2007 National Youth Brass Band Championships - Previews


There is a fantastic day of brass playing on show at the RNCM. 4BR looks at each of the sections and tries to pin point who will come out on top after 11 fantastic hours of playing.

School Section:
Haden Freeman Concert Hall
Start: 9.15am

Test Piece: Choral & Variations (Leighton Lucas)
Adjudicators: Ian Brownbill and Alan Morrison.

(20 minutes playing time each band)

Competing Bands:
Wardle High School Senior Band: (Lee Rigg) – Gold Certificate, Junior Section, 2006
Abraham Darby School (Simon Platford) – Gold Certificate, Schools Section, 2006
Smithills High School Senior Band (Chris Wormald) - Winners, Gold Certificate, Schools Section, 2006

Results and prize presentation at 10:45am

It may only be three bands in action in the opening contest in the Haden Freeman Concert Hall but it promises to be a real old tussle with Abraham Darby and Wardle out to deny Smithills.

Chris Wormald knows all about winning here though.  Victories have come in 1996, 1998, 2001, 2004, 2005 and last year and they're going four in a row this time around.  It will take a fine band on top form to possibly deny them.

Abraham Darby will be led by Simon Platford who takes over the helm from Wayne Ruston whilst Black Dyke's repiano player, Lee Rigg will lead Wardle's challenge and with Black Dyke's Young Composer, Paul Lovatt-Cooper teaching at the school, there'll be short-odds on Wardle playing one of his compositions.

4BR Prediction:

Three bands who can each perform to a fantastic level on their day, but can Abraham Darby and Wardle stop Smithills?  It's possible of course, but our hunch is that it will be the Bolton School celebrating on Sunday morning. With such a high standard, perhaps all three may claim a Gold Award too.

1. Smithills School
2. Abraham Darby 
3.  Wardle

County Section:
Haden Freeman Concert Hall
Start time: 11.10am

Test Piece: A Celtic Suite (Philip Sparke)
Adjudicators: John Berryman and James Scott

(20 minutes playing time each band)

Competing Bands:

Birmingham Schools Band (James Cunningham) - Bronze Certificate, County Section, 2006  
South Derbyshire Music Centre (Peter Lacey)     
Hampshire County Youth Band (Jock McKenzie) - Gold Certificate, County Section, 2006    
West Glamorgan Youth Band (Matthew Gibbs)
Stockport Schools Senior Band (Colin Duxbury) - Gold Certificate, County Section, 2006  
Aberystwyth Youth Band (Alan Phillips) - Silver Certificate, County Section, 2006  
Oldham Music Centre Youth Band (Martyn Evans) - Silver Certificate, County Section 2006    
Gloucestershire Youth Band (Steven Legge) - Bronze Certificate, County Section, 2006   
Bolton Youth Band (Helen Minshall) - Gold Certificate, County Section, 2006     
Worcestershire Youth Band (Nicky Daw)     

Results and prize presentations at 4:15pm

This promises to be a fascinating section with a new winner guaranteed with Gwynedd Mon Senior Youth going into the Premier Section.  Both Stockport Schools and Hampshire County Youth will both fancy their chances having down well last year and don't rule out Bolton Youth either with the knowledgeable Helen Minshall at the helm.  South Derbyshire, West Glamorgan and Worcestershire are unknowns for us but will be intent on making an impression we are sure.

4BR Prediction:

Perhaps we've already given the game away as to where we think the honours will go in this ten band field but the decision is down to John Berryman and James Scott.  Our hunch though is:

1. Hampshire
2. Stockport
3. Bolton Youth

Premier Section:
Haden Freeman Concert Hall
Start time: 5.00pm

Test Piece: The Aeronauts (Goff Richards)
Adjudicators: Alan Morrison and Ian Brownbill.

(25 minutes playing time each band)

Competing Bands:

Greater Gwent County Youth Band (Russell Gray) - Winners, Gold Certificate, Premier Section, 2006
Rochdale Borough Youth Band (Eric Landon) - Gold Certificate, Premier Section, 2006
St Helens Youth Band (Lynda Nicholson)
Northamptonshire County Youth Band (Brad Turnbull)    
Gwynedd Mon Williams Mathias Seniors (Gwyn Evans) - Winners, Gold Certificate, County Section 2006

Results and prize presentations at 7.55pm

Please note that the presentation ceremony for the Premier Section can not start until the Community Section presentation (which is taking place in the Bruntwood Theatre) has been completed. Please be aware of this if there is a short delay.

With just two bands competing here last year, it's good to see five bands turn out this year, although the Section does deserve more bands.  The 2005 winners, West Lothian are unfortunately again absent, but those involved are an impressive bunch.  Greater Gwent, Rochdale and St Helens all have a reputation for their quality of performance with Rochdale making the relatively short journey to see if they can make it a 2007 double after winning the Action Research Championships.

4BR Prediction:

It could be too close to call here with a possibility that those in the frame all gaining Gold Certificates for their quality of playing.  Greater Gwent will have been meticulously prepared by Russell Gray and they'll fancy their chances of retaining their title, but it could be very close on the day:

1. Greater Gwent
2. Rochdale
3. St Helens

Junior Section:
Bruntwood Theatre
Start time: 9.00am

Test Piece: Own Choice, but must include one piece of music composed for brass bands.
Adjudicators: Geoffrey Whitham and Brett Baker.

(15 minutes playing time each band)

Competing bands:

Gwynedd Mon William Mathias Jnr Band (John Glyn Jones)
Stockport Schools Intermediate Band (James Holt)
Wire Youth Band (J.Sherry)
Elland Youth Band (Samantha Harrison)     
Astley Youth Band (Helen Minshall)     
Cwmtawe Training Band (Wayne Pedrick)     
Worcester City Youth Band (Mark Oldham)    
Fred Longworth High School Band (Helen Robinson)    

Results and prize presentations at 12:25pm

A fascinating contest should take place on Sunday morning with last year's winners, Camborne in the Community Section, runners-up, Wardle in the Schools Section and third placed Valley Brass unfortunately not here.  Looking at the encouraging line up of bands from around the country though it gladdens the heart that so many are really making the effort to attend and compete. It could well be a wide open event.

4BR Prediction:

We've really had to get our crystal ball out for this one to see which of the bands will feature on the day and we've opted for:

1. Astley
2. Stockport
3. Gwynedd Mon William Mathias

Community Section:
Bruntwood Theatre
Start time: 12.50pm

Test Piece: Scenes Du Lac (Roy Newsome)
Adjudicators: Dr Roy Newsome and Marcus Bach

(20 minutes playing time each band)

Competing bands:

Macclesfield Youth (Louise Renshaw) - Bronze Certificate, Junior Section, 2006    
Dobcross Youth (Morgan Griffiths) - Bronze Certificate, Community Section, 2006    
Horbury Victoria Youth (Tom Gretorex) - Silver Certificate, Community Section, 2006    
Enderby Youth (Trevor Hounsome)      
Youth Brass 2000 (Chris Jeans) - Silver Certificate, Community Section, 2006     
Chalford Youth (Steve Tubb) - runners-up, Gold Certificate, Community Section, 2006   
Fred Longworth Community Youth (Malcolm Wilson)     
Lions Youth (Nigel Birch) - Bronze Certificate, Community Section, 2006     
Poynton (Andy Hirst) - Bronze Certificate, Community Section, 2006     
Sellers International Youth (Mark Bousie) - Silver Certificate, Commuinity Section, 2006    
Mount Charles Youth (Simon Dobson) - Winners, Gold Certificate, Community Section, 2006     
Camborne Youth (Alan Pope) - Winners, Gold Certificate, Junior Section, 2006    
Tewitt Youth (Craig Ratcliff) - Bronze Certificate, Community Section, 2006     
St Dennis Youth (Brian Minear)    

Results and prize presentation at 7.40 pm

The Community Section  is the largest of the day here with fourteen bands battling it out in the Bruntwood Theatre on Sunday afternoon.  Having had the last couple of years in the Haden Freeman Concert Hall, it will be interesting to see how bands adopt to the very different acoustic of the Bruntwood Theatre – it takes some adapting to and it will be intriguing to see how they cope.

In addition, the composer himself will judge the set work, ‘Scenes Du Lac', and the bands will have to balance their programmes with a good own choice selection too.  The bands that have done well here in recent years have been able to find that balance required.

Defending Champions, Mount Charles return again with the talented Simon Dobson aiming to follow in the footsteps of Bryan Hurdley and Richard Marshall by making it a hat-trick of wins here.  It's not being discourteous to other bands, but the Cornish outfit have been a class apart here in recent years and if they play to form again, they could be very tough to beat again.

Camborne are another band with a strong reputation having won the Junior Section last year and they'll fancy their chances of doing well, we are sure.  Chalford will want to spoil the Mount Charles party and don't discount the continually improving Sellers International Youth who will play just before Camborne and Mount Charles.  Youth Brass 2000 and St Dennis Youth will also fancy their chances on the day and represent a very strong challenge under their respected conductors.

4BR Prediction:

We've sort of given it away again, but it's difficult to see past Mount Charles once more this year.  Camborne, Chalford and Sellers are expected to scrap it out for the other podium prizes with St Dennis and Youth Brass 2000 more than capable of performing an upset. The standard should be high, and expect some wonderful playing from all concerned.

1. Mount Charles
2. Chalford
3. Camborne


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