26 April-4 May 2003
2003 First Section
Bergen sees just three bands take part in the reconstructed
First Section – the only real disappointment in a superbly
organised weekend, but to be fair to the Norwegians, this part of
the Championships has been a bit of a problem now for some time.
It was first set up in 1994 as the banding equivelent of the UEFA
Cup with hopefully it becoming a stepping stone for bands to prgress
to the Champions League that is the European contest itself. It
hasn’t done so for many reasons.
Perhaps the main one is that the contest has no real identity –
no British First Section representatives have competed and the so
called “emerging banding nations” haven’t really
used it as a competition to kick start further progress in their
own countries. It needs a radical rethink and although this year
we see a tinkering with the set up, the contest does need an overall
for it to remain relevent. It is too important to be left wither
and die from the disinterest of the bands themselves.
This year the contest format has been changed with the three competitiors
having to perform a 25 minute programme for the three judges –
Torgny Hanson, Goff Richards and Jan Van der Roost. It therefore
gives the bands the opportunity to showcase their talents to the
full, from upbeat numbers to test pieces.
Although not quite the type of competition we would like it to
be, this seems to be a move in the right direction. Lets hop the
three bands get plenty of support on the Friday and that 2003 proves
to be the turning point for the First Section itself.
The Competing Bands:
Shipping Silver Band – Ireland
Conductor: John Bonner
Principal Cornet: Tommy Byrne
Soprano: Anthony McCarthy
Euphonium: James Connolly
Trombone: Liam Walsh
in 1968, the band took on the name of the Arklow Shipping Line as
their sponsors in September 2002. Before that they were known as
the Arklow Silver Armitage Shanks Band. They hail from South Green
in County Wicklow in Southern Ireland.
Since their formation they have won the Irish Championship on no
less than nine times in the past eleven years, including a hat trick
in 2000, 2001 and 2002. The week before the European Championships
they defend that title at the IABCB National Championships at Wesley
College, Dublin and will be looking to make it a fourth consecutive
The band has made two LP’s as well as featuring on U2’s
album “The Joshua Tree”. The band made its debut at
this contest in 1998 in Kerkrade when under the direction of John
Bonner they came 4th. They returned in 2001 in Montreux where they
came 3rd, whilst last year in Brussels they were runners up.
1998: 4th place
Own Choice selection – “Land of the Long White Cloud”
2001: 3rd place
Own Choice selection – “Pageantry”
2002: 2nd place
Own Choice selection – “Tam O’Shanter’s
Brass Band – Sweden
Conductor: Stefan Cooper
Malmo as a brass band date back to 1974 when the organisations from
the Betel Church Band joined together with the Salem Brass Band.
However, the origins of the band go back as far as 1891.
Malmo were runners up to Gothenburg at the 2002 Swedish Championships,
and although the winners declined to make the trip to Bergen, Malmo
make their contesting debut here in the First Section.
They have worked with many famous brass banding personalities over
the years inclusing Eric Ball, Geoffrey Brand, Ray Farr and Edward
Gregson as well as the famous Swedish orchestral conductor Sixten
Ehrling. They have in future concert tours booked for the United
States as well as Austrailia and hopefully Ireland later this year.
Brass – Norway
Conductor: Erling Myserth
Brøttum Brass was founded in 1892, with six members, one
instructor and a decision on buying the instruments they could not
The band grew fast and has had a high level of activity throughout
these years. For instance, Brøttum played when King Oscar
II opened the railway in 1894. Also on the national day, 17th of
May, and at dances, the band has been of major significance in the
In 1982, the band took a new, positive turn when it for the first
time participated in the Norwegian national championship for brass
bands. During the 80s and 90s, Brøttum developed into a band
of high, musical standard, and has been among the best brass bands
in Norway since. It’s qualities has turned it into a band
of great importance for the other bands in the counties of Hedmark/
Brøttum Brass has put great effort into being a band of quality
and with constant musical development. It intends to be a band for
youth and grown ups that wishes an extra challenge and wants to
develop their musical skills further.
The band has several times been on top of it’s leagues in
the national championship, and has achieved good results in more
local competitions. Brøttum has also been engaged for larger
arrangements like official representation during the Winter Olympics
on Lillehammer in 1994 and the celebration of the church of Norway
being 1000 years old.
First Section – Programme Selections
Malaguena Arr. Mark Free
Londonderry Air Radar. Bill Geldard
Storbystev (Urban Brass) J.Ph Hannevik
Kingdom Triumphant Eric Ball
The Champions George H. Willcocks
“Rag Polka” Toot’s Suite Claude Bolling, arr.
For the Love of a Princess James Horner, arr. A. Duncan
The Land of the Long White Cloud Philip Sparke
Variations for Brass Band Vaughan Williams
Three Saints Goff Richards