2005 Norwegian Brass Band Championships - Introduction

8-Feb-2005

The very best bands in Norway will be lining up in the superb Greig Hall in Bergen on Friday and Saturday this weekend to see who will take the top honours. 4BR will be there.


For the third successive year, 4BR will be packing the thermal underwear and taking a short break to head for the 26th running of the Norwegian National Brass Band Championships. Who would have thought that when the contest first started in 1979 it would blossom into an event of this magnitude.

The Norwegians at first copied what they had seen and heard at the Royal Albert Hall, but instead of letting the contest become gentrified they made amendments to the way in which they wanted it to be run, and more importantly to the way in which they thought it should develop successfully. Whatever the ups and downs, they now have a "Nationals" to rank with any other throughout the banding world and this year in particular will have the added extra spice as the Brits (and one Australian of course) are back in force at the helms of six of the leading contenders in the Elite Section.

For the "Elite Section" the format is now much the same as the European Championships – a set work and own choice amalgam spread over two days. It has certainly made for some exciting contests over the past few years, and last year in particular was a cracker. Stavanger under the mercurial talents of David King won the title, coming runners up on the set work and winning the own choice section of the event to beat their perennial rivals, Eikanger into second place.  If they win this year it will give them their first ever hat trick of titles, but can they do it?

However exciting that will prove to be, the real joy of Bergen (certainly not the price of beer) is the fact that so many of the bands, in all the sections push themselves to the limit (and in many cases, a bit to far for their own good) and the own choices selections of many competitors is ambitious to say the least.

Added to that is the fact for the first time here this year, there will be open adjudication in Sections Three and Four for the bands (Horray! and congratulations to the organisers from 4BR), so once again the Norwegians are pushing open new doors for the banding movement in the 21st Century.  

Being seen rather than just heard hasn't stopped the bands from picking those ambitious pieces either, with ‘English Heritage' no less being picked by one band in the Third Division as well as ‘Salute to Youth' by another, whilst in the Fourth Division one band has opted for ‘Rhapsody in Brass' and another Gordon Langford's ‘Sinfonietta'. Add to the that is the fact that one band will be playing three individual pieces that includes old Frank Sinatra's, ‘New York, New York'. Who said the Norwegians didn't know how to entertain?

It should make for a great weekend though and a possible indicator of the form of the very top bands here ahead of the Europeans and International Masters in Cambridge, whilst the battle between the very big guns from the UK on foreign soil should be fascinating. 4BR will give regular updates each day and night to tell you how it is all panning out. We hope to get some interviews from the great and the good, and will post the results up on the site the moment we get them.

We will of course soak up all the atmosphere (do we ever not?), will remember we are ambassadors for our country, and will try to keep in touch with what is happening out in Norway.   

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