The mud-slinging continues...! [ABBA discussion]

WireBrass

New Member
Have kept quiet until now, just watching this thread develop.

Two things leap out at me.

1) This thread shows how much discountent there is with the brass band movement.

2) Mr Buckley uses his whole article to defend ABBA and never once indicates there might be something wrong or needs changing with organisation.

It is EXCACTLY this attitude that has led to the stagnation of the movement.

Mr Buckely, do you really think there is nothing wrong with brass band contesting at the moment? (or is everything going just as ABBA have planned?)

I would appreciate you publishing your manifesto for the development of brass band contesting rather than attacking a man who has had the guts to stand up and speak his mind. (having first spoken with many, many people who have similar views)

P.S. Several people have mentioned that Wire Brass never complained about contesting whilst they were climbing through the divisions and winning. This is just not true. Many people involved in the running of brass band contests in the North West will confirm that Paul Andrews has been frustrated with the way things are run for many years and has been in communication with 'those at the top' on many occasions expressing his concerns. It is because these quietly voiced concerns have not been acted upon - in fact they have all been ignored - that caused Wire Brass to reconsider its contesting position.
 

Simon_Horn

Member
I would appreciate you publishing your manifesto for the development of brass band contesting.....

Again, why are we expecting this from ABBA?

If I was moving house, I wouldn't expect the property developer to tell me what gas, water and electricity supplier to use. I'd make a choice confident that that the developer had taken the speciailist requirements in mind in the design.

BFBB - publish your manifesto for the development of brass bands in UK (including contesting) and then lets tell ABBA what we expect of it's adjudicators? If ABBA can't provide that then lets just find a supplier that can!
 
P.S. Several people have mentioned that Wire Brass never complained about contesting whilst they were climbing through the divisions and winning. This is just not true. Many people involved in the running of brass band contests in the North West will confirm that Paul Andrews has been frustrated with the way things are run for many years and has been in communication with 'those at the top' on many occasions expressing his concerns. It is because these quietly voiced concerns have not been acted upon - in fact they have all been ignored - that caused Wire Brass to reconsider its contesting position.

You just back up what many are already thinking when you point out that while wire were winning P Andrews concerns were "quietly voiced", but when confronted with the realities of his/wires abilities in the top section these same concerns are voiced more loudly.
The whole thing smacks of petulance and sour grapes, and lets face it there does not exactly seem to be a huge groundswell of opinion to suggest that wire have been hard done by.
 

WoodenFlugel

Moderator
Staff member
Again, why are we expecting this from ABBA?

If I was moving house, I wouldn't expect the property developer to tell me what gas, water and electricity supplier to use. I'd make a choice confident that that the developer had taken the speciailist requirements in mind in the design.

BFBB - publish your manifesto for the development of brass bands in UK (including contesting) and then lets tell ABBA what we expect of it's adjudicators? If ABBA can't provide that then lets just find a supplier that can!

Nice idea Simon, but the trouble is the BFBB have no remit beyond that of their own contest and the registry. Even if the various contest organisers took up any suggestion, there is no guarantee that ABBA would listen as the BFBB has no formal connection with them. Therein lies the problem!
 

James Yelland

Well-Known Member
...the trouble is the BFBB have no remit beyond that of their own contest and the registry...

...and, of course, its members. But as so few bandsmen are members of the BFBB it cannot be expected to represent brass bands en masse, and indeed, it would be quite wrong of it to try and do so.

To misquote the early settlers, no representation without taxation.
 

GJacko

Member
Firstly, congratulations to Paul and Wire Brass for taking a very brave decision. It certainly had me thinking. But I don't think the problem is just ABBA. Take a look at their chairman. He is instrumental in creating and running what is probably the most successful, current national brass band competition; Butlins Mineworkers.

That said, I agree with Paul. ABBA must change, but so must the rest of us. Apathy in the movement is the overall problem and fragmentation just a catalyst. There are no enforcable rules, no consistency and no direction. I am sure we all hope the new unbrella group can help this, but they do need our support.

For what it's worth though, here is my current opinion of contesting.

I took my band to two local contests at the end of November. We didn't do particularly well, but after a good run three or four years ago, we have found progress difficult. I certainly am not questioning any adjudicators decisions whatsoever. What I found though, was two of the most boring, tedious outings ever. Since those competitions, two of my teenage members have left, citing that they are fed up with spending the run up to contesting playing the same old piece every rehearsal and then spending an entire Sunday hanging around poorly set up venues with nothing more than a tea bar to entertain. There was little social interaction with other bands and nothing to do. In short, boring, boring, boring.

The timing of these competitions, end of November, is also an issue. The following week we made our first Christmas appearance. Christmas is an important fund raising time. We take a large percentage of our income during December. We should be preparing for it, but instead we are preparing for the contests above. Not very inspiring and not very fair on our audiences, who have to listen to the same Christmas numbers we prepared for last year. On that basis, will I be recommending we do the November contests again..... NO.

Personally, I love contesting. but, when I read Paul's article, it really brought it home to me that I have got it wrong, big time. Unless contests spruce themselves up and make themselves more current and interesting, why should we carry on going.

Second section bands like ours, who attend four or five contests per year, probably spend about one third of their annual rehearsal time contesting. Like Paul suggests, this time could be dedicated to other projects such as properly prepared concerts, working in the community, charity work, recording projects, working with other music making organisations, schools, foreign exchanges and tours at home or abroard. New ideas and things to keep the membership, especially those teenagers, engaged and interested in playing brass instruments and banding.

My philosophy right now is, enjoy your banding. Change is important though and we should all work towards ensuring our own organisations are prepared to change and work with those who are trying to make it happen. To those who don't want change, we should assume you are happy, but don't be surprised if you get left behind.
 

Al

Member
I don't think Paul and Wire Brass made a brave decision at all. I am sure for them it was an easy one and their history of results made the decision for them.

GJacko, it would be useful if you could suggest ways of making contests more interesting for your band.

To do more than the Regional Contest takes a lot of dedication and few sulky teenagers are up for that. No amount of contest jiggery is going to get away from that. Perhaps you should stick to just the Regional and do all the other stuff you mentioned the rest of the year.
 

IanHeard

Member
What hasn't become clear Ian is what the new umbrella organisation will bring in terms of change. If this is the right thing for everyone else then it will be right for Scotland too, after all our bands take part in the National and Open championships so constitutionally, we already take direction.

The litmus test of the clout any new umbrella body has will not be the power it can assert re. the Nationals (I assume you`re referring to the National Finals and not the heats?) or the British Open, it will be the changes it will need to make to the biggest and most important contests in the banding calendar, namely the eight Area contests.
If past history is anything to go by, parochial issues will tend to take precedence, and any countrywide plan for progress will go hang!
 

WhiteStickMan

New Member
"This thread shows how much discountent there is with the brass band movement."

Hardly! 88 posts and 7200 viewers cannot be representative of the whole movement surely?

Mike Caveney
 

DMBabe

Supporting Member
How many banders are there? And how many come on here? I'm guessing plenty people aren't posting cos there's little point in constantly having people coming on saying "yeah.... what they said". I would say this is a reasonable representation, surely? :roll:
 

Alyn James

Member
"This thread shows how much discountent there is with the brass band movement."

Hardly! 88 posts and 7200 viewers cannot be representative of the whole movement surely?

Mike Caveney

And how many viewers are following this thread just to see how unnecessarily mean the personal attacks get?
 

Bob Sherunkle

Active Member
The litmus test of the clout any new umbrella body has will not be the power it can assert re. the Nationals (I assume you`re referring to the National Finals and not the heats?) or the British Open, it will be the changes it will need to make to the biggest and most important contests in the banding calendar, namely the eight Area contests.
If past history is anything to go by, parochial issues will tend to take precedence, and any countrywide plan for progress will go hang!




Why would you want to make changes to the area contests?

They are well attended by the bands and certainly in my lengthy experience the London area contest is a good day out and does the job of selecting bands to represent the area at the finals. OK I have suffered the odd "we woz robbed" moment over the years but haven't we all? It is part of the package and probably character building.

For those people who are not happy with their contest (poor venue etc) surely that needs to be sorted by the area committee that already exists and not some sort of Big Brother organisation.

Down with progress I say!

Bob
 

WhiteStickMan

New Member
92 posts by 42 members - and not all of those are negative - so the discontentment is not wholesale!

For the record, I have the utmost respect and admiration for every name on the ABBA list - both full and associate members. They represent the top level end of our amateur organisation and have proven skills and experience and I accept their decisions and advice for progress without question.

If we get it wrong (Band and Conductor) we do not blame the adjudicator - we blame ourselves and then try to put it right for next time.

We also spend some time in the contest audience listening to how others do it. Its all part of our learning process.

Mike Caveney
 

Simon_Horn

Member
If we get it wrong (Band and Conductor) we do not blame the adjudicator - we blame ourselves and then try to put it right for next time.

Yeah!!! It's the same with the Eurovision song contest - the group that wins are ALWAYS the best without question (!) ...those that don't win should take a long hard look at themselves and try and improve for next time :) hehehe
 

DublinBass

Supporting Member
Yeah!!! It's the same with the Eurovision song contest - the group that wins are ALWAYS the best without question (!) ...those that don't win should take a long hard look at themselves and try and improve for next time :) hehehe
:clap:

Might as well throw Pop Idol and X-factor in there as well!
:rolleyes:
 

JR

Member
I'm a gleek?

Just one think to note around all this negativity:

- which is the most popular programme on American television? one of the most popular ever?

And also over here?

It's Glee

And what was virtually the whole first series about? - that's right - entering the Area Contest! (and losing)

JOhn R
Dont stop believing in banding...
 

Zappa

Member
I'm sure cplcharisma would've had a fair bit to say on this ... Whatever happened to the delightful little scamp?
 

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