New to brass band contesting? Understanding your first national contest – Bands.

Let’s start with the banding side of contest – there are five grades that compete at a national contest: A, B, C, D, and Youth. ‘A’ grade is the highest of the five. There are some differences around the requirements for the grades.

These documents will be useful to refer to as you read this blog:
Band Regulations  Marching Regulations Youth Band Regulations

A, B, and C grade bands

Looking at the higher grades first A-C. For each of these grades there is are three pieces that are played over two days, Friday has the sacred item and test piece played and Saturday for the own choice :     

  • A hymn or sacred item
  • A test piece (a major work chosen by the national executive from BBANZ)
  • An own choice (a major work chosen by the band, normally the conductor)

It is also compulsory for these bands to march in the street march which normally takes place on the Friday of contest. Bands get to choose their own music for the march which typically takes place down one of the main streets in the city or town the contest is being held in.

A later blog will look at how to choose an own choice piece to suit your band. Here are the links to the rules that cover the various sections mentioned above:

Useful rules for Band and Marching

D grade bands

D grade bands do not have to compete in the street march and do not get assigned a test piece. These bands have a sacred item assigned in the same way a test piece is assigned for the higher-grade bands. D grade bands play their assigned sacred item, an own choice major work, and a stage march. The stage march is played as the D grade bands do not have to take part in the street march. D grade bands play all of their pieces on the one day, normally the Friday of contest, after the street march has finished.

Useful rules for Band and Marching

Youth Bands

Youth bands have their own set of rules. Their rules set out what they play, how many players of what ages are allowed, and which regulations from the band and marching rules apply. They play an own choice major work, a scared item and a stage march with no items selected in the same way as the other bands. They also play all three items on the Friday afternoon, normally after the D grade bands have competed.

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