]BY " MODERATO."!
On February 9th there passed away one of the finest Brass Band trainers that England has produced. I refer to the late Mr Edwin Swift, who was born at Hoyle House, Clough, Linthwaite, near Huddersfield, on the 14th of May, 1843. He followed the same occupation as his father, that of a weaver. At the age of eight years he joined a Drum and Fife Band, and a year later joined the Linthwaite Brass Band, playing second cornet. So rapidly did he progress that at the age of ten he took up the soprano cornet, and two years later became solo cornet and bandmaster. Being under the tuition (as a bandsman) of that talented Conductor, Mr Sidney Jones, young Swift made very great progress with his musical studies, and at the early age £ktwenty-three had the honour of coachrffg some of tho finest Bands in England for Contests. His greatest successes in the Contest field were with the Wyke Temperance Band, which, under his able training, won the greatest number of prizes in the United Kingdom from 18S5 till a few years ago. Mr Swift boasted frequently—and well he might— that he had not paid a penny for private tuition, nor had a penny been paid for him ; and he has undoubtedly left behind him a record that will hold a conspicuous place in the annals of Brass Band history. As an arranger of Band music, the late Mr Swift was undoubtedly in the front rank, his many arrangements being very popular both with players and listeners. His selections have of later years been used at first-class Contests all over the world, " Le Domino Noir " (one of the "tests" at Masterton last year), "Don Sebastino," " Gems of Tschaikows_y," being the principal ones, with several not yet issued. The late Mr Swift has been continually under the care of his medical adviser for the past six years, and succumbed to that fell disease cancer. He was held in very high esteem by all who came in contact with him, aud leaves behind him a record, as a Bandsman who has climbed the ladder of fame, which is worthy of emulation. In the Canterbury Times, this week, is an article reproduced from the Brass Band News, contributed by tlieir correspondent " Trotter," which is a scathing criticism on the playing of the New Zealand Bands selection (William Tell) at the great concert in Albeit Hall, in which a number of the leading English Bands also took part. "Trotter" considers that the colonial players were absolutely " no class," and in a lengthy article literally " tears them to pieces," and winds up by saying "That there were no doubt some good players with the N.Z. Band, but they should have placed themselves under the tuition of one of the best Band trainers there." (The above paragraph reminds me that in Adelaide —when on bis way home — Mr J. Ord Hume expressed the same opinioo). It is also worthy of note that at the conclusion of their playing of " William Tell," at the Albert Hall, Lieut. Herd was complimented on his interpretation, and the Band on the rendition of the selection, by Bandmaster llogan (Coldstream Guards), several members of the celebrated " Woods Orchestra," and other eminent
musicians. The playing of the winning band at the Botorua was very good indeed, and the Judge (Lieut. Herd) stated that the other bands played very creditably, considering that it was their first attempt at contest° work. The Waihi Band won both the selection and quickstep securing almost the maximum number of points. They were conducted by Mr C. Trussell who has taken charge of them recently. Mr Trussell and his men will, I am sure, make matters very interesting at the Auckland Contest.
The committee of tbe Intercolonial Band Contest—which i* to be held at luvercargill at the latter end of the year —are already arranging for a series of of entertainments by which to raise the money to finance the contest, and are to hold a grand display of physical drill, etc., in April, in which it is expected fully 1000 children will take part. Another scheme is also afoot which will be announced later on. The action of the Southern folk in getting as much "hard cash" in band prior to the contest is a very commendable idea, ifc is— when workable—preferable to the guarantee method. Plenty of people would prefer to assist the efforts of local contest committees by patronising entertainments in aid of funds, than to sign a P.N. for a sum which they may be called upon to forfeit.
Every effort is being made to ensure the presence of a band from " the other side " at Invercargill, and there is every prospect of the Newcastle (New South Wales) City Band competing. They have a fine record as a contesting Band, and have won three times at Ballarat, once at Armidale and Melbourne, besides winning the Australasian Championship for three consecutive years. They are conducted by Mr J. Paley, who has conducted the Band for a number of years in different parts of the Commonwealth. Their playing is very highly spoken of, and they have some very fine soloists in their ranks.
The Palmerston North Band are holding a meeting of their supporters to consider their position. The total indebtedness amounts to „520. This is indeed a big " dead horse " to work off, but I sincerely hope that the Palmerston boy 3 will be able to raise sufficient to wipe off all the debt very shortly. The bad weather which prevailed at the recent Contest no doubt meant a loss to the Band, and with such a drain on the public purse, it will be rather a hard matter for the Band to get very much support yet awhile.
I am informed that it is improbable that the Dannevirke Band will attend the Marton Contest, owing to its members being scattered about at their different employments, combined with their not having secured the services of a conductor.
Owing to several players having left the Palmerston North Municipal Band, they will also be "non-starters" at It is rather a hard matter for to attend two contests each year, owing to the difficulty of, firstly, getting leave for the members and, secondly, the amount of - cash required to meet expenses. If a band has a liability to face it is very difficult for them to attend one contest —let alone two.
At a certain solo contest in England, there were two competitors who thought a lot of their ability. After they had played, the judge thus announced his decision : —" No. 1 is tbe worst player I have ever heard in my life." " Hurrah," Slid No. 2, " then I have won." " No," said the judge, " you can't play at all."
The Wellington Garrison Band are now getting in good form. Some fine players from different parts have joined them recently, and, I am informed, that they intend to settle down to good solid work for the winter, and hope to be able to attend the Contest to be held in Auckland next year. Lieut. Herd has again taken charge.
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Wairarapa Daily Times, Wairarapa Daily Times, Volume XXVIII, Issue 7724, 25 March 1904
BAND NOTES. Wairarapa Daily Times, Volume XXVIII, Issue 7724, 25 March 1904
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