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Daft Things Adjudicators (and Others) Say - as reported by various bandsmen from their experiences

  • "So nearly a prize winning performance" - awarded 17th out of 22.
  • "Percussion messy and inaccurate" - the band had no percussion.
  • "This score says is my road map - it says garage and you are giving me filling station"
  • "We knew we had a winner after the first 30 bars" - 17minute testpiece at British Open.
  • "2nd trombone - if you are going to cue the baritone parts put your hand over the f......g bell."
  • "Perfect intonation" - 8th out of 10 - Brighton 1991 I think
  • "If I adjudicated the same contest tommorow the results might be completely different" - lots of contests - I translate as "I don't really know what I'm supposed to be listening for..."
  • "Bass drum sounds like a dead cow" - allegedly appeared at the L&SC Regionals one year.
  • I recall from our appearance at a national final: Judge A - "nice baritone", Judge B - "back luck baritone".
  • "Well gentlemen I don't know this piece at all but I will no doubt get a feel for it as the day goes on." - said while in the draw addressing the band representatives on what he was looking for at the contest.
  • "....bass drum sounds like a dead cow" allegedly appeared at the L&SC Regionals one year.
  • We got told once at a contest that our bass drum "sounded like a wardrobe door". Our poor bass drum has never lived it down since.
  • A few years ago some comments published in The Bandsman included "Horns, Rotweiler" Is this good or bad ?
  • In an entertainment contest Band X was about to play the Theme from "Star Wars" and the compere preceeded this by saying :- "John Williams has written many of Hollywood's great film themes over the last few years, notable Superman one, Superman eleven and Superman one hundred and eleven......"
  • "The interpretation of this own-choice-piece is surely not in the sense of the composer" - (The band was conducted by the composer).
  • I once played under a conductor who once interpreted "smorzando" as meaning "schmaltzy" and had us all playing with exaggerated vibrato!!
  • One of the 'most feared' adjudicators years ago was judging a lower grade band playing Brass Band Boogie and somewhere in the middle section the solo cornet player leaps into an ad lib solo to be greeted by the comment (on tape) from old fearful - "Well! I have no idea what you are doing cornet, but you are not playing what's written. Perhaps you should have had a look at this solo before attempting it."
  • I think the daftest thing said about our band was in the Area contest a couple of years ago, when the sop (me), had a low-ish solo. The adjudicator pulled me up because I sounded too much like a cornet!! What, was I supposed to play it on, the clarinet or something??
  • "If this piece of music was a sunday dinner, your performance is like a big mac and fries." - Spoken at the British Open a couple of years ago.
  • The funniest remark I have ever heard of from an adjudicator was to award the top trombone player from a certain band a soloist prize. This was incredible as the player in question was so drunk he never even got off the coach, let alone made it to the stage.
  • What about the compere, who is a radio presenter in the Yorkshire area, who anounced that "John Davis is going to conduct the massed bands in the Light Cavalry Overture by Von 'Supp'"
  • [Adjudicator] "I enjoyed the band that played testpiece 'L' a lot, who were they?"
    [Me] "That was Band K".
    [Adjudicator] "Yes, some lovely solo playing. Where were they placed ?"
    [Me] "I thought you would know !!"
    At that the adjudicator got slightly flustered and exited the building. (The band he was asking about were actually placed in the top three)
  • At the recent National Finals, where we did very well, one of the adjudicators made two comments about our bass trombonist, the first being: "Some one forgot to feed your bass trombonist before you let him out to play." Later on in the piece the remark was: "the bass trombonist was very hungry maybe you should tie him up !!"
  • The best excuse I ever heard was made by our conductor: Someone asked if we could do a concert on a date two months later. "I'm sorry, I don't think we can make that. I believe the band is booked to play on a funeral that day......" I suppose they were keeping the body in the freezer... [Stef Pillaert, Willebroek]
  • A remark from a judge at the Baltimore County, MD high school band adjudication... "Well, the band sounds great that's all I have to say, but one more thing, Mr Conductor, you have a small hole in the seat of your pants, I noticed it when you conducted the faster movements." [from Richard Sigwald]
  • "I couldn't decide who the winner should be, so have given 1st prize to the band that have traveled the furthest." - Adjudicator at the Kingswood, Bristol Open Contest, 1980s. [from Geoff Colmer]

  • In a full orchestra once the conductor yelled at the clarinets: "Blow like you're constipated!!" [from Jillian]