2006 Brass in Concert Championship - Runners and Riders


4BR takes a look at the cast list of entertainers lined up for our enjoyment this weekend at The Sage, Gateshead and wonders if they have got what it takes to top the bill come the results.

Philip Harper
4BR Ranking: 17

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Chris Howley
Euphonium: Andy Hicks
Trombone: Nathan Jenkins
Soprano: Andrew Julian
Horn: Vicki Reynolds
Flugel: Danny Winder
Baritone: Carolyn Chandler
Eb Tuba: Tom Davron
Percussion: Steve Jones

Brass in Concert Record:
5th time
Debut: 1998
Best Result: 6th in 2003, 2004
Worst Result: 11th in 1998

Last 8 Years:
2005:  9th (Philip Harper) (9)
2004:  6th (Philip Harper) (3)
2003:  6th (Philip Harper) (3)
2002:  DNC
2001:  DNC
2000:  DNC
1999:  DNC
1998:  11th (Michael Fowles) (8)

2005 Programme:
Beyond the Tamar – World Tour for Brass Band (Philip Harper) – Intrada: Hymn of the Alps (flugel horn solo: Danny Winder): Storm over Leningrad: Indian Daybreak: Tongoyo: Salsa Tres' Pardo (featuring: Chris Howley – cornet, Danny Winder – flugel horn, Richard Knight – tenor horn, Nathan Jenkins – trombone): Finale.

HarperPolySteel has built up a formidable reputation for themselves on the entertainment contest stage since Philip Harper took over conducting the band and although last year they didn't quite hit the mark with their themed programme of world music you can guarantee that they will bring a real sense of style and pizzazz to their attempt this time around.

That said, they haven't really hit the mark here in the past and there is a feeling that perhaps their programmes are a bit ‘lightweight' – lots of clever stuff but not a lot of substance. They do what they do though very well indeed and if they can just produce something that lingers a little longer in the memory than the visually pleasing stuff (The MD's arrangement of Queen Isabel's Prayer in 2005 a case in point) then they could well make a real mark.

Much may depend on what Philip Harper can produce from his enviable box of musical treats.
Player to listen out for: Vicki Reynolds – one of the best up and coming horn players around 

Reg VardyReg Vardy
Ray Farr
4BR Ranking: 15

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Bryan Tait
Principal Euphonium: Paul Robinson
Soprano Cornet: Tom Glendinning
Solo Trombone: Chris Bentham
Solo horn: Andrew Hall
Flugel horn: Joanne Winspear
Solo Baritone: Jim Thompson
Eb Tuba: Steve Malcolm
Percussion: Sarah Burn

Brass in Concert Record:
30th time
Debut: 1977
Best Result: 3rd in 2003
Worst Result: 12th in 1992

Last 8 Years:
2005:  4th (Ray Farr) (3)
2004:  4th (Ray Farr) (9)
2003:  3rd (Ray Farr) (6)
2002:  8th (Ray Farr) (4)
2001:  10th (Stephen Roberts) (5)
2000:  7th  (Stephen Roberts) (9)
1999:  11th (Robert Childs) (4)
1998:  7th (Bryan Hurdley) (1)

Also: 1977: 4th (Walter Hargreaves); 1978: 5th (Eric Banks) 1979: 9th (Trevor Walmsley); 1980: 8th (Trevor Walmsley); 1981: =7th (Arthur Kenney); 1982: 10th (Peter Parkes); 1983: 5th (Peter Parkes); 1984: 6th (Peter Parkes); 1985: 8th (Roger Payne); 1986: 7th (Roger Payne); 1987: 7th (Peter Parkes); 1988: 9th (Stuart Stirling); 1989: 9th (Roger Payne); 1990: 9th (Denzil Stephens); 1991: 9th (Stuart Stirling); 1992: 12th (Hugh Megarrell); 1993: 11th (John Roberts); 1994: 7th (Mark Bentham); 1995: 7th (Mark Bentham); 1996: 10th (John Roberts); 1997: 11th (Brian Grant)

2005 Programme: Peel Park from Lowry Sketchbook (Philip Wilby): Live & Let Die (Paul McCartney arr. Ray Farr) (soprano cornet solo: Tom Glendinning): It's Just Talk (J. Pat Metheney arr. Ray Farr): The Red Machine (Peter Graham)

Ray FarrReg Vardy are the only band to have appeared at every Brass in Concert and they'll be looking to finish their 2006 contesting year on a high after two very indifferent results at the Open and Nationals. In the last three years they have just about cracked the entertainment code here and they have been good value for their high finishes. With Ray Farr at the helm and with his unique skill and talent to produce sparkling arrangements they could well feature highly again.

That reliance on the MDs ability has given the band a much more cosmopolitan repertoire and the ‘cool jazz' elements that he has brought to them are classy and well presented. That said, they have shown a tendency to overblow at recent majors and if they are to really push for a second podium place here then that may have to be tempered.

Player to listen out for: Sarah Burn – a little gem of a percussionist is Sarah who has made her mark on the contesting stage previously with the band. 

FodensFodens Richardson
Gary Cutt
4BR Ranking: 5
Principal Players:

Principal Cornet: Mark Wilkinson
Principal Euphonium: Glyn Williams
Soprano Cornet: Alan Wycherley
Solo Trombone: John Barber
Solo horn: George Thackray
Flugel horn: Helen Fox
Solo Baritone: Helen Tyler
Eb Tuba: Les Neish
Percussion: Mark Landon
Brass in Concert Record:
15th time
Debut: 1983
Best Result: Winners in 1987, 1988, 1990, 1998, 2000
Worst Result: 4th  in 1983 & 1984

Last 8 Years:
2005: DNC
2004: DNC
2003: DNC
2002: 2nd (Russell Gray) (1)
2001: 2nd (Ray Farr) (6)
2000: Winners (Ray Farr) (12)
1999: 2nd (Nicholas Childs) (8)
1998: Winners (Nicholas Childs) (4)

Also: 1983 (4th) (James Scott); 1984 (4th) (Howard Snell); 1986 (8th) (Howard Snell)1987 (Winners) (Howard Snell); 1988 (Winners) (Howard Snell); 1990 (Winners) (Howard Snell); 1991 (3rd) (Howard Snell); 1996 (2nd) (Phillip McCann); 1997 (2nd) (Nicholas Childs)

Gary CuttThe reigning English National Champion, Fodens Richardson will also be keen to put their name back on the trophy for a sixth time and make a return to the contest for the first time since 2002.

Directed by Garry Cutt, they have had something of a roller coaster season and after coming 5th at London will be keen to round off the year in style. What approach they will bring to the contest will be interesting as even in just three years the entertainment goalposts have been shifted somewhat by Grimethorpe's continued excellence.

On their day though Fodens can beat anyone, and with gifted solo players in the ranks and the ability to switch styles and genres with ease they could be right up there come the results, but much will depend on where they have looked for that musical inspiration.

Player to listen out for: John Barber – the trombone player is one of only a handful of brass band performers who can really feel at home in the jazz idiom. If he is featured then sit back and enjoy.

BrighouseBrighouse & Rastrick
Richard Evans
4BR Ranking: 10

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Alan Morrison
Euphonium: Michael Howley
Trombone: Jonathan Pippen
Soprano: Nigel Fielding
Horn: Melvyn Bathgate
Flugel: David Moore
Baritone: Leigh Baker
Eb Tuba: David Hebb
Percussion: Jason Poulston

Brass in Concert Record:
Best Result: 2nd in 2005
Debut: 2005

Last 8 Years:
2005: 2nd (James Gourlay) (8)

2005 Programme: Caravan (Duke Ellington arr. Steve Sykes); Barnum & Bailey's Favourite (Karl L. King arr. Peter Roberts); Somewhere Over the Rainbow ((H. Arlen & E.Y. Harburg arr. Eva Cassidy / Alan Morrison) (cornet solo: Alan Morrison); Papa Loves Mambo (Hoffman, Manning & Reichner arr. Rodney Newton) (vocal solo: Dave Hebb); Saint Gregory the Great from Church Windows (O. Respighi arr. Rodney Newton).

Richard EvansWe made the point last year that it was almost unthinkable that B&R had never performed at this event and having taken second place last year with a quality all round show they probably wondered why they'd never competed before.

It's been a funny old year for the chaps from West Riding as they didn't qualify for London and didn't have a good one at the Open either.  The high spot was second place at the English Nationals in the Manchester heatwave in July, but there they were some way off the pace at the Open for sure.

B&R are still very much in the hunt for a Professional and Resident MD so Richard Evans fronts the band this year and he certainly is the man who can inspire them here for sure. If they can repeat that high tempo, high energy and high jinks showing of last year then look out. If you see old Trickey Dicky starting to wiggle his derričre then you know they are on the right track.

Player to listen out for:
Michael Howley – amazing to think that he is still a very young man. On top form he is as good as any.

Mount CharlesMount Charles
Nigel Weeks
4BR Ranking: 22

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Ian Thomas
Principal Euphonium: Neil Pascoe
Soprano Cornet: Andrew Jay
Solo Trombone: Brett Baker
Solo horn: Sarah Whitehead
Flugel horn: Tim Whitehead
Baritone: Terry Sleeman
Eb Tuba: Shawn Woodward
Percussion: Derek Thomas

Brass in Concert Record:
5th time
Debut: 2002
Best Result: 3rd in 2002
Worst Result: 10th in 2004

Last 8 Years:
2005:  8th (Nigel Weeks) (7)
2004:  10th (Morten E Hansen) (8)
2003:  4th (Russell Gray) (1)
2002:  3rd (Bryan Hurdley) (9)

2005 Programme: Deep Space Nine (Denis McCarthy arr. Chris Davis); The Melody Shop (K.L. King arr. Peter Smalley); Over the Rainbow (H. Arden & E.Y. Harburg arr. Ray Farr) (flugel horn solo: Tim Whitehead); Nina (Noel Coward arr. Jonathan Camps); Battle of Trafalgar (Albert Elms arr. Gerald T. Darwin)

WeeksThis is only Mount Charles' fifth visit to the North East for Brass in Concert but some on each occasion they have made an impression – some good, some not so good.

They have had a bit of a mixed reception for their efforts here too in the last few years from the high point of 3rd place in 2002 through to some thigh slapping escapades the flowing year and patriotic flag waving last time out. Whatever next then?

Much will depend on the choice of programme and whether they go back and play to their strengths rather than trying to copy what others do better. Bubbly and lively they certainly have the personnel to showcase and confidence must be high after a fine performance at the Nationals. They will need to be on top form though to really make a mark.

Player to look out for: In the absence of trombonist Nicholas Hudson have a gander at the bands percussion section -  a talented lot with plenty to do

FaireyFairey Band
Simon Stonehouse
4BR Ranking: 8

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Michael Eccles
Principal Euphonium: Morgan Griffiths
Soprano Cornet: Alan Hobbins
Solo Trombone: Lisa Sarasini
Solo horn: Chris Pannell
Flugel horn: Lucy Murphy
Solo Baritone: Katrina Marzella
Eb Tuba: Richard Evans
Percussion: N/K

Brass in Concert Record:
: 6th time
Debut: 1977
Best Result: Winners in 1996
Worst Result: 6th in 1983

Last 8 Years:
2005:  DNC
2004:  DNC
2003:  DNC
2002:  DNC
2001:  DNC
2000:  DNC
1999:  DNC
1998:  DNC
Also: 1977 (5th) (Richard Evans); 1980 (5th)  (Walter Hargreaves); 1983 (6th) Denzil Stephens; 1996 (Winners) (James Gourlay); 1997 (3rd) (James Gourlay).

StonehouseAs with Fodens, it is great to Fairey's back at Brass in Concert for what is only their sixth appearance.  Last time they were here was during the 1990s when their ‘Men Only' band (how times have changed!) produced one of the truly unique visual experiences in the contest's history when a number dressed up as real fairy's for their ‘Sugar Plum' comedy item.

MD Simon Stonehouse has done a cracking job reviving the band's fortunes in the past couple of years and has been stringing together a set of impressive results. That though hasn't been enough to stop a night of the long knives recently and a few high profile casualties have led to a new principal cornet and euphonium.

That may have disturbed the equilibrium a touch, but they are still a fine band and one getting better and better with some startling talent in the ranks. A strong showing could be on the cards.

Player to watch out for: Katrina Marzella – the newly crowned British Solo Champion will surely be featured. If she is then enjoy an exceptional talent.  

Scottish Co-opScottish Co-op
Allan Ramsay
4BR Ranking: 7

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Jim Hayes
Principal Euphonium: Allison Bonner
Soprano Cornet: Caroline Tennant
Solo Trombone: Paul Kiernan
Solo horn: Rachel Love
Flugel horn: Andrea Casey
Baritone: Lyndsay Smith
Eb Tuba: John Gawn
Percussion: Derek Love

Brass in Concert Record:
17th time
Debut: 1979
Best Result: 3rd in 1993, 1989
Worst Result: 12th in 1979
Last 8 Years:
2005:  7th (Allan Ramsay) (5)
2004:  DNC
2003:  7th  (Nicholas Childs) (4)
2002:  DNC
2001:  DNC
2000:  DNC
1999:  10th (Bryan Allen) (11)
1998:  5th (Bryan Allen) (11)

Also:  1979: 12th (Nigel Boddice); 1986: 10th (Bryan Allen); 1988: 6th (Geoffrey Whitham); 1989: 3rd (Howard Snell); 1990: 6th (John Hudson); 1991: 10th (Stephen Roberts); 1992: 6th (Stephen Sykes); 1993: 3rd (Archie Hutchinson); 1994: 5th (Archie Hutchinson); 1995: 5th (Anthony Swainson); 1996: 7th (Bryan Allen); 1997: 8th (Bryan Allen)

2005 Programme: Keighley Moor (Joe Cook); Mid All The Traffic (Len Ballantine);
Bolivar (Eric Cook arr. Derek Ashmore) (trombone solo: Paul Kiernan); Glorifico Aeternum (Dean Jones); Fnugg Blue (Oystein Baddsvik) (tuba solo: Jonathan Gawn);
Finale from Daphnis & Chloe (Ravel arr. Howard Snell)

RamseyScottish Co-op returns once again to The Sage looking to improve on their seventh place last year where they picked up the prize for the best performance of a March on the day – Joseph Cook's Keighley Moor.  After that old tub thumper the wheels came a little bit and they didn't make the most of the opportunity that a well balanced programme suggested it would.

Allan Ramsay again leads the band in Gateshead and they will surely be well prepared. If they can play to the form of the Open and Masters then they could really feature highly, but if they produce an error strewn account like that of London then it could be another midfield position. Much will depend on the balance of their programme and if all those musical gremlins have been eradicated.

Player to listen out for: Alison Bonnar – one of the finest euphoniums around with a lovely sound

Central FloridaBrass Band of Central Florida
Michael Garasi
4BR Ranking: 89

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Bob Hinckley
Principal Euphonium: Gail Robertson
Soprano Cornet: Dee McAfee
Solo Trombone: Kerry Couch
Solo horn: Kevin Cramer
Flugel horn: John Capella
Solo Baritone: Steve Hewitt
Eb Tuba: Jonathan Cruz
Percussion: Rob Connelly

Brass in Concert Record:

GarasiThe most intriguing appearance of the contest is surely that of Brass Band of Central Florida under their charismatic conductor Michael J Garasi. They have already made an impression in the UK a couple of years ago when they held their own at the British Open, but it has been on the entertainment stage where they have sparkled and at the US Open they really do come into their own. They come here after winning that crown again in the last couple of weeks.

We have heard them improve over the last two years on our visits to the US Open and on each occasion they have shown a remarkable ability to switch styles of music with an almost professional ease and understanding. The sound of the band has also become much more ‘British' too and even though they are prone to the odd ‘rough edge' at times they can deliver quite stunning playing without the aid of the bellows.

Some real good ‘ol American razzmatazz is promised and they will not disappoint.

Player to listen out for: Every single one off them at the Gala Concert and the contest, but keep an eye out for the MD who just oozes charisma and has the type of smile a Florida alligator would die for. 

Russell Gray
4BR Ranking: 6

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Andrew Lord
Principal Euphonium: Dave Thornton
Soprano Cornet: Ian Twiss
Solo Trombone: Runar Valheim Vaernes
Solo horn: Lesley Howie
Flugel horn: Janet Lewis
Solo Baritone: Jeff Lewis
Eb Tuba: Chris Doran
Percussion: N/K

Brass in Concert Record:
22nd time
Debut: 1982
Best Result: Winners in 1989, 1991, 1992, 1997
Worst Result: 6th place 2002.

Also:  1982: 3rd (Richard Evans); 1983: 3rd (Richard Evans); 1984: 2nd (Richard Evans); 1985: 4th (Richard Evans); 1986: 5th (Richard Evans); 1987: 4th (Richard Evans); 1988 3rd (Richard Evans); 1993: 2nd (Richard Evans); 1994: 3rd (Richard Evans); 1995: 4th (Richard Evans)

Last 8 years:
2005:  DNC
2004:  5th (Garry Cutt) (1)
2003:  5th (Steve Sykes) (10)
2002:  6th (Chris Davies) (6)
2001:  4th (Richard Evans) (3)
2000:  2nd (Richard Evans) (11)
1999:  3rd (Richard Evans) (3)
1998:  2nd (Richard Evans) (3)

Russell GaryWhilst Richard Evans was the heartbeat of the band that brought them so much success during his tenure at the helm, Russell Gray has worked very hard to rekindle those glory days and you can't argue with what has been achieved so far.

Victory in London last October lit the blue-touch paper, opening up numerous commercial opportunities and they've never been far away on the contesting platform every since that victory on Eden either. Third at the English Championships confirmed their consistent form that was reinforced with sixth place in London after being drawn last.

Perhaps their appearances at the Gala Concerts in Manchester and London this year have given more than a hint as to their style of programme this forthcoming weekend – look out for them all dressed in black with plenty of choreography lots of jazz/funk/latin inspired riffs and plenty of quality playing. It's a popular mix, but perhaps it may need something else to really hit the bullseye here. You never know though.

Player to listen out for: Lesley Howie – on superb form all year and a player of the highest calibre.  

GrimethorpeGrimethorpe Colliery (UK Coal)
Steven Mead
4BR Ranking: 3

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Roger Webster
Euphonium: Michael Dodd
Trombone: Richard Brown
Soprano: Kevin Crockford
Horn: Philip Randall
Flugel: Ian Shires
Baritone: Bob Blackburn
Eb Tuba: Shaun Crowther
Percussion: Gavin Pritchard

Brass in Concert Record:
27th time
Debut: 1977
Best Result: Winners: 13 times
Worst Result: 4th in 1996

Last 8 Years:
2005: Winners (Richard Evans) (6)
2004: Winners (Richard Evans) (7)
2003: Winners (Garry Cutt) (6)
2002: Winners (Garry Cutt) (6)
2001: Winners (Garry Cutt) (9)
2000: 3rd (Garry Cutt) (4)
1999: Winners (Garry Cutt) (9)
1998:  DNC

Also: 1977: Winners (Fred Partlett); 1978: 3rd (Frank Renton); 1979: Winners (Ray Farr); 1980: Winners (Ray Farr); 1981: Winners (Ray Farr); 1982: 2nd (Ray Farr); 1983: Winners (Ray Farr); 1985: 3rd (David James); 1986: Winners (David James); 1987: 3rd (David James); 1998: 2nd (Frank Renton); 1989: 2nd (Frank Renton); 1990: 3rd (Frank Renton); 1991: 2nd (Frank Renton); 1992: 2nd (Frank Renton); 1993: Winners (Garry Cutt); 1994: Winners (Garry Cutt); 1995: 2nd (Garry Cutt); 1996: 4th (Garry Cutt)  

2005 Programme: The Duke of Marlborough Fanfare (Percy Grainger arr. Sandy Smith); Everybody Loves the Blues (Maynard Ferguson arr. Sandy Smith) (trumpet solo: Richard Marshall); Red Sky at Night (W. Hogarth Lear); A Quiet Place (Ralph Carmichael arr. Sandy Smith); Lizsteria (Lizst arr. Sandy Smith) (xylophone duet: Gavin Pritchard & Will Martin); Finale from Gayaneh Ballet Suite No. 2 Khachachurian arr. Sandy Smith).

MeadSo what about the reigning holders and the newly crowned National Champion Band of Great Britain? They're still regarded as the best entertainment band in the business but it's been an interesting year since they won here last year both with player movements and conductor changes.

Richard Evans certainly gave them plenty of ‘front' in the past two years whilst Sandy Smith's arrangements were their musical backbone. Both are now gone and so it will be interesting to see what musical direction they now take. Steve Mead needs no introduction as a musician and performer, but is making his debut as a conductor here, so what repertoire will they perform?

Rumours suggest something a little more trans-Atlantic may be on the cards, but whatever it is they will play it brilliantly we are sure.   No problems with the soloists and they are on red hot form at present too, so it could well be more of the same but with a slightly different twist.

Player to listen out for: Roger Webster – say no more.

Andy Duncan
4BR Ranking: 14

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Chris Bradley
Principal Euphonium: Richard Kidd
Soprano Cornet: Scott Forest
Solo Trombone: Alex Phillip
Solo horn: Iain Fleming
Flugel horn: Jim Chamberlain
Solo Baritone: Anne Crookston
Eb Bass: Graham Fraser
Percussion: N/K

Brass in Concert Record:
13th time
Debut: 1977
Best Result: 3rd in 2004
Worst Result: 12th in 2000, 1996, 1977

Last 8 Years:
2005:  6th (Andrew Duncan) (4)
2004:  3rd (Andrew Duncan) (10)
2003:  DNC
2002:  DNC
2001:  DNC
2000:  12th (Phillip McCann) (6)
1999:  4th (Phillip McCann) (2)
1998:  DNC

Also: 1977: 12th (Allan Street); 1980: 9th (Peter Parkes); 1981: 10th (Peter Parkes); 1982: 9th (Peter Parkes); 1985: 7th (Geoffrey Whitham); 1986: 10th (Denzil Stephens); 1987: 10th (Anthony Swainson); 1996: 12th (Richard Adams)

2005 Programme: Overture - Taras Bulba (Franz Waxman arr. Andrew Duncan); When She Loved Me (Randy Newman arr. Andrew Duncan) (flugel horn solo: James Chamberlain); HRH The Duke of Cambridge (Malcolm Arnold arr. Andrew Duncan); A Caledonian Fanfare (Linsey Paterson arr. Andrew Duncan) (snare drum solo: Linsey Paterson); The Water is Wide (Trad. Arr. Andrew Duncan); Peterloo Overture (Malcolm Arnold arr. Andrew Duncan).

Andy DuncanWhitburn were pretty good last year in coming 6th, but they have had something of a disappointing season on the contest platform so far and will be looking for MD Andy Duncan to pull something special out of his extensive bag of brilliant arrangements to help them make a mark once more.

On their day they can be startlingly good (last year's cornet led feature ‘The Water is Wide' was superb), but they can also be a little harsh and brash. They are very reliant on the MDs input too and last year it did become something of an Andy Duncan showcase rather than that for the band.

They have shown here before that they can really hit the mark, but given their ups and downs this season a top six place may well be the best they can hope for.

Player to listen out for: Graham Fraser – the Scottish Solo Champion is a true top quality tuba performer. 

Sellers InterationalSellers International
Phillip McCann
4BR Ranking: 16

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Iain Culross
Principal Euphonium: Mark Bousie
Soprano Cornet: Gary Bates
Solo Trombone: Rebecca Lundberg
Solo horn: Leah Williams
Flugel horn: Sian Carradus
Solo Baritone: Steve Marsh
Eb Bass: Ben Thomson
Percussion: Ben Croombs
Brass in Concert Record:
14th time
Debut: 1991
Best Result: 2nd in 2003, 2004
Worst Result: 9th in 1996

Last 8 Years:
2005: 5th (Phillip McCann) (2)
2004: 2nd (Phillip McCann) (5)
2003: 2nd (Phillip McCann) (8)
2002: 4th (Phillip McCann) (3)
2001: 3rd (Phillip McCann) (8)
2000: 6th (Alan Exley) (7)
1999: 5th (Alan Exley) (7)
1998: 8th (David Hirst) (10)

Also: 1991: 9th (Phillip McCann); 1992: 3rd (Phillip McCann); 1993: 5th (Phillip McCann); 1996: 9th (Alan Morrison):  1997: 7th (Alan Morrison)

2005 Programme: Chimes of Liberty (Edwin Franko Goldman arr. Loras J. Schissel); The Green Hornet Theme (Billy May); The Water is Wide (Trad. arr. Stephen Bradnum) (tenor horn solo: Leah Williams); The Circle of Life (Elton John arr. Reid Gilje); Elephantine Polka (L.P. Lauredeau) (tuba duet: Ben Thomson & Chris Doran); Bring Back That Leroy Brown (Freddie Mercury arr. Svein H. Giske); Une Tabatiere a Musique (The Musical Snuff Box) (Liadow arr. Stephen Bradnum); Glorifco Aeturnum (Dean Jones)

Philip McCannSellers can blow hot or cold here, but when they do blow hot, by heck it is a scorcher. In 2003 and 2004 Sellers were only denied by Grimethorpe when it comes to taking the major prize, and on both occasions they were well worth their placing. Last year though they overcooked it with by trying to shoehorn to many items into their programme.

That said the highpoint was a quite sublime Une Tabatiere a Musique, whilst the low point was a bloke running around like demented mentalist in a bees head costume. Sellers are nothing if always interesting. 

The MD really does have the knack of picking those little gems out though and if he can combine that this year with a balanced programme of less not more in content they could be dark horses to even take away the title itself.
Player to listen out for: Iain Culross on principal cornet is fast making a name for himself – and deservedly so.


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