Droopy Drawers, Open the Doors, All the Fours? Whatever. Sunday 14/10/2012 saw the SEQ banding crowd again assembled in the venue with a menu, the Maroochy RSL Auditorium for the 44th Festival of Brass presented by Sunshine Brass.

That means that forty four of these events have been held in some form or another since 1969.

Now 1969 is on record as quite an historic year but that is a topic for other days as we are looking here at the merit and magic of the number “44” and in particular with attention to this number in a musical sense and its relevance on the day.

Forty four is a number Bill Barker would have rolled the triple tongue over more than once in this year that saw him lead Brisbane Brass to their first contest and win under his baton with a moving and superbly played paean to heroes past and present. Although the possible alternatives are many, that baton would mostly be seen moving to a 4/4 time signature.

Take a standard piano and cut it in half, what do you have? Forty four keys of course!

Hauer discovered the 44 tropes, pairs of complementary hexachords, in 1921 allowing him to classify any of the 479,001,600 twelve-tone melodies into one of forty-four types and this may have assisted in Hauer's music becoming entirely twelve-tone by the 1920s (Whittall 2008, 24).

There’s a bit of music trivia we would be unlikely to stumble upon if we still paid for encyclopaedias and used the energy required to pick them up.

The only A Grade band in the afternoon programme was penalised for running some eight minutes overtime. Was that all? There must be more to this story as by the time presentations were made with RSL staff setting the room up for; you guessed it, Bingo; the proceedings were running a healthy 44 minutes behind schedule.

Forty-four is a tribonacci number, a happy number, an octahedral number and a palindromic number.

Whew! Is there no end to the fountain of knowledge out there when it comes to our numbers?

The morning session saw seven bands compete in C, D and Junior grades and Adjudicator Bryan Hurdley gave out 1st 2nd and 3rd places with equal points to the remainder, placing them all in a tie for 4th place. That is quite a few fours! Four in fact with D Grade and Junior bands awarded 4th & 4th and 4th& 4th.

Ah those good old fours eh? It is a safe bet that if, at some time since they took over MD roles with Brisbane Brass 3 and Juniors, one were to add the ages of Tim Opstelten and Sascha Kelly, one could possibly find a 44. Does that mean a Tim plus a Sascha equals a Bill?

The code for international direct dial phone calls to the United Kingdom is 44.

Hey that’s where brass bands originated!

Now, one band left to account for. Brisbane Brass 2 placed 3rd in the afternoon session with nary a 4 in sight unless of course there was a cry of “Fore” from one of the preceding B Grade bands with a bit of British and Olympic fever in their program, carrying the time honoured message of “Look out down there ! Distracting shot coming through!”

Josh McKechie moves in mysterious ways; he will have some “4”s hidden away there somewhere you can bet on it but he will be happy to not come 4th and his band will be giving a bit of what for before we know it.

The atomic number of ruthenium is 44 and that is enough of the encyclopaedic posturing and therefore time to thank hosts of Nambour and Maroochy District Band and hope that some who participated in this contest will be to the fore when another forty four have been held and the call is “Two Fat Ladies! 88! Bingo!”

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27 Mcilwraith Street, Everton Park QLD 4053