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Grimethorpe storm to Spennymoor victory

4BR has all the details of the major prizes and programmes of all the bands that took part this year at Brass in Concert.

All this and our review of the premier entertainment contest. Read on.......


Grimethorpe Colliery UK Coal are the 2002 Spennymoor Brass in Concert Champions. They retained their title as the UK ‘s premier entertainers with a programme that left the other contenders on the day gasping somewhat in their wake. It was 11th victory in the 26 year history of the contest and also gave conductor Garry Cutt his fifth win with the band here – he is now equal on wins with Ray Farr and just one behind Howard Snell in the all time list.

The records kept coming for the boys from Grimey as they won the “Best March” award for the 4th time (only Leyland are ahead of them on 8 wins), as well as “Best Euphonium” for the excellent Michael Dodd (the first player to retain the title)

The “Quality of Performance” award was also bagged for the fourth time (another record and a repeat of last year) whilst the band also took the Entertainment and Presentation prize for a second year in a row.

The only prizes to elude them this year was the award for best soprano, which was won by the on form Alan Wycherley, as well as the award for best principal cornet which was won in fine style by Darren Stott of Sellers International for some super solo and ensemble playing throughout their performance.

The major solo award went to Shaun Thomas of JAG Mount Charles who gave a cracker of an account of the Peter Graham “Brilliante” that was quite outstanding. On a day when there were many very fine solo performances, this really was the pick and Shaun follows a long list of superb euphonium players to have won the award, such as Glyn Williams, Robert Wood, David Moore, Nicholas Childs, Steven Mead and Billy Millar.

Young Michael Smith of JAG Mount Charles picked up the tidy sum of £200 for being the youngest player on the day, whilst the Cornish band also picked up the award for the best presentation of the scores presented to the adjudicators.

The Full Results:

1. Grimethorpe Colliery UK Coal: 198pts + 58pts = 256 pts
2. Fodens Richardson: 195pts + 54pts = 249 pts
3. JAG Mount Charles: 192pts + 56pts = 248 pts
4. Sellers International: 190pts + 52pts = 242 pts
5. The Ransome Band: 188pts + 52pts = 240 pts
6. Leyland: 186pts + 53pts = 239 pts
7. Kirkintilloch: 187pts + 51pts = 238 pts
8. Ever Ready: 182pts + 55pts = 237 pts
9. Carlton Main Frickley: 181pts + 49pts = 230 pts
10. Yorkshire Imperial D. Urquhart 180pts + 49pts = 229 pts
11. Besses O’ th’ Barn: 178pts + 50pts = 228 pts

Winning Soloist: Shaun Thomas – JAG Mount Charles
Performing: Brilliante – Peter Graham

Best Soprano: Alan Wycherley – Fodens Richardson
Best Principal Cornet: Darren Stott – Sellers International
Best Euphonium: Michael Dodd – Grimethorpe Colliery
Best March: New Colonial – Grimethorpe Colliery
Youngest Player: Michael Smith – JAG Mount Charles

Quality Performance Award: Grimethorpe Colliery
New Music Award: Sellers International – “You Raised Me Up” – Andy Duncan
Entertainment and Presentation: Grimethorpe Colliery – 58pts
Winning Conductor Award: Garry Cutt – Grimethorpe Colliery


Review:

There was little doubt at the end of the day that Grimethorpe were deserved winners of the 2002 Brass in Concert Championships. Once more they showed that when presented with the opportunity to construct an entertainment programme they do so with a purpose and clarity of thought that is at times stunning.

Last year Grimethorpe gave us the “Laurel and Hardy” slapstick routine and a programme that veered perhaps to the very limit of intelligent visual entertainment. It was a move that other bands hadn’t thought possible and as such was a giant step ahead of the field. As a result they scored a maximum 60 points for their efforts, and although it was visually memorable, the music itself was less so. This year, and never a band to rest on its laurels (or Hardy’s) they once more ensured they stayed hop, step and jump ahead as they turned almost full circle to produce a programme that returned to a basis of musical brilliance first, entertainment value second.

Just when bands and MD’s think they have found the answer to the question of the entertainment enigma, up pop Grimethorpe to show them that they, and only they, know the secret of that particular philosopher’s stone. Grimethorpe can make entertainment gold from musical base metal.

Grimethorpe’s programme owed much to the direction of Garry Cutt and the talented arrangement (and playing) skills of horn player Sandy Smith. Five of the bands items were arranged by him, and all had a stamp of quality about them, whilst Garry Cutt once more showed that his undemonstrative skills with the baton really do bring the best out of the band. Why he wasn’t used for the other contest of the year is a mystery to us – Grimethorpe seem more at ease with him in front of them.

The programme was well balanced and brilliantly delivered with top class solo and ensemble playing. The humour was there, but it never swamped the music and the ending in the form of Respighi’s “Danza Orgiastica” was stonking. The win was never in question and the final 7 point winning margin (256 not 266 points as reported elsewhere in the printed press – which was mathematically impossible even for Grimey) was a suitable reward. Grimethorpe are the once again the Masters of all they entertainingly survey.

Fodens Richardson came second – the first time they have failed to win under the baton of Russell Gray – but they could have no cause for complaint and in truth were pushed harder than they could have thought for the runners up spot by JAG Mount Charles.

They also opted for a programme that relied more on musical input than sheer visual entertainment, but on this occasion you were left wondering if they couldn’t have extended themselves just a bit more with the former and less with the latter. A cracking march was followed by the imperious Glyn Williams with a potboiler of a solo that seemed to sound perhaps a touch too easy for him! Frode Rydland, the soprano cornet player of Eikanger Bjorsvik Musikklag provided two very neat pieces of work in the form of “Reel Music” and “Rev, Archie Beaton” that were neatly executed, before they ended with a romp through “The Little Russian”. It was superbly controlled and the technical challenges throughout were brushed aside with disdain (as was the old Snell arrangement of Moto Perpetuo) but it left you just a little underwhelmed. It was worthy of second place, but in reality it was a programme that couldn’t get them within touching distance of the winners.

JAG Mount Charles on the other hand played out of their skins and gave a performance that was a real coming of age for the band at this level. Previously they had flattered to deceive when in need to produce the goods their talent deserved, but on this occasion they performed with a swagger and brilliance that only Grimethorpe bettered. The programme had the feel of being superbly well rehearsed – the choreography was spot on, the humour just right, whilst the standard of playing was as good as anything we heard all day. In addition they had an outstanding soloist in the shape of Shaun Thomas who gave a suitably brilliant account of “Brilliante” by Peter Graham that fully deserved the soloist award – and in this company that is really saying something. Technically it wasn’t perhaps the hardest programme to play, but the band played to its strengths and had excellent direction from Bryan Hurdley. On this form they are a very fine band indeed and for many they possibly pipped Fodens for second place – lets hope they can carry it on to the big contests of 2003.

Fourth place went to Sellers International with a programme that relied heavily on the arranging skills of Andy Duncan and once more they showed that they are a band to listen out for. Perhaps a bit more entertainment to the programme would have benefited them – some of the music sounded a touch “samey” but overall it was another performance of real merit – technically adroit with some fine ensemble work and an excellent bit of cornet leadership and solo playing from Darren Stott. He took the principal cornet prize for an excellent rendition of Andy Duncan’s fine arrangement of “You Raise Me up” (which won the new music award – his 6th win). 3rd last year and 4th this time around – Sellers are back in business, and could well be a band to make a mark in 2003.

Fifth spot was taken by the Ransome Band under the direction of Peter Parkes, who gave a well-balanced programme that had some really classy touches about it. From the glittering opener “Amazonia” right through to two movements from the Eric Crees arrangement of “America” and “Somewhere” from West Side Story (music that is immensely difficult to make come off, as well as get permission to play) there was plenty to note – especially a fine bit of euph playing from David Belshaw. Perhaps it needed just a touch more oomph about it as a whole, but nonetheless it deservedly took the fifth placing.

Below these bands (these were the ones announced off the stage) the contest broke into two distinct groups with Leyland, Kirkintilloch and Ever Ready more than a couple of lengths ahead of Carlton Main, Yorkshire Imperial and Besses.

Leyland played well enough without ever suggesting they would come any higher, and although it was more than competent playing, that sparkle and sheen we have come to expect from them over the years was missing. There was some super horn playing from Donna Lewis and a cracking old Sousa march, but the rest of the programme never quite came off and the final item, “1492 Conquest of Paradise” was perhaps their weakest. Overall it was good stuff, but nowhere near vintage Leyland.

Kirkintilloch made a real mark here last year when they came 5th, but this time they couldn’t quite repeat the feat and they came home 7th. Once more they gave a varied and well thought out programme (although there was perhaps one item too many for us) and the “Minnie the Moocher” feature was excellent. It fell a little flat in places and the Simon and Garfunkel “Bridge over Troubled Waters” didn’t come off, but once more Kirky more than held their own in top class company.

Ever Ready gave perhaps the most interesting programme of the day – a compilation of Ray Farr’s greatest moments which very nearly came off in spades. That it didn’t was perhaps due to the fact that by having a nap hand of victories here, Ray Farr had possibly too many highlights to choose from and a programme that featured no less than 16 snippet items never gave the listener the chance to appreciate the works that had brought him such success. The playing was very good, but just when you though the music was going to develop in came Frank Renton with a sometimes painful bit of commentary that was a stilted as a stilted man on stilts. Yes, that stilted. It robbed an original idea of its flow and the entertainment value became more important than the music itself – a result that was reflected in the points and a great pity.

The bands that made up the bottom three all performed well, but on the day were a class below the others on show and cannot complain with their final positions.

Carlton Main are working hard to get back to the level they were a few years ago, and in William Rushworth they certainly have a man not afraid of hard work and with plenty of talent. The band are improving and the MD had chosen the programme to play to their current strengths – there was a super bit of cornet playing from Kirsty Abbotts, but the programme never quite shone. They will be back though, and the stronger for this outing.

Yorkshire Imperial also failed to shine as we know they can this year, with a programme that lacked a touch of finesse about it – although we did like the Austin Powers sketch. Robert Westacott was a very fine soloist, but there were too many errors from around the band throughout and the choice of the ubiquitous “Irish Blessing” and “The Gael” felt dated. They are certainly a better band than this showing.

Finally, Besses, who repeated last year’s result, but who played better than their final placing would suggest. This is a young band with a rosy future but against this company they were a touch lightweight in sound and technique – both of which will be bigger and better as they mature. They had a lovely soloist in Sian Carradus and a neat opening item, but the ending was a weak spot – Puccini doesn’t lend itself too well to the brass band. Next year they will certainly come back stronger contenders.

The day had gone smoothly with some superb organisation from Jacqueline Beer, but the awards ceremony did rather become a solo performance by Frank Renton that bordered on the embarrassing. He had done a fine job during the day, but surely there was no need for the Royal Command Performance that included the unfortunate incident of the confusion over the winning soloist and the ridiculous attempt of trying to keep the suspense over the result by not letting us know the points for Fodens. Come on Frank – it’s a day for the bands not you.

Still, that was the only quibble on a day when Grimethorpe once more set the agenda. 11 wins now and on this form who would bet against them making it a dozen in 2003.


The Bands Programmes:

Band No 1

Foden’s Richardson
Conductor: Russell Gray


National Anthem

March: Wellington - Zehle

Napoli - Bellstedt arr. G Brand
Euphonium solo: Glyn Williams

Reel Music (new music) - Traditional arr. Frode Rydland

Moto Perpetuo - Paganini arr. H. Snell

Rev. Archie Beaton - J. Mason arr. Frode Rydland

Finale from Symphony No.2 Tchaikovsky
The Little Russian arr William Gordon


Band No 2

Leyland
Conductor: Chris Davies


Deep Space Nine - arr. McDermott (new music)
March: Royal Welch Fusiliers - Sousa
Capriccio Brillante - Belstedt
Tenor Horn solo: Donna Lewis
Sing Sing Sing - Louis Prima
Dark Island - arr McDermott (new music)
1492 Conquest of Paradise - Vangellis arr. McDermott (new music)


Band No. 3

Sellers International
Conductor: Philip McCann

Overture to Tarus Bulba - Franz Waxman arr. A. Duncan (new music)
You Raise me Up - Rolf Lovland arr. A. Duncan
Cornet solo: Darren Stott (new music)
Grand Walkaround - Lousi Moreau Gottschalk & Hershy Kay arr. A. Duncan (new music)
Duet for Two Cats - G Rossini arr. Howard Snell
March: Shield of Liberty - J J Richards
Ole South (a plantation patrol) - Traditional arr S. Bradnum (new music)
Saoirsinn - A. Duncan (new music)


Band No. 4

Ever Ready
Conductor: Ray Farr

Bergenhus March - Helge Aafloy arr Ray Farr
Best By Farr (comprising the following)
Firebird - Igor Stavinsky
On with the Motley - Leoncavello
Soprano solo: Les Palmer
Troika - Prokofiev
Be My Love - Brodsky/Cahn
Euphoium solo: Paul Robinson
Adagio – Rachmaninoff
Cornet solo: Bryan Tait
Why did I choose you - Leonard
Trombone solo: Chris Bentham
Aranjuez - Rodrigo
Flugel solo: Nicola Willamson
A Grand, Grand Overture - Arnold
Scottish Dance No. 1 - Arnold
Toccata - Bach
Riverdance - Whelan
The Ugly Peanut (new music) – arr. Farr
Cup of Life - Rosa


Band No. 5

Yorkshire Imperial David Urquhart Travel
Conductor: David Evans

Risercata (new music) - Ortiz arr. S. Kerwin
Ciri Ciri Bin - Pestalozza arr A. Morrison
Cornet solo: Robert Westacott
Irish Blessing – Bacak arr. S. Bradnum
Soul Bossa Nova - Jones arr. A. Duncan
March: Yorkshire Imperial - Sam Wood
The Gael - Jones arr A. Duncan


Band No 6

Grimethorpe Colliery UK Coal
Conductor: Garry Cutt

Valero (new music) - Sweatington arr. S. Smith
Evergreen - Striesand arr. Catherall
Tenor Horn solo: Sandy Smith
Freikgeun Polka - Strauss arr. S. Smith
I’ll Walk with God - Brodsky arr. Richards
The New Colonial - R.B. Hall
The Cuckoo - Elgar Howarth arr. S. Smith
Danza Orgiastica (new music) - Respighi arr. S. Smith


Band No. 7

Carlton Main Frickley Colliery
Conductor: William Rushworth


March: Circus Bee (new music) - Fillmore arr. Gray
Carnival of Venice - Del Steigers arr. F. Muscroft
Cornet solo: Kirsty Abbotts
2nd Movement from Entertainments - Gilbert Vinter
Lassus Trombone - Fillmore arr. Gray
Titanic -James Horner arr. M. Bentham


Band No. 8

Ransome
Conductor: Peter Parkes


Amazonia - Peter Graham
Pop goes the Posthorn - Elgar Howarth
Summon the Heroes -John Williams arr. Joanne Riseley (new music)
Bring him home - C. Schonberg arr. K Wilkinson
Euphonium solo: David Belshaw
March: The Cossack - William Rimmer
America & Somewhere - From West Side Story -L. Bernstein arr. E Crees


Band No. 9

JAG Mount Charles
Conductor: Bryan Hurdley


Kongolela (new music) - Jan Mange Forde
American Carnival – arr. Stephen Roberts
Brilliante – arr. Peter Graham
Euphonium Solo: Shaun Thomas
Ave Verum -Mozart arr A.M. Jakeway
Coronation Scene from Boris Godunov - Mussorgsky arr. P Littlemore


Band No 10

Kirkintilloch
Conductor: Allan Ramsey


Sparkling Diamonds (new music) - arr. Sandy Smith
Bridge Over Troubled Water - Paul Simon & Art Garfunkel
arr. Sandy Smith (new music)
March: The Red Shield - Harry Goffin
Apres un Reve - arr. Gordon Langford
Tenor Horn solo: Allan Wardrope
Cossack Fire Dance - Peter Graham
From Call of the Cossacks
Minnie The Moocher (new music) – arr. Rodney Newton
Dance Fever - arr. Kenneth Downie
Scherzo - Shostakovich arr. A Duncan


Band No. 11

Besses o’ th’ Barn
Conductor: Lynda Nicholson


The Boar’s Return (new music) - Mick Dowrick
I hear you calling me -Chas Marshall
Flugel Solo: Sian Carradus
March: Whitefield - W.A. Allison
Do Lord - Andrew Mackereth
Turandot (new music) - Puccini arr. Ian Smith

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