2007 North American Brass Band Championships - Championship Section

9-Apr-2007

The very best bands in North America line up on the weekend to see if they can take home with them the title as the best brass band in the North America.


NABBA

Championship Section:
Saturday, April 14th 2007

Venue: Stem Concert Hall
Time:
10:00 am 4:00 pm

Set Piece: Dances and Alleluias (Sparke)

Over the last 3-years the winning band has won by less than 1 full point (out of 300).  Over the last 5-years, there have been five different champions. We don't expect this year to be any less competitive.  Every band has a reason to believe they can make a run at the title, but a few bands of the newer bands have been starting to rise to the top and will be hoping to distance themselves from the rest of the pack. 

Own Choice Selections (in alphabetical order by piece):

  • Dances and Arias (Gregson)
  • Glorifico Aeternum (Jones)
  • Journey Into Freedom (Ball)
  • Music of the Spheres (Sparke)
  • Paganini Variations (Wilby)
  • Tone Poem: The Holy War (Steadman-Allen)
  • Tristan Encounters (Ellerby)

AtanlticAtlantic Brass Band
Conductor:
 Salvatore Scarpa

Past Record at NABBC:
2006: 5th/7 (Championship)
2005: 3rd/6 (Championship)
2004: DQ/7 (Championship)
2003: DNC
2002: 5th/8 (Championship)

Principal Players:
Front Row: Arthur Myers and Bryan Appleby-Wineberg (co-principal)
Back Row: Rob High (sop)
Horns: Art Henry (solo horn)
Trombones: Bill Andrews
Euphonium: Jim Weinhouse (solo euph)
Basses: David Laird
Percussion: Mika Godbole

Atlantic has put together solid performances in recent years and is much improved.  However, it appears the field around them is improving at a greater rate.  They could hit the mark on the day, but will more likely finish in the middle of the pack.


central floridaBrass Band of Central Florida
Conductor:
Michael Garasi

Recent Form at NABBC:
2006: DNC
2005: 1st/6 (Championship)
2004: 2nd/7 (Championship)
2003: 2nd/5 (Championship)
2002: 3rd/8 (Championship)

Principal Players:
Front Row: Bob Hinkley (principal)
Back Row: Dee McAfee (sop) & Charlie Peskek (rep)
Horns: Kevin Cramer (solo horn) & John Copella (flugel)
Trombones: Jim Hinkley
Euphoniums: Gail Robertson (euph) & Steve Hewitt (bari)
Tubas: Bob Tucker (BBb)
Percussion: Rob Connely

In their "year off" since their last NABBA championships, Central Florida has only won two US Open Championships and finished 4th at Brass in Concert.  Will they be able to return to form for a test-piece contest?  Odds are, they'll be in the mix, but JMU and Fountain City might be too tough.


Western ReserveBrass Band of the Western Reserve
Conductor:
Keith Wilkinson

Recent Form at NABBC:
2006: 4th/7 (Championship)
2005: 5th/6 (Championship)
2004: 4th/7  (Championship)
2003: DNC
2002: competed as CVBB

Principal Players:
Front Row: Chris Lichtler (principal)
Back Row: Marcia Kline (sop)
Horns: Debbie Wilkinson (solo horn)
Euphoniums: Allen Lawless (euph) & Sean Oden (bari)
Trombones: Ray Harcar
Basses: Dustin Harris (EEb)
Percussion: Victor Lee

The band finished outside the very tightly contested top three last year.  They may have trouble breaking through again.  However, the middle of the band has some UK ties to strengthen it's chances of cracking the top three with MD Keith Wilkinson, daughter Debbie on solo horn and Sean Oden on baritone (fresh off a semester at RNCM). They could prove vital whilst trying to navigate through "Dances and Alleluias."


ChicagoChicago Brass Band
Conductor:
Colin Holman

Recent Form at NABBC:
2006: 6th/7 (Championship)
2005: 2nd/6  (Championship)
2004: 1st/7 (Championship)
2003: 4th/5 (Championship)
2002: DNC

Principal Players:
Front Row: Mary Paziouros (principal)
Back Row: Erica Bough (sop) & Virginia Hernandez (rep)
Horns: Joe Dymit (flugel) & Roger Menning (solo horn)
Trombone: Brian Rogers (solo)
Euphoniums: David Oppenheim (euph) & Tom Gillette (bari)
Basses: James Manganaro (EEb) & Steve Marcus (BBb)
Percussion:  Mark Taylor

Last year the band played poorly and finished near the bottom. With only one test piece contest a year, it can be so difficult to tell whether last year represents a trend or an anomaly.  However, given Holman's success as a conductor at the NABBA championships, one would have to think they will be ready to make another run at the top prize.


Fountain CityFountain City Brass Band
Conductor:
Dr. Joseph Parisi

Recent Form at NABBC:
2006: 3rd/7 (Championship)
2005: 4th/6 (Championship)
2004: DNC
2003: DNC
2002: DNC

Principal Players:
Front Row: Alan Wenger (principal)
Back Row: Steve Molloy (soprano)
Horns: TJ Menges (solo horn) & Raquel Rodriquez (flugel)
Euphoniums: Lee Harrelson (solo euph)
Trombones: Mike Davidson (solo)
Tubas: Tom Stein (Solo EEb bass)
Percussion: Steve Schob

Fountain City Brass Band could have easily been chosen as the winner at their last three contest.  Their fine ensemble and soloist may have gone unnoticed by adjudicators, but not by everybody as the garnered an invitation to the All-England Masters. 

Will they finally get a deserved result? Their only real question mark might be that they have switched musical directors.  However, all signs seem to be pointing in the right direction with Dr. Parasi.


IllinoisIllinois Brass Band
Conductor:
Dr. Ryan Nelson

Recent Form at NABBC:
2006: 7th/7 (Championship)
2005: DNC
2004: 6th/6 (Championship)
2003: DNC
2002: =1st/8 (Championship)

Principal Players:
Back Row: James Sobacki (sop)
Horns: Mike Ackerman (flugel)

Illinois are really struggling to compete in the Championship section.  Not only have they finished last in their past two NABBA Championships, but they had also struggled at the U.S. Open. Another bottom 2 placing and they really ought to consider dropping down a section.

However, they have now had about 18 months under the baton of Ryan Nelson and are hopefully, reaching their stride.  Can the band show they have settled in an make a run?


James MadisonJames Madison University Brass Band
Conductor:
Kevin Stees

Recent Form at NABBC:
2006: 2nd/7 (Championship)
2005: 1st/7  (Honors)
2004: 1st/6  (Honors)
2003: 1st  (Open)
2002: DNC

Principal Players:
Front Row: Josh Reed (principal)
Back Row: Alex Bender (sop)
Horns: Rachel Hockenberry (solo horn)
Trombones: Miki Lendvay
Euphoniums: David Heinsen (solo euph)
Basses: Steve Klingseis (EEb)
Percussion: Carolyn Trowbridge

Last year, JMU took the championship section by storm, finishing in second place by less than a point (out of 300).  The band consists of university players that have their horn on their lips daily.  Additionally, they have been learning a great deal about brass banding from guest clinicians/soloists Katrina Marzella and Philip Sparke. 

They also had a good contingent at the RNCM Festival this year to check out the top bands.  Whilst a university band can go through cycles (turning over all their players every 4 or 5 years), the band has most of their principal players back and should be a force.


4BR Predictions:

For the second straight year, the defending champions have elected not to return (this time the Brass Band of Columbus).  With JMU and Fountain City finishing only fractions of a point behind last year and Central Florida having a strong 24-months since the last contest, those three bands would have to appear to be favourites and could finish in any order. 

However, none of the other bands should feel that they are without a chance.  Even Illinois which has finished last in their last few contests, can be optimistic that things are beginning to gel with their new MD.

1. James Madison University Brass Band
2. Fountain City Brass Band
3. Brass Band of Central Florida

Dark Horse: Chicago Brass Band

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