Every year, all over the country, brass bands come together compete with each other at numerous contests. These contests take a number of forms. Sometimes, each competing band will have to play the same piece of music and sometimes each band will play a piece of its own choosing. In both these kinds of contest, the pieces of music will be ‘serious’ in nature, often written especially for a brass band and sounding somewhat like a piece of classical music. This is a world largely unknown to the general public! Another form of contest is where each band plays a 15-20 minute programme of shorter, perhaps ‘lighter’ pieces, a bit like a mini-concert and sounding more like something most people would associate with a brass band.
So how do you get to be in a particular Section? There is one particular annual contest (known simply as the ‘Area’) that is the most important. Here, region by region, bands compete against all the other bands in their section, with a particular piece of music being set for each section. Each year, the results of the last three contests are aggregated (1st place = 1 point and so on). The top 2 bands are promoted and the bottom couple relegated. As a bonus, the top 2 bands in any given year also go on to represent their region in the National Finals (as we did in 2004).
Author: Pete Scrowther