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Colin & fellow listmembers,
With the Area contest season (and I agree with you, Colin, thank heavens),
comes the paranoia season. Having just spent a week on the American west
coast full of positive up beat people, this sort of talk brings me down to
earth. Haven't bands always practised at contest venues? Didn't Davies's band
used to do it every year or was that also paranoid rumour? Does the band who
has played a recent concert at a contest venue get an 'unfair' advantage?
3 years ago we had the daughter of a famous player playing for a top
Midlands band and them qualifying for the Finals. The conspiracy theories
certainly flew about. At a recent Midlands Area, Desford were rumoured to be
going to ask for a No 1 draw, weren't granted it but still drew an early
draw. Was the draw rigged? I doubt it!
The Area contest is a very important day for most bands in the UK and
tensions are heightened but surely the best thing to do is to concentrate on
your own performance and worry about everybody else when that is done. Surely
a few well placed telephone calls will give the conductor an idea of the
acoustic, just as a few phone calls will give the conductor an idea of what
the adjudicator is looking for (list threads passim).
All the rehearsals in the world, whether they be at the venue or elsewhere,
will not assist if the top man or other principal can't pitch a tent on the
day and gives you more splits than an icecream stall on a summer sunday
afternoon or the band's most reliable player decides to come in 1/2 a bar
early in the 2nd bar of the piece (remember that Tim?) or one player 'goes
for glory' and tries to win the contest singlehanded by blowing as loud as
they can. Also, doesn't an empty hall vary acoustically from a full hall?
I am sure that if the Area contest was being held in the vicinity of
Smethwick, West Midlands, Colin's band would have rehearsed there!
All the best to all of the bands competing in the area contests over the next
few weeks. All that is certain is that more bands will feel 'robbed' than
will be satsified with the result. As the losers traipse out realising it's
back to Pontins in October and not the Albert Hall, Ernie can turn to Arnie
at the back of the band bus and say "I 'erd in t' bar that t'winnin' band's
3rd cornet player is going aht with t' best friend of t'Adjudicator's god
dotter. That rall in the 7th bar was a sign to him. There ain't a rall
written in the 7th bar. Ah'm gunna write t'Area Committee".