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2014 Butlins Mineworkers Championship — Youth & Junior Ensemble retrospectives

Malcolm Wood looks back at the wonderful brass band entertainment provided by the next generation of young stars at Butlins.

Youth Bras 2000
Youth Brass 2000 in concert mode

Whilst the Championship Section outfits were entertaining a capacity audience at the Centre Stage venue, ten wonderful Junior Ensembles and Youth bands provided five hours of top class competitive entertainment in nearby Reds.

In a vibrant atmosphere, it was yet another reminder of what youthful brass band music making is all about. These were two fantastically enjoyable competitions.

Perfect pitch

It was no wonder that adjudicator Alan Fernie (sat in the open) delivered equally entertaining summaries – a masterclass in how to encourage and inform.

His funny and fulsome praise of individuals and bands, spiced with the odd diplomatic hint on how they can improve performances, was perfectly pitched.

Amazing achievement

Under the baton of Chris Jeans, it was Youth Brass 2000 who created a significant piece of contesting history in once again taking home the winner’s cheque for £1,000 in the Youth Section.

Their double hat-trick was an amazing achievement - and fully deserved with a programme that practically left you breathless at its conclusion.

It was slick, polished and extremely professional – and a contest performance that the bands at Centre Stage would have been proud of.

Nothing overdone, but nothing left to chance, Youth Brass was outstanding in every department – and had to be, thanks to the quality of the opposition.

If they can maintain this form at the forthcoming British Open Youth contest in Preston and the Youth Entertainment Championship in Blackpool, brass band historians may well have to add a special appendix in their records books to accommodate all their achievements. 

Sympathy and congratulations

You certainly left you with a mix of sympathy and congratulations to Wardle High and St Helens Youth. They both pushed the winners very close, with Alan Fernie revealing there was very little between the top two.

Wardle’s MD Lee Rigg will have gone home proud of his players as they gave everything, with tight ensemble work supported by excellent solo contributions from around the stand. They are some band too. 

Similarly, Anna Hughes-Williams and her talented St Helens youngsters couldn't have done anything more, with a real star in their ranks in Georgina Moulsdale, who took the solo prize for a cracking rendition of the Harry James 'Trumpet Concerto'.

With just five bands taking part and only four prizes originally allocated, Butlins should also be congratulated for finding the extra cash to make sure both Enderby Youth and Gresley Youth didn't go home empty handed either for their excellent efforts.

Wardle youth
Wardle excellence at Butlins

Cracking programmes

Earlier, five brilliant Junior Ensembles opened the proceedings with cracking programme sets that had to include the performance of a hymn tune within their ten minutes playing time.

In the end it was defending champion Wardle Juniors conducted by Gwen Smith that retained the title and took home the £200 first prize.

The Lancastrian’s five pieces were all crackers delivered with adrenaline fuelled enthusiasm. In addition, principal cornet Rachael Clegg was a star as she deservedly claimed the soloist award.


Pushing Wardle close once again was Youth Brass 1000 under the leadership of Adele Hudson. Their trio of pieces included a rousing 'Death or Glory' march that couldn’t have been better paced if they had been conducted by Richard Evans. 

In third place came the midlanders of Wigston Enterprise, whose challenge included a cracking 'Mr Sandman' and music from 'Sister Act', whilst Shirland Training and Silver Sounds rose to the occasion to produce well delivered sets under MDs who not once lost the smile of pride from their faces.  

In fact, that seemed to sum up the whole day perfectly. 

Malcolm Wood

Contest: London & SC Regional Championships

Saturday 17 March • Stevenage Arts & Leisure Centre, Lytton Way, Stevenage SG1 1LZ

Contest: Welsh Regional Championships

Saturday 17 March • Brangwyn Hall, The Guildhall, Swansea SA1 4PE

Contest: North of England Regional Championships

Saturday 17 March • The Gala Theatre, 1 Millennium Place, Durham DH1 1WA

Black Dyke Band - Victoria Hall, Bolton

Saturday 17 March • 37 Knowsley St, Bolton BL1 2AS

Contest: London & SC REgional Championships

Sunday 18 March • Stevenage Arts & Leisure Centre, Lytton Way, Stevenage SG1 1LZ

Wakefield Metropolitan Brass Band

March 17 • Musical Director due to work commitments, the Wakefield Metropolitan Band seeks applications for this position. 1st section band with a 5th place at the areas. We require someone with the drive and ambition to take us to the next level is this you ?

Walsall Brass Band

March 17 • WALSALL BRASS BAND are looking for Cornets, 1st Baritone, 2nd Euphonium, Bb Bass and Percusion.

Cheshire Constabulary Band

March 17 • We are urgently looking for a Tenor Horn, Cornet and snare drummers (for our Corps of drums). Smart friendly well run band with varied engagements, just one rehearsal a week. Open to all walks of life ( you do not need to work for the Police!)

David A. Stowell

Conductor and composer