2009 British Open

Anno Draconis

Well-Known Member
Blimey, he's not happy, is he? ;) Might have had more credibility had his moan come on the back of a GOOD result - but of course winners never complain about the standard of adjudication, do they?

That said, he's got a point, although for me he doesn't go far enough in pursuit of change; the whole way band contests are undertaken is a Victorian farce. All this pathetic nonsense with closed adjudication just makes it look like the dying movement it is.

As far as I know there is an Adjudicators' Diploma validated by Salford, which "new" adjudicators are encouraged to take. Trouble is, possession of the paper doesn't lead to gigs - contest organisers like the same old familiar faces - so not many people bother doing it. I'm not aware that yesterday's adjudicators have had any "training" as such. That said, I don't think that's the issue. Of the three eminent blokes in the box yesterday, only one could be said to be currently "actively involved in music making" and that is Michael Ball - David Read, fine musician though he is, hasn't been involved in top flight banding for many years and has retired from teaching I believe, and William Relton hasn't been actively involved in music making apart from the box for a number of years AFAIK.

The reason that "new blood" doesn't go into adjudication is that at the top level there's more money and kudos in conducting. This acts as a de facto bar to today's big names going into the box; that and the small mindedness of many bands. Witness the fuss over Mead himself at last year's ENC whcih led to him stepping down. David King's stints in the box are likely to be at and end now he has a regular MDs job, and I can't imagine either of the Childs brothers, Withington or Cutt offering to give up their current posts to spend more time in a velvet-curtained box with a pot to pee in, so today's most successful conductors won't be coming to a box near you anytime soon. That leaves us with "outsiders", who often alienate bands because they're more interested in musicality than technical perfection, or the men of yesteryear.

My solution: (for the big contests, like the Open and the National) A panel of 5, sitting in the open. Two died in the wool, currently "active" brass banders whose job is to judge technical accuracy - these need not be Brits, of course, guys like Geo-Pierre Moren, Frans Violet or Michael Garasi would be great and utterly impartial. Two other musicians, who might be composers, orchestral brass players or even record/BBC producers (fancy it, Mr Hindmarsh?) whose job is to judge musical merit. Finally someone ideally who spans both worlds to act as a "chair" and give a casting vote if the panel becomes deadlocked; someone like Bramwell Tovey, Elgar Howarth, Edward Gregson, or maybe Maurice Murphy?

To Kapitol, and Martyn Mortimer: I'll waive the royalties, you can have that one for free. ;)
 
Having read mr Mead's article i totally agree, the lower placings often have a greater bearing, with relegation, and mean as much as winning. I think it is a more thoughtless attitude, from adjudicators than anything else, "I've picked the winners so what attitude"
 

BariPower

Member
Just to add one other point - it is the older establishised brass band figures who make most of these decisions so I think anything that would threaten their way of life will be dismissed.Lets face it we can probably debate all day and present suggestions of change but its not likey to happen so perhaps Mead is right and we may see the down fall of the movement yet!
 

bbg

Member
Having read the full text of Mr Mead's comments (I was not present at the Open), I can only now assume that he will a) either step down from adjudicating himself or b) make himself available, on stage and in front of the audience, to explain all of his decisions to any bands that query them.

There are indeed imperfections in the current system - because everyone involved is a human being! Anything open to "interpretation" will produce inconsistencies. My band, like practically every other band out there since time immemorial, has been "gutted" by placings on some occasions (like last March - we're relegated, but we'll just have to get on with it) whilst being pleasantly surprised by placings on others.
I have agreed with work colleagues, I have disagreed, I have thought I had a new job "in the bag" and been wrong.................that's real life, folks!

Mr Mead yesterday (and all of us who put ourselves through the contesting mill) know the setup before we go on stage - the time to call for change is surely not in the emotional minutes after a "bad" result but after a considered evaluation with an accompanying positive alternative.
 

brassbandmaestro

Active Member
I think that Mr Mead has a pint too. If the adjudicating system doesn't change soon, something drastic will have to be done, or otherwise, it would be nothing short of a disaster for this great movement that we call the Brass Band Movement
 

bbg

Member
I think that Mr Mead has a pint too. If the adjudicating system doesn't change soon, something drastic will have to be done, or otherwise, it would be nothing short of a disaster for this great movement that we call the Brass Band Movement

Perhaps he'd had a couple of pints.................

Although of course with his good Boscombe SA background, he'll be teetotal.

Even though he may "have a point", surely on stage and in the apparent manner in which he made it is not the time or place to make it?

Parallels here with Messs Wenger, Ferguson et al who only ever complain when things don't go the way that they see (or don't see!) them.....?
 

brassbandmaestro

Active Member
Perhaps he'd had a couple of pints.................

Although of course with his good Boscombe SA background, he'll be teetotal.

Even though he may "have a point", surely on stage and in the apparent manner in which he made it is not the time or place to make it?

Parallels here with Messs Wenger, Ferguson et al who only ever complain when things don't go the way that they see (or don't see!) them.....?
Also Serena Williams yesterday!!
 

Jonesy

Member
4bars rest didn't say Whitburn in top few .... dark horses! Having heard 15/18 bands today i agree with most of their comments. The only thing they didn't mention was that saltire should've been booking their Blackpool hotel half way through their performance! If Whitburn return to the grand shield after today david read's next gig should Blackpool in May ...... taking his pals for a walk along the beach ...... e aw! MBE = my big ego.

I think the majority of the audience who were present would probably agree with 4barsrest for a change. Shame you couldn't make it along. Maybe you could've waited for some audience feedback before posting your own drivel!

Well done to Cory ..... so musical & amazing dynamics. Stunning!
Well yes, but dark horses for a place near the top, not the bottom!! You seem to agree that Whitburn were hard done by in any case.....! :-?

And contrary to what you say, it seems lots of people - including Steven Mead - do not agree with the way things panned out yesterday. Audience feedback? Do you think internet forums are the only place to get audience feedback? I had plenty thank you, I own one of those mobile phone things! In any case, I was making a broader point. I know what it's like to get screwed over at the British Open, it isn't a nice feeling and yes you have to take it on the chin. However Steven Mead's point seems to be increasingly valid - the 'minor' placings - say, outside the top six, often seem to beggar belief. And that's not just at the Open but elsewhere too. Which is exactly what I was saying!
 

jockinafrock

Active Member
I sat through every one of the 18 bands yesterday and enjoyed every minute (I was also the one sitting sticking diamontes onto my daughter's dance dress up in the grand tier for the whole 8 hours if you saw me and wondered what I was doing..)

Whilst I'm a Fodens fan through and through, what this allowed me to do was listen to the bands and not be swayed by who I was watching. I thought Cory were outstanding, as were Dyke - but IMHO Cory were musical and showed much more contrast in the piece. :clap:

I'd have loved Fodens to be further up, but there were too many slips I suppose compared to the top two especially. Whitburn were a bit of a dark horse for me, and I enjoyed their performance, so I feel they did get a raw deal. :(

I actually had all the bands in the top six bar B&R - I think the audience were listening to a different band to me 'cos they did absolutely nothing to convince me they should have a place... Grimey were disappointing, but they have been through a lot recently as have Faireys, so well done for keeping things together and doing so well chaps and chapesses :clap:

It was a great piece and I certainly wouldn't have wanted to swap places with anyone on the day, especially the soloists. I don't think anyone disgraced themselves, and should be chuffed to bits with their performances. True to form, David Reads inimitable constructive criticism in his speech makes me cringe at times and want to slit my wrists but hey! ho! that's banding... :biggrin:

 

Mephi

Member
Well done Meady! A bit of controversy puts us on a par with the football and the stars at last!! I didn't want to single one player out but I didn't really understand the decision of giving the Desford sop player his prize. He nailed it (a six inch steel one I think!) but I heard better afterwards (good player - but not a Roberts, Wych, Brian Evans etc etc - not exactly a musical and nice sounding performance.) Can't comment on Whitburn's performance, didn't hear them. The thing is, if a band gets demoted (which thankfully won't happen to Whitburn) getting out of the Grand Shield is really tough (Leyland, Wingates, Reg Vardy et al will surely agree) - should 'careless' judging/admin be addressed? If Meady had whinged on this site afterwards it would more than likely than not have been noticed by the judges - I didn't think he had it in him!
 

brassbandmaestro

Active Member
It would be good if Mr Mead became a member of this board, even if he just contributed the one post, re writing down on here his feelings to everyone one on his thoughts on the current adjudicators. The only trouble then, is, the comments after, might lead to quitea few pages.
 

Bayerd

Active Member
It would be good if Mr Mead became a member of this board, even if he just contributed the one post, re writing down on here his feelings to everyone one on his thoughts on the current adjudicators. The only trouble then, is, the comments after, might lead to quitea few pages.
He's already written his thoughts down. Why should he do so again?
 

Di B

Member
Although I think Steven Mead has a point its a shame he has to make it just after a band he has took has a bad placing.
Wether they deserved that place or not is not the point. It will just look like sour grapes.

What would get peoples attention if the same reaction came from a top 6 band. "we didnt deserve this high placing" but thats unlikely to happen :)

The thing that bugs me though is this has happened for ages and has always been a problem. It only seems to be news as it is a known bandsman making public his views on the big contest.

As I said in the beginning I agree with his point.... But make it when you win Mr Mead and more people will sit up and listen!
 

pienbeans

New Member
Well yes, but dark horses for a place near the top, not the bottom!! You seem to agree that Whitburn were hard done by in any case.....! :-?

And contrary to what you say, it seems lots of people - including Steven Mead - do not agree with the way things panned out yesterday. Audience feedback? Do you think internet forums are the only place to get audience feedback? I had plenty thank you, I own one of those mobile phone things! In any case, I was making a broader point. I know what it's like to get screwed over at the British Open, it isn't a nice feeling and yes you have to take it on the chin. However Steven Mead's point seems to be increasingly valid - the 'minor' placings - say, outside the top six, often seem to beggar belief. And that's not just at the Open but elsewhere too. Which is exactly what I was saying!
I think you have misunderstood what I was trying to say. Yes, I think Whitburn were hard done by. What I was saying was that most people would have agreed (for a change!) with 4barsrest's overview as I did - and it seems Steve Mead. I did not mean that most people would agree with the adjudicator's placings.

Other posters have mentioned younger adjudicators, I would agree that it is time for younger blood to be introduced to adjudicating at major contests. Memory recall does not have to measured in hours for some of the older school. It was only minutes between Saltire & Whitburn yesterday!
 

Kjata

Member
I think half the problem is the works that are now set are contemporary and people that David read, who would have been better suited to contest music, and perhaps doesn't quite understand the newer works as well the older pieces.
Now I know that could sound so I'll pre-emp strike those who would get the wrong idea by me saying that, David read is a very good adjudicator but is not suited to the very modern pieces.
 

brassneck

Active Member
Well done to Cory winning as it was a very tight call between them and Dyke. It could have went either way.
 

dyl

Active Member
While I'm here, congratulations to Cory for reaffirming that South Wales is the capital of brass banding in the UK. North Wales bands should be grateful that we invite them to travel for four hours every March to take part in our championships......;)
Yawn.

On a serious note, really enjoyed yesterday;s playing, and the test-piece - managed to listen to a lot more than I've done in the last couple of years - and it was nice to see the hall a bit fuller throughout the day too.

Of the bands I heard I thought it could've gone either way. Liked Fodens's sound a lot, Cory's playing was so articulate and accurate (awesome playing from the Rep player on the majority of the cornet solos), and loved Brighouse's interpretation. Then Dyke came along and probably gave a combination of all the above to just shade it for me. Cory's performance though was still well deserved of the winning prize - best all round playing from a whole band I've heard in a number of years - so tight and controlled. Da iawn chi bois.
 

towse1972

Active Member
While I'm here, congratulations to Cory for reaffirming that South Wales is the capital of brass banding in the UK. North Wales bands should be grateful that we invite them to travel for four hours every March to take part in our championships......;)
Bless.........awwww! Not getting great results up North Alyn? You should know! You have played for every band up there that will have you!
 

towse1972

Active Member
The never ending discussion on brass banding results goes on. There's no perfect solution that will keep every one happy. I played yesterday in a band who's performance, I would admit, was disappointing and didn't reflect how it had gone in rehearsal, but that sometimes happens. Our result was better than I expected after coming off stage although we will still probably be in the Grand shield next year.

From a personal perspective I agree with some of the comments made by Steve Mead although we possibly benefited from the problems of recollection over a long day he highlighted.

The biggest change I would like to see is that after each performance the adjudicators review the performance just heard against the score in front of them, write their comments and give a score, out of 100, 200 whatever, and then hand their comments and score for that band over to the contest contoller. This would take away the need to recall whether band 18 was better than band 1 from 7 hours previously and only require them to measure band 18's performance against the score which is surely what we should be assessed on. It may lead to a tie if two bands get the same score but that may be the truth, how many times do you think or hear people say " coudn't split band 5 and 8" so a tie may be the true result.

Just my thoughts for what they are worth
You played for Hammonds!!??? Bless em!
 
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