There was a worldwide boost for Yorkshire banding on weekend, as Elland Silver helped the White Rose county dominate the prizes at the Bolsover Festival of Brass.
32 different countries and over 360 towns and cities in the UK alone tuned into a marathon day of live broadcast entertainment from the Heritage High School in north-east Derbyshire, as 48 competitors in six different sections showcased their 20 minute programmes from two halls.
Top of the charts
Top of the Championship entertainment charts was last year's First Section winner Elland Silver under MD Daniel Brooks, who according to adjudicator Steven Mead delivered a 'truly outstanding' performance to claim the silverware and £750 first prize.
They also took the 'Most Entertaining Performance' award, with principal cornet Ben Jarvis winning the 'Best Soloist' trophy for his superb rendition of Edward Gregson's meditation, 'Before the Cross'. And to round off a fantastic day, Elland also secured the much sought after extra bonus of receiving automatic qualification to the 2018 British Open Spring Festival.
Their slickly delivered set of modern originals opened with the choreographed 'Salt of the Earth' by Andy Scott, followed by Ben's stunning cornet solo. Further contrast came with 'With Fire and Sword' by Peter Graham and 'Time for Us' by Jacob Larsen, before they finished off with 'iMaginations' by Andrew Pearce.
"We came here with one aim," the delighted MD later told 4BR. "That was to qualify for the Spring Festival. There were so many good bands here that I felt anything else would be a bonus, but after the band played I felt we were in with a real chance.
To bag the lot says so much about how hard the players work — they just have an amazing desire to keep improving at every contest."
Steven Mead, who made his decision using his criteria-based adjudication system with added notes, was also impressed as he summed up Elland's written comments with: "Thank you for this most enjoyable concert — so rich in quality and contrasts. I enjoyed it from start to finish".
He later told the audience prior to the results that the winning band had given a 'truly outstanding performance'.
It gave Elland a three-point winning margin ahead of Yorkshire Imperial DUT, who certainly gave everything in defence of their title with a vibrant set under Martin Heartfield, whilst the final podium slot was claimed for the second year in a row by First Section contenders Shepherd Group led Richard Wilton.
The remaining top-six places in a contest that showed a great deal of variety and imaginative thinking by all MDs, as well as a host of excellent solo contributions, went to Unite the Union with a reprise of their 'Full Monty' programme, East London Brass and Hatfield.
Although Unite the Union couldn't go on to a double celebration with their excellently put together set celebrating the 20th anniversary of the film 'The Full Monty' (in which they appeared), it was certainly the worthy winner of the £500 top prize in the First Section under MD John Roberts.
With principal cornet Kim Wears working directly with 20th Century Fox in Hollywood to gain official copyright permission to use clips from the film (and to beat them down from a quote of $12,000 to $250 for just 30 seconds of it!), they recouped their expenses (including Kim's telephone bill) with an excellent performance.
Opening with the march 'Slaidburn', they segued into 'Abide with Me' played by flugel John Lee, followed by 'The Stripper' (with a cameo appearance in the same 20 year old jumper from original conductor Duncan Beckley).
A homage to their home city of Sheffield with 'Iron Man 3' led into 'Resurgance' from Sam Fisher and the finale of 'O Fortuna' from 'Carmina Burana' to close.
Just behind them came fellow Yorkshire rivals Skelmanthorpe, with a set that mixed Freddie Mercury and Edward Gregson back to back, and aided by the excellent 'Best Soloist' contribution of euphonium player Dan Jackson on 'Carnival Cocktail'.
The final podium place was claimed by Enderby with music that reached from New York to New Dehli, whilst the remaining top-six places in a enjoyable battle went to Shepherd Group, Stannington Brass and Foresters Brass.
Although only four bands played in the Second Section, it proved to be a high quality international affair — with Yorkshire's Horbury Victoria led by Duncan Beckley eventually claiming the £400 first prize ahead of the welcome Norwegian visitors of Manger Old Stars with Stourport on Severn and Pleasley Colliery close behind.
Horbury's polished set of 'Swingin' the Bugle Call', 'Let Me Try Again' featuring 'Best Soloist' award winner Charlie Walsh on soprano, the march 'The Waltonian', 'Money Makes the World Go Round' and 'Turris Fortissima', saw them home.
And although they couldn't quite return to Bergen with the title, the Norwegians certainly enjoyed their trip to the UK (landing in Gatwick and travelling six hours by coach before returning on Monday morning after also playing in the First Section where they came 7th).
"We have had a wonderful time," MD Marit Tommermo told 4BR. "We wanted to try something a bit different this year, so we opted to come here and not go to the SIDDIS contest in Stavanger.
It's been great. It's such a well run event, and everyone at home was able to see us perform in both sections. We would recommend many more Norwegian bands to come."
With the contest action split into two halls, twelve bands took to the stage in the Third Section for a cracking battle that eventually saw victory go to Ifton Colliery led by Scott Robert Lloyd.
With the band soon to take up contesting residence in Wales following their recent move 5 miles over Offa's Dyke to Chirk in Denbighshire, it was a great way to celebrate, as they beat off the strong challenge of Rolls Royce (Derby) and Shirland Welfare to claim the £300 first prize and the Redcliffe International (Shipping) Trophy.
The band certainly made sure their new Welsh roots were firmly planted as they opened with 'Sospan Fach', followed by 'My Love is like a Red, Red, Rose' played by 'Best Soloist' award winner Graham Taylor, some fleet-footed Irishness with 'Riverdance' and a return to Wales with the rather appropriately named 'Triumph' from 'Day of the Dragon'.
The remaining top-six places went to excellent sets from Towcester Studio, Stourport on Severn and Audley Brass.
Fourth and Unregistered Sections:
Earlier, over 13 hours of brass band entertainment had kicked off with a brace of super performances from defending champion Carlton Brass Training and runner-up Shirland Training in the Unregistered Section, followed by the five bands in the Fourth Section.
Carlton's winning set under Geoff Hawley started with 'Punchinello' before 'Best Soloist' award Kelly Campbell gave a rousing 'Blaydon Races'. They closed with the classic 'Sandpaper Ballet' and 'Moscow' from 'Four Cities Symphony'.
Meanwhile, Kirkby Colliery under Neville Buxton took the Fourth Section honours and £250 first prize thanks to excellent renditions of the march 'The Commander', euphonium solo 'The Rose', played by Rob Saunders, 'Reet Petit', 'Pastorale' and the finisher of 'Lord of the Dance'. Second place went to Ilkeston Brick Brass with Deepcar Brass in third.
With the event hosted by the participatory arts charity Junction Arts, broadcast through the First Art cultural consortium and funded by Arts Council England, it was little wonder there was a great deal of satisfaction from organisers, sponsors and event partners alike as they lined up to speak to presenters Iwan Fox and Chris Thomas live on air throughout the day.
With initial statistics showing that 32 countries tuned in and with viewing figures once again significantly increased, the hard work that was led by event organiser Carole Hirst and a tremendous band of 38 volunteers should ensure that the event continues to be a beacon of innovative brass band contest promotion.
To bag the lot says so much about how hard the players work — they just have an amazing desire to keep improving at every contestDaniel Brookes, MD, Elland Silver
Adjudicator: Steven Mead
1. Elland Silver (Daniel Brookes) — 92*
2. Yorkshire Imperial DUT (Martin Heartfield) — 89
3. Shepherd Group (Richard Wilton) — 87
4. Unite the Union (John Roberts) — 86
5. East London Brass (Jayne Murrill) — 81.5
6. Hatfield (Stan Lippeatt) — 81
7. Blidworth Welfare (David Hirst) — 77.5
8. Haverhill Silver (Mark Ager) — 76
=9. Bedworth Brass (Ryan Richards) — 74
=9. Longridge (Mark Peacock) — 74
11. Fishburn (Michael Franey) — 73.5
12. Foresters Brass (John Davis) — 73
13. Carlton Brass (Gary Wyatt) — 71
Best Soloist: Ben Jarvis (cornet) — Elland Silver
Most Entertaining Performance: Elland Silver
Winning MD Trophy: Daniel Brookes (Elland Silver)
*Elland Silver receive invitation to compete at 2018 Senior Trophy
Adjudicator: Thomas Wyss
1. Unite the Union (John Roberts) — 96
2. Skelmanthorpe (Jim Davies) — 95
3. Enderby (Simon Gresswell) — 93
4. Shepherd Group (Richard Wilton) — 92
5. Stannington Brass (Derek Renshaw) — 90
6. Foresters Brass (John Davis) — 89
7. Manger Old Stars (Marit Tommermo) — 88
8. Carlton Brass (Gary Wyatt) — 87
9. Gresley Colliery (Craig Stevens) — 86
10. Wigston Band (Chris Small) — 84
11. Shirebrook Miners Welfare (Colum O'Shea) — 83
12. Shirley Band (David Bishop-Rowe) — 82
Best Soloist: Dan Jackson (euphonium) — Skelmanthorpe
Most Entertaining Performance: Unite the Union
Adjudicator: Dr David Thornton
1. Horbury Victoria (Duncan Beckley) — 90
2. Manger Old Stars (Marit Tommermo) — 88
3. Stourport on Severn (Oliver Wilson) — 86
4. Pleasley Colliery Welfare (Geof Benson) — 85
Best Soloist: Charlie Walsh (soprano) — Horbury Victoria
Adjudicator: Mark Wilkinson
1. Ifton Colliery Brass (Scott Robert Lloyd) — 94
2. Rolls Royce (Derby) (Graham Cardwell) — 92
3. Shirland Welfare (Lynden Cooper) — 90
4. Towcester Studio (Neil Brownless) — 87
5. Stourport on Severn (Oliver Wilson) — 86
6. Audley Brass (Tom Hancock) — 85
7. Market Rasen (David Dearnley) — 83
8. Rockingham (Adam Whittle) — 82
9. Stacksteads (Fred Bowker) — 81
10. Long Eaton Silver Prize (Sharon Stansfield) — 80
11. Matlock (Geoff Hawley) — 79
12. Swinton & District Excelsior (Robin Rutter) — 78
Best Soloist: Graham Taylor (cornet) — Ifton Colliery
Adjudicator: Dr David Thornton
1. Kirkby Colliery (Neville Buxton) — 87
2. Ilkeston Brass (Geoff Hawley) — 86
3. Deepcar Brass (Cathryn Rogers) — 84
4. Ratby Co-operative Mid (Geoff Wood) — 83
5. Whitwell Band (Ryan Stacey) — 82
Best Soloist: Guido Damore (cornet) — Ratby Co-operative Mid
Adjudicator: Dr David Thornton
1, Carlton Brass Training (Geoff Hawley) — 85
2. Shirland Training (Ian Beckett) — 84
Best Soloist: Kelly Campbell (euphonium) — Carlton Brass Training