National Brass Band Championships of England

Just saw 2 facebook updates in the South East Brass Band group:

1)Had a great concert Sat night with xxxxx BB ,35 regular players , and a full hall

2)Do you know any players in the xxxxxxxx area who may be looking for a band? If so xxxxxxxxx are looking to fill vacancies in a number of areas including cornets, basses and percussion.

No prizes for guessing which one is the non-contesting band!
That's just picking your data.

we're a contesting band and had our Christmas Concert last night, had to put extra chairs out for the audience, hall packed to the roof. Fastastic programme of music, also did a Bavarian night on Saturday, it was a scratch band of 'contesting' bandsmen (just because we were helping a mate for charity, local cadats). packed room again, using music arranged by one of our numbers. (trying to show that contesting bandsmen aren't androids just playing testpieces)

Like anything, you can mould data to show the picture you want.
 
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It's true non-contesting bands can have more flexibility, 35 players for example, who wants to play in a band that every time a contest comes up you get dropped because of numbers, so naturally contesting bands tend to have just the number required and no 'spares', which means when someone leaves there's a space to be advertised.

Also non-contesting bands tend to be more relaxed about attendance, now I know you'll jump in a this point and say 'yes that's my points, more enjoyable, more bandsmen. But for some of us the summer concerts and winter nights carolling are to raise money to contest, because contesting is interesting to us. Now that might be strange to a non-contesting bandsmen, but non-contesting is strange to me.
 
as you have been constantly doing with your "opinion" on here.......
When you can tell me how the BBP registry will be run, and I'm not talking it'll be 1 and a half men based in Wales, I want more data than that and will have 'similiar' costs to the BBBR, how similiar? Then I can make an informed decision. Until I can make that informed decision I will continue to have to speculate, that is Mr Morris' fault, not mine.
 

P_S_Price

Member
It's true non-contesting bands can have more flexibility, 35 players for example, who wants to play in a band that every time a contest comes up you get dropped because of numbers, so naturally contesting bands tend to have just the number required and no 'spares', which means when someone leaves there's a space to be advertised.

Also non-contesting bands tend to be more relaxed about attendance, now I know you'll jump in a this point and say 'yes that's my points, more enjoyable, more bandsmen. But for some of us the summer concerts and winter nights carolling are to raise money to contest, because contesting is interesting to us. Now that might be strange to a non-contesting bandsmen, but non-contesting is strange to me.

I Guess SA Banding is different to all of this. For me its a commitment to what I believe in; Im just lucky that I like it too.

If I wasnt in the SA would I still play? definitely yes. I enjoy the occasional playing with DobX. But for me it doesnt matter whether they contest or not. I just like the people there, and the welcome they offer to an 'outsider'.
 
Spot on, that's the joy of music and bands, there's a band to fit anyone out there from the '10 and a drum' village band to Foden's 'your life is banding'. It's great, friendship that cross bands, there's always someone you know at a banding event, old faces to catch up with. It started out as a 'social' movement and to me continues to be social.
 

Sonorous

New Member
Spot on, that's the joy of music and bands, there's a band to fit anyone out there from the '10 and a drum' village band to Foden's 'your life is banding'. It's great, friendship that cross bands, there's always someone you know at a banding event, old faces to catch up with. It started out as a 'social' movement and to me continues to be social.
Spot on, and that's why we need a flexible approach to banding. A body that isn't tied to an inflexible contesting regime. One that simply supports bands of all ilks. If BBE were to declare their support for contest organisers and investors while pursuing the greater goal of supporting all bands, whatever their individual aspirations, then I for one would be much happier with their position within banding. As it is, they've let themselves become entrenched in internal battles and bitter disputes against contest organisers. They've become obsessed with owning a contesting registry, and this is a complete misnomer as to what is needed by bands. Contest organisers can organise themselves. Let them come up with whatever variety of contests, and administration facilities, they want and we'll choose which we want to attend (yes, including the nationals) We don't need an all encompassing 'governing' body. We need support to move forward, not rules to keep everyone in check. Obsession with potential 'cheating' is a complete misdirection. Let's get obsessed with music instead.
 

IanHeard

Member
Ian's comment is indicative of many people in banding and the reason why things in banding are floundering in some ways. Many people didn't just begin band life in the 70s.. they're still actually stuck in the 70s now. Life has radically changed since then. This includes culture, peoples work and social structure, technology, the list goes on. We will never recreate the success of the 70s by insisting we return to the 70s. This why i abhor the thought of some national body filled with backward looking people, with contesting as the only way for bands. No one outside of brass bands gives two hoots about contests. Yes, enjoy them ourselves but always remember they're a nice addition and not the main event (which is performing music to the public).

stuff like arts funding, youth investment is also massively important but shouldn't have any connection to governing contests. An independent body yes. But a national body which one which is founded as a contesting body and draws 'battle lines' between England and the rest of the United Kingdom?!... No thanks! Leave the 70s where they were.
Sonorous you`ve reached a new low with the above load of old claptrap I`m afraid, what the flying fig are you on about?
If anything in banding is a relic of the 20th century banding it`s our reliance on 'benevolent' business people running things and understandably not having any thought for any long term plan to keep our hobby going. For me the modern approach is for England to adopt the widely used model of a properly funded and democratically accountable national body giving governance yes of contesting, but also having an eye for a strategic overview of how we keep banding going for future generations.
 

Pauli Walnuts

Moderator
Staff member
Sonorous you`ve reached a new low with the above load of old claptrap I`m afraid, what the flying fig are you on about?
If anything in banding is a relic of the 20th century banding it`s our reliance on 'benevolent' business people running things and understandably not having any thought for any long term plan to keep our hobby going. For me the modern approach is for England to adopt the widely used model of a properly funded and democratically accountable national body giving governance yes of contesting, but also having an eye for a strategic overview of how we keep banding going for future generations.
The bulk of the Arts world in the UK depends on benevolent people - LSO - principal partners UBS and BMW, Premier Sponsors include Pwc, Axa; ENO has major sponsorship from Sky Arts & only receives half of its funding from the Arts Council; English National Ballet have corporate partners and I could go on.

In my opinion you have it totally the wrong way around still - the emphasis on contesting is what has caused this mess in the first place - have a national body if you must but they need to deal with the future of Brass Bands as an art form with just a passing interest in contesting (if you really must!)
 

Sonorous

New Member
The bulk of the Arts world in the UK depends on benevolent people - LSO - principal partners UBS and BMW, Premier Sponsors include Pwc, Axa; ENO has major sponsorship from Sky Arts & only receives half of its funding from the Arts Council; English National Ballet have corporate partners and I could go on.

In my opinion you have it totally the wrong way around still - the emphasis on contesting is what has caused this mess in the first place - have a national body if you must but they need to deal with the future of Brass Bands as an art form with just a passing interest in contesting (if you really must!)
i'd suggest you all read this post if you are really passionate about brass bands as a viable musical entity for the 21st century. Pauli you should be given the keys to the kingdom :)
 
I play with a 3rd Section Band and I guess only about 5 or 6 of us players actually enjoy contesting, however about half the band think contesting is a necessary evil for all the usual reasons. So we do what most bands must do and split our commitments, 2 or 3 contests a year and the rest concerts etc etc. We often play to large audiences, have a wide variety of engagements and are generally very happy. My main concern on following this thread is quite simply will it be affordable for my band to pay so much money to enter the one contest that enables us to compete against other bands in the region - the Area. Personally I think the Regions should administer the Areas (including their own registration system) and Kapitol (or whoever) run the Nationals trusting the regional registration system. If a Regional Organisation suspects or has reported double registrations (2 different regions) against one player then it should be investigated and if found that player should have some kind of penalty (ban).
Banding is about the balance for most bands, and as contesting is generally the only aspect we pay to participate in then it should be affordable for all. From what I read I fear some will not bother competing, not because they don't want to, but simply they cannot afford to.
 

Sonorous

New Member
I play with a 3rd Section Band and I guess only about 5 or 6 of us players actually enjoy contesting, however about half the band think contesting is a necessary evil for all the usual reasons. So we do what most bands must do and split our commitments, 2 or 3 contests a year and the rest concerts etc etc. We often play to large audiences, have a wide variety of engagements and are generally very happy. My main concern on following this thread is quite simply will it be affordable for my band to pay so much money to enter the one contest that enables us to compete against other bands in the region - the Area. Personally I think the Regions should administer the Areas (including their own registration system) and Kapitol (or whoever) run the Nationals trusting the regional registration system. If a Regional Organisation suspects or has reported double registrations (2 different regions) against one player then it should be investigated and if found that player should have some kind of penalty (ban).
Banding is about the balance for most bands, and as contesting is generally the only aspect we pay to participate in then it should be affordable for all. From what I read I fear some will not bother competing, not because they don't want to, but simply they cannot afford to.
i think you've been duped by the red herring in the room. Kapitol have already stated costs will stay in line with existing registry costs. And these will always be a tiny proportion of what bands have to pay to attend a contest. Its not in their interest to price bands out of contests through the registry. This is simply a propoganda line from the supporters of bbe to scare bands into protest.
 
i think you've been duped by the red herring in the room. Kapitol have already stated costs will stay in line with existing registry costs. And these will always be a tiny proportion of what bands have to pay to attend a contest. Its not in their interest to price bands out of contests through the registry. This is simply a propoganda line from the supporters of bbe to scare bands into protest.
I have to say this.

If you hate contesting so much and hate what contesting is doing to bands, then the solution is simple.

Find a non-contesting band and leave this thread alone, there you have it, never have to be bothered about contesting and its nasty evils again.
 
How about a simple solution to stop this completely unnecessary war between BBE/BBBR and Kapitol/BBPL ?

Scrap the Registry completely. BBE can concentrate on promoting brass bands and Kapitol can run a contest, that if they run well enough they can make a profit from. Everyone can then stop giving what little money there is in banding to printers and the Post Office.
 
How about a simple solution to stop this completely unnecessary war between BBE/BBBR and Kapitol/BBPL ?

Scrap the Registry completely. BBE can concentrate on promoting brass bands and Kapitol can run a contest, that if they run well enough they can make a profit from. Everyone can then stop giving what little money there is in banding to printers and the Post Office.
In an ideal world I wholeheartedly agree with you. But unfortunately regardless of what some will say, bands will improve their chances with a bit of skull- duggery (here jump in the same old few), if given the opportunity.

A lack of registry will most likely not effect the likes of me too much as in the lower sections we don't have money to spend of players and therefore if it did go on it would be favours from mates and that would soon run out. But were money is available those bands have shown themselves to bend rules whenever possible, so it is probably up to them.

I kind of like my card being stamp, but of course it doesn't need to be a registry card to be stamped.
 

Sonorous

New Member
I have to say this.

If you hate contesting so much and hate what contesting is doing to bands, then the solution is simple.

Find a non-contesting band and leave this thread alone, there you have it, never have to be bothered about contesting and its nasty evils again.
when did i day that?! I love contesting. I love getting to grips with a piece. I love the anticipation. I love the thrill of the performance. I love the friendly battle. I love the team spirit
i love the socialising afterwards.
I'm very happy with the contesting scene. There are some excellent contests both locally and nationally. Pretty much all provided by individuals or companies off their own back. We have a buzzing contest scene.

what i hate is the bizarre notion that contesting is our right. That it should be provided as some form of banding nhs. and shouldn't cost us anything.
and that contesting is be all and end all of banding. And that 'how dare people make money out of running contests for us' .

performing music to the public is the beginning and end of brass bands. Contesting is a nice addition and one that we shouldn't get too hung up on. And the registration of players for contests really is the most insignificant of all of these. If we weren't so hung up on the bizarre notion of cheating within music we'd realise this.
 
Then I take back the hatred of contesting.

But you do seem to have a really big downer on contesting being the evil within that is destroying bands. I certainly have never and I can't remember anyone else having a big problem about people making money out of banding.

The basis of what I say and some others to, is a reasonable living, and in that I don't expect them to walk around with holes in their shoe and rags for cloths. At the end of the day everybody has to pay for their hobby, what we ask is that those who are making money don't take too much out of the pot. Otherwise the pot won't be there anymore.

What I have to go on with Kapitol is that they make me pay £12 to go and listen to my own section, on top of paying to enter the contest, surely a bandsmen should be able to listen to competing bands in his own section, fair enough make them pay to listen to other sections.
 

Sonorous

New Member
[Q
But you do seem to have a really big downer on contesting being the evil within that is destroying bands. QUOTE]

It's not contesting that's the evil that's destroying banding, not at all. Contesting can be very good, both as an incentive to improve, a catalyst to keep passion alive, and simply as a social activity. What I hate is the obsession with banding that it is THE most important thing. And rules and actions, and driving principles are based round this obsession. This is what's damaging banding.

First and foremost it's the music. That's what all principles should be based on, including contests. Then instead of just evolving in our ever decreasing insular circles (obsession with technicality over musicality etc) We might just actually start to put in place things that actually improve bandings standing in the world.

Contests should never ever require something different from what you'd expect in your concerts. For example, closed adjudication, 'cheating', restrictions on players, etc etc are all complete contradictions to what music is. But we can't get that into our brain because we treat banding as a sport, not a musical output. You can't have an adjudicator seeing the band, they might cheat!! Ridiculous!! You don't blindfold your audience at concerts, vision is part of the experience of a live performance. But we don't get that, because WHAT IF PEOPLE CHEAT!!!!
 
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