Sunday, April 24, 2011

Adelaide Family Trip - Day 4 (Second)

This post is being completed the morning after, as the night before was a bit of a celebration.

Let us first recap the day's events.

Saturday morning saw the band lining up to "compete" in the street marching contest. Never has so much time been wasted by so many for so little outcome.

Street marching is a curious part of the Championships. The points awarded do not form part of the overall Championships calculations, however if you don't march you cannot be awarded the Championship. The reasoning behind the street march also doesn't make sense. The purpose of the street march, according to the various organising committees over the years is to publicly promote the Championships.


  • I have yet to come accross a member of the general public that has attended any of the performances as a result of seeing the street march.
  • It is difficult to see how or why a street march could prepare a member of the general public for the complex musical works being played by the bands later in the day.
  • If the purpose of the march is for promotion purposes why judge the bands on their marching and playing?
  • Any TV coverage of the street march will have occurred after all the brass bands have played, making the promotion pointless.
  • It is not liked by the majority of players (my assertion here, not backed up with any published facts, mainly anecdotal) and is seen as either a time wasting excerise or an interuption to "the main game".
  • It is an expensive part of the budget for a Nationals organising committee, where the money could be better spent on more effective forms of promotion (if that is what is wanted)

This rant could go on and on, but I will stop now.

If you feel that the street march should cease to be compulsory for the Nationals there is now an online petition for you to sign, here.

Footscray-Yarraville City Band do not take the march seriously, and the music that we play on the march is more for entertainment purposes. In previous marches the band has played non-marches such as Sing, Sing Sing and Single Ladies. This year we went all Saturday Night Fever and played A fifth of Beethoven. Don't remember this song? Here it is in it's original form for your enjoyment.

I was going to link to a video taken by debut documentary maker, Ben Szetey, of our street march, however the file is almost 1 gigabyte in size and would take up most of my monthly allowance of my wireless internet access. I'll upload it on my return home.

The late afternoon saw us return to the stage to play our two final pieces. The first is a major work composed by Kenneth Downie, and is a theme and variations piece on the hymn St Magnus. Here is a video of the end of the piece, performed by Yorkshire Building Society Brass Band.

The march was The Wizard by George Allen. Here it is performed by Stavenger Brass Band, from Norway.

Oh, and here is a photo of where the contest was held (Elder Hall):

With the playing out of the way it was time to hear the results. Who won?

For some reason, it always takes a good 45 minutes to add up the marks of the adjudicators. I guess they have not started using spreadsheets, or maybe even calculators.  This phenomenon seems to be at every single brass band contest I have ever played in.

Well, the moment finally arrived and the winner is .....

Kew Band.  A hearty congratulations to Mark Ford (conductor) and to the Kew Band. From all accounts they played stunningly and won every category (even the street march!).

Footscray-Yarraville City Band was awarded second place, have come second in 2 sections and third in another section.  Full results can be read here.

I think this is a brilliant result for the band. The band has had a very busy couple of months to bring this music up to scratch and it is very pleasing to know that (for the most part) our efforts have been recognised. To our musical director, Phillipa Edwards, I say thank you, and congratulations.

We celebrated well into the early hours of this morning, finishing at a Kareoke bar where we systematically butchered our way through a number of greatest hits from the sixties through to today. My highlight (lowlight?) was a guy (not from our group, mind you) dressed in a tutu and fairy wings singing what I believe to be the most depraved song ever written. The song stunned me and the fact the karoake bar had the song on their list stunned me even more (Have I become more puritanical with age?). I do not know the song's title and will not seek to track it down.  My own performance was what could only be described as a crowd pleasing rendition of the Frank Sinatra Classic New York New York:

I am now suffering from a lack of sleep and am slightly hung over. Will look to keep it pretty low key today.

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