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Author Topic: Brass Band Woes  (Read 11397 times)
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MoominDave

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« Reply #20 on: Mar 23, 2015, 02:28AM »

Sorry people, I have to add to the litany of TTF 2015 area contest disaster. Band didn't play well, and the adjudicators hated what we did with the piece. 12th place out of 12 bands, and relegation to the 1st section, from what had seemed at first glance an impregnable position in the table (5th/12) going into the contest. Meh.
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Dave Taylor

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Roebird37

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« Reply #21 on: Mar 23, 2015, 03:20AM »

Oh no Dave, I was pinning all my hopes for vicarious glory onto you.  :(

I don't know why we put ourselves through this trauma, but I still couldn't imagine joining a non-contesting band. Suckers for punishment I suppose.



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MoominDave

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« Reply #22 on: Mar 23, 2015, 03:28AM »

At least in 2016 our bands will be among the favourites in their new sections!

The eternal cycle...
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Dave Taylor

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« Reply #23 on: Mar 23, 2015, 03:57AM »

Well, after my band's success at Butlins, off we went to the area championships. 2 hour rehearsals every night in the week leading up to it, recording made at each rehearsal, and the run-through on Friday night was a cracker  :D .

The contest performance was a chuffing disaster >:(. Cornets out of tune Don't know, players forgot to mute Amazed and the percussion section got lost Bad dog.  No Biscuits.. Thoroughly depressing. We came 13th/18.  :cry:

Only one consolation - and that was 4barsrest.com's tweet:

https://twitter.com/4barsrest/status/574214813699670016

To cap it off, our local rivals got promoted.

Is it possible that your collections chops weren't fresh enough on the day of the performance? I recall one of my faults in doing auditions was that I played way too much just before the audition and hence my chops were already almost spent.
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Toby
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« Reply #24 on: Mar 25, 2015, 07:12AM »

Has made for some unexpected results in other areas.

No kidding!!!
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elev8

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« Reply #25 on: Mar 26, 2015, 04:01AM »

Oh dear elev8, I'm sorry it didn't go as you hoped.
It's a frustrating thought that you can play badly because of too much practice, just as easily as with too little.
Was it just you that overdid it, or was the whole band fatigued in the same way?

I'd like to wish Dave the very best of luck, have a great day tomorrow and show us all how it's done!

Thanks for your kind words, Roebird :)
I blame myself entirely. Should have heeded the warning signs and backed off a bit in the couple of rehearsals just before the event.
I figured the lip would recover in time, but it hadn't. Not even close. Lesson learned.
Generally sounding tired was one of the comments actually, but I can only really speak about my own performance.

Commiserations to Dave also. I too thought that his band were "impregnable" in the section.
Just goes to show one bad day can really bite you up the bum, despite attempts to mitigate that with aggregate scoring etc.

However, as you so rightly say, a non-contesting band is simply not an option.
I do those too for kicks as I'm sure yourself and Dave do also, but I couldn't not contest. Tried it, didn't like it.



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Duffle
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« Reply #26 on: Oct 02, 2015, 03:11PM »

Competitive music-making, hmmm. Never quite got it........ But each to his own.......
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marccromme

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« Reply #27 on: Oct 02, 2015, 03:53PM »

Competitive music-making, hmmm. Never quite got it........ But each to his own.......

Hi Duffle .. yes, that was my thought too when I joined an english-style brass band in Denmark. But now I think national competitions are great fun, if you just don't take the winning/loosing part too serious. A good chance to meet a lot of nice people and have a lot of nerd talks about brass music. And a good oppertunity to hear other good bands.
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GetzenBassPlayer

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« Reply #28 on: Oct 02, 2015, 10:29PM »

Competitive music-making, hmmm. Never quite got it........ But each to his own.......
The brass band I play with does a band festival every year.  We have a person come in and work with the bands and then we put on a concert where everyone plays.
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Roebird37

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« Reply #29 on: Oct 05, 2015, 05:27AM »

I was forced to miss the latest contest with my band due to a back problem.  It was a real panic trying to get someone to cover for me at short notice, but somebody knew somebody else who had the number of a guy....and this fella turned up to save the day.  He turned out to be a fantastic bass trombone player, who had been with a championship section band, so the music posed no problem to him.

The whole band played a blinder, and my section won the prize for the best trombone section - without me!

I feel mean putting this in the 'brass band woes' thread, because of course I'm glad they did well, but I will admit it stings a bit that they did better without me than they would have done if I'd made it.  :cry:

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eightyeightH

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« Reply #30 on: Oct 05, 2015, 05:38AM »

won the prize for the best trombone section - without me!

Ouch.
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elev8

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« Reply #31 on: Oct 07, 2015, 01:15AM »

I was forced to miss the latest contest with my band due to a back problem.  It was a real panic trying to get someone to cover for me at short notice, but somebody knew somebody else who had the number of a guy....and this fella turned up to save the day.  He turned out to be a fantastic bass trombone player, who had been with a championship section band, so the music posed no problem to him.

The whole band played a blinder, and my section won the prize for the best trombone section - without me!

I feel mean putting this in the 'brass band woes' thread, because of course I'm glad they did well, but I will admit it stings a bit that they did better without me than they would have done if I'd made it.  :cry:

First off, you don't *know* that they did better without you...
Perhaps a slight whiff of good old English self-deprecation?

Just as you felt a slight sting (to borrow your term), I feel sure your section-mates also feel a slight regret that you weren't there sharing in the plaudits with them as you otherwise would have been. I've never won a section prize in my life, but to do so with a dep in the team just would not be the same as winning alongside the guys you rehearse & gig with week in and week out.
It's an emotive topic (especially where the top bands are concerned) but personally I feel a massive sense of pride that my own band manage to compete at a reasonably high level, yet you'll see the *exact* same set of players playing carols outside local supermarkets in December collecting money for charity. It's a team game. You can bet everyone else felt your absence with a tinge of sadness, just as you yourself did.

In regard to the comment about "never quite getting" competitive music making, much could be said, but as others have alluded to boil down the brass band contesting circuit to that one phrase is really a massive oversimplification. To think of it in such terms is to miss 90% of what it's really all about. Whilst it isn't for everyone (that's for sure) which arena of playing music really is? Some of the good points have already been listed by others. I'll only add that if ensemble playing is your thing, then nothing will bond a group of players together as a unit, or drive individual and collective performance toward excellence more than playing in a contesting band.
Playing in any band or ensemble requires at minimum a significant investment of time and energy. For myself, if I don't feel like I'm improving as a player for making that investment, then I lose interest pretty quickly. Whilst I always have fun playing in whatever band, and I love the social aspects of it, in order to keep that week-in week-out spirit of commitment alive, then I need to feel like it's making me a better player. A contesting band will give you that. The level you are at as an individual player is irrelevant. There are contesting bands to suit all players from beginners to top seasoned pros.
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Roebird37

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« Reply #32 on: Oct 07, 2015, 09:11AM »

I really feel I'm just being honest, there's no doubt the guy is a terrific player and really did a great job for my band.  Credit where it's due to him.

I did receive a bouquet from the band on the day of the contest, with a message to say they were going to miss me.  The first time we met afterwards my section just gave me a big hug and said 'it should have been you because we'd all worked hard on it together'.  But obviously they are still delighted to have the cup!

I don't get to redeem myself any time soon, because we've withdrawn from the November contest, due to there only being two entries in our section.

I agree with everything you say about contesting, you've hit the nail on the head for me.

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MoominDave

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« Reply #33 on: Mar 10, 2016, 02:41AM »

Well, it's 2016 now, and everyone's Area contests are imminent... Indeed already past if you play in Yorkshire or the North West. Better luck all this time round!
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Dave Taylor

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Roebird37

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« Reply #34 on: Mar 11, 2016, 01:33AM »

We're off to Torquay tomorrow, Dave.  Our section has been split into two draws, and we're in the second half, so we don't have to get on the coach at silly-o-clock for a change.

The rehearsal went well last night, and we're booked into the Salvation Army hall tomorrow morning for warm-up and run through.  I will report back although you'll probably see the results on facebook anyway.
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BGuttman
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« Reply #35 on: Mar 11, 2016, 10:54AM »

Good luck.  I'll be interested in how well you feel you did as well as how well you were judged.  Also how well the wax worked.
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Bruce Guttman
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Roebird37

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« Reply #36 on: Mar 13, 2016, 03:52AM »

We had a great day, coming 2nd out of 18 bands.
The practice in the morning went really well, everybody seemed to feel calm and confident, and we repeated that on stage in the afternoon.
As we left the stage, the steward said it was a very good performance and he thought it would be a close call.
We were obviously thrilled with the result, which means we will be promoted back to the second section for next year.

I am very pleased with the dental wax, which has made a huge difference in my playing comfort and allowed me to practice for longer without any soreness.  I had originally planned only to use it for practising at home, but it's so helpful that I'm using it for everything.

Good luck to all the other contesters, I hope everything goes your way as well.
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BGuttman
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« Reply #37 on: Mar 13, 2016, 07:18AM »

Good for you, and for your band.  Here's hoping you can move up the ranks. Good!
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Bruce Guttman
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MoominDave

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« Reply #38 on: Mar 20, 2016, 03:59AM »

Congratulations Sam, glad you got a better one this year!

We played in Stevenage for the London and Southern Counties contest yesterday in our first year back down in the 1st section after making rather a hash of last year's performance and then catching an unlucky grading table circumstance to get relegated. Preparations had gone well - we'd knuckled down and concentrated hard over a lengthy period on the set piece, Gregson's 'Essay', which isn't the most technically challenging but is a decent piece of music with a lot of nuance in it. We'd taken it to a 'pre Area warm-up' contest three weeks before, and comfortably beat 10 other bands, 2 of whom subsequently came in the top two in their regions, all playing the same piece, many of whom were in the West of England and Midlands areas, which took place last weekend - so they were a week closer to their goal at that time. After that, one of the most respected conductors in the banding world came in to lead the final contest preparation and performance, and the band responded well to him, with the 'nailedness' of the performance palpably growing with each rehearsal. In short, we arrived in Stevenage in good form, knowing it, and with a number of people unsolicitedly having given their opinion that it was ours to lose.

Drawn number 1 - that's something every bandsperson dreads, sometimes rightly so, sometimes without need. There are occasions when playing early means that a good performance just seems to disappear from the heads of the judges, and there are occasions when it doesn't. Sadly for us, this was one of the former. There's no doubt it was a good performance - in fact on the day, the standout performance in the eyes of all who cared to publish their opinion prior to the results - the various respected online commentary tweets are collected under our band Twitter feed at the moment. The consensus among all who'd listened to a decent selection of bands that I spoke to (and with us too, it must be said) was that we could look forward to a win, promotion back to the championship section, and a place at the Finals in September. It is rare indeed for opinion at band contests to solidify so unanimously, and it felt pretty good. Results announced... Always a nervous time... Both of the soloist prizes (which often at contests have the feeling of having been allocated within the top few placing bands) went elsewhere - mildly perturbing, but not something to be too concerned about. 4th place - phew, not us, we were hoping for better, and it went to a performance that had been somewhat fancied. 3rd place - not us, also phew, only the top 2 go to the Finals, and it went to the band with the cornet player prize. At this point, expectation in the hall is that the top two will be the two bands that came down from the championship section last year, us and another, both of whom are agreed to have stood out clearly from the pack. Noting that the other band had taken the bass section prize, we started to wonder if we hadn't won it after all... Then BAM - 2nd place - another band entirely, one not expected (with apologies to any of their players that might be reading). Oh dear, where are we going here... And yep - 1st place, the band with the bass section prize. Eventually, once the remarks are distributed, we discover how it turned out - 7th place, the lowest placing ever for the band in the overall grading structure at a time when it's playing well, no Finals appearance, and very definitely no promotion this year - indeed, making promotion next year look like quite a difficult job.

I have in my head a little list of Most Baffling Contest Results Received, as everyone who's played in a contesting brass band for any length of time must have. This one I think knocks the 2008 championship section L&SC Area off top spot. Very much a 'scratch head, mourn inexplicably lost opportunity, move on' type of affair. Hope others had a more satisfying time of it!
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Dave Taylor

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Roebird37

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« Reply #39 on: Mar 20, 2016, 06:08AM »

Dave, I don't know what to say, I checked the predictions and results and was totally confused at the discrepancy for your band.  I wasn't there, I didn't hear a note of it, but all the reports from those attending seemed just as flummoxed.

I'm really sorry, it must be so hard for your band to accept, and even more so that it's probably knackered your points for promotion next year.

Many people get antsy about being drawn 1st or 2nd, do the stats bear it out?  I try not to think about it, but we were drawn 16th this time, and that cheered a lot of our band up.

The only trouble with it was that unbeknown to us the organisers had decided to try and whip through the bands as quickly as possible, and missed a planned break, as they hoped to start the next section early.
Most of us turned up an hour earlier than we expected to play, only to discover the band before us were being called to registration.  Two of our cornets and our MD were AWOL and the desperate attempts to track them down, along with the vision of our MD getting changed in the carpark of his hotel because he didn't have time to check in to his room, will not easily be forgotten.
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