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Take 5
A quintet of things to note from the 2017 UniBrass Championships.

Steve Jack looks back at the 2017 UniBrass Championships in Harrogate and finds plenty of things that brought a smile to the face.

Take 5

1. A model organisation

UniBrass Chairman Andy Straiton must be a very proud guy. He and the rest of the red & blue t-shirted volunteers and organising committee members worked their university scarves off to produce this fantastic event.

And even when things did go a little awry, such as tickets not being printed, there was always someone who came up with a solution (the benefit of having clever IT undergraduates on hand)

The organisation is a model for any would-be, or current, contest promoters4BR

The organisation is a model for any would-be, or current, contest promoters: The chairperson who holds office for a year/two years gives fresh impetus and ideas, and the sense of entrepreneurial adventure that sees the contest rotated around the country is something other events could do no worse than copying. 

Student plagiarism isn’t that bad a thing in those circumstances.

Stepping up

2. Rival support

Last year we had Birmingham Conservatoire waiting for its coach, until some bright spark realised they hadn’t actually booked one - and this year we had Southampton suffering a potential ‘diesel disaster’. 

Setting off, the driver noticed his fuel tank was rapidly emptying its contents and discovered that it had been spilling out onto the motorway. The delay for repairs meant the band was going to miss their allocated time slot, so without a hint of schadenfreude up stepped Huddersfield University (above) and swapped places - no fuss, no disputes no complaints.

Would that happen with such grace at other contests?


3. No prize money

With overheads and associated costs to cover there is no prize money on offer at the UniBrass Championships - and nobody seems bothered.  

No one from the committee, helpers or tech team was paid either - so everybody understands and accepts the need for the investment to be made in the contest for it to succeed.

Hopefully it made a profit – but it was great to witness an event where everyone was prepared to put more in than they got out.


4. The Tech Team

These unsung heroes deserve a big ‘thumbs-up’ for providing the excellent video streaming and for all the other technical assistance that made the event - and the band’s performances - run so smoothly.

And don’t think it was this country that was watching either, as tweets were coming in from all over the globe - from Australia and Taiwan to Andover and Torquay making new fans and supporters of the event in the process.  

Clever lads and lasses those lot.


5. Sam is the Man

Sam was the wonderful bass trombone player from Tewitt Youth who found himself plastered across the big screen during their pre-results programme. 

Tewitt are based in Harrogate so were an obvious choice to pass the time while the adjudicators deliberated - and they were excellent.

However, it was Sam Bullamore-Brown, whose face, creased with concentration filled the screen’s at the start of their performance of ‘American Trilogy’ who became the star of the entire weekend.

As the audience cheered, it took some time before Sam realised something was up; before self-awareness and the chance for 10 foot high, multi-media projected stardom beckoned. He was brilliant as the cameras zoomed in and his name was chanted by the ecstatic audience.  A star was born.

He became the ‘face’ of the next generation of UniBrass - and the thunderous applause that greeted him and Tewitt will live long  in the memory banks of all those who enjoyed a great event. 

Foden's Band - Matt Ford - Lichfield Cathedral

Friday 24 November • 19A The Close, Lichfield WS13 7LD

Lofthouse Brass Band - Pudsey Churches Together Christmas Concert

Saturday 25 November • Pudsey Parish Church, Church Lane, Pudsey, LS28 7BD LS28 7BD

Lofthouse Brass Band - Lofthouse Christmas Fair

Saturday 25 November • Lofthouse Methodist Church, Leeds Road, Lofthouse, Wakefield WF3 3NE

Enfield Citadel Band -

Saturday 25 November • The Salvation Army. 42 Clarence Road. Southend. SS1 1AN SS1 1AN

Newstead Brass -

Saturday 25 November • John Godber Centre. Ogle Street. Hucknall. Nottingham NG15 7FQ

Olney Brass

November 23 • 2nd Trombones, look no further. We are looking for a 2nd trombone to join our band. We are an ambitious 3rd section band with a new MD, winning the ODBBA winter contest 2017. Any other instruments, we would be interested to talk, please get in touch.

The Corsham Band

November 23 • With promotion to the 2nd Section from January 2018 the band are now looking to fill a couple of vacancies. One back row cornet (2nd or 3rd) plus an EEb Bass.

Thoresby Colliery Band

November 22 • Sadly due to work commitments we are looking for an experienced Percussionist to join our friendly and progressive Band. The Band has experienced a recent run of good form and is currently enjoying a sensible mix of contests, concerts and recordings.

Dave Collins

BA (Hons) (Dunelm) I, FSCO
Composer and Arranger