2015 Area piece rumours??????

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Can I combine the '4th section pieces are rubbish' parts of this thread and the 'salvation army is the big 150', and suggest that the problem could be solved by a good melody based Sally Army piece or two for the lower section(s), and the usual technical minefield for the top sections? Has there ever been a lower section regional test piece from the Salvation Army?
 

Bass Trumpet

Active Member
Can I combine the '4th section pieces are rubbish' parts of this thread and the 'salvation army is the big 150', and suggest that the problem could be solved by a good melody based Sally Army piece or two for the lower section(s), and the usual technical minefield for the top sections? Has there ever been a lower section regional test piece from the Salvation Army?

Resurgam. Although, to be fair, I think it was written as a contest piece first, then adopted by the SA. Probably a few more knocking around. The SA 150 thing worries me, as we've just had St Magnus - a piece written by a SA composer, based on a hymn tune and recorded by the ISB.

I might be nice to see some Edward Gregson at the areas again. Connotations for 1st section would be a good test, and a popular choice, maybe Laudate Dominum in the 2nd section? Good, sincere music and with the SA nod to appease the noisy minority.

I very much agree with some of the posts above re. 4th section. The bands so often get overlooked and have to put up with some yellow, moth-eaten piece which has been stuffed behind the bandroom boiler for 60 years. There are a lot of younger composers out there needing a break and I think the 4th section deserve some greater recognition - after all, it's the backbone of the banding movement.
 
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bumper-euph

Member
It might be the backbone of the banding movement,...but I think it's thought of slightly lower down in the anatomy of banding......unfortunately....:-?
 

Anno Draconis

Well-Known Member
It's a shame that it seems the area pieces have to be existing pieces. Would be great to see some new commissions for the areas - it used to happen, Plantaganets was an area commission, as was Salute to Youth, and I'm sure there are plenty of others but I don't think it's been done in recent times. As a result, we get a bit of a parade of the same old same old...
 
Resurgam. Although, to be fair, I think it was written as a contest piece first, then adopted by the SA. Probably a few more knocking around. The SA 150 thing worries me, as we've just had St Magnus - a piece written by a SA composer, based on a hymn tune and recorded by the ISB.

I might be nice to see some Edward Gregson at the areas again. Connotations for 1st section would be a good test, and a popular choice, maybe Laudate Dominum in the 2nd section? Good, sincere music and with the SA nod to appease the noisy minority.

I very much agree with some of the posts above re. 4th section. The bands so often get overlooked and have to put up with some yellow, moth-eaten piece which has been stuffed behind the bandroom boiler for 60 years. There are a lot of younger composers out there needing a break and I think the 4th section deserve some greater recognition - after all, it's the backbone of the banding movement.

I agree. I want good sincere music for all sections. 4th section probably has more bands and players than the championship section and so needs more care being put into its choice.
 

MRSH

Supporting Member
I agree. I want good sincere music for all sections. 4th section probably has more bands and players than the championship section and so needs more care being put into its choice.
I so agree with this (unlike the s***e we've been dished up with for the National Finals).
 

2nd tenor

Well-Known Member
..... 4th section probably has more bands and players than the championship section ......

That was what I thought to so I carried out a straw poll centred on Leeds (http://brassbandresults.co.uk/map/s...490773999999874&distance=25&driving=N&type=mi) and found it not to be the case. However, it is a straw poll and as Yorkshire bands are generally very good the results might not be typical ;).

By my quick counting there are 14 Championship but just 10 Fourth Section Bands in that 'poll'. However, to nicely confuse the issue, there are also 19 non-competing bands. IMHO they are quite likely to be of a third or fourth section band level and therefore could compete if they wished - and that might be a little more likely with the right piece (one they enjoy and can also in their performances).

Perhaps the clever chaps at brass band results are able to easily tell us how many bands are in each section. I would be interested to know whether the leagues are of based on fixed size or of expected standard or whatever else.
 
That was what I thought to so I carried out a straw poll centred on Leeds (http://brassbandresults.co.uk/map/s...490773999999874&distance=25&driving=N&type=mi) and found it not to be the case. However, it is a straw poll and as Yorkshire bands are generally very good the results might not be typical ;).

By my quick counting there are 14 Championship but just 10 Fourth Section Bands in that 'poll'. However, to nicely confuse the issue, there are also 19 non-competing bands. IMHO they are quite likely to be of a third or fourth section band level and therefore could compete if they wished - and that might be a little more likely with the right piece (one they enjoy and can also in their performances).

Perhaps the clever chaps at brass band results are able to easily tell us how many bands are in each section. I would be interested to know whether the leagues are of based on fixed size or of expected standard or whatever else.

Yep, it's all there on brass band results. Yorkshire seems a bit unusual in having a larger champ than 4th in this respect when compared to neighbouring areas. The Midlands especially has a large Fourth Section.

However, regardless of numbers, the lower sections are where most players start their contesting careers and if there is a serious ambition to retain contesting then we need to look to provide the right music at that level in the right form. Although I'm not so down on the choice of pieces made as some here - the 2014 area piece by Alan Fernie, although somewhat derivative, did provide a good test of a bands ability to play with good ensemble and tuning.

In general though I'm not a massive fan of the current format of major contests such as the regionals and nationals as they feel very insular. We spend hours and hours practicing these 'test' pieces to a high standard only to play them generally in front of a crowd of other bandspeople who have largely been doing the same thing. How many bands ever play any of this music to the genuine public in a concert setting? Perhaps choices of pieces, especially in the lower sections, should also have a thought of providing something of quality that these bands can take to the public as well as perform in contest.
 

gluestick

Member
I also carried out a survey in Yorkshire. Most of them are fed up of the useless banter. Lets wait until September when my predictions are proved to be true!
 

Bass Trumpet

Active Member
there are also 19 non-competing bands.

Very true. In our 'contest oriented' bubble, it's so easy to forget the biggest section of them all - the '5th' section of bands who choose not to compete but are doing all the parks/garden fetes/vicar's tea parties etc. etc.

I digress, of course.

Unlike our friend above, it's time for a cup of herbal tea and a digestive. Old age, you know ;)
 

MoominDave

Well-Known Member
Also worth remembering that the non-competing group will include a number of bands that take advantage of a luxury that 4th section banding affords - the ability to only enter the area when one feels like it without incurring a relegation penalty.

Looking at L&SC as an example, 21 bands entered the 2014 4th section, while 30 bands are listed as "4th section" here, which is the sum total of all bands that have entered the contest in 2012 (20 entered), 2013 (18 entered), and 2014. Even from this we see that there is a group of bands that do not attend every year. It would be reasonable for the 4th section to also label under that section other bands that have not entered in the last three years but have entered in a somewhat longer time period - say 10 years. This also brings in another 11 bands that are still in existence, that have at least not completely forgotten the possibility of entering the area contest, upping the number of L&SC 4th section bands to 41.

Doing similar for Yorkshire however only raises the 4th section number from 15 to 16. This is probably related to the fact that we only have 46 non-competing bands listed there, whereas we have 131 listed in L&SC. L&SC covers a much larger area - 13,758 vs 1,382 sq miles, pretty close to 10 times - but certainly a larger proportion of Yorkshire bands compete, and compete at a higher level. I infer that Yorkshire already mobilises pretty close to its full capacity of contesting players and bands, while L&SC doesn't.

Scanning back to see how we got here from the topic, the moral seems to be that it will seem like a much bigger deal in L&SC than in Yorkshire if a 4th section area piece is chosen that pulls non-contesting bands out of the woodwork. Other regions would also serve as examples, I'm sure.
 

Euphonium Lite

Active Member
As mentioned previously I think the standard of the testpiece is what makes the difference to many NC bands. Good example is the 2014 area testpiece - Spanish Impressions - was seen as "Easy" and therefore a lot of bands entered. On the flip side, the Butlins 2014 testpiece - Goff Richards' 3 Saints - was not and the field there was small (11 bands)

Its a tricky one to provide for as many of the better 4th section bands want a decent piece to get their teeth into (actually the Fernie Piece was quite tricky to play well even without fly poo all over the paper) but difficult pieces result in smaller fields which - ironically - mean that the good bands find it harder to get a good result (as there isnt a lot of variation in standard)

As for the posts why people are fretting over it now - many bands - especially lower down, or in the outlaying areas of the country - generally only do one contest a year - ie the area. My own band are currently preparing (or will be when we return from the summer) for Leicester and Butlins first, but not everyone does those two. So for the once a year boys, the area contest selection is big news
 

stevetrom

Well-Known Member
Looking at L&SC as an example, 21 bands entered the 2014 4th section, while 30 bands are listed as "4th section" here, which is the sum total of all bands that have entered the contest in 2012 (20 entered), 2013 (18 entered), and 2014. Even from this we see that there is a group of bands that do not attend every year. It would be reasonable for the 4th section to also label under that section other bands that have not entered in the last three years but have entered in a somewhat longer time period - say 10 years. This also brings in another 11 bands that are still in existence, that have at least not completely forgotten the possibility of entering the area contest, upping the number of L&SC 4th section bands to 41.

Doing similar for Yorkshire however only raises the 4th section number from 15 to 16. This is probably related to the fact that we only have 46 non-competing bands listed there, whereas we have 131 listed in L&SC. L&SC covers a much larger area - 13,758 vs 1,382 sq miles, pretty close to 10 times - but certainly a larger proportion of Yorkshire bands compete, and compete at a higher level. I infer that Yorkshire already mobilises pretty close to its full capacity of contesting players and bands, while L&SC doesn't.....

interesting to see what happened 1998/9

1998 Solemn Melody (I've never heard of it) - 18 entered, 16 played
http://brassbandresults.co.uk/contests/london-and-southern-counties-fourth-section/1998-03-14/

1999 Indian Summer (everyone knows it) - 34 entered, 33 played
http://brassbandresults.co.uk/contests/london-and-southern-counties-fourth-section/1998-03-14/
 

LynneW

Member
interesting to see what happened 1998/9

1998 Solemn Melody (I've never heard of it) - 18 entered, 16 played
http://brassbandresults.co.uk/contests/london-and-southern-counties-fourth-section/1998-03-14/

1999 Indian Summer (everyone knows it) - 34 entered, 33 played
http://brassbandresults.co.uk/contests/london-and-southern-counties-fourth-section/1998-03-14/

1998 There were two testpieces played - Solemn Melody and Scenes from a comedy. That's the only year that I can remember playing two testpieces at the areas.
 

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