British Open 2018

John Brooks

Well-Known Member
Having just returned home following my first experience at the Open (I've been to the Nationals countless times) I wanted to ask some questions. First though, I want to say how much I enjoyed the day. I heard all 19 performances and, although it was apparent that several would not be in the running, IMHO there was not one bad performance and there was something to appreciate from every band. I thoroughly enjoyed the music and was not at all tired of listening to it when Leyland, the 19th band finished.
Now to my questions. I'm not interested in generating controversy but am looking for your opinion (especially vis-a-vis 1 and 3).
1). I found it interesting that not one band followed the composer's direction for left and right off stage cornets. Although most bands pursued the off-stage effect (only a couple did not), they all had both players on the same side. Without a look at the score, nobody would know the difference, so was that specific instruction all that important and was it possible for the adjudicators to discern the difference?
2). Does anyone know why commercial recordings of the individual performances are not made (as in European and National)? I'm sure I'm not alone in wishing that I could buy them from for eg. WoB.
3). I'm always surprised at the "dress code" of the percussion section of many bands. If you watch any of the orchestras, there's no compromise and everyone is dressed the same. Some of the players careers may take them to orchestras (or military) where they can't decide to play in shirt sleeves. Why is that an option in some of our top bands?
Again, bottom line, Saturday was in every way a fantastic day and I wish to send my appreciation to all the bands and administration.


Staff member
On the question of percussion, two things come to mind: firstly, traditional band uniforms can be a bit restricting in the light of some of the gymnastics that top class percussionists are called upon to carry out.

Secondly, some bands may bring in extra percussionists for the big events, and it may not be practical to kit them out in appropriately fitting uniforms.

As for the off-stage instructions, the conductors may have felt that it would be too difficult to co-ordinate if the soloists were on opposite sides of the stage.

John Brooks

Well-Known Member
Thanks Peter. Your perspective on extra percussion players brought in specifically for the event is something I had not previously considered. Presumably if orchestras have similar requirements, it's easier for the player to rent or borrow a suitable "monkey suit" if they don't own one.