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2015 European Brass Band Championship — Championship Section: As it happened

All the action from the 2015 European Brass Band Championship — Championship Section — as it happened.

Championship Section • Sunday 3, 17:24:20

Well that's all folks from the 4BR team at the 2015 European Championship here in Freiburg.

It's been a highly enjoybale event - the quality of the music making trumping the concerns over the poor scheduling and time keeping. You can forgive most things like that when what you get to hear is so good.

That said - they need to sort it out in time for Lille - you simply can't have the best bands in Europe having to wait until close to midnight to perform.

Congratulations to Black Dyke, Italian Brass Band, Wardle Academy Youth and Young Brass Band Willebroek - as well as Stan Niewenhaus as the composer award winner.

The news report and the retrospectives will be published as soon as we can.


Championship Section • Sunday 3, 12:51:15

During the interval between the youth sections 4BR takes the opportunity to speak to Carrie Boax

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Liberty Brass Band


Championship Section • Sunday 3, 00:21:03


Championship Section • Saturday 2, 23:22:03

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Results:

Adjudicators:
Set Work: Thomas Doss, Marc Lys, Stephen Roberts
Own Choice: Garry Cutt, Christophe Jeanbourquin, Stig Nordhagen

Test Piece: The God Particle (Rolf Rudin)

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1. Black Dyke (Professor Nicholas Childs) (4/4) 97/97 = 194
Metropolis 1927 for Brass Band & Percussion (Peter Graham)

2. Brass Band Willebroek (Frans Violet) (11/10) 96/96 = 192
Journey of the LOne Wolf (Simon Dobson)

3. Brass Band Burgermusik Luzern (Michael Bach) (10/1) 98/92 = 190*
Trance (Thomas Doss)

4. Eikanger-Bjorsvik Musikklag (Professor David King) (3/5) 92/98 = 190*
Trance (Thomas Doss)

5. Cory (Philip Harper) (8/8) 95/93 = 188*
Partita for band (Wilfred Heaton)

6. Treize Etoiles (Dr James Gourlay) (12/11) 93/95 = 188*
Audivi Media Nocte Oliver Waespi)

7. Co-operative Funeralcare (Allan Ramsay) (5/12) 91/91 = 182
Audivi Media Nocte Oliver Waespi)

8. Paris Brass Band (Florent Didier) (6/6) 94/86 = 180
Vita Aeterna Variations (Alexander Comitas)

9. Brass Band Oberosterreich (Ian Porthouse) (7/9) 90/89 = 179
Audivi Media Nocte Oliver Waespi)

10. Bayerischen Brass Band Akademie (3BA) (Thomas Ludescher) (2/3) 88/90 = 178
From Ancient Times (Jan Van Der Roost)

11. De Bazuin Oenkerk (Klass van der Woude) (1/2) 89/88 = 177
Journey of the LOne Wolf (Simon Dobson)

12. Lyngby-Taarbaek (Michael Thomsen) (9/7) 87/85 = 172
Symphony in two movements (Professor Edward Gregson)

*Set Work placing takes precedence in event of a tie

Best Soloist: Gary Curtin, Euphonium (Black Dyke)


Championship Section • Saturday 2, 22:33:06

4BR editor Ian Fox discusses the 2015 EBBC with Kenny Crookston and Gordon Simpson


Championship Section • Saturday 2, 22:15:02

4BR editor Iwan Fox speaks with Rolf Rudin composer of the set work for the Championship Section 'The God Particle


Championship Section • Saturday 2, 22:05:24

4BR editor Iwan Fox discusses the 2015 EBBC with Steven Mead


Championship Section • Saturday 2, 21:40:18

4BR editor Iwan Fox chats with EBC Guest Soloist trumpeter Jens Lindemann


Championship Section • Saturday 2, 20:01:53

There is currently a break before the Gala Concert which starts at 8.00pm here.

The results will be announced around 10.00pm local time, so keep you eyes peeled.


Championship Section • Saturday 2, 19:45:47

Now that the competitive action has finished in the Championship Section, and bearing in mind the troubles many people had in accessing the action through the live streaming, you can make sure you can look back and enjoy the fantastic music by a series of downloads from World of Sound.

The God Particle:

Click on the link below to download each band’s performance of ‘The God Particle’.

These will be available by Sunday evening at:

http:/­/­bit.ly/­1DHJKVA

Own choice selection:

Each band’s own-choice piece will be available by Sunday evening at:

http:/­/­bit.ly/­1OzMUVP

Pre-order:

You can also pre-order the CD or DVD of EBBC2015 for a special discounted price at:

http:/­/­bit.ly/­1DvXtn2


Championship Section • Saturday 2, 18:48:11

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Final Thoughts of Jeremy Wise:

So what a contest - again.

What do you say - it is a pity that there has to be a winner.

Today it is between Willebroek and Treize Etoiles with Eikanger and Dyke also possible winners - it is that close; any of those in any order.

For sheer quality and consistency over two days we go for Treize Etoiles to win overall with Willebroek and Eikanger scrapping for second. Dyke in fourth and then Luzerne and Cory.

It has been staggering and - don't forget it is just our opinion. It won't count for anything later.

Own Choice Prediction:

1. Treize Etoiles
2. Willebroek
3. Eikanger
4. Black Dyke
5. Luzern
6. Cory

Overall Prediction:

Adding up our placings for the two days we have come up with a result you could only separate with a German fag paper....

1. Treize Etoiles
2. Eikanger Bjorsvik
3. Willebroek
4. Brass Band Burgermusik Luzern
5. Black Dyke
6. Cory

Dark Horse: Paris Brass Band


Championship Section • Saturday 2, 17:40:51

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12. Co-operative Funeralcare (Allan Ramsay)
Audivi Media Nocte Oliver Waespi)

It's a pity that the hall isn't fulll to hear the Scots - especially as they really hit their straps in the opening. It fizzes with energy.

A sublime horn leads to a lament of baroque tenderness shaped with delicacy by the MD.

A touch straid in first funk trio; but it has clarity and purpose for sure.

Opaque interval has a touch of Eastern mystery before second trio which is played with a touch of elan.

The drive home has a touch of the dardenelles about it - great suave drive to a huge ending.

A performance of great merit that.

JW

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Stats Corner

The final Waespi 'Audivi' of three offerings today. Having been used as the set test in 2011, it was performed three times between 2012-2014,so it's now been heard as an own choice selection six times at the European.

That's the final bit of contest trivia except to say the winning numbers last year were 4 and 11. We will find out in a few hours time, which draw numbers have been successful this time around.


Championship Section • Saturday 2, 17:17:21

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11. Treize Etoiles (Dr James Gourlay)
Audivi Media Nocte (Oliver Waespi)

Treize Etoiles also play Audivi and it doesn't land as heavily as previously but that sons changes. Jim Gourlay was on fire last night while everyone else flagged and drove the band to great heights at the end of the contest. He knows just when to open things up and the crescendos are perfectly built and timed.

The solo horn is a lovely plaintiff voice in this haunting melody sailing over the band and the silky lines that follow are so warm and rich with fluidity. Just lovely. The music is being stroked and caressed with tenderness. Not much tenderness on display today and this is beautiful.

The solo trio take their places. Terrific stuff with bags of style and funk rhythms. This is really infectious - the drummer just can't stand still.

There is such sadness to the slow middle part combined with real beauty. Tiny question mark over flugel intonation but gone in moments. The trio of cornet euphonium and drums take over things now and their fingers are a blur. This is just so hard and so well played.

The Gourlay leg, which saw some action last night, is now in full swing and some knee lifts to add variation. Then off we go - into 3rd, outside lane and floor it. The band kicks into gear like a Ferrari and shoots along. We are back to the music of the Middle East and it is a big ride home. Another super show amongst many today. Again it has to be right up there and combined with a good result yesterday this could be their title. Epic stuff and the last note disappears into a cheer.

JW

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Stats Corner

It's another 'Audivi' to be heard from the Swiss contender and James Gourlay. The combination delivered the piece in Montreaux in 2011, finishing ninth in that section. They'll be hoping for better luck today, that's for sure.


Championship Section • Saturday 2, 16:54:38

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10. Brass Band Willebroek (Frans Violet)
Journey of the Lone Wolf (Simon Dobson)

Willebroek have chosen to give us our second Lone Wolf of the day before our final two Audivi's. Strongly influenced by the life of Bela Bartok the music uses snatches of folk dance. This is such a strong band and they are trained and organised by a master.

Superb solo contributions from the cornet, sop and horn show the real character of the music. The flugel comes to the front of the stage and plays quite beautifully leaping from low to high and back again.

The Jazz club influenced trombone solo is a smooch and a half - lovely stylish playing. Then, when you think it can't get any better the euphonium stands and trumps the lot of them. Not to be outdone the solo cornet stands and joins the fray. Magnificent music making.

This band are back to their very best again and their conductor knows every trick to make them play. No harder working conductor out there - produces and teaches some fantastic musicians. What an achievement.

An absolutely outstanding performance - quite staggering in places. Brilliant. So glad I am not adjudicating this today. In a two day contest consistency is a major factor and Willebroek are certainly that. Very close at the top.

JW

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Stats Corner

The Belgium's have opted for Dobson's 'Wolf' today - the set test when they became National Champion last autumn.


Championship Section • Saturday 2, 16:32:28

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And still the Vikings keep coming!


Championship Section • Saturday 2, 16:29:09

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9. Brass Band Oberosterreich (Ian Porthouse)
Audivi Media Nocte (Oliver Waespi)

Audivi Media Nocte made its premier at Montreux with Manger winning the day. The Austrians make the same racing start as Manger did that day. Crikey does this fly - this is not a piece that will ever make its way down the divisions such are the technical demands.

One of the main features of the piece is the use of groups of soloists stood together starting with Eb bass, trombone and bongos with a really funky rhythmic trio - star players all three. Bongos perhaps a touch too dominant at times.

Then this is picked up by the cornet, euphonium and hi hat/snare drum. There is seemingly nothing that see players can't play such is their ability.

They then switch up a couple of gears in the drive for home powered on by the relentless bass drum beat. This then leads to a Turkish inspired melody in the horns and this drives right to the final chord.

A really well played and organised performance from this band.

JW

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Stats Corner

The first 'Audivi' of the day and Ian Porthouse knows it well having conducted Tredegar when Waespi's work was used as the set test in 2011. The Englishman enjoyed the Own Choice contest that year leading the Welsh outfit into third place in that section. What can he conjure up today then?


Championship Section • Saturday 2, 15:40:19

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8. Cory (Philip Harper)
Partita for band (Wilfred Heaton)

Cory make the bravest choice of the day in Heaton's Partita, written in the 1940's and what a stunning piece of music it is. Nothing flash about this, quality writing from an absolute master of scoring. After taking the roof off last night there will be a need for such touch and delicacy in this stark music.

So much of what comes later is laid out in the early moments of this music. A very different portrait to many other pieces today but the quality of the music shines through from the word go. Not a note wasted anywhere.

The first movement is exquisite. And the final close by sop and basses is just perfection.

One we go and this rollicks along at a breakneck speed. All the usual hallmarks of Heaton's writing are there, the awkward cross rhythms punctuated with great slabs of sound. The unison horn sound is so full and the sops link wonderfully. Tom Hutchinson's little interjections are nailed to the wall so accurate are they.

This is just a piece to treasure; how something can be so beautiful without really meaning to be is its mystery. The chords at the end of movement 3 are just spellbinding.

This piece has been so in need of this performance it is music that almost needs no applause. The band took many risks when it would have been easy to take a safer route, the piece in itself being a major risk.

The silence from the audience at the end of the third movement said it all. A great performance of such inspired music. Just wonderful.

JW

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Owen Farr and Chris Howley

Stats Corner

The last time a Wilfred Heaton piece was used here was Contest Music at Birmingham in 2007 when it was performed by Foden's.


Championship Section • Saturday 2, 15:26:52

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7. Lyngby-Taarbaek (Michael Thomsen)
Symphony in two movements (Professor Edward Gregson)

The Danes are here again with music by Edward Gregson and his Symphony in Two Movements. The signature Gregson rhythms and motifs are there and the timeline from Dances and Arias can be heard clearly.

The solo cornet section have a lovely integrated and blended sound. This seems to be suiting the band more than last night and they have raised their game today and by a few notches. This is fine playing full of confidence and quality. The balance is so much easier to achieve when you have the regular size of band too.

The final section again reprises familiar detail and sounds from the Gregson catalogue very reminiscent of earlier works the language is so well known to band audiences. A really good complement of young players in this band, trombones especially.

A performance that they should be happy with today.

JW

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Stats Corner

The Danes on their two previous European appearances have opted for music from Downie & Sparke. They clearly enjoy the UK composer's as today its Edward Gregson. What can they do with his superb opus?


Championship Section • Saturday 2, 15:26:08

Half time round up

Bucking the trend slightly and running the risk of upsetting the myriad of Swiss here today we go for Dyke by a nose ahead of Eikanger with Luzerne in third and Paris close behind.

Half-Way through the contest and 4br has caught up with Lito Fontana as he takes in the Championships and supports his Italian friends


Championship Section • Saturday 2, 15:05:33

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6. Paris Brass Band (Florent Didier)
Vita Aeterna Variations (Alexander Comitas)

Paris now and they haven't taken my advice and have stuck with the White ties. Never mind. A lovely cultured opening from Bb bass and then flugel. This more conventional brass band work is perhaps not quite as suited to their style and sound as yesterday. It is a band with brilliance in the cornets and having 12 on stage it tends to again overpower the middle band sound at times.

The young conductor is giving an object lesson in clarity and shapes phrases with such elegance and doesn't have his head buried in the score. The warmth is occasionally lacking when needed and some colder sounds make it occasionally sound a little bare.

The central slow section of the piece shows the fabulous sound of the solo euphonium to full effect. What a glorious player. Others need to just add a little vib at times to the quiet chords perhaps.

The March towards the finale is played at just the right pace and with real character and anticipation. Perfectly paced and judged.

A really good show, perhaps not hitting the heights of yesterday but nonetheless quality musicianship.

JW

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Stats Corner

Drawn sixth in both elements this weekend, the French have opted for Alexander Comitas's Vita Aeterna Variations which was their Own Choice when they won their National competition in 2014. Can the European set test from 2012 and last year's British Open challenge bring them as much luck today then?


Championship Section • Saturday 2, 14:38:04

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5. Eikanger-Bjorsvik Musikklag (Professor David King)
Trance (Thomas Doss)

Eikanger now with our second Trance of the day. This is a work that needs to be heard more than once to get any kind of handle on it.

Following on from yesterday the clarity and definition they are able to produce makes everything so transparent and easy to distinguish, even at the louder dynamics. The sop has lips of titanium it seems.

The playing from beginning to end is of such virtuosity it draws you right in. The conduct directs the band but the audience too so that you know at all times what he is trying to do and when. Engrossing to such an extent that I just sat and watched/listened to very note. Layering of dynamics enabled the piece to make sense and for the detail to come out.

Outstanding playing and direction.

JW

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Stats Corner

David King and Eikanger have not drawn 5 together in the Own Choice section under their partnership at this contest. The Australian won the title in 2001 with YBS which included the number 5 draw in this section in Montreaux.


Championship Section • Saturday 2, 14:00:44

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4. Black Dyke (Professor Nicholas Childs)
Metropolis 1927 for Brass Band & Percussion (Peter Graham)

And so to Black Dyke playing another new work by Peter Graham inspired by the 1927 film Metropolis with onstage marching band all part of it and substantial contributions from stood soloists.

The music is paced and has echoes of Gershwin and Bernstein which are clearly heard - On the Town and West Side story influences. Cornet and euphonium start the solos off with some lip trills, pedals and super G's for good measure.

The band perpendicular interjections are so precise and the bottom end sound just enormous. Flugel and then baritone solos are faultless and nervelessly delivered. A double duet then ensues with cornet and euphonium on one side and flugel/baritone the other. Zoe Hancock plays like the flugel is part of her.

We have a fleeting visit from a marching Dixieland band and then we start the 'head for home' . Wow this is something else and the quality and brilliance of the band is so obvious. A very different work but somehow cohesive and with a clear line from beginning to end that didn't need too much to be understood. the playing was pretty much faultless with a team of soloists of the absolute highest quality. The ovation is well deserved.

JW

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Stats Corner

With the exception of 2005, when Johan de Meij's Extreme Makeover was selected, Black Dyke's Own Choice pieces at their appearances here over the past decade have come from British composer's. Philip Wilby & Edward Gregson in addition to Peter Graham, the composer of this and last year's piece have been showcased either in a brand new work or one already in the repertoire.


Championship Section • Saturday 2, 13:34:53

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3. Bayerischen Brass Band Akademie (3BA) (Thomas Ludescher)
From Ancient Times (Jan Van Der Roost)

The home team arrive to warm applause. Ben von Godfrey has been promoted to principal cornet overnight. They are playing Jan van dear Roost's From Ancient Times.

What an atmospheric start this piece has with the upturned cymbal on the timp. A sonorous off stage euphonium picks up the chorale tune. The clever use of percussion enhances this - it doesn't all have to be deafening. What progress this band has made in recent years. Again there is a real question mark in pitting 3 horns against 14 cornets it makes it so top heavy. There is no chance of achieving any sense of balance - it is hard enough with 10.

The nailed on ensemble of the very top bands is not quite there yet and detail in the very fast sections does not appear. The cornet and sop links are not quite there - sop turning in doesn't help. The end of the section is terminated with a tam tam crash that could be heard in Basel.

It has to be aid that there are some great players here - the solo euphonium has a sound and style that can't be taught it comes from within him. The sop cadenza is also played with such skill and style. He is so pumped he is nearly out of his chair.

Thoroughly enjoyable to see such passion and commitment - thrilling.

JW

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Stats Corner

The Germans are reprising the 2009 Set Work today and one that has proved popular as an own choice work ever since.


Championship Section • Saturday 2, 13:15:16

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2. De Bazuin Oenkerk (Klass van der Woude)
Journey of the Lone Wolf (Simon Dobson)

De Bazuin have not had much luck with the draws this weekend 1 yesterday and now 2. An odd set of draws with a few bands playing in the same place as yesterday or similar part of the draw.

They are to play music by Simon Dobson - Journey of the Lone Wolf. A wonderfully descriptive piece very different to the first. There are elements of Middle Eastern music in the melodic and harmonic language. A few uncomfortable moments for solo cornet and tuba with solos a little buried by percussion. The hall does bounce around and percussion in particular.

The flugel stands to play facing the back of the stage accompanied by vibes played with a bow. A wonderfully authentic flugel sound but not quite nailed. Barefoot solo trom stands to face the audience. A 2nd baritone solo cadenza too - what will they think of next? Solo cornet again a little uncomfortable but rep sails up to a top d of beauty.

The ensemble in this band is so tight when they get motoring and they use the resources that having two sops gives to full effect. Terrific end to some superb playing. The standard again is going to be amazing - one or two minor issues with solo lines but a superb new work to relish.

JW

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Stats Corner

At their last European appearance in 2002, the Dutch opted for music from the UK with George Lloyd's English Heritage. Today it is another UK composer in Simon Dobson's Journey to the Lone Wolf


Championship Section • Saturday 2, 12:53:23

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Composer Thomas Doss and MD Michael Bach celebrate at the end of the performance

1. Brass Band Burgermusik Luzern (Michael Bach)
Trance (Thomas Doss)

Luzerne set the stage to play Trance by Thomas Doss off the dreaded number 1 draw. The hall is packed and we are already late starting. The tension is palpable here.

The piece starts quietly with a high and hairy flugel solo which is beautifully played although there are a couple of slightly scuffed entries in the cornets. The Trance in the music describes a mother and her new baby and their developing relationship. Won't help them play it but it is a charming story.

The music is in turn a simple music box tune interspersed with mammoth chords and powerful contractions. Tough work giving birth. Fragments of a Bach chorale keep emerging.

Another large scale work which will need another listen - thankfully we get one later. In common with Audivi Media Nocti there is a funky central section with driving kit and virtuosic solos over for the main principals. Not many can make a euphonium swing it seems.

The band have such power when they open up there will be some bleeding ears later at this rate. It builds in dynamic and pace to the end. The only thing louder than the band is the cheer from the audience. Half of Switzerland is here today it seems. A mammoth effort from the band on a hugely challenging technical behemoth of a piece. Won't be everybody's cup of tea though.

An enormous ovation after some terrific playing and sheer technical brilliance. A powerhouse performance with more than one audience member with their fingers in their ears - it really was that loud.

JW

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Stats Corner

Drawn last in Own choice last year and first this time around. Luzern played Trance at the Swiss Championships last November as its Own Choice selection


Championship Section • Saturday 2, 12:51:10

Stats Corner

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We will be bringing you some more stats and trivia during this afternoon's Own Choice contest. Only one piece that was performed last year, From Ancient Times is on the musical menu today.


Championship Section • Saturday 2, 12:48:33

Championship Section:

Own Choice Contest
Rolfe Bohme Saal Konzerthaus
Saturday 2nd May
Commence: 12.45pm (BST -1)

Adjudicators:
Garry Cutt, Christophe Jeanbourquin, Stig Nordhagen

Comments by Jeremy Wise

Draw


1. Brass Band Burgermusik Luzern (Michael Bach)
2. De Baziun Oenkerk (Klass van der Woude)
3. Bayerischen Brass Band Akademie (3BA) (Thomas Ludescher)
4. Black Dyke (Professor Nicholas Childs)
5. Eikanger-Bjorsvik Musikklag (Professor David King)
6. Paris Brass Band (Florent Didier)
7. Lyngby-Taarbaek (Michael Thomsen)
8. Cory (Philip Harper)
9. Brass Band Oberosterreich (Ian Porthouse)
10. Brass Band Willebroek (Frans Violet)
11. Treize Etoiles (Dr James Gourlay)
12. Co-operative Funeralcare (Allan Ramsay)


Championship Section • Saturday 2, 00:33:24

That's it for today - a contest that started on one day and finished on another.

Just time for a quick early morning pint and then into the arms of Morpheus.

It all kicks off again in just a few hours time.....


Championship Section • Saturday 2, 00:32:07

Halfway point round up:

Comments by Jeremy Wise

What a contest - a superb test piece, given some superb performances in some very different interpretations.

The quality of the playing has been immense - especially the percussion (and what great writing from the composer)

It could go anyway at the top end of us - especially the top three, but we go for Trieze Etoiles, Eikanger and Paris for the halfway point podium places.

Then it's Willebroek, Luzern and Black Dyke - but what a contest, and what great music making.

4BR Prediction:

1. Trieze Etoiles
2. Eikanger
3. Paris
4. Willebroek
5. Brass Band Burgermusik Luzern
6. Black Dyke


Championship Section • Friday 1, 23:24:01

As the set work contest draws to its conclusion and the last chord of the 'God Particle' will ring out on Saturday morning now. Iwan Fox interviews Ulf Rosenberg EBBA President.


Championship Section • Friday 1, 22:51:32

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12. Treize Etoiles (Dr James Gourlay):

And so to the last band - I hope the adjudicators are more awake than we are up here. They have thirteen cornets to go with their thirteen stars. Again, we are hearing outstanding playing and some epic noises from bass trombone and basses - he is definitely a meat eater.

James Gourlay is directing with his usual panache and the band respond. The band are giving a thoroughly committed and detailed account even at this very late hour when concentration must be harder to come by.

Another performance where it is easy to be glib and dish out platitudes but the playing is really superb, as it has been for most of the day. This afternoon seems a long time ago and comparisons become harder after so long but there is so little to choose between most of the bands. It really will come down to moments and taste.

Again the hordes of supporters cheer the place down and a performance that did deserve the adulation. A close one today with no bad performances and an outstandingly high level of performance all round.

That will surely be right in the mix.

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Stats Corner

It's a welcome back to the European stage for the first time since 2011 to Treize Etoiles James Gourlay was at the helm in Montreaux and indeed back in 2009

in Ostende, where they came second. They are 4BR Editor, Iwan Fox's pre contest tip for victory


Championship Section • Friday 1, 22:20:46

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11. Brass Band Willebroek (Frans Violet):

Willebroek start with some rock solid rhythmic playing, Franz Violet still a mass of hands and elbows but some band trainer. Detail is a hallmark of his performances and this is being well demonstrated in the earlier moments of the piece. There is such structure to this, organised and detailed.

This is really special playing of the highest quality. So superbly arranged and rehearsed - nothing is being missed or overlooked. It is all so balanced and controlled too - there is no exaggeration.

As with some man today it just falters slightly in the final section due to tiredness but a really good performance. Nothing showy or flashy but some really solid, good band playing.

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Stats Corner

Brass Band Willebroek were victorious in 2006 & 07, the Belgium's returned to the European fold last year for the first time since 2008 and won the set work.


Championship Section • Friday 1, 22:06:54

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10. Brass Band Burgermusik Luzern (Michael Bach):

A quite deafening roar greets the first of the two Swiss bands - Luzerne. Let's see what the defending champions can do.

It's a steady start and there are a couple of slightly fragile entries from the top end but there is good flow to the music. What a fine band this is, power when needed but subtlety and control too.

Their lyrical playing has a line that is reminiscent of the best singers with an arc and taper that is quite lovely. The middle and lower band sound is full and rich. At times it could do with a bit more bite to give better clarity but this is a minor gripe.

When they open up the power is certainly there but they sensibly keep a lid on it most of the time.

Once again the final section starts with fragility and fatigue which carries on for quite a while. What a shame. It has been such a long wait to play - and there are still two more to come. As expected the crowd go absolutely bonkers.

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Stats Corner

The defending champion, Brass Band Burgermusik Luzern makes only its third European bow since 2004. Their two previous appearances have both been in Scotland. Can they defend this weekend?


Championship Section • Friday 1, 22:01:06

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9. Lyngby-Taarbaek (Michael Thomsen):

The Danes invade the stage in shirtsleeve order but, to be fair, it is roasting and they are used to a bit of frost. The stage seems empty with just 25 brass we have been getting used to nearer 30 on average today. The band also has a good number of very young players - the trombones all look about 15.

The balance is excellent and they pay well with no fuss or melodrama. There are technical challenges that stretch them to the limit and beyond in some cases but it is a worthy performance that is not out of place here today.

The quiet chords suffer from fatigue before the final section and the fragility is hitting them hard here which is a real pity. There will be some sore lips tonight in the cornets no doubt - they are playing on their teeth in the final crescendo. That was a struggle in the end.


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Stats Corner

Lyngby-Taarbaek return to the European stage having missed out last year but were present in 2013 under Selmer Simonsen. Michael Thomson leads their challenge this year.


Championship Section • Friday 1, 20:59:13

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8. Cory (Philip Harper):

Wales's finest take the stage. Hell's bells they pile into the opening - no mercy being shown here. It is a touch steadier and clearer for it. If they like it big this will be the one for them. Some absolute powerhouse sounds from band and percussion.

It is thrilling and so exciting with animated driven direction. Even after seven performances we are still continuing to hear new sounds and detail. Each conductor finds something different to draw out it seems.

This swings from enormity to the minuscule with a huge range of dynamics. There is an uncomfortable moment of poor intonation in the muted horns which is a momentary pity. The technique in the Demi-semi section is superb. The Dr No section is less successful to open with some slight scratches in the cornet line.

The timpani duel leads into some cornet sectional work which is pure Cory - every note hits you right between the eyes. This is an all or nothing performance with no-holds barred. It was massive but not subtle.

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Stats Corner

Remarkably, Cory are making their thirteenth consecutive appearance at the Europeans this weekend


Championship Section • Friday 1, 19:58:36

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7. Brass Band Oberosterreich (Ian Porthouse):

After a short break the Austrians from BBO take the stage with Ian Porthouse in charge today - what can he bring to this superbly talented bunch of players. Their individual brilliance has always been present. Ian Porthouse brings his superbly structured way of doing things and the ever present invisible baton method.

The cornets are razor sharp in their clarity of delivery and the percussion section, like Paris, are giving an object lesson in their dark arts. There is a sensible 'no nonsense' style to this. Some of their usual excesses have been done away with and the partnership is working.

This piece suits this style of band and player - it doesn't need the conventional fluffy band sound. This has been so well organised and classily played.

The final section is a little weaker sadly as fatigue causes some individual problems and it fizzles out slightly.

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Stats Corner

The Austrian's are making their seventh appearance in the top section since 2007 with their highest placing being third in 2010. Can Ian Porthouse bring them their first title in this section this weekend?


Championship Section • Friday 1, 19:29:44

INTERVAL

Half time round up- a really fascinating first half with some very different readings and sounds. It has been up to the conductors to decide what should come to the fore and when and they have made different choices. Eikanger lead the way for me with Paris slotting in behind. Dyke showed their quality with great playing but perhaps some debate over weight at times and solo lines being buried by percussion. After that three performances of style each with differing strengths.

We opt for Eikanger, Paris, Dyke , Bazuin, Coop and BBBA

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6. Paris Brass Band (Florent Didier):

Paris Brass Band take the stage - a hint of Al Capone about the black shirt and white tie look. A band drawn from some of the top orchestral players of the region who were on top form last year in Perth. Let's see what they can do today.

There is a brilliance to this band's sound that is quite distinctive. The balance of sounds is different too with bright top end and dark heavy bottom - it just needs a bit more middle. Subtle and tasteful percussion playing is adding a great deal too.

The standard of the solo players in this band is as good as any. They take awkward fluid solos and make them sound simple. There are some superb moments here and electrifying effects. They really snap into some of these shock notes with visceral energy and precision.

Really thoughtful and intelligent direction couple with a meticulous attention to detail and honouring the score is making this fascinating. Watching pro percussionists is a lesson in itself too. The shaping of lines in the Dr No section is just perfection too - lovely sensuous playing of real elegance and beauty.

The end evolves just as it should. This has been great - playing and direction. A couple of clips but, really, so what. Superb and so enjoyable. Classy and intelligent.

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Stats Corner

Paris Brass Band continue to dominate French banding. This is their third consecutive European appearance.


Championship Section • Friday 1, 19:09:34

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5. Co-operative Funeralcare (Allan Ramsay):

After their last minute change of conductor the Co-op will no doubt be working extra hard to show what they can achieve in adversity. Allan Ramsey is a determined chap and there will be lots of teeth gritting on show.

They start with razor sharp clarity in the cornets but a few misplaced entries in the tub thumpers at the back unfortunately. The much smaller audience has noticeably changed the acoustic too - much boomer again. Some lovely mellifluous lines in the middle band soloists are a treat. The band are really finding their feet in some expansive maestoso playing leading to the central sung section. Again the percussion could be more delicate perhaps.

Some harder sticks gives more clarity to the timpani duet which is terrific, and they didn't look they they were trying to subdue a large animal doing it too. Nicely done.

A very nicely structured final section with heroic sop again although a few imprecise shock notes from the percussion again leapt out. Really good finish to this well worked performance. Glenn McLoy his usual immaculate self too. Well directed with space and time given to soloists.

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Stats Corner

Co-operative Funeralcare last appeared at this contest in 2012 when they came sixth under Allan Withington. Allan Ramsay is leading them this weekend


Championship Section • Friday 1, 17:59:50

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4. Black Dyke (Professor Nicholas Childs):

The hall buzzes as Black Dyke set the stage. That has stirred the audience.

The quality sound of the band is immediately apparent and the tempo a touch steadier. It perhaps doesn't quite have the degree of incisiveness that Eikanger achieved and the basses are heavier too. The nimbleness that is needed isn't quite there. The mini cadenzas suffer slightly with the solo brass lines buried somewhat by the percussion.

The band has a wonderful golden sound with huge bass platform but it makes less of the p and pp than others. Some superb little decorative solo lines appear and are immaculate. The central calmo with ostinato percussion and band humming is again much louder than before - less delicate somehow.

There is a section of this piece that reminds me of John Barry and his James Bond film music - and hint of Dr No from Dr Nick perhaps.

The timpani battle leads to an energetic section played at a lick and exciting too. This is flying now. Great sounds.

A terrific band with a very different reading from Eikanger. A juggernaut sound but perhaps not as agile at times. Balance choices very different too with more prominent percussion a feature. The judges will ponder these two - Eikanger for me but Dyke maybe a better finish.

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Stats Corner

Could it be lucky 13 for the reigning British Open and UK National Champion Black Dyke this weekend? They are in search of their 13th European title.


Championship Section • Friday 1, 17:37:27

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3. Eikanger-Bjorsvik Musikklag (Professor David King)

And now Eikanger with the multiple euro winner David King. Immediately the detail and clarity is apparent - every ascending run and arpeggio is heard. There is an absolute focus to the crescendos and climaxes for the first time. The mini cadenzas are perfectly weighed and measured. It is crystal clear and hugely impressive.

There is such sublety to phrase ends and interlinking rhythms and motifs are superb. Everything about this is just so right. The piece is coming to life before our eyes and ears.

It is just all there and makes complete sense. It has all been worked out and delivered with consummate skill by the players with the usual superb direction. The sop gets a special cheer for his immaculate hire wire performance plucking bar after bar of high quiet notes as if it were nothing.

A genuinely thrilling reading and performance that sets a very high bar. Superb.

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Professor David King in a moment of reflection before Eikanger-Bjorsvik Musikklag take the stage


Stats Corner

Hard to believe, but you've got to go back to 1989 for the last time the Norwegian contender won at this contest


Championship Section • Friday 1, 17:21:26

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2. Bayerischen Brass Band Akademie (3BA) (Thomas Ludescher):

And now the home team making their debut in the Championship and the first German band to as well. Bayerischen Brass Band Akademie. They are a normal band numerically except they are playing 14 cornets. Will this cause balance issues? If I am not mistaken that is Ben von Godfrey down the front bench.

The band is making more effort to play really quietly but things become fragile from time to time as a consequence. The piece is already showing how different readings give very different colours and textures.

This is a piece that needs to be heard a few times to get a handle on it. Hearing new sounds this time and expect that to continue. A more expansive reading from the Germans with some stunning effects but some moments of balance and tuning also. The timp battle is even more ferocious this time around and again the forte is extremely forte. It is really difficult to distinguish anything above a sensible forte as it just becomes a huge wash of sound.

The band sounds really tired and the last thing the cornets need now are high quiet entries and there are some casualties as a result. I think it unlikely that many will do it but to back off some of the louder moments would probably help in the hall.

A thoroughly committed and exciting show from the newbies. Well done all.

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Stats Corner

The Germans won the B section which has since been renamed the Challenge Section in 2009 but debutants today in Section A


Championship Section • Friday 1, 16:56:58

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1. De Bazuin Oenkerk (Klass van der Woude):

And we're under way with de Bazuin resplendent in red shirts, striped ties and waistcoats. The piece has an energetic start indicative of the circular motions and rapid particles of the accelerator. Whips crack to represent the collisions in this fiendishly complex maelstrom of an opening.

The band have spent hours rehearsing this and there is some real brilliance to the upper band sound and playing. The wood lined hall does not aid clarity in the two sets of timps and lower band ends up muddy at times.

It is an engrossing work setting challenges for the band as an ensemble more so than soloists. The faster writing ends up as an effect with the sheer speed and acoustic preventing the detail from emerging. The band could try harder at the quieter dynamics at times in this responsive acoustic. It would create more atmosphere.

As we start to head for home with the big time duet the volume at single forte is huge with more to come. Is it the band or just the acoustic? Again the calm moments are safe dynamically. The bells sound out of tune with the vibes too.

This is a solid and safe performance from a good band. Not going to draw too many conclusions yet but they took no real risks at the quieter end of the dynamic range. The challenge will be to create those magical moments today and to produce clarity from the writing and in this bouncy acoustic.

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Championship Section • Friday 1, 16:54:49

Stats Corner:

De Baziun Oenkerk last competed on the European stage in 2002 with the same MD at the helm, Klass van der Woude where they finished sixth overall.

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Frank Renton greets the audience at the commencement of the contest


Championship Section • Friday 1, 16:44:27

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The Lithuanian Registration Team learning the ropes


Championship Section • Friday 1, 16:41:32

Stats Corner

We will be bringing you some stats (and other bits of trivia you'll be able to answer should the need arise after rehearsal in your local pub) along the way of this contesting weekend.

A look through the history books reveals that the winners of the set work on twelve occasions since 2000 have gone on to win the two legged competition. The last time the winners finished outside of the top three was YBS in 1999 (who were placed 4th on the set work)


Championship Section • Friday 1, 16:39:19

Championship Section:

Live comments by Jeremy Wise


Test Piece: The God Particle (Rolf Rudin)
Rolfe Bohme Saal Konzerthaus
Draw: 12.30pm, Friday 1st May
Commence: 5pm (BST -1)

Adjudicators:
Thomas Doss, Marc Lys, Stephen Roberts

Draw

1. De Bazuin Oenkerk (Klass van der Woude)
2. Bayerischen Brass Band Akademie (3BA) (Thomas Ludescher)
3. Eikanger-Bjorsvik Musikklag (Professor David King)
4. Black Dyke (Professor Nicholas Childs)
5. Co-operative Funeralcare (Allan Ramsay)
6. Paris Brass Band (Florent Didier)
7. Brass Band Oberosterreich (Ian Porthouse)
8. Cory (Philip Harper)
9. Lyngby-Taarbaek (Michael Thomsen)
10. Brass Band Burgermusik Luzern (Michael Bach)
11. Brass Band Willebroek (Frans Violet)
12. Treize Etoiles (Dr James Gourlay)


Championship Section • Friday 1, 16:32:50

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Last minute preparations but the stage is all set


Championship Section • Friday 1, 15:14:57

At the press conference:-

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EBBA President: Ulf Rosenberg

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British Bandsman - Kenny Crookston

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Switzerland: Kurt W. Bohlhalter (EBBA Vice Pesident)

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4barsrest - Iwan Fox

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Scotland Delegate: Carrie Boax


Championship Section • Friday 1, 14:51:10

With images by Ian Clowes a snapshot of the Opening Ceremony and Draw within the Historisches Kaufhaus (Freiburg)

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Historisches Kaufhaus (Freiburg)

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Composer of the Set Work - Rolf Rudin at the draw.

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Careless hands as the Cory delegate drops his catch!

(Full gallery within the articles section)


Championship Section • Friday 1, 14:46:12


Championship Section • Friday 1, 11:36:55

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The 'See, Hear and Speak No Evil' Trio of Cory players prepare for their European Championship perfomances


Championship Section • Friday 1, 11:30:39

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Mat Piller (Contest Controller Swiss Championships) speaking at the EBBA Forum 'Switzerland's Success Story'


Championship Section • Friday 1, 11:25:31

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Paul Hindmarsh speaking at the EBBA Forum 'Building the Brass Band Brand'


Championship Section • Friday 1, 10:55:03

The home 4barsrest articles/galleries/video pages are now updated and include:-

EYBB in Rehearsal (Gallery)
EYBB in Concert (Gallery)
Oberosterreich in Rehearsal (Gallery)
Images of Freiburg (Gallery)

An Introduction to Freiburg (Video)
The Percussionist's View (Video)
Interview with Martin Schadlich (Video)


Championship Section • Friday 1, 10:44:11

We are currently listening to the presentations that are being made at the EBBA Forum, which this year is entitled, 'Building the Brand'.

It's all about building on and developing a new audience for brass bands - and we are hearing from representatives form Switzerland and France to find out how they have succesfully managed to do this.

A bit of an eye opener for those who haven't enjoyed the delights and forward thinking on show in Montreux or Lille.


Championship Section • Friday 1, 10:11:38

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Freiburger Bächleboote made by hand in the workshops of the REHA-REHA Association

Today, Freiburg which straddles the Dreisam River, sees the ten competitors setting sail on their journey to capture the European title. All be it with propulsion in quantum mechanics rather than wind power!


Championship Section • Friday 1, 10:05:18

It's a wet and windy day in Freiburg as we prepare for what may well turn into a marathon musical session at the concert hall.

Lots to report on from now until around 11.30pm tonight so keep your eyes peeled on the action with us.


Championship Section • Thursday 30, 17:25:42

4BR Editor Iwan Fox finds out more about the percussion requirements of Rolf Rudin's test piece, 'The God Particle' with the help of Brass Band Oberosterreich.


Championship Section • Thursday 30, 16:06:11

The competitive action starts this evening with the Composer Competition at 8.00pm.

Three talented young composers, Christian Overhead, Stan Nieuwenhuis and Ludovic Neurohr will have their works performed before an expectant audience and the adjudicators Thomas Doss, Rolf Rudin and Paul Hindmarsh.

4BR will be there to bring you a taste of the action with interviews with the composer's and the judges - and the first result of the 2015 event.

Composers Competition in rehearsal

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Youth Brass Band North Rhine Westpahalia with MD Martin Schadlich

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Composer - Stan Nieuwenhuis

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Composer - Ludovic-Neurohr


Championship Section • Thursday 30, 15:49:57

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Here today, gong tomorrow..... One of the many exotic percussion effects to be heard this weekend


Championship Section • Thursday 30, 15:47:03

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No doubt about what this weekend is all about


Championship Section • Thursday 30, 15:39:30

4BR Editor Iwan Fox sets the scene for the 2015 European Championship in Freiburg


Championship Section • Thursday 30, 12:28:53

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We have enjoyed a great morning walking around the city centre and having our first peek inside the seriously impressive concert hall - named after the local mayor who is still alive and kicking.

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Can't quite see the good people of London wanting something to be called the Boris Johnson Concert Hall can you now....

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It's big, bold and has a backdrop to the stage that looks as if it was built out of half the wood in the local Black Forest. It has a rectangular auditorium and a deep, wide stage. The acoustic panels have been opened for the contest too, so this could be bursting with brass sounds on Friday night.

There is also a superb small hall with what looks like a flying saucer for a roof, which will be used for the bands to warm up in before going on stage.

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We will be posting our first video introduction up later today before we head off to hear some run throughs of the works to be used at the Composers Competition later tonight.


Championship Section • Thursday 30, 07:35:02

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The day begins with a refreshing view from Denzlingen just north of Freiburg.


Championship Section • Thursday 30, 00:17:01

The end of a very enjoyable day at the 2015 European Championships in Freiburg.

It has been well worth the trip - with a fine concert hall set in the middle of a delightful city with excellent amenities.

No titles decided as yet (the first comes tomorrow with the Composer's), but we still got to hear the European Youth Band in action under Uwe Koeller as well as get an early extra preview of the Championship set work, 'The God Particle' - which promises to be a cracker.

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Kultur & Bürgerhaus Delcanto in Denzlingen concert venue for the European Youth Band

See you tomorrow.....


Championship Section • Wednesday 29, 15:05:43

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Friday 1st of May
17:00—22:15
Rolf Böhme Saal—Konzerthaus Freiburg
EBBC Championship Section Set Piece
“The God Particle” by Rolf Rudin

Saturday 2nd of May
12:30—18:00
Rolf Böhme Saal—Konzerthaus Freiburg
EBBC Championship Section own choice

20:00—22:45
Rolf Böhme Saal—Konzerthaus Freiburg
Gala Concert featuring Brass Band Bürgermusik Luzern and German Brass and the EYBB followed by the Award Ceremony




Foden's Band - Morley Town Hall

Saturday 18 November • Queen Street, Morley LS27 9DY


Contest: Brass in Concert

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


Rushden Town Band -

Saturday 18 November • Park Rd Baptist Church, Rushden, Northamptonshire NN10 0RW


Walsall Brass Band - Willenhall Singers

Saturday 18 November • Sneyd Communnity Centre, Vernon Way, Bloxwich, Walsall. WS3 2PA


Black Dyke Band - Waterford, Ireland

Saturday 18 November • Carriganore Arena, Waterford Institute of Technology Sports Campus tbc


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.


Ian Porthouse


Cornet soloist, clinician, conductor and adjudicator