100 years ago, Wind Band Contest 1919
Friday 1 August and Saturday 2 August

Just like the previous year, the Certamen de Bandas de Música of 1919, was held at the Bull Ring of Valencia on the first two days of August. Like the previous year, there were a total of seven bands competing, four in Division Two and three in Division One, including the Banda Municipal de Valencia and the Banda Nacional de la Guardia Republicana de Lisboa (Band of the National Republican Guard of Lisbon), the latter being the band invited to perform the closing concerts on the two days of the contest.

In the early afternoon of 1 August, the bands marched from different locations in the city, performing pasodobles and receiving the applause of the parade audience. Their destination was the bull ring, where a large audience awaited them.

The jury convened at five in the afternoon, and for this edition of the contest it was formed by Joaquim Fernándes Fão, jury president and conductor of the Banda de la Guardia Republicana de Lisboa; Basilio Nieto Vallejo, Music Major of the Otumba 49th Regiment on garrison duty in Játiva; and Antonio Fornet Quilis, Professor of the Conservatorio de Valencia and Rafael Pérez de Lucía as Jury Secretary. Once the jury was convened, the parade of bands began in the bull ring.

This was immediately followed by a performance from the bands in Division Two, which played the compulsory piece "Obertura Don Juan" by Salzburg composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. After this, the three bands from Division One each played their free-choice piece. The first afternoon of the Musical Contest was brought to a close by a performance of the Banda Municipal de Valencia and its 70 musicians, led by Luis Ayllón Portillo, and a concert by the Banda Nacional de la Guardia Republicana de Lisboa, led by Joaquim Fernándes Fão.

Once the jury had taken their seats, the second day of the contest began at five o’clock with the parade of marching bands around the arena. This was followed by the bands from Division One performing their compulsory piece, "Les Girondins" by London composer Henry Charles Litolff. Then the bands from Division Two played their free-choice piece. The contest was brought to a close by a performance by the Banda Municipal de Valencia, led by Luis Ayllón and one by the Banda Nacional de la Guardia Republicana de Lisboa, directed by Joaquim Fernándes Fão, with the contest ending at around 8:35 p.m. The jury members went to City Hall to deliberate and at midnight the winners were announced in the Pabellón Municipal de la Feria, located in the Paseo de la Alameda.

The jury, taking into consideration the special circumstances of the Banda "Unión Musical" de Liria and the Banda Municipal de Alicante, decided to combine the First Prize and the First and Third Runner-up prizes (the last one unfilled), creating Two First Prizes.

Division One Prizes: Shared First Prize and 3,000 pesetas for 52 musicians of the Banda Municipal de Alicante and their conductor Luis Torregrosa García, who performed the prelude to "The Master Singers" by Richard Wagner, and the 61 members of the Banda Centro Instructivo "Unión Musical" de Liria and their conductor Eduardo Felip Suárez, who performed "Los Pescadores" by composer José Cristino Franco Ribate. The Second Runner-up Prize of 1,000 pesetas went to the 52 musicians of the Banda "Primitiva" de Líria and their conductor Emilio Seguí Ripoll, who played "Roman Carnival, Overture" by Hector Berlioz.

Division Two Prizes: First Prize and 2,000 pesetas were awarded to the 40 musicians of the Banda "Corporación Musical" de La Pobla de Vallbona and their conductor José Borrero Viñas, who performed Ernest Guiraud’s "Suite". The First Runner-up prize and 1,000 pesetas went to the 40 musicians of the "La Unión" de Sueca and their conductor Juan Gascó Camarena, who performed "Maila, Overture" by Albert Charles Roussel. The Second Runner-Up Prize of 500 pesetas went to the 39 musicians of the Banda "La Lealtad" de Villamarchante and their conductor Alberto Martín Manzano, who performed the overture to "El Diablo en Sevilla" by Valencian composer José Melchor Gomis Colomer. The 40 musicians of the Banda "Victoria" of Alcudia de Carlet and their conductor José García Pastor won the Third Runner-up Prize of 250 pesetas for their performance of the fourth movement of "La Corte de Granada" by Ruperto Chapí Lorente.

The 150-peseta prize for the best pasodoble performed on the first day went to the Banda "La Unión Musical" de Sueca, which played the pasodoble "Suspiros del Alma" by Maestro and band conductor Juan Gascó Camarena; for the best pasodoble performed on the second day, a curious turn of events occurred: the Prize for the best pasodoble of the day was given to the same band, same conductor and pasodoble as the previous year, that is, to the Banda "Victoria" de Alcudia de Carlet, which performed the pasodoble "Pobre España" by band conductor José García Pastor.

The ticket prices for this edition of the contest were higher than they are today. Prices ranged from 1.25 pesetas for a "general admission" seat in the sun, to 18 pesetas for a private box which included six tickets for each performance. A "general admission" ticket in the shade cost 2 pesetas; a seat towards the front of the second and first highest tiers of seating and in rows behind the ringside seats cost 3 pesetas; and seats in front of the boxes in the second tier of seating, ringside barrier seats and aisle seats cost 4 pesetas.

Alfredo Ruíz / Daniel Belloví