facebook twitter rss vimeo

*
banner

Report & Results: 2017 Midlands Championships: Championship Section

An impressive Virtuosi GUS emphatically make it four wins in a row in Bedworth, as a rejuvenated Thoresby Colliery join them in Kensington in October.

Games at Bedworth
  Adam Cooke adds another regional title success to his CV with Virtuosi GUS

Virtuosi GUS reinforced their major title winning credentials with an emphatic victory at the Midlands Regional Championships.

Their fourth consecutive success under the direction of Adam Cooke was delivered with a sense of musical elan that has increasingly become a hallmark of their performances over the past year. The Butlins Champion secured their place at the Royal Albert Hall with a rendition of 'Pageantry' that oozed regal splendour.

Runner-up battle

Behind them came a dozen well beaten rivals who must have known after the defending champion had played off the number 4 draw that they were to be engaged in a battle for the runner-up spot. In the end it even that was denied them, as Thoresby Colliery, who produced a substantive account led by Ian McElligott as the first band to play, returned to Kensington for the second year in a row.

Intriguingly, the final result was almost a mirror image of 2016 — with the top seven bands gaining the same spots. It also meant that former champion Desford Colliery missed out again in third place under the baton of Thomas Wyss, with the remaining top-six places going to Ratby Co-operative, Derwent Brass and Jaguar Land Rover.

Best produced

"All winning performances are great, but I think this was the best we've produced together at the Area," Virtuosi GUS MD Adam Cooke told 4BR. "The maturity of the sound, the security of the soloists and the confidence of the ensemble on stage was amazing.

You hear conductor's saying that they couldn't have asked for anything more — but that was the certainly the case with this one."

Adam also revealed that his band had worked harder than ever to ensure a somewhat unfamiliar piece to many of the younger players in particular, was ready for the contest.

"I've known the piece as a player, but I studied the orchestral score in depth. The music speaks for itself and links to Holst, Vaughan Williams and Bantock for me. I didn't want to create anything from it that wasn't in the score.

My players under stood this. It's been a great musical experience for us all — and we will now be performing 'Pageantry' in concerts throughout the year. "

Respected

Adam's interpretative approach certainly found favour in the box, where Leigh Baker and Cory MD, Philip Harper later revealed that they had been looking for performances that 'respected' the composer's intentions and detailed scoring.

In his pre-results analysis Philip emphasised the need for 'refinement' and 'reverence', of 'tonal balance' and the ability to show incremental 'dynamic contrast' — all elements that were displayed in full by the winners.

"That was so good to hear — and was further pinpointed in the written remarks," Adam said. "This was a great team effort, but a special mention must go to our principal cornet Thomas Fountain and George Bruce on solo euphonium. Both were simply outstanding.

We've already met two of our contest objectives for the year, but those are now behind us. Our primary focus over the next few weeks is working hard on 'Reflections on Swan Lake' for the Grand Shield, as we all want to get the band back to the British Open where we believe we belong."

Considered approach

Few would argue that Virtuosi GUS will now be one of the favourites for that contest after such a commanding victory, whilst Thoresby Colliery will also be looking forward to that Blackpool challenge buoyed by a performance that also owed much to Ian McElligott's considered musical approach.

Desford meanwhile could consider themselves a little unlucky that the contest gods didn't find in their favour on this occasion (they were drawn immediately after Virtuosi GUS), although some noticeable minor errors in an account full of spirited brio may just have cost them their place at Kensington Gore.

Meanwhile, Ratby, Derwent and Jaguar Land Rover all offered substantial evidence of their growing top flight credentials in performances that only occasionally fell below podium place expectations. Behind them, for the judges in particular, it was a question of consistency of execution and perhaps some interpretative individuality that didn't resonate in the box as much as it did in the hall. Only towards the bottom end of the results did the more obvious struggles make themselves apparent.

Stylistic substance

And although no band (the winners included) emerged completely unscathed by this timely test of musicality, it was noticeable that with the top-six or so, the approach to Howell's score was one of musical consideration — testament to the experienced MDs appreciation of its immense stylistic substance.

None though appreciated it better than Adam Cooke and Virtuosi GUS, with a victory that not only gave them a 25th Midland Regional Championship title, but could well herald further major successes in the coming months.

You hear conductor's saying that they couldn't have asked for anything more — but that was the certainly the case with this oneMD, Adam Cooke

Results:

Championship Section:

Test Piece: 'Pageantry' (Herbert Howells)
Adjudicators: Leigh Baker and Philip Harper

1. Virtuosi GUS (Adam Cooke)*
2. Thoresby Colliery (Ian McElligott)*
3. Desford Colliery LCIWTF (Thomas Wyss)
4. Ratby Co-operative (Mareika Gray)
5. Derwent Brass (Keith Leonard)
6. Jaguar Land Rover (Dave Lea)
7. Spal Sovereign Brass (Trevor Jones)
8. Blidworth Welfare (Martin Heartfield)
9. Staffordshire (Steven Walsh)
10. Newstead Brass (Philip Goodwin)
11. Bilton Silver (Rugby) (David Stowell)
12. Jackfield (Elcock Reisen) Simon Platford)
13. Bedworth Brass (David Maplestone)

*Top two bands qualify for National Final at The Royal Albert Hall



sIGANLS

Stars Signal intent at Cosford Open Day

November 24 • Ian Porthouse, Katrina Marzella, Richard Marshall, Nick Hudson, Simon Gresswell and Helen Varley will be leading an Open Day alongside The Band of the Royal Corps of Signals at RAF Cosford next week — and you can be there!


Scotland

International flavour to the Scottish Open in Perth

November 24 • There is a cross border, cross ocean feel to the Scottish Open Championship in Perth this weekend.


Swiss flag

Swiss contenders ready to seek Eden in Montreux

November 24 • 67 bands will compete for the various Swiss National titles in Montreux this weekend, with the best seeking a trip to Utrecht by creating their perfect Eden.


4 qUARTET

A4 look to invigorate quartet writing with new initiative

November 24 • The A4 Brass Quartet is hoping a new composer competition will help reinvigorate the art of brass ensemble writing...


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


Harrogate Band

November 24 • Join our team - Harrogate band! We are looking for committed front and back row cornet players who are looking for a new challenge to join our thriving, dynamic, fun and exciting 1st Section band. Our cornet section are a friendly bunch!


Strata Brass

November 24 • Bb BASS. The band are currently preparing for Butlins/Area Contests (1st Section). MD Jonathan Bates (Solo Horn - Fodens Band). Rehearsals SUN/WED,bandroom 5 mins from J35/36 M1 (Hoyland)


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.


Gary Davies


Conductor, Band Trainer, Adjudicator