2008 North American Brass Band Championships - Preview: Honors Section

26-Mar-2008

4BR looks at the bands taking part in the Honors Section at the Championships, which equates to the First Section on the east side of the pond.


NABBAHonors Section
Saturday, March 29th 2008

Venue: Stem Concert Hall
Time: 12:45pm-4:45pm
Set Piece: Journey into Freedom (Eric Ball)

Own choice Selections (in alphabetical order by title):

  • Circius (Aagaard-Nilsen)
  • Connotations (Gregson)
  • Dundonnell (Sparke)
  • Endeavor (Sparke)
  • Rejoice, The Lord is King (Downie)
  • Variations on ‘Laudate Dominum’ (Gregson)
  • Voyage of Discovery (Richards)

Whilst it is always nice to see growth in the Championship Section, it is the development of the lower sections really shows that brass banding is going in the right direction in North America.  The past few years there have been several performances in the Honors Section that would have been good enough to win the top section 10 or 15 years ago. 

Journey Into Freedom will provide both technical and musical tests this section has not seen in a while. That being said, there should be plenty of fine performances again this year.
 


 

Central Ohio Brass BandCentral Ohio Brass Band
Conductors:
Jessica Sneeringer, Dr. Paul Droste

Principal Players:
Soprano Cornet: Kim Dekay
Principal Cornet: Greg Weber
Flugel: Andrew Seymour
Horn: Jen Kirby/ Tiffany Rice
Trombone: Todd Seymour
Euphonium: Steve Bigley
Basses: Sean Maloney/ Andy Thomas
Percussion: Scott Geyer

Recent Form:
2007 NABBA Championships: 1st/7 (Honors Section)
2006 NABBA Championships: 3rd/4 (Honors Section)
2005 NABBA Championships: 2nd/7 (Honors Section)

Background:
The Central Ohio Brass Band (COBB) earned their first title since they assumed that name in 1995. Since last year’s first place result they have been building quite a bit of momentum with fine performances at both the Ashland and Eastern Iowa Brass Band festivals.

Outlook:
COBB has a very strong core to their band that has helped build some continuity in the group. They are poised to make another run at the title…but will they be able to hold off the rest of the field?

 


 

 

CinncinnatiCincinnati Brass Band
Conductor: Anita Cocker-Hunt

Principal Players:
Soprano Cornet: Pat Counts
Principal Cornet: Bob Gray
Horn: Ron Lutterbie
Trombone: Bob Coil
Euphonium: Mark Hensler
Percussion: Carol Conover

Recent Form:
2007 NABBA Championships: 4th/7 (Honors Section)
2006 NABBA Championships: 2nd/4 (Honors Section)
2005 NABBA Championships: 3rd/7 (Honors Section)

Background:
Cincinnati has won the Honors Section three times since 1999; However, the last time the won was 2003. They’ve always brought a strong programme, but have quite gotten over the hump recently.

Outlook:
Cincinnati are sure to put on a fine performance, but will they get the extra jolt they need to once again break through and win the top prize?
 


 

GeorgiaGeorgia Brass Band
Conductor:
Joe Johnson

Principal Players:
Soprano Cornet: Pete Bentz
Principal Cornet: Paul Poovey
Horn: Joshua Crook
Baritone: Betsy Jones
Trombone: Hollie Lawing
Euphonium: John Caputo
Basses: Bill Pritchard
Percussion: Paige Huff

Recent Form:
2007 NABBA Championships: 2nd/7 (Honors Section)
2006 NABBA Championships: 1st/8 (Challenge Section)
2005 NABBA Championships: DNC

Background:
If you were attending one of your first NABBA competitions, you might think that Georgia has been a main stay here. They have their traditional pre-contest concert at Christ Church Cathedral in downtown Louisville the night before the contest and they have some very fine players that show the maturity of a more experienced band.

Outlook:
Georgia will be a band to watch out for. In only two years they have made an impact on the competition already, and you can bet that with Joe Johnson’s attention to detail they’ll be poised to improve upon their second place finish from last year.
 


 

New EnglandNew England Brass Band
Conductor:
Doug Yeo

Principal Players:
Soprano Cornet: Stan Whitlock
Principal Cornet: Terry Everson
Horn: Isabel Tappan-deFrees
Trombone: Rachel Paczkowski
Euphonium: Leif Reslow
Basses: William Conant (Eb)
Percussion: Dorathea Kastanas

Recent Form:
2007 NABBA Championships: 5th/7 (Honors Section)
2006 NABBA Championships: 1st/4 (Honors Section)
2005 NABBA Championships: DNC

Background:
NEBB Music Director, Douglas Yeo, has announced his retirement from the band after this season's final concert on June 1. His 10 year tenure with the band has been one of increased activity for the band including six NABBA Championships appearances. In addition, The band's newest recording, "Be Glad Then America," recently took first place in the inaugural NABBA "Recording of the Year Contest."

Outlook:
New England had shown steady growth before last year’s surprising result. One would think they will bring the extra bit of effort need to make a mark in this, MD Doug Yeo’s last contest with the band.
 


 

Prairie Brass BandPrairie Brass Band
Conductor:
Dallas Niermeyer

Principal Players:
Soprano: Lev Garbar
Principal Cornet: Mark Fenne
Repiano cornet: Dan Zielinski
Horn: Jeff Philips
Baritone: Paul Eakley
Trombone: Erich Zicher
Euphonium: John Meling
Basses: Kim Tallungan
Percussion: Clark Niermeyer

Recent Form:
2006 US Open Championships: 5th/8
2007 NABBA Championships: 3rd/7 (Honors Section)
2006 US Open Championships: 4th/8

Background:
Prairie has done a lot to raise their profile over the past five years. Between their participation in the US Open, Heartland International Tatoo and joint ventures with the DeKal Festival Chorus they have improved upon an already solid foundation that the band has had.

Outlook:
Prairie has kept pace with the improvement in North American bands, much of it due to not only their participation in NABBA, but also the US Open. They are another band that on the day, could take the top prize.
 


 

PrincetonPrinceton Brass Band
Conductor:
Dr. Stephen Arthur Allen

Principal Players:
Soprano Cornet: Randall Kratofil
Principal Cornet: Dr. Gary Feinberg
Repiano: Roik Hockenberger
Flugel: Amy Nelson
Euphonium: Russell Perkins-Branch

Recent Form:
2007 NABBA Championships: 6th/7 (Honors Section)
2006 NABBA Championships: 4th/4 (Honors Section)
2005 NABBA Championships: DNC

Background:
Princeton was founded only a few years ago and has maintained an ambitious schedule with many world premieres and American premieres of new works for brass band.

Outlook:
In only their third year at the North American Championships, Princeton has yet to make a mark. It will be interesting to see if they are ready to turn the corner.
 


 

4BR prediction:

Really, there are so many good bands performing, four of which have recently walked away with the top prize.  Given such quality competition almost any prediction would be a good one.

COBB is one fine form and will be looking to make it two in a row, but with Georgia will edge them out for their first Honors Section title. We are also looking forward to hearing how New England will fair as they give it one more go for Yeo.

1. Georgia Brass Band
2. Central Ohio Brass Band
3. Prairie Brass Band

Dark Horse: New England Brass Band 

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