Whilst the winner of the Championship Section at the Butlins Mineworkers Championship wasn't known until late on Sunday evening, the identities of the newly crowned Youth Band and Un-registered Ensembles champions came soon after a wonderful afternoon of entertainment in the Reds venue.
However, much like the intrigue surrounding the algebraic machinations involved in working out the top flight results, there was also some debate with numbers in the Youth Section as well — this time over time limits.
Substance of victory
There was however little question over the substance of the victory secured by Bavarian Youth Brass, as they claimed the Youth Section title and £1,000 first prize with a wonderful performance under MD Benjamin Markl. It was a simply outstanding display — and had to be to beat defending champion, and eventual runner-up, Youth Brass 2000.
Part of the highly professional 3BA (Bayerische Brass Band Akademie) organisation in Germany, Bavarian Youth Brass has competed with increasing success at the European Youth Championships in the past two years, and continues to develop with alacrity on each contest outing. This winning performance was no exception.
They think it's all over...
Drawn third in the five band field, they opened with a crisp rendition of Curnow's 'Fanfares and Flourishes', before wittily acknowledging one of the most well known defeats in German sporting history — the 1966 World Cup final.
Revealing their red England football shirts (as worn by Bobby Moore's team the final), they cleverly riposted that very singular success with familiar examples of their own home nation's triumphs — starting with a cracking rendition of the 'Schonfeld March' by Carl Michael Ziehrer, before really letting their hair down with Queen's, 'I Want it All'.
Principal cornet, Sebastian Seidl delivered a stunning rendition of 'Carnival of Venice' which deservedly brought him the soloist prize, before 'Loffel Polka', complete with Bavarian dance routine got the audience tapping their feet.
A beautifully phrased rendition of 'Deep Harmony' then lulled them into thinking 'it was all over now' before a top draw fizz through 'Music' by John Miles made sure 'it was now'. It nearly took the roof off.
Gave it their all
Not surprisingly defending champion Youth Brass 2000 gave it their all in search of a record ninth title success under Chris Jeans, with a set centred around selections from Philip Harper's 'Beyond the Tamar' suite, which included some fantastic African dancing.
For the adjudicator, Martin Heartfield, who sat in the open to enjoy the musical treats on display, it was the top two bands that stood out from their counterparts, although he also told 4BR that there was a great deal to enjoy from third placed Shirland Youth, who also continue to improve one each competitive outing, as well as the rapidly emerging talents of Enderby Youth and Gresley Colliery Youth in fourth and fifth.
A warm welcome
The joy on the faces of the winners was brilliant to see, and so was the response of their delighted MD, as he revealed to 4BR the importance for his band of embracing the UK banding calendar.
"This is a contest we have wanted to do for some time," Benjamin Markl said. "The British bands such as Youth Brass 2000 are the inspirational benchmark to match, so to come here and win is an amazing achievement for us."
Benjamin also revealed that the trip had taken an awful lot of planning with the players flying into Heathrow before taking a coach to Skegness. Meanwhile, the conductor was part of another group that drove a lorry full of instruments across from Bavaria — getting to Skegness at 10.00pm on Thursday night, when the band then had a rehearsal!
Bit of fun
"It meant that much to us all," he added. "We have enjoyed such a warm welcome from everyone here, and made many new friends. I also hope everyone liked our programme — it was meant to celebrate as well as make a bit of fun of our all our love of winning competitions!"
So will they come back to Skegness in the future?
"We hope so. Our welcome here and the way we have been looked after has been superb. We really enjoyed participating in the concert on Friday night and thank everyone for making this a memorable weekend."
The excellent contest day organisation (led by Ian and Judith Beckett) and relaxed family orientated atmosphere it generates has made this Sunday event a highlight of the Skegness weekend, so it was a little disappointing to hear of reports of some mealy-mouthed grumbles over the length of some band's programmes.
Butlins does a super job in promoting youth inclusion in every aspect of the festival (every youth outfit was rewarded with a prize), so their sensible approach to the matter should be an acknowledged part of the contest ethos.
That was certainly on display in the Un-registered Section where Jack Newborough led another Shirland success with the superb youngsters of the organisation's Training Band — helped in no small part by Fleur Moakes, who deservedly won the soloist award for her performance of 'Shakers Song'.
It was certainly nip and tuck between them and rivals Wigston Enterprise, who also produced a cracking account of themselves under an ever smiling MD Matthew Davis, but the real highlight wasn't just the quality of the playing on show from both ensembles, but the sheer joy of simply playing.
The British bands such as Youth Brass 2000 are the inspirational benchmark to match, so to come here and win is an amazing achievement for usBavarian Youth Brass MD, Benjamin Markl
Adjudicator: Martin Heartfield
1. Bavarian Youth Brass (Benjamin Markl)
2. Youth Brass 2000 (Chris Jeans)
3. Shirland Welfare Training (Lynden Cooper)
4. Enderby Youth (Trevor Hounsome)
5. Gresley Colliery Youth (Duncan Jackson)
Best Soloist: Sebastian Seidl (cornet) — Bavarian Youth Brass
Adjudicator: Martin Heartfield
1. Shirland Training (Lynden Cooper)
2. Wigston Enterprise (Matthew Davis)
Best Soloist: Fleur Moakes (Shirland Training)
Youngest Player: Oliver Pope (5) Gresley Colliery Youth