2004 4BR Awards - Band of the Year


Who do you think shoud be awarded the accolade as the 4BR Band of the Year for 2004. Plenty to choose from isn't there?

A more difficult task than you may think this year as a number of bands have put forward a fair old case for winning the prestigious title for bands ranked in the Championship Section throughout the world.  The usual suspects have had good years, but others have also forced their way up the rankings by virtue of their contest performances and into the consciousness of the banding public with high quality recordings and concerts.  Therefore you may have to look further afield for your possible winners.

We have opted for a five of YBS; Black Dyke; Stavanger; Reg Vardy (Ever Ready) and Dalewool Auckland, but we could have just as easily gone for a line up that included Fodens Richardson, BAYV, Brighouse and Rastrick, Grimethorpe Colliery, Hepworth (Persimmon Homes), Willebroek, Scottish Co-op, Sellers International, Eikanger - Bjorsvik and Staffordshire to just to name a few. Give it a bit of thought and make your choice to see who takes the top prize.

Yorkshire Building Society

It would have been a bit rum of us not to have nominated YBS this year. In fact they have now been nominated in each of the four years we have run the 4BR awards, and have won it twice in 2001 and 2003.

2004 was another exceptional year for David King's outfit – winners of the Yorkshire Regional Championships, All England Masters and European Championships, as well as coming runners up at the Royal Albert Hall and only missing out at the Open. In addition they produced a couple of outstanding CDs, took part in some pretty amazing concerts, headed the 4BR World rankings and still had time to showcase a brand new state of the art test piece at the Europeans. In 2005 the sponsorship ends, but under whatever new name, they continue to be immense standard bearers for the movement. 

Black Dyke

2004 saw Black Dyke return to the kind of form that places them at the very pinnacle of achievements in the brass band movement.

The Nationals win was immense, whilst they also produced one of the very best contest performances of the year at the British Open. In addition they came runners up at the Yorkshire Regional Championships, produced a whole array of CDs, that included the exceptional "The Trumpet of the Angels", took part in some brilliant concerts at major venues around the UK and abroad and had time to make the signing of the year in Peter Roberts on soprano as well. Black Dyke are back – big time.


People may have heard about the Stavanger Band before 2004, but few knew just how good they really were. All that changed during the past twelve months in which they first retained their Norwegian National title in imperious fashion under the direction of David King and then went on the produce perhaps the finest showcase brass band concert in living memory at the World of Brass British Open Gala Concert.

The only blip was at the Europeans where they certainly didn't play to anything like the form they were capable of to end up 10th, but they more than made up for that when they regained the SIDDIS title under David King once more. Some band, some twelve months.

Reg Vardy (Ever Ready)

And talking about having a brilliant twelve months, what about Reg Vardy (Ever Ready)? There was some indication last year that they were moving towards the top of the contesting tree, but 2004 confirmed it.

They took the North of England Regional Championship in fine style, but that was just the aperitif for the All England Masters where they came 3rd, the British Open where they where they were 8th and then London where they came an inspired 3rd again. Add to that 4th place at Spennymoor, involvement in some pretty exciting projects at Durham University and now an invite to the World Championships in Kerkrade, then you can see why we have put them in our nominations. They are now real contenders for major honours.

Dalewool Auckland

Our second oversees nomination fully deserve their place in some pretty impressive company. 4BR caught them first hand at the New Zealand Championships in Christchurch earlier this year where they were very impressive indeed in retaining their title.

Those two performances under the baton of exiled Welshman Nigel Weeks showed them to be a true top quality band in the highest rank, and they confirmed that further with a tremendous performance at the British Open playing ‘Montage' that impressed a knowledgeable audience and secured for them 10th place. Add to that some exciting projects in their homeland and they are proving themselves to be a most innovative organisation. The world is getting smaller, and if they could travel more often to these shores we could hear more of this very fine band.

Past Winners:

2003: Yorkshire Building Society Band
2002: Foden's Richardson Band
2001: Yorkshire Building Society Band


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