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Norway's 3-2-1 Contest

The Grenland Contest in Norway features all their top bands in a 3 part competition to find the winners. We have all the details and run downs on the Elite bands taking part.

The Grenland Brass Festival will take place on the weekend of the 27th to the 29th April in the beautiful Norwegian town of Skien, which is located in the North East of the country.

This unique contest will be held for the fifth time and features bands from throughout the country at the Ibsen Concert Hall and lovely Skien church. The elite bands will be required to play a church music concert on the Friday night, a test piece on the Saturday morning and an entertainment contest on the Saturday evening. Three contests for the price of one then!

Further adding to the sense of this being a new dimension in brass band contesting will be open adjudication (hip, hip, hooray!!) with all three individual components being scored out of 100 points. The band with the highest aggregate over the three mini contests wins the top prize.

Although it is only the Elite bands that compete over the three aspects of the contest, First Section bands get to play a test piece contest and entertainment contest on the Friday and Saturday and Second Section bands get the opportunity to play in an entertainment contest. The test pieces for the elite bands this year is "Freedom" by Hubert Bath, whilst the First Section bands get to perform "Capriccio Italien" arranged by Doctor Dennis Wright.

The current champions are Sandefjord Brass Symposium who won the title last year as triple winners Eikanger Bjorsvik Musikklag who won the title in 1997, 98 and 99 were competing and very nearly winning the European Championships in Birmingham. This years adjudicators are Richard Evans and Kjell Ingebrigtsen for the Elite and First Section bands whilst Gareth Jones and Johannes Mangersnes get to judge the lower sections.

In what should be a brilliant weekend, there will be any number of talented players and conductors on show. Why not check our feature on the Norwegian National Band to see who are the real stars?

Our Guide to the Elite Bands:

Eikanger Bjorsvik Musikklag:
Formed from the merger of two wind bands in the 1960's, Eikanger celebrated their 50th anniversary in 1999 as a music organisation, and are rightly seen as one of Europe's foremost bands. They have won their National title on 8 occasions, the SIDDIS Entertainment Contest on a further 8 occasions and have been European Champions twice.

The Musical Director for the contest is Reid Gilje who's clever brass arrangements will surely be featured in the entertainment contest along with those of Frode Ryland the bands brilliant soprano player.

Jaren Hornmusikforening:
Founded in 1936 they made their debut at the Norwegian Nationals in the 2nd Section in 1980. They are the newest band in the Elite Section and gained 6th place at the Nationals in February conducted by Helge Haukas. For this contest they will be under the baton of Bjorn Briestein and will feature some super players in trombonist Aage Barlund and Solo Cornet Gry Palden Tingelstad.

Krohnengen Brass Band:
Founded in 1969 by former members of Krohnengen School Band, they developed into one of Norway's top bands following the appointment of Alan Withington as Musical Director in 1981. By 1987 they were promoted to the top section and in 1990 they won the National title under Karl Ole Midtbo and were place 6th at that years European Championships in the Netherlands. Ray Farr has carried on the work of both Alan and Karl and they will be conducted at this year's contest by Michael Antrobus.

Oslofjord Brass:
Founded in 1995 as a project band that rehearsed just once a month, they have made rapid progress through the Norwegian Sections. They have been conducted throughout by John Philip Hannevik who has been connected with the Salvation Army since 1985 and is the youngest conductor at this year's contest. He also gained 4th place at the inaugural European Condutor's Competition in Birmingham in 2000. They feature many fine young players including Tarjei Gilbrandt on solo cornet.

Manger Musikklag:
Founded in 1922 Manger have long been recognised as one of Norway's and Europe's premier banding outfits and as long ago as 1981 they gained 2nd place at the European Championships. They have won the Norwegian National title on 6 occasions, including 4 years in a row under the baton of David King - an unique achievement in Norwegian banding history. Stian Svendsen is the band's regular conductor, but on this occasion the band will be under the baton of Scotsman Nigel Boddice. Players to look out for are soprano player Kjetil Morken and Are Mangersnes on baritone.

Section 1 Bands:

Kleppe Musikklag
Belehemskyrkans Musikklar
Molde Brass Band
Oster Brass
Radnoy Brass
Vennesla Kristne Brass

Section 2 Bands:

Fagernes Musikkorps
Fraena Musikkorps
Sorum Mussiklag
Grenland Brass
Eidsberg Brass Band
Filadelfia Hornorkester
Krapfoss Hornorkester

Section 3 Bands:

Herre Ungdomskorps
Karmund Brass
Langhus Brass
Skui Amatorkorps

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