2005 European Championships - First section championships

24-Apr-2005

The B Section this year sees six bands take to the stage in what is becoming an ever more important contest for the future of the Championships and for the movement as a whole. This is the future and it needs your support.


John BonnerArklow Shipping Silver Band – Ireland
Conductor:
John Bonner

Formed 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 eleven times in the past thirteen years, including a run from 2000 to 2005. The week before the European Championships they defended the Irish title at the IABCB National Championships where against strong opposition they triumphed again and secured their place once more for the Championships in Belfast in 2006.

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 in Brussels in 2002 they were runners up. Last year they were runners up again to Brottum Brass from Norway, so they will be looking to go one better this time and secure victory. Last year in Glasgow they came 3rd.

European History:

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 Ride"

2003: 2nd place
Own Choice Selection – "The Kingdom Triumphant"

2004: 3rd place
Own Choice selection with test piece – "Airs and Dances"


Brass Band Pfeffersberg - Italy
Conductor:
Bernhard Reifer

Brass Band Pfeffersberg are the third Italian Brass Band to compete at the European Championships, following Mitropa Brass Band who competed in the First Section in 1994 where they 2nd and Brass Band Novedrate who came fifth in the same contest in 2002 in Brussels.

The band hails from the South Tyrol in Italy and the translation of the bands name means "Pepper Mountain Brass Band". They were established in 2000 and perform concerts in the local area up to five times a year. These have included some fairly prestigious events though, so they are not strangers to performing in front of large audiences. 

In Glasgow in 2004 they were very good indeed and came runners up, although they did perform with French horns rather than the tenor horns of conventional ‘British style' bands.  The Italian spirit was never far from the surface though and they performed with a lovely vibrant flamboyance that really entertained the audience in their well chosen programme.

European History:

2004: 2nd place
Own Choice selection with test piece – "Airs and Dances"


Hans BucheggerAustrian Brass Band – Austria
Conductor:
Hans Buchegger

The Austrian Brass Band scene is one that is continuing to develop with the trend set by Brass Band Frosch Hall who won this contest on no fewer than four occasions.

Austrian Brass Band are a University Brass Ensemble and were established in 2003 as part of a "Fixed Installation" course at the University of Music and Art in Graz. They seek to continue to develop the brass band in the future and will be heading for the French Open Brass Band Championships in Amboise in June.

Their Musical Director, Uwe Koller is the solo trumpet player with the Berlin Opera and has been Professor of Trumpet at the University for a number of years.

In Glasgow they performed very well in coming fourth with their own choice programme, which was light but very well balanced under the excellent direction of their then MD, Uwe Koller.

European History:

2004: 4th place
Own Choice selection with test piece – "Airs and Dances"


Johnny EkkelboomBrass Band Oberschwaben-Allgäu - Germany
Conductor:
Johnny Ekkelboom

Brass Band Oberschwaben-Allgäu was founded in 1992 by their chairman Michael T Otto and performed its first public concert in 1993.

As first German representative, the BBOA successfully took part in the European Championships in 1995 where they won the B Section under their director Gerd Kurat. They did not defend their title the following year in Bergen.

They returned in 1997 in London where they came 3rd under the direction of David Gilson and in Kerkrade in 1998 they came 2nd.

They return this year under the direction of their conductor Johnny Ekkelboom and will be looking to repeat their victory of a decade ago.

European History:

1995: Winners
Test piece – 'The Three Musketeers'

1997: 3rd place
Test piece – 'Entertainments'

1998: 2nd place
Test piece – 'Fantasy'


Des GrahamThird Carrikfergus Brass Band – Northern Ireland
Conductor:
Desmond Graham

The band was formed in 1958, under Mr D J McCartney, as the 3rd Carrickfergus Boys' Brigade Band but eventually disbanded in 1968 as the boys got older and left the Boys Brigade.

They reformed in 1973 as the 3rd Carrickfergus BB and Old Boys' Band, again under the direction of D J McCartney. In 1975, it won the Brass Band League (Section 3) in Northern Ireland. The band continued with its winning streak and the Band went from the Junior Section to the Champion Section with a total of sixteen consecutive first places in both Northern Ireland and Great Britain. This record is yet to be broken!

The band won the highest honour "Band of the Year" in 1976. The win qualified the Band to compete in the Pontin's Contest in Southport and they won this competition and went on to gain second place at the National Finals in Wales out of over 100 bands.

Throughout the 1980s, the band continued with their local engagements across Ireland and although competing in local competitions, not getting placed. The band used this time to focus on the junior players of the band to encourage them and improving their skills and techniques.

The band has continued, to date, playing in many concerts throughout the year, particularly over the summer and Christmas months. During the summer the band hosts open air concerts across Northern Ireland and during Christmas, the band enjoys playing for shoppers in many of the local shopping centres, including Castle Court, Belfast, and the Tower Centre, Ballymeana. The band has recently performed exceptionally well at local contests.

The bands is making their debut this year at the contest.


Brass Sounds Kaunas - Lithuania
Conductor:
Petras Tadaras

This will be the band that apart from those taking place in the Championship Section, will arouse the most interest and also the most welcome applause from the audience at the Martiniplaza.

It has long been the vision of the organisers of the European Championships that brass banding should expand its horizons, and the participation of this band is a wonderful confirmation that their work has not been in vain and that the setting up of the B Section has been something of real foresight.

All the members of the band are professional musicians and are based in the port town of Kaunas on the shore of Lake Kauno. They were founded in 2002, whilst ther Musical Director is a well respected trombonists and musicians.

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