11.07.2003, 22:33
How many of you are sick and tired of "Obvious" adjudicating anomalies??
I have known many fine top section "Star" players in my time, who have failed abysmally with a stick in their hand (My current Conductor excluded !)
In my opinion, no one should be allowed to adjudicate at contests unless they have been a successful, prize winning CONDUCTOR.
However brilliant a player a guy/gal may be, or have been (Stars included) , in my opinion, if they have not CONDUCTED winning performances at a respectable level then they are not qualified to judge their peers - what we have is "Players judging players" - We should be judged by those who have accredited experience of contesting success with a baton..
This is where the rot lies - just look at the list of most employed judges - there are many famous names there, how many of them have conducted a band to success at the top level ??
With regard to the comment on 4br that Keith Wardle is "Bitter and Twisted" - anyone who knows Keith will tell you that he just speaks as he finds (Perhaps with a hint of cynicism !) - but his comments are always made with the good of our movement at heart.
I'm on holiday for 2 weeks now, but I will be interested to read your response on my return - We MUST feel satisfied that those who judge us are at least acquainted with a successful baton.

12.07.2003, 00:29
I think that it is important that our adjuicators are familiar wit our band movement both conducting and participating, most adjuticators are fair but some I just don't know where they are coming from. :?

12.07.2003, 09:23
Hi Ian...

This topic/subject surely has to be one of the most interesting conversational pieces relating to our movement... the actions, training, quality and decisions of our emminent adjuducators....!

For what it's worth, here's my £0.02p....

Firstly, in my opinion this is a very emotive issue with many, many people - and in the main I don't see why it should be. I think it becomes this because we start to tread into the 'uncomfortable zone' where anyone speaking out against the current setup is then perceived as challenging the system, or causing trouble or are bad losers etc. It is this perception by the authorities that is wrong. Why can that not be perceived as looking for a better way, or looking to improve the situation for the band movement as a whole? Reminiscences of ... 'get back in your kennel'... :?

Now, I think it is widely accepted by most people in the movement that we have a broad range of capabilities and experience within our current group/selection of adjudicators. Most of them have character, are pragmatic and are extremely talented musicians, others are not quite so talented, and a minority few are quite simply not cut out for the role and are a few sandwiches short of a picnic when it comes to being able to judge the winning order of a set of performances. But "sod's law" states that we all think the adjudicator belongs to the latter group when we are at the bar or on the coach returning from a competition having done not as well as we'd hoped :!:

This is why the subject is emotive. It's predominantly based on subjective opinion.. one mans tea is anothers poison etc... (or whatever the saying is)

So in offering some suggestions as to trying to determine why this is so, I'll stick to facts, plain and simple;

* Adjudicators are not accountable to anybody (and should be as the decisions they make carry significant responsibility)
* Perceived as being a 'golf club' mentality (closed shop)
* Quality standards and the performance of adjudicators are never measured
* No "people appointed" controling authority
* No role description
* Nothing upon which bands will be able to understand on what it is that they are being judged

I could go on ....

We will never get away from the subjectivity of what adjudicators have to do, and having done this a few times can vouch that adjudicating really is not an easy task, but we certainly could/should put controls and measures in place to ensure consistency in performance and approach. It's the consistency factor that in my opinion causes such emotive feelings.

I'll also be interested to read other tMP'ers views and opinions on this...


12.07.2003, 09:54
Just off the top of my head, as I've only got a couple of minutes, I don't think that a successful adjudicator needs to have been a conductor, at least not at the top level, but I do feel that they should have a wide range of experience either as a player or as conductor.

I am also very much in favour of some indication being given beforehand as to what the adjudicators are going to be looking for. There have been occasions when one adjudicator has placed great emphasis on the conductor's interpretation of the score, whilst not being too concerned about slips made by individual players. If that is going to be the case then you run the risk of having a conducting competition, rather than a band contest.

A balance should be maintained, but if some guidelines are issued, as I believe has been promised for the forth-coming Scottish open, at least conductors and bands have some idea where the goal-posts are, and can prepare accordingly.

Either way, we are never going to have a system that suits everybody, and we should remember that banding is not unique in facing these problems :- several of the international piano and singing competitions have also come up with controversial decisions from time to time - what if the adjudicators at the National decided not to award a first prize because they didn't think any of the bands were good enough?!!!!

Roger Thorne
12.07.2003, 10:35
A few years ago an Adjudicators Course appeared, at Salford University and I am pleased to see the course has been re-instated, again at Salford (see article on 4BarsRest/below).

What I remember about this course, was that you had to be more than a ‘has-been’ brass player to even get past the preliminary stages.

As the contest season is nearly upon us, we will no doubt see the same old faces being chosen to adjudicate not only at our local contests but even at our National contests.
Now I am a firm believer that even though you may have been a very gifted cornet or euphonium player in your day, or you may still be a top notch conductor or player, it doesn’t give you the necessary experience required, in my opinion, to sit at a contest and judge others.

Here are one or two questions I would like answering:

How many people have completed this 'Official' Adjudicating Course and who are they?
Have these people been invited to Adjudicate at any contests?
How many present adjudicators on the circuit at the moment have enlisted for this course?
If any, how many passed with flying colours?

What I remember about the criteria of this course was that it wasn’t easy.
You really had to be an exceptional musician to get through. One of the requirements of this course was to be able to transcribe a section of Orchestral score for Brass Band. (How many of today's adjudicator's/player's/conductor's can do that?).

What I would like to suggest is that all the adjudicator’s on the circuit at the moment take the opportunity to sit this new course over the next twelve months, regardless of any other musical qualifications he/she might have. In the year 2004/5 every adjudicator who passes this course would, again in my opinion, be qualified to sit and adjudicate any bands performance, but only because they would have all been trained to the same standards.

So come on all you adjudicator’s, let’s see how good you really are . . .
and hopefully all adjudicators in the future will have the letters LDBBA after their name (Licentiate Diploma in Brass Band Adjudication)


Here's the link to the article on 4BarsRest:


Naomi McFadyen
12.07.2003, 12:33
Cool! I may do this once my degree is over and I've done my masters too! :D better start saving!

12.07.2003, 21:20
Hi there Roger, regarding your question of qualified adjudicators, my former teacher Maurice Preistly was (i think!) the first person to recieve the Licentiate Diploma and is only one of a few. As for the amount of adjudicating jobs he's done i'm not too sure, although he has judged at the 2001 4th Section Northern Area and judges at Denton Whit Friday Contest.

26.07.2003, 13:51
The Organisers of a contest are responsible for appointing the adjudicators..At the Area Contests, B & H, followed by the National Contesting Council, sent each area a list of "approved" adjudicators..The NABBC started a course (accredited by Salford University) which is the one Roger refers to..As an executive member of the NABBC at the time this scheme was started, I can assure you that as Roger says it was a very difficult course of study over a long period, the progress of each candidate was closely followed by very eminent Conductors/Adjudicators, who were all members of the NABBC, If I remember correctly, certainly Roy Newsome, Sydney Swancott,, can't remember any more but James Scott, David Read I think were involved..There have been several applicants, but many failed at one stage or another..Certainly Maurice Priestley was one of (if not the first) to be awarded the LDBBA (Licentiate Diploma in Brass Band Adjudicating). But again it comes down to individual contest promoters, who tend to go for the name rather than those with the Diploma, who they may never have heard of..The Adjudicators Association I believe is now accepting the newly qualified people with the LDBBA...but I may be wrong on this..

16.08.2003, 21:38
As one of those who have been conferred with the LDBBA, (only the 4th person to have been so conferred), I am pleased to see that the "grass root" bandsmen and women wish to see qualified experienced conductors take this diploma.

The problem seems to be in Contest Organisers using, us. Perhaps you could all give them a prod!

From memory those conferred are;

Maurice Proestley (North East)
Gareth Pritchard (Wales)
Simon Applegate (Channel Islands)
Stephen Tighe (North West)
Paul Norley (Royal Military School of Music)

I also believe that the conductor of the Meltham Band in Yorkshire has been presented with his diploma recently!

many thanks.

26.09.2003, 13:16

26.09.2003, 13:51


26.09.2003, 14:55
Does this mean that we'll be told in advance that a particular adjudicator marks on technical accuracy or musicianship or preferably both?

Surely an adjudicator should be a musician first & foremost? I know of brass players that were/still are brilliant players, but I wouldn't necessarily class all of them as musical.

Surely a conductor should be a musician first & foremost? Just because they played principal cornet for 25 years with a name band doesn't automatically confer upon them the necessary skills to be a conductor... (And then, by right of passage, automatically become an adjudicator).

Dodgy adjudication is a subject close to all of us. Our Area Committees are comprised of members of our bands. Tell your committee member that you would like to see an LDBBA qualified adjudicator used for contests.

Ahhhhhhh, better now...

26.09.2003, 18:01
Having not been on for a while I was interested in reading about this particualr topic. I have, for a time now, thought that the job of an adjudicator is a pretty hard job to do. Damned if you do damned if you dont. The choice of who sits as adjudicators, the criteria for adjudicating and also should bands get parameters given to them before hand signaling how the adjudicators would judge the performances on the test piece.
Taking the latter subject first. Yeah, I wholeheartedly agree that a setting of parameters would certainly make the contest a lot closer, since all bands would stick within those parameters if they wanted to win. BUT surely a contest is a musical occasion, 18 bands playing approximately the same would push even more people away from going to contests to listen. The closer the performances the more intense the pressure will be on the players to attain perfection or crash and burn after a split. Listening to 18 similar versions of Enigma would scramble my brain. Music is something which begs for variety, variety for the listener, performer and conductor. Is not the adjudicator a form of audience member too ? Should they not be allowed to argue that a performance (with a few slips)moved them whilst a technicaly profficent performance, although sparkling in places did little for them.
As for criteria, why is it assumed that a contest should be adjudicated by only conductors and players ? What about the composers? Those who study music as an occupation i.e lecturers etc. The contest for me has become an event dominated by the desire for technically perfect performances. Music, in any form is never ever perfect. Should there be a diploma of a sort which people will have to take to adjudicate. In practical terms that would be an ideal solution. However!!!!! If a person has studied long and hard at university and achieved a degree, masters or even PhD in music. Does that not mean that they are qualified musicians and are qualified enough to sit and adjudicate on a brass band contest ? What do you think ? Would you make Dr Derek Bourgeois or Phillip Sparke do a diploma in band adjudication ?? hmmm....interesting idea!
A lot of people in banding hark on about the past...and perhaps they do have a point to an extent!! in the early part of the last century an adjudication panel consisted of 2 or 3 adjudicators who were a combination of 1 adjudicator from the military for example and perhaps the others being, a former conductor and a member of the Salvation Army. Why cant there be a good cross section of adjudicators today in every contest ? Occasionally the mix is right and when that happens no one can complain.

Anyway, after the results are read out if you havent won then you always complain about the adjudicators who would you blame if they couldn't be!! Music will always be subjective, take the element of variation in musical performance it becomes a brass band technical challenge and it would become a major sporting contest than a musical event.

Richard Jones

30.09.2003, 01:11
well this is a wasps nest we've opened up!!!!

Firslty I've won when I haven't deserved to and lost when "we were robbed". I've been at contests where adjudicators say things and you think what? for example, Were competing at the Malton entertainment contest when a "experianced" judge talked during his closing about the playing of quavers during a 6/8 march, this was obviously a pre-concieved idea as listener's to the full section struggled to recall any 6/8 marches!!!! I've also had a adjudicator saying he disliked the use of a Kit bass drum (could he also say didn't like the band using a besson cornet) The bass drum coment was at a national final (if he'd have understud the difficulties of drumming and human anatomy he'd have realised that I didn't have 6 arms). And then (last one i promise) At a marching contest the adjudicator come out if the box and explain he didn't like the use of percusion on the stand, maybe it would have been nice to early warning of this personal opinion!!!

I think what we all would like is simply consistancy!

I read an article in the Independant (very posh i know) About Journalists who were taken by the FA (football folks) into a room, they were shown several incidents on video (at full speed) and they were asked to give their judgment (i.e. red yellow card, talking to, free kick). They all had a different opinion at the begining and through the course they had a better understanding of the referee's job. Maybe simlar courses could be run for conductor's (and anyone else) listeneing to 10 test piece's and giving there idea's with the adjudicators from the day giving there remarks and reasons for them... Maybe the problem is just poor communication.

It'd be nice if the adjudicators would stick to the piece at hand in the summing up, There are adjudicators who are on the circiut and we know exactly what their likely to say in their summing up, and that goes to show that it's pre-planned or at least some of it is. I'll leave you with a quiz on this one topic! (no offence meant to the person involved)

Who says at the end of every set of comments "if you like my results my car is read, if you don't it's blue"?

30.09.2003, 08:30
Just a thought.....

Perhaps there ought to be 2 categories, Technical and Interpretation with marks awarded for each. Since interpretation can be very subjective then in the event of a tie the highest technical mark gets it.

If nothing else this would point out to bands in which area they are going wrong (that is whether its the Band that needs to work harder or the Conductor).

Additionally this would reduce the damage from those adjudicators who tend to mark on whether they like a performance or not (regardless of whether the band could actually play the piece).

30.09.2003, 10:36
I'd hate to be an adjudicator (although many times I come away from contests feeling I could do much better!!).
They have a thankless job as they know that there is very little chance they will leave the building without someone 'gunning ' for them.
I don't know whether the fact an adjudicator was qualified would make any difference or not.
What sort of things do they learn on a course?
I suppose just learning to be fair would be a good start!

30.09.2003, 18:57
The more I read on this thread, the more I'm convinced the Masters system is better - at least there all the judges are forced to make their own choice and stick to it, rather than come to a consensus.

Slightly off topic.... does it bug anyone else that there's only one guy in the box at the areas but 2 at the the finals? Given the promotion/relegation issue, the area result is much more important for most bands - especially in L&SC where there are so many in the lower sections.

At the end of the day though, its all subjective so noone is ever going to get it right in everyone else's opinion, and 100 years of training and experience ain't going to change that.

01.10.2003, 14:28
At the finals the two adjucation system seems to be a good idea, but would it be better if each adjudicator was in a seperate box? Thus not giving them the opportunity to influence each other.

01.10.2003, 15:13
With two adjudicators sitting separately you would need a system for settling things if they disagree. If one then has any form of "casting vote", then that would be the same as if they were together and he just "influenced" the other. At least if they are able to discuss they can each put their view across.

With the three at the Masters, the fact that there are three does tend to even things out, although as we have seen it does throw up considerable differences at times, and again a tie-break system is often needed.

James McFadyen
06.10.2003, 20:14
The British Bandsman printed an article of mine a while ago about about the contesting fiasco.

And I'll say it again..............The composer of the piece should adjudicate. Of, course this wil shortlist the pieces, the composer would have to be available and alive. He or she would also have to know the adjuication proceedure.

But, it would solve all problems, because at the end of the day, the adjudicator is just a conductor, and like conductors, they have their own interpretation, which could be way off what the composer intended.

If the composer was the adjudicator, then, there can be no fuss, as the only person who can tell you if the interpretation is right, is the composer of the piece. Things like tuning and balance are general musicianship things, so these are not the issue.

noone, that I know of, seems to be thinking of this obvious way to fix the contesting arguments.

If anyone has any points to argue why my Idea is completely stupid, then please tell, because I feel that point is a bit to obvious for noone to have really thought about.

06.10.2003, 23:47
But a composer in his mind has an image of his piece, What if a band gave a reading he didn't expect but thought wow, i never thought of that.

One's opinion is not always set in stone!

If we are all to play to the Adjudicator's preferance's perfectly then where's the fun in listening to a contest and hearing differing opinions?

We might as well let robots play and the contest will be the programing of them, It's best left to 2/3 guys to have thier opinon too!

Anglo Music Press
07.10.2003, 07:47
I don't think it's as simple as that. The composer should only adjudicate if he is a good adjudicator. ie be able to concentrate for 10 hours/remember band number one/be prepared to work for peanuts (!)/ etc etc. Knowing the score well is essential, but it isn't enough.

You wouldn't want an aircraft designer to fly it, unless he was a qualified pilot, would you???????

James McFadyen
07.10.2003, 08:57
This, I realise Philip, and as I said the composer would need to know the adjudication producedure, etc. But composers like yourself, Alan Fernie, Goff Richards, Roy Newsome and countless others are all working composers and adjudicators. Where there's a will, there's a way, like we say in Scotland!

Ploughboy, I would hate to think that my opinon of my music was only that, an opinion. The fact is, it isn't. The fact also is, that I could conduct my own composition at a contest and be slated for misinterpretation. How ubsurd is that! In my opinon, I don't think every band will sound the same, every band has it's own 'sound' and style. Balance is very important in music, a conductor could slightly alter the balance so that one particular note would be heard above the rest, which can be very effective in the very last cadence! things like that are acceptable and are not tampering with scores in any kind of way. The problem starts with the conductor trying to solve problems in the bandroom, switching parts, changing notes, giving passages that were o the backrow cornets to the front row cornets. All this makes an audible difference! Conductors will always try to find the easy wayout and usually means fixing the score to the band. Fine for the concert hall, but you kinda set yourself up on the contest stage. Although some adjudicators will comend changes if they are done without the detriment to which the composer wanted. There are certain copyright issues to be wary of!! One may not bother about them, that is up to them.

I've Heard Gerswin's American in Paris performed by different conductors, each with their own style, but still holding true to Gershwins original music. Which should remain that way - untouched. A composer dosen't write a score for conductors to tamper with, and I personally take great offence by people tampering with my music. But maybe that's just me.

Both your points are valid, but in my opinon, not valid enough to rle the possibility out. The fact still remains, that if the composer gives you 190 points, you know, you've caputured what the composer was trying to say.

This is a matter I take seriously and will fight it to the death. :lol:

07.10.2003, 09:38
Whilst I agree that the insight of a composer/arranger can be very helpful in assessing a performance, I do not feel it is vital. Each composer will have his own view of "adjustments" to the score - I've heard Peter Graham, for example, saying that, from his point of view, he doesn't mind what conductors and bands do so long as the end result comes across alright.

Equally, as I think I've posted elsewhere, one of my composer friends likes to take the initial rehearsal on a new piece he has written; after that he will hand it over to the regular conductor, who is then free to interpret the score as he will.

There are very many examples of composers commenting that certain conductors found elements in their work that they had not intended, and were not conscious of, quite apart from instances where a composer's own view of a work changes drastically over the years.

If we were to limit our test pieces to those where the composer is willing and able to sit in the box, we are immediately ruling out a very wide range of repertoire, including relatively recent figures such as Vinter, Golland, Eric Ball and Heaton, as well as any contemporary composers who may be persuaded to write for us, but who would not necessarily be familiar with the adjudication system per se.

James McFadyen
07.10.2003, 14:37
argh...............a canny be bothered tae argue any mare!

07.10.2003, 14:39
From 4Bars Rest

The four wise men in the North West for 2004 have been announced.

North West Regional adjudicators

The adjudicators for next year’s North West Regional Brass Band Championships on Sunday, March 14th have been announced.

The men who the bands will have to impress are:

Dr Roy Newsome (Championship section)
Colin Hardy (First section)
Alan Hope (Second section)
David Horsfield (Third section)
Maurice Priestley (Fourth section)

Four wise men? OK so who isn't qualified? This is the clearest statement yet that one of our adjudicators is just not up to scratch. But which one???

08.10.2003, 09:56
Could be all of them - or none of them. Depends who you talk to on March 14th 2004!

Dave Payn
09.10.2003, 17:23
...we can all moan about quality of adjudicators (and I've done my fair share! I remember one contest I played in where the band I played with won. We thought our performance simply wasn't up to it and we weren't even expecting a place. It must have been one of the quietest celebrations to a 1st place announcement in history! We were dumbstruck!) but in the end, we keep coming back for more, do we not?

Personally, I would love the chance to be able to adjudicate at lower section contests (what's that? 'You must be nuts, Dave' Perhaps I am - though I dare say I'm not qualified to adjudicate. I'd just love to....)

Dave Payn
Fulham Brass Band
Conductor: Croydon Brass Band

10.10.2003, 10:07
To be honest I think adjudicating at the lower levels is just as hard, if not harder than adjudicating at championship levels.

It seems that fourth and third section bands, in many contests, end up with fourth and third section adjudicators.

It woudl be very interesting to swap round and have someone who is renowned for being a top class adjudicator in the lower sections.

However, it'll no doubt end up being just as controversial.

Whatever the solution, I think it's very important to promote Musicality. It appears to be something that's lacking in certain areas of Brass Banding.

10.10.2003, 17:17
The sentiments expressed in this thread are great. But what is going to happen after we have weighed up the relative merits of present and possible adjudication systems? Nothing.

I presume that the BFBB have rules relating to the adjudication of contests? Does anyone from the BFBB contribute to this forum - I don't know, but I could hazard a guess.

If it is the BFBB that make the rules how do we get them to consider a change - or do we bother.

When this thread has run its course and endless possibilties have been discussed - who is going to bite the bullet and organise a contest that tries a new form of adjudication? With or without reference to existing rules and guidelines.

If we don't try we will never know, and until a new system is developed and proved then the people in authority are not going to listen. Only when that position of authority is challenged will anything be done.

I didn't know I was an anarchist, but I could get to like it!

James McFadyen
10.10.2003, 19:34
We might want to start looking at what the associations are picking for the section testpieces.

Vizcaya for 3rd Section - no way!!! said with lots of swear words! Viscaya is a 1st section piece, and quite frankly this, to my ears, remains unchanged. Viscaya is not a 3rd section piece, but despite that, the relevant Brass Band assosiation who choose the testpiece are going to be the cause of 'iffy' adjudication, simply because the piece chosen does not suit MOST 3rd section band. It will be an interesting contest, nonetheless.

11.10.2003, 09:58
I'll have to disagree with that one I'm afraid.

Without challenges we'll struggle to push musical boundaries, therefore me may not realise our full potential.

As long as everyone in the section has to conquer the same piece, we should revel in the oportunity to do something hard and learn from it.

Let's hope the adjudicators are up to the challenge also?

James McFadyen
12.10.2003, 10:42
Challenge we need yes, but we should not forget the state of Brass Banding as it is today.................Many band will strugle with Vizcaya, nevermind a challege, for some it will be impossible.

Brass Banding is getting worse every year and is driving people, especially young people away from banding and forcing some to withdraw. There will be no amateur Brass Bands left if we keep going at this rate!

Vizcaya is a stuning piece but requires a strong band with strong players throughout the whole band, the ability to double and triple tongue is difficult for some 3rd section bands, and that's before the players have to play complex rythms against each other! A challenge is not the word I would use, I'm afraid! ****** stupidity is my word choice.

It's all supposed to be relative, so if 3rd Section is to play Vizcaya, I pitty Championshp section bands!

12.10.2003, 19:10
I think Vizcaya is very tough for the third section bands, but I have to say that it will improve the overall standard eventully,

Round our band there's maybe 6/7 can double and triple, bnut everyone now has the impetus to learn thanks to the test piece "panic" ,

We'll go and do our best on the day and enjoy the performance we give, If the man in the box likes it, great, if not mines another large brandy!!!!

If contesting was just about winning most of us would have given up very soon. but it's not, to me contesting is about pushing the standard of the band forward.

Naomi McFadyen
12.10.2003, 19:13
If contesting was just about winning most of us would have given up very soon. but it's not, to me contesting is about pushing the standard of the band forward

here here!

Dave Payn
13.10.2003, 10:43
Sorry, James, have to disagree. I was a participant when Vizcaya was used as the test piece for the National Finals 4TH section (yes, that's not a misprint, 4TH) in 1995. It certainly did improve the overall standard of the 4th section big time. The band I was playing with at the time (Crystal Palace) came 5th and it was a memorable day all round. Quite a few bands did the piece reasonable justice. One band were streets ahead (Todmorden Old who were then on the start of a very upward curve!)

Now and again, lower section bands (or more to the point, AMBITIOUS lower section bands) need to be pushed in order to improve their overall standard. I'll be conducting Croydon Band in the 3rd section next March and I personally can't wait to get to grips with Vizcaya. If it can bring about an improvement in standard of the 4th section, it can do so for the 3rd. Bring it on!


13.10.2003, 11:13
fair enough Dave..

of course, pushing the standard is a main aim of choosing a test piece, but there needs to be some strategy involved as well. In my opinion, test pieces (particularly for the lower sections) should be chosen well in advance - and I'm not counting out such a period as 2 or 3 years!

When you aim to "push the standard" it's all too easy to pick some ferocious test that unfortunately, only a few bands will be able to really get to grips with.

Choosing a set of tests for the next 3 years in one block would allow the selectors to really concentrate on a progressive strategy.

Incidentally, I'm not aware of the test-selection mechanism in the UK. These are just some random thoughts..

The Cornet King
13.10.2003, 22:16
Now and again, lower section bands (or more to the point, AMBITIOUS lower section bands) need to be pushed in order to improve their overall standard. Regards

I absolutely and whole heartedly agree. There is no point at all choosing a piece that wont push a section to its limit. Lets get the bands working at 110% and have the best performances we can possibly get from our lower section bands to inspire them to progress further.
Vizcaya is a great piece from a great (and all too forgotten) composer and hopefully that will be inspiration enough for bands to give it a real go.

Good luck to all who have to play Vizcaya, especially my old band Clifton and Lightcliffe in Yorkshire Area(bit of a plug!)

Front row, Cottingham band.

James McFadyen
14.10.2003, 17:16
Well.................Scotland is certainly in uproar about the situation and I believe it's time for bands south of the border to think about it from a wider angle than just to 'progress the band further' as banding is much much much bigger than that, it's about time people start to realise the implications it has on banding, not just now but for the future - we must open our doors to younger talented musicians WHO WILL PUSH THE BAND FURTHER IN THE FUTURE, ever heard of 'Investor in People'.....That's what will keep banding going strong!

Lets not for get that Contesting is exactly that, It's a contest to see who's better..........It's not exactly the most modest way of performing, but IT IS the Brass Banding way! And besides when you win, I bet your not complaining then!

I better not hear any complaints of miss-adjudication in the 3rd section, coz I'll just say 'I told u so!'

Sorry to be on my high-horse, I can't help it, I'm Scottish and we tend not to mince words, but challege me all the same.........stir it up if you dare :lol:

Dave Payn
14.10.2003, 17:31
Firstly, let's explode this rather silly myth that 'it's only people from the north who don't mince words' Daft, and utterly wrong.

Who exactly in Scotland is in uproar about it? You say it's time for bands south of the border to think about it from a wider angle than to just 'progress the band further'? Are you therefore saying that Scottish bands don't wish to progress??

We will obviously have to accept differing views as to the validity of choosing Vizcaya. Fine, as that's our right, but your tone almost sounds desperate.

I'd like to think that there will be less moans about adjudication with choosing a piece like Vizcaya. I think its difficulty will make placing the bands more straightforward than having a piece which is comparatively (I use the word carefully) easy and therefore can be a bit of a lottery to adjudicate as I believe, has happened in the past.

14.10.2003, 18:50
Perhaps the Scottish Bands are scared of playing something that might appear to be a little bit hard on first sight?

I certainly haven't heard anyone in my neck of the woods complaining.

The Cornet King
14.10.2003, 19:28
Well.................Scotland is certainly in uproar about the situation and I believe it's time for bands south of the border to think about it from a wider angle than just to 'progress the band further' as banding is much much much bigger than that, it's about time people start to realise the implications it has on banding, ...
I better not hear any complaints of miss-adjudication in the 3rd section, coz I'll just say 'I told u so!'

Sorry to be on my high-horse, I can't help it, I'm Scottish and we tend not to mince words, but challege me all the same.........stir it up if you dare :lol:

Complaints of miss adjudication?? Don't we always get that???
Anyway a challenge to stir it up...I'll try my best!!!
Certainly the piece is hard, which is what we need, and i cant see this one piece having implications on the band movement. I seem to remember previous test pieces being criticised...Royal Parks being too easy for Section 1, Prague etc and these have not caused any serious damage!
I challenge anyone to choose a test piece EVERYBODY is 100% happy with!!
Surely it is a good thing that one of the most forgotten composers of our time (I believe so anyway) has had one of their pieces chosen, that has previously been used in Section 4, and from comments from other people they had no problems with it then!

I say, lets give the bands time to look at the piece (and i mean a PROPER look, over a few weeks, not just a quick glance!) and then see at Christmas and beyond whether views have changed.

Even though i shall not be playing the piece for being in another section im all for the piece, i know my old band shall be relishing the challenge and good luck to all bands in that position.

Front Row, Cottingham Band.

15.10.2003, 00:03
I'm amazed!

So Lets see, James, you're basically saying the scottish bands aren't as good as bands in the rest of the country?

I wonder how the rest of your countrymen feel about that, come on scotland lets hear ya?

James McFadyen
15.10.2003, 01:31
Basically, that is what i'm saying!

In my opinion Scottish Banding isn't quite up to par with English Banding, although it pains me to say it, I'm very patriotic towards being Scottish and proud of it but, hey, you English have to be good at something, right! :lol: (That was a joke, by the way, just in case someone takes it out of context)

Im not saying that Vizcaya will destroy banding, but it isn't helping matters, as i've said in an earlier post, it's supposed to be relative, so if Vizcaya is gonna be really difficult (for 3rd Section) the 2nd has to be a grade up and 1st section a grade higher and championship being at the top, I don't think there's much of a differance between 3rd and Championship sections this year.

A much better testpiece for 3rd section would have been Music For a Fetival (Sparke) and although everybody in the band never really sits still, it's not all that difficult when u get to grips with it.

I heard this week (from a reliale source) that even James Gourlay doesn't understand the logic in why Vizcaya was picked.

But I'll tell you what, and I mean these comments to be UNOFFICIAL and of MY OWN OPINION, but I think Vizcaya was chosen for Political reasons more than anything else! As per (swearword deleted) usual with Brass Banding!!!!! :twisted:

It's all very well to say it'll be a challenge and all the rest of the bull **** that goes towards 'having a political view'...............but lets talk straight!!! Vizcaya is too hard for 3rd Section and it sticks out like a sore thumb and thats the facts!!!!!!

Anyhow, my appologies for side-tracking on Vizcaya..........Let's just see how the Ajudicators cope! :lol:

15.10.2003, 02:22
Well James, very controversial!!

In my opinion Scottish Banding isn't quite up to par with English Banding

I wonder if the lads and lasses at Whitburn (2nd at the British Open) and West Lothian Schools Brass Band (current British Youth Champions) to name but two, would agree with you on that one?

Come on you Scot's, let's hear if you agree with your "Patriot" James.

Anglo Music Press
15.10.2003, 07:30
but I think Vizcaya was chosen for Political reasons

What on earth does that mean, James ??????? Tell us your problem! :D

Roger Thorne
15.10.2003, 09:05
OK Folks, Just a reminder that we seem to have wondered well off topic here - but at the same time we have entered into a very interesing debate.
We'll let it run for now but we would also like to see it (at some time) get back on topic.

Thank you

Roger - Moderator


Dave Payn
15.10.2003, 10:45
OK Folks, Just a reminder that we seem to have wondered well off topic here - but at the same time we have entered into a very interesing debate.
We'll let it run for now but we would also like to see it (at some time) get back on topic.

Thank you

Roger - Moderator



I seem to have had a reply to James removed. I didn't THINK there was anything controversial/rude/insulting. Certainly wasn't the intention!


15.10.2003, 10:49
If the piece has been chosen for political reasons perhaps we should have a reforendum.

Or, what's more fitting these days, we'll just wait for the Americans to tell us to do it and off we go!

It brings an interesting thought to mind though.

We could have a choice of, say, a panel of ten adjudicators who are available to judge a contest, and the bands in each section could vote for who they would like to be in the box. Democracy.

We would have less cause for complaint then.

---and the Scotish guys could decide their own rules and vote for an easy test piece too?? :lol:

--and you'd have to be over 18 to vote, so we would have no trouble from those 'pesky meddling kids' :!:

15.10.2003, 11:07
Dave Payn has now launched a separate thread on the subject of Vizcaya - Viz. :

It may be better if further comments on this are posted there, rather than here.

15.10.2003, 20:45
Well said Euph John - it's about time we had some radical thinking in this debate. :shock:

It is just a shame that it has decended into a regional debate - I always knew that the Scots had a massive chip on their shoulder - DEEP FRIED OF COURSE - that's what comes from being used to being second I suppose. I wouldn't know cos I'm from south of the border. :lol:

21.10.2003, 15:52
Well said Euph John - it's about time we had some radical thinking in this debate. :shock:

It is just a shame that it has decended into a regional debate - I always knew that the Scots had a massive chip on their shoulder - DEEP FRIED OF COURSE - that's what comes from being used to being second I suppose. I wouldn't know cos I'm from south of the border. :lol: