etc. that are usually run on an official basis and can be expected to play at or close to Championship level. Then there are student-led and usually student-conducted brass bands in universities. My experiences of the latter are that they are mainly run for fun with a group of mixed ability, comparable in level to a decent local non-contesting band. I don't know for sure, but I suspect most university bands are similar. Warwick are the one obvious exception, putting in decent contesting performances each year.

    I would argue that the needs of the two sets of bands are so different that there is little point in combining the two in a single event. Perhaps the music colleges could organise a formal yearly contest, but the student-run bands would do better to put on a joint concert, as lynchie mentions. I think Oxford and Cambridge have been doing something similar recently too. I guess you could perhaps change that into a simple entertainments contest, and call it a "brass festival"?
  16. Bunnymonster

    Bunnymonster Member

    From what I understand there is a lot of emphasis on Wind Orchestras at the moment. Keele University Wind Orchestra being an excellent example. There is the BASBWE festival which caters for wind ensembles across the country (and is very well attended) - it changes venue each year to reduce travel costs etc.
  17. Di

    Di Active Member

    I agree with you there. My initial thinking was aimed more at the music colleges etc.

    I'd just been thinking along similar lines, move it around the various colleges. I'd been trying to think accommodation-wise whether there'd be anyway to accommodate students, but I guess there would be just too many.
  18. Bunnymonster

    Bunnymonster Member

    I think the idea of a strict contest would probably not appeal to the average Music College Brass Department. The idea of competing infront of an un-biased adjudicator (if you could possibly find one who didn't have any allegiance to any college, conductor, performer, region) would have them running for the hills. The capacity for embarrassment come results time is huge (who would want to be beaten by a college percieved to be lower in the pecking order?/ which college would come bottom?). Not only that, but it could lead to problems with recruitment, as a result of one contest.

    How could you ensure that colleges were fielding an equivalent band - all first years? It is fine to use the very best players for those students who have brass band instruments as first study - but what about trombone/tuba students who may want to be in the Symphony Orchestra and get pulled from that for the term to play in one brass band contest? Should programmes of study be disrupted just to ensure that each college fields it's very best possible band in the hope of beating its closest rival college?

    I don't mean to sound like I'm having a rant - I'm just listing thoughts! From my experience I can't see music colleges wanting to get involved in a formal competition.
  19. Di

    Di Active Member

    Don't worry, you don't sound like you're having a rant. :)

    I raised a question and am getting lots of interesting answers. Looks like there are more "layers" to college "brass banding" than meets the eye. ;)
  20. Super Ph

    Super Ph Member

    music colleges already have a competition: it's called, how many students can you get into musical careers.

    every week spent brushing up the 2nd baritone part to "extreme makeover" is a week that could have been spent doing something a lot more constructive in this direction.

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