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2013 British Open Championship — As it happened

All the action from the 2013 British Open Championship — as it happened.

General • Sunday 8, 12:27:51

We hope you enjoyed the 4BR coverage of the British Open Championship this year.

Check out the site for the contest report and our retrospectives and images of the day as we round things up over the next 24 hours or so.


General • Saturday 7, 20:35:41

Saturday 7th September
Symphony Hall, Birmingham
Test Piece: ‘Arabian Nights - Fantasy on Rimsky Korsakov’s Scheherazade for Brass Band’ (Stephen Roberts)
Adjudicators: David Read MBE, Stephen Roberts, Rob Wiffin OBE

Results:

1. Tredegar (Ian Porthouse), 8
2. Cory (Philip Harper), 16
3. Co-operative Funeralcare (Allan Ramsay), 14
4. Foden's (Allan Withington), 13
5. Fairey (Garry Cutt), 15
6. Black Dyke (Dr Nicholas Childs), 4
7. Kirkintilloch (David Roberts), 10
8. Carlton Main Frickley Colliery (Phillip McCann), 9
9. Brighouse & Rastrick (Prof. David King), 5
10. Grimethorpe Colliery (Luc Vertommen), 2
11. Desford Colliery (Nigel Seaman), 17
12. Hepworth (Michael Fowles), 3
13. Milnrow (Mareika Gray), 7
14. Virtuosi GUS (John Berryman), 11
15. Leyland (Michael Bach), 6
16. Reg Vardy (Russell Gray), 12*
17. Seindorf Beaumaris (Gwyn M Evans), 1*


Stanley Wainwright Memorial Trophy: Dewi Griffiths (Tredegar)
Brian Evans Memorial Trophy: Ian Roberts (Tredegar)
Geoffrey Whitham Memorial Trophy: Daniel Thomas (Tredegar)

*Reg Vardy & Seindorf Beaumaris relegated to Grand Shield


General • Saturday 7, 20:33:47


General • Saturday 7, 20:17:30


General • Saturday 7, 20:15:25

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Ian Porthouse celebrates his triumph with Tredegar Band


General • Saturday 7, 18:58:53

Results

1. Tredegar (Ian Porthouse), 8
2. Cory (Philip Harper), 16
3. Co-operative Funeralcare (Allan Ramsay), 14
4. Foden's (Allan Withington), 13
5. Fairey (Garry Cutt), 15
6. Black Dyke (Dr Nicholas Childs), 4
7. Kirkintilloch (David Roberts), 10
8. Carlton Main Frickley Colliery (Phillip McCann), 9
9. Brighouse and Rastrick (Prof. David King), 5
10. Grimethorpe Colliery (Luc Vertommen), 2
11. Desford Colliery (Nigel Seaman), 17
12. Hepworth (Michael Fowles), 3
13. Milnrow (Mareika Gray), 7
14. Virtuosi GUS (John Berryman), 11
15. Leyland (Michael Bach), 6
16. Reg Vardy (Russell Gray), 12
17. Seindorf Beaumaris (Gwyn M Evans), 1


Stanley Wainwright Memorial Trophy: Dewi Griffiths (Tredegar)
Brian Evans Memorial Trophy: Ian Roberts (Tredegar)
The Geoffrey Whitham Memorial Trophy: Daniel Thomas (Tredegar)


General • Saturday 7, 18:15:47

What do we think?

It's been a day of very mixed fortunes for the competing bands with Arabian Nights proving to be a stern test that took its toll on several of the favourites. For us its been a day for the a Welsh though with Cory delivering a blistering account from a late draw that leads the field for us with Tredegar and Brighouse vying for the runner up spot.

1. Cory
2. Tredegar
3. Brighouse and Rastrick
4. Fairey
5. Grimethorpe
6. Black Dyke

Dark horses Virtuosi GUS and Carlton Main Frickley Coliery


General • Saturday 7, 18:06:19

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Desford last band take the stage to bring the Arabian Day to a conclusion

17:50hrs
17. Desford (Nigel Seaman)

Desford concludes a long, but fascinating contest with an opening of bracing power. The approach isn't perhaps the most subtle but the atmosphere changes effectively and the Princess theme is sweetly intoned. One or two tuning issues threaten to mar the proceedings but there are some quality individual contributions along the way.

There are moments of ragged ensemble heard as the trombones call the band to arms and both the horn and euphonium duet cadenzas are untidy. This is getting more ragged as it progresses. As we head into the Con Fuoco it tends to the brash rather than the furious and we get the impression that this is a performance that has been rather hastily put together.

The final reprise of the Princess theme is hampered by poor tuning and a bracing final top E from the soprano couldn't' save a performance that struggled from the start.


General • Saturday 7, 17:43:00

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Owen Farr (Cory) and Michael Howley (Desford) in friendly rivalry

17:21hrs
16. Cory (Philip Harper)

A sonorous, finely balanced opening statement leads us into an evocative transition into the Princess's theme. Voices don't quite speak on a couple of occasions but the atmosphere is well created. The ensuing change of mood is effective and the flugel rises to his feet to deliver a stylish solo.

The initial all to arms on solo trombone is so effective, as is the (genuinely) off stage response from cornet. The rom one cadenza is superbly done and horns and euphoniums refuse to be outdone.

The Con Fuoco takes off like a things possessed and there is so much detail and clarity heard within the textures here. Individual entries race along but with mechanical precision and the building up of the tension is magnificent as the stormy seas take hold. And here the sheer sound of the band really comes to the fore. Majestic and with cornet chromatics giving us a seething sense of motion. It's furious, terrifying stuff.

The swirling sands part and Owen Farr sings his solo horn entry with style and solidity. The sense of calm that ensues is palpable and the solo cornets sing the Princess theme with heart on sleeve emotion leading to a thrilling final flourish.

Wonderful stuff from with so much emotion and drama. Cory at the very pinnacle of the band's powers.


General • Saturday 7, 17:20:28

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Fairey horn section (minus one or two off hiding somewhere!)

16:55hrs
15. Fairey (Professor Gary Cutt)

An opening of both ominous presence and weight and and the transition into the first atmospheric presentation of the Princess theme is deftly handled. The sands of time settle and its a lovely tempo as the Princes is revealed in all her Eastern beauty. This is a fine opening indeed.

There's a real touch of the snake charmers about the flugel solo which is beautifully stylised. The cadenzas are all securely delivered and the Con Fuoco builds inexorably as the MD winds up the tension.

As the performance heads into the stormy seas the tempo is spot on and there is a real sense of of the movement of the ocean. The sands of time shift and although the solo horn initially falters, the cornets give us a compelling final vision of the Princess before a bracing final flourish.

A performance of real quality from Fairey. Thoughtfully constructed and executed in convincing fashion.


General • Saturday 7, 16:49:53

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You might know who these jokers are. You're so right it's the percussion section!

16:29
14. Co-operative Funeralcare (Allan Ramsay)

Rounded opening sounds are laced with darkness and we hear the cornet detail as the desert sands swirl. Glenn van Looy adds some beautiful touches of delicacy on solo euphonium although there are odd occasions when individual voices don't quite speak.

The flugel solo is securely delivered and the MD is finding the orchestral style of the music in impressive fashion. The trombone vibrato in the cadenza is very much a matter of taste and not for us but Glenn van Looy is superb once again in the joint euphonium cadenza, ably accompanied by his counterpart.

There is impressive detail heard in the Con Fuoco although the waters muddy a degree as the basses enter.

There's a touch of the Hebridean about Co- Op's stormy seas, but there's no mistaking the swell of the waves here. The serenity of the Princess's reprise is impressively done in a performance that has been marked by a highly musical approach to the score and interpretation. It gets a little out of hand in the closing bars but there was plenty to admire here.


General • Saturday 7, 16:23:54

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Helen Williams quote to 4br,"It's like herding cats", she said.
(only joking!)

16:03hrs
13. Fodens (Allan Withington)

The defending champions take to the stage under a man who knows Rimsky Korsakov's music intimately through his years as an orchestral trumpet player.

A beautifully balanced opening and we hear the detail so well as the desert sands reveal the Princess. There's a cohesiveness about the approach that has been missing form almost all of the performances today but there are also some nasty slips, most noticeably in the trombone cadenza. There's certainly some very fine playing but we are not convinced that this is of the same standard that won the Foden's the title last year.

The Con Fuoco is driven stuff though and as the stormy seas take hold there is a fabulous sense of motion as the cornets roll the ship from side to side. This is magnificent stuff.

The sands of time transport us atmospherically to a final glimpse of the Princess but once again, there are one or two uncomfortable moments as cornets strain in their upper registers.

The final flourish is brilliantly done and this was a performance that had moments of magic for sure. We just have a sneaky feeling that those slips might cost.


General • Saturday 7, 15:58:57

13:40hrs
12. Reg Vardy (Russell Gray)

A controlled, even restrained, opening motif places emphasis on sound rather than volume and as the sands part the MD shapes the Princesses theme with care. The execution is not always pristine however and individual entries are not uniformly precise.

The cadenzas are laboured and tuning between the two horns and the two euphoniums grates.

The Con Fuoco gathers a head of steam but we don't hear the absolute precision of ensemble that is so crucial to this section of the score and the momentum is unsettled as a result.

As the stormy seas dash Sinbad's ship against the rocks the rolling sensation of the cornets needs to be more prominent in the balance but as the music heads into calmer seas the cornets give us a compelling momentary of Princess like beauty.

It's all a touch too late though after the unevenness of the playing that has gone before. One of a clutch of performances that have struggled to get to grips with a taxing score today.


General • Saturday 7, 15:33:20

15:13hrs
11. Virtuosi GUS (John Berryman)

A well balanced opening leads into an atmospheric Lento and the Poco pui mosso has a lovely pliable shape as John Berryman lovingly natures each phrase from the middle.

Thomas Fountain delivers his flugel solo with cool headed style. Perhaps just a touch under dynamic for the hall? Not to be outdone brother James is so secure in his upper register and the trombones snap things sharply to attention as they call the band to arms.

A shaky moment in the horn cadenza is quickly overcome and the Con Fuoco drives us into a Spiritoso that just allows the drama to momentarily falter. The tempestuous seas are vividly captured although its a shame that a nasty moment spoils the cornet's reprise of the Princess theme.

A bravura close caps a performance of merit from the Midlanders although one or two uncomfortable moments are likely to influence the men in the box.


General • Saturday 7, 15:08:56

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That dreaded wait to go on stage for Kirkintilloch

14:46
10. Kirkintilloch (David Roberts)

The opening bars are solid enough but we miss a sense of style as the music unfolds. A nicely delivered flugel solo transforms the musical picture and ensuing individual entries are generally well delivered but the performance is still struggling to take flight for us.

The Con Fuoco momentarily injects some drama into the performance and as we journey into stormy seas, we don't get that motion of the ocean that is so vital to the meaning of the music.

There is some repose found in the final bars but this is a performance that is going to struggle to find its way to the top today.


General • Saturday 7, 14:32:00

Half-time Prediction

Stephen Roberts' Rimsky fantasy has produced a compelling array of interpretations and approaches in Symphony Hall, claiming some notable scalps along the way. A fascinating contest is unfolding For us its Tredegar leading the way with a performance of breathtaking virtuosity,followed closely by Brighouse, Grimethorpe and Black Dyke.

1. Tredegar
2 Brighouse and Rastrick
3. Grimethorpe Colliery
4. Black Dyke
5. Leyland
6. Hepworth


General • Saturday 7, 14:26:35

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All smiles with Carlton Main beside the Symphony Hall

14:06
9. Carlton Main Frickley Colliery (Phillip McCann)

Phillip McCann nails his flag to the mast with a bold opening. A thoughtful and musical evocation of the music starts to unfold and we see the MD at his most mobile as he moves around the stage encouraging his players and shaping the melodic lines.

One or two clips threaten to undermine the good work but it recovers and Kirsty Abbots delivers her solo cornet entries
with such style and grace. What a pillar of reliability she is.

The trombone call to arms is well played but we lose the sound of the answering off stage cornet. The trombone cadenza is delivered with the slightest of clips and the euphoniums lead well into a Con Fuoco that has drama if not the clarity of the best we've heard so far.

The MD builds the tension into the stormy seas although we don't get the sea sick motion that has lost us our land legs previously today. The calmness returns and its a sweetly intoned reprise of the Princess theme from Kirsty Abbots and her cornet team.

The final flourish has real bravura concluding a performance that although not faultless in execution, displayed potent musical merit.


General • Saturday 7, 14:01:20

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Tredegar percussion team prepare for their Arabian excursion

13:39hrs
8. Tredegar (Ian Porthouse)

Tredegar opt for the suggested stage layout with cornets reached around the band and the opening statement is huge with a real weight of orchestral style sound.

Detail is heard as the sands of time make way for a finely delivered euphonium solo and the individual entries have such a fine feeling of confidence and security about them. The MD works hard to shape the music with sensitivity and the flugel solo is full of eastern promise. This is a touch of Fry's Turkish Delight.

The inner parts are heard with parity and the calls to arms of the trombones are tight and declaimed with authority. Stephen Sykes walks to the front of the stage and delivers a cracker of a trombone cadenza. Horns just waver a touch but euphoniums are top notch and the Con Fuoco is totally gripping. It's loud and it's powerful but once agin the detail is so clear.

And as the seas take hold of Sinbad and his ship we sense the full fury of the ocean. This is a gripping portrayal of the forces of nature.

The sands of time transport us back to a melting vision of the Princess. There's just a touch of strain it the upper lines but the stillness descends beautifully before the final breathless apotheosis.

Tredegar sets the hall on fire with a performance of stunning virtuosity and musical intelligence. That was quite something.


General • Saturday 7, 13:34:04

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Mareika Gray and Michael Fowles share a few test piece secrets.

13:13
7. Milnrow (Mareika Gray)

It's a big day for Milnrow as the band takes to the stage for its first ever British Open performance.

The opening statement comes off well although there are some understandably nervous sounds as the dynamics settle in the ensuing bars. The tempo is a touch cautious as the Princess theme unfolds. We'd like to hear a little more motion but there is some brave individual playing heard.

Flugel solo is delivered with a nice sound but just needs to project a little more. It's a touch cautious. Solo euphonium does so well but intonation rears its head once or twice. Solo trombone turns to face the audience for cadenza but the the trombone and and euphonium cadenzas test the players to their limits.

The Con Fuoco is well done. Bass solo is clipped in its style but the band works hard to build the drama and tension.

The tempestuous seas need to rise and swell a little more again, we can't criticise the courage and commitment shown by Milnrow.

Solo horn does well as the seas return to lameness and the cornets reprise the Princess theme with tuning proving problematic. It's a spirited end to a a courageous show but Arabian Nights really took its toll on the Open debutantes.


General • Saturday 7, 13:12:07

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The Leyland team in the warm-up room

12:51
6. Leyland (Michael Bach)

Leyland is another band that chooses to ignore the suggested stage formation. It's a menacing open instalment of intent and as the sands settle t.here are quality individual contributions on display. There are also one or two nasty moments though and there's a curious lilt to the Princess theme. We''d like to hear it flow a little more freely.

Solo euphonium is impeccable and there are great sounds from the trombones as we head into a trombone cadenza that doesn't quite convince.

Tempo wavers a touch as the Con Fuoco progresses and there are fleeting moments that don't quite coalesce. There's huge drama as the rolling seas take hold though and the sands shift us into the calm after the storm. As always Michael Bach puts his soul into the music. Tuning in the cornet unison wavers and it isn't the quietest playing we have heard so far today but the passion is abundantly clear.

The final adrenalin rush is so exciting but will it hold its own overall today?


General • Saturday 7, 12:46:14

12:28
5. Brighouse and Rastrick (Professor David King)

As with Grimethorpe, Brighouse opts for a traditional seating plan and we hear a powerful yet restrained opening that finds the orchestral style of the original with aplomb and there is impressive clarity between the cornet lines as the sand swirls.

David Thornton sings the solo euphonium part and as we hear the first full statement of the Princess theme David King moves the tempo on finding a fine sense of motion to the melodic lines.

There's just the occasional uncomfortable moment (soprano) but as always, David King is bringing something different to Brighouse's performance as the solo trombone delivers a belter of a cadenza followed by a fine show from David Thornton.

The Con Fuoco is just that; furious and the pace and detail really takes us by the scruff of the neck.

Brighouse's ocean is one that we wouldn't want to experience. We can sense the power as the waves take control and nature takes its course. Wow, this is visceral stuff. Subtle it's not but neither are the tempestuous oceans that the music depicts.

And now the music subsides into a melting reprise of the Princess theme, albeit delivered on muted cornets, followed by a brisk final flourish with an audible top E from the soprano.

Brilliant, engaging and at times highly individual. A trademark David King performance with so much clarity on display.


General • Saturday 7, 12:23:05

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Sheona and Zoe all set for their contest performances

11:58
4. Black Dyke (Dr. Nicholas Childs)

Opening statement growls with menace and is so well balanced. Gary Curtin excels in opening euphonium solo although here's a nasty moment on 2nd euph. The atmosphere is beautifully done in the subsequent bars as the shifting sands dance and swirl.

Solo entries are of the highest quality. Just the slightest clips along the way and Zoe Hancock is oh so stylish as she rises to her feet to despatch the flugel solo with panache.

Trombone solo is not entirely comfortable but horns recover and euphoniums are so well done.

And now we head into a driven Con Fuoco. There's something about this that really captures the style of the original but curiously, it's not quite edge of the seat stuff in the way that Grimethorpe was.

The band sound is magnificent though and as the sands of time swirl once again the cornets deliver the Princess theme with such elegance and composure. The stillness is palpable but this wasn't Dyke at its faultless best today.

Such a convincing musical presentation but wit some noticeable slips.


General • Saturday 7, 11:55:05

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Hepworth take the stage at the British open

11:36hrs
3. Hepworth (Michael Fowles)

The opening statement needs a more rounded sound but the shifting sands swirl in the subsequent bars and Mike Kilroy plays with such style and flair in the euphonium solo. What an artist!

Mike Fowles carefully builds and shapes the atmosphere and the solo entries are generally secure. This an MD that has clearly studied his Rimsky-Korsakov. Way a fabulous sound from Peter Moore on solo trombone. His solo is delivered with an orchestral sound and so well shaped. Horn just about survives without serious incident and once agin Mike Kilroy shines through.

Con Fuoco is certainly loud but doesn't pin us to our seats in terror. There's good detail heard though and the dynamics are executed with precision.

There's menace a plenty as Sinbad's ship crashes against the rocks and the lonely statement of the opening theme is nicely done on solo horn as we head into the calm before the final flourish.

This an admirable attempt to create the millpond like stillness that the music needs here with just odd individual entries sticking out as we head to a lively final flourish.

A performance of real effort, determination and grit from Hepworth.


General • Saturday 7, 11:31:22

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Grimethorpe, in the wings of Symphony Hall, wait for their call.

11.11hrs
2. Grimethorpe Colliery (Luc Vertommen)

Grimethorpe ignore the stage instructions in the score and opt for a traditional seated formation.

A huge opening has weight, power and balance and the subsequent bars are spine tingling as the stage is atmospherically set for the music that follows.

Luc Vertommen is such a stylish and level headed conductor. He's totally in control of this and his players respond with playing of impressive security and precision. You can just sense that Kevin Crockford's moment is going to come!

The changing moods are so beautifully characterised and the moments of eastern promise shift and sway like a snake charmer's cobra. This is quality stuff indeed, laden with drama and with the darkest of hearts.

Fabulous trombones and the individual cadenzas that follow are deftly handled. Sinbad's tempestuous voyage is captured in glorious technicolor as the band really cranks up the action. This is a hair raising stuff1

Those bottom clenching solo entries in the closing moments are just a touch fragile as the cornets turn into the band but the is so much style on display. Grimethorpe is responding to a real showpiece of a test in majestic fashion and its a great final flourish......even we don't quite get a top E from the sop!

Grimethorpe at the peak of its powers brilliantly executed and directed with such musical authority.


General • Saturday 7, 11:06:20

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Seindorf Beaumaris all set for their performance with MD Gwyn Evans

Live Comments by Chris Thomas

10:45hrs
1. Seindorf Beaumaris (Gwyn Evans)

A potent opening statement imbued with a dark foreboding. Shifting sands lead into competent euphonium solo with the slightest of clips.

Nicely created atmosphere as the Lento unfolds although not without the odd nervy moment. Flugel soloist sings with eastern promise and the accompaniment is carefully shaped and coloured .

We hear excellent dramatic effect as we head into the cadenzas of the Modato Assai but wow those solo voices are tested to the maximum. Poor old Sinbad is tossed around mercilessly and we hear the sea in all its majestic power as Glyn Evans winds up the tension.

Solo horn could be a touch more wistful as we approach the final bars and the melodic strands need more cohesion here. Soprano is tentative but who wouldn't be? A spirited final flourish and the soprano hangs on......just!

A creditable effort from the number one draw but this piece is really going to test the bands today.


General • Saturday 7, 10:44:42

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Frank Hodges, Contest Controller, leads the draw process in Symphony Hall.


General • Saturday 7, 10:26:38


Draw

Black Dyke (Dr Nicholas Childs), 4
Brighouse and Rastrick (Prof. David King), 5
Carlton Main Frickley Colliery (Phillip McCann), 9
Co-operative Funeralcare (Allan Ramsay), 14
Cory (Philip Harper), 16
Desford Colliery (Nigel Seaman), 17
Fairey (Geneva) (Garry Cutt), 15
Fodens (Allan Withington), 13
Grimethorpe Colliery (Luc Vertommen), 2
Hepworth (Michael Fowles), 3
Kirkintilloch (David Roberts), 10
Leyland (Michael Bach), 6
Milnrow (Mareika Gray), 7
Reg Vardy (Russell Gray), 12
Seindorf Beaumaris (Gwyn M Evans), 1
Tredegar (Ian Porthouse), 8
Virtuosi GUS (John Berryman), 11


General • Saturday 7, 08:49:38

Symphony Hall is buzzing with activity as the bands start arriving.

The draw takes place at 9.00am and we hope to put it up with a special video announcement when the judges are in the box.

The judges today are the composer Stephen Roberts, David Read and Rob Wiffin.


General • Saturday 7, 07:31:59

Just a couple of early pointers to watch out for today.

All the main soloists are all put under the spotlight, but it will be interesting to see how many take the option to really play to the crowd and go for it by standing away from the band for their cadenzas and perhaps even playing from memory. The composer has asked for drama and audience interaction on this one.

Also, check out the bands that in the final serenade section take the option to cheat with mutes. The composer has explicitly said he wants it all played open, so who will chicken out and get the dusters, mutes and special effects out.

Shame on them if they do - and on the judges if they can't spot them doing it.


General • Saturday 7, 07:13:58

Just like 100 years ago when Foden's retained their title, the sun is shining in the sky and there is a real air of expectancy about today's contest,

There was the sound of final preparations last night around Birmingham - with three bands at the local Conservatoire, and everyone we have spoken to says they feel quietly confident on Arabian Nights.

The draw takes place at 9.00am and the action starts at 10.30am.


General • Saturday 7, 06:59:22


General • Friday 6, 17:08:12

There is less than 24 hours to go now before the start of the 161st British Open Championships.

The 4BR team is on its way to the contest from all over the world, with Anthony Banwell flying in from Australia to join up with the lads for a bit of Brummie brass band action.

We will be working hard though, so keep your eyes peeled for plenty of views, news, comment and video inserts to keep you in touch with the action as it unfolds...




Concert - Brass in Concert Gala Concert

Friday 17 November • St Mary's Square, Gateshead Quays, Gateshead NE8 2JR


Contest: Brass in Concert

Saturday 18 November • Sage Gateshead, St Mary's Square, Gateshead NE28 2JR


The Brighouse & Rastrick Band - Billingham Forum Theatre

Saturday 18 November • Billingham Forum Theatre. Queensway. Stockton-on-Tees. TS23 2LJ


Foden's Band - Morley Town Hall

Saturday 18 November • Queen Street, Morley LS27 9DY


Cory Band - Brass in Concert Gala Concert

Saturday 18 November • St Mary's Square, Gateshead Quays, Gateshead NE8 2JR


Wakefield Metropolitan Brass Band

November 17 • FRONT ROW CORNET. SOLO TROMBONE. . The band have an exciting concert/contest/marching schedule ahead. We are looking for a committed front row cornet and solo trombone player to come and join us in the Yorkshire 1st Section! MD: Richard Larder.


Glossop Old Band

November 17 • SOLO TROMBONE. The Glossop Old Band Welcomes applications for the Solo Trombone Chair. The Band will be competing in the First Section as of 2018 and are looking to continue its progression back to the top levels of performance


East London Brass

November 17 • Champ band under their INSPIRATIONAL MD Jayne Murrill are looking for a top quality BASS TROMBONE player to join our team. Lots of exciting projects (concerts and contests) lined up in the next 2 years.


Kevin Wadsworth


Conductor, adjudicator, teacher (ABBA)