The Basics of Competing at a National Championships
The 2020 Australian National Band Championships brings together musicians of all skill levels from diverse backgrounds across Australia and around the world to compete in a friendly and constructive environment. The Nationals include three distinct events, the On-stage Championships, Marching Championships and Solo/Ensemble Championships. The Nationals will be held over the Easter long weekend (10 April – 13 April).
The On-Stage Championship is open to brass and concert bands from across Australia and around the world. Bands are classified as Open or Junior. Each classification is comprised of multiple grades. Open sections have four grades A, B, C and D Grade (with A being the most difficult) while Junior sections have three grades (A, B and C Grade).
Bands are required to perform four items when competing at the National Band Championships, these are as follows:
A tune from a recognised Church Hymnal or an arrangement based thereon;
This work must be performed by every band in that grade. For example all bands competing in Open A Grade Concert band section will perform the set test piece, which will be announced on September 1st 2019.
Own Choice Selection
This is a major work chosen by the band which highlights the strengths of the band
This comes from a special list called the ‘NBCA Prescribed March List’
These four pieces are performed to an audience and the adjudicators and marked out a total of 600 points:
Test Piece 200
Own Choice 200
The band gaining the highest number of points shall be the Australian National Champion for that grade. In the event of a tie in aggregate points the winner shall be the band gaining the highest number of points in the Test Piece.
Time limits for all events are below:
- Hymn (All grades) 6 minutes
- Own Choice Selection Open A and B Grade 23 minutes
- Own Choice Selection Open C and D Grades 18 minutes
- Own Choice Selection Junior A Grade - 16 minutes
- Own Choice Selection Junior B Grade - 13 minutes
- Own Choice Selection Junior C Grade - 10 minutes
For all Open Brass bands, entry into the On-Stage Championships comes with the requirement to also participate in the Parade of Bands. Concert bands and Junior Brass bands may also compete in the Parade of Bands if they so choose though this is not compulsory. Bands are free to choose a different march for the Parade of Bands from their On-Stage Championship.
There are four elements to competing in the Parade of Bands.
- Inspection (20 points)
Bands are inspected prior to marching in the Parade of Bands. Points are deducted for a range of errors including incorrect spacing in ranks and files, unsteadiness in the ranks and other irregularities. (see NBCA Drill Handbook)
- Music (40 points)
Points are awarded on the quality of the music being produced whilst a band is marching.
- Change of Direction (20 points)
Points are awarded based on the execution and entertainment value of the change of direction.
- Drill (100 points)
Points are awarded based on how well a band executes the marching evolutions.
The Band in each grade gaining the highest aggregate points for these four items will be declared the Champion Marching Band.
Solo and Party Championships
All soloists perform a test piece that has been chosen specifically for their instrument and age group (Open; Junior - U/19).
Soloists generally perform their piece with piano accompaniment and are scored out of 100 points. The following sections will be contested at the 2020 Nationals.
Eb Soprano Cornet
Eb Tenor Horn
High Tuba (EEb & F)
Low Tuba (BBb & C)
Champion of Champions — Brass & Woodwind
For the competitors who win their respective solo championships they are then invited to compete in an additional Champion of Champions event. This event showcases the best of the best and allows competitors perform an own choice piece. Champion of Champion events are held for Open Brass, Open Woodwind, Junior Brass and Junior Woodwind sections.
The Champion Percussionist
The Champion Percussionist is determined by allocating 5, 3 and 2 points to competitors who come 1st, 2nd and 3rd and 1 point to competitors who don’t place in each of the four Open and Junior percussion sections. Those points are then aggregated to determine the Open and Junior Champion Percussionist.
Quartets and Quintets
The following party sections will be contested at the 2020 Nationals. Quartets and Quintets involve four or five players performing a work of their choosing and receiving a score out of 100.