Student bandsmen at Knellor Hall Army School of Music, internationally famed as the practising ground for stirring British march tempos, almost ruined the distinguished School's reputation by blowing long undistinguished bass notes into long Alpine horns in a contest to celebrate the current trade and cultural Swiss Fortnight in London.
SV.PAN from seated applauding soldiers to competitors (NAT SOUND) and Arthur Alder marching with horns
SV. Officer judge seated - other ranks take seats near him
MV. PAN from end of horn to soldier playing
MV. ZOOM in and out to another compEtitor (NAT. SOUND) playing short horn
MV. PAN from end of horn to competitor
SV. Soldier plays short horn in jazz style
CV. ZOOM from competitor playing long horn
ZOOM from SV. to MV. of competitor playing badly
SV. Judge with onlookers - onlookers disperse holding ears etc.
SLV. Zoom to cv. Arthur Alder takes horn from competitor and plays
SLV. Winners for best performance walks to Alder - receives prize amidst (NAT. SOUND) applause
SLV. Officer at mike says: And the booby (consolation) prize this morning for the Alpine horn playing - for the most atrocious sound this morning goes to student band-master Lee of (NAT. SOUND) the Royal Military School of music"
Lee steps down - receives award from Alder
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Background: Student bandsmen at Knellor Hall Army School of Music, internationally famed as the practising ground for stirring British march tempos, almost ruined the distinguished School's reputation by blowing long undistinguished bass notes into long Alpine horns in a contest to celebrate the current trade and cultural Swiss Fortnight in London.
Never in the annals of military music-making had the performance been so bad. The School's bandsmen, tempered by years of military tattoos, are brilliant technicians on the 'cors anglais' and powerful performers on the French horn. But they all agreed, they are the world's worst instrumentalists when confronted with an Alpine horn from Switzerland.
At this contest the Alpine horn sounded like a motor horn. Contestant after contestant tried to produce a pure note that would resound through the mountains of buildings and the valleys - narrow and twisting - of London streets. Spectators with the earache coming on were the first to make an exit.
One or two cascades of notes, played by one student bandsman who saw himself as Louis Armstrong - even on the Alpine horn, brought a jazzy relief and patient reward to the strong-eared audience still left in their seats.
Swiss Alpine expert Alder from Urnasch braved the honking and rasping to give a demonstration. Contestants trying to emulate him, puffed, blew, became red in the face and dry in the mouth: fiasco.
The best contestants and Arthur Alder gave a finale. The troupe included Armstrong's disciple: he won a consolation prize.