2008 North American Brass Band Championships - Preview: Challenge Section


4BR looks at the challengers in the Challenge Section itself as they strive to claim their own version of the Second Section National title.

NABBAChallenge Section
Saturday, March 29th 2008

Venue: Robinson Concert Hall
Time: 12:45pm-4:45pm
Set Piece: Variations on ‘Laudate Dominum’ (Gregson)

Own choice Selections (in alphabetical order by title):

  • The Avenger (Rimmer)
  • The Dark Side of the Moon (Lovatt-Cooper)
  • Festival Arrangement – Festivity (Condon)
  • Labour and Love (Fletcher)
  • Prelude for an Occasion (Gregson)
  • Rhapsody on a Them by Purcell
  • Spirit of Adventure (Norbury)

Commonwealth Brass Band
J. Jerome Amend, Director

Recent Form:
2007 NABBA Championships: 7th/7 (Challenge Section)
2006 NABBA Championships: 6th/8 (Challenge Section)
2005 NABBA Championships: 4th/4 (Challenge Section)

Commonwealth are based out of Louisville and IUSE is their home venue. Unfortunately, at their 10 contests they have finished in the top two only once and the bottom two seven times.

Commonwealth have finished behind the other local band (Derby City) two years in a row now and unless they finish top half, may choose to drop to Explorer Section.

Derby CityDerby City Brass Band
John Jones

Recent Form:
2007 NABBA Championships: 4th/7 (Challenge Section)
2006 NABBA Championships: 5th/8 (Challenge Section)
2005 NABBA Championships: DNC

Having only contested twice, Derby City is moving in the right direction. They have a good rapport with the University of Louisville and it appears to have served them well.

With some experience behind them, this could be the year Derby City breaks through into the prizes.

Natural SateNatural State Brass Band
Russell Morris

Principal Players:
Soprano Cornet: Stephen Cross
Principal Cornet: Courtney Swindler
Flugel: Larry Crenshaw
Horn: Robert Herring
Baritone: Frank Washburn
Trombone: Larry Vaught/Steve Greer
Euphonium: Tina Hall
Basses: Matt Jamison (Eb)/ Kevin Sanders (Bb)
Percussion: JB Cross

Recent Form:
2007 NABBA Championships: 2nd/7 (Challenge Section)
2006 NABBA Championships: 4th/8 (Challenge Section)
2005 NABBA Championships: 2nd/4 (Challenge Section)

Still a relatively new band, Natural State has really shown they are at the top of the class the past few years with two second place finishes.

With Massanutten (last year's champions) not competing, NSBB will be looking to take the top prize.

Spires Brass Band
John Slezak

Recent Form:
2007 NABBA Championships: 3rd/7 (Challenge Section)
2006 NABBA Championships: 2nd/8 (Challenge Section)
2005 NABBA Championships: 1st/4 (Challenge Section)

Spires first appeared at NABBA in 2001 and has finished in the top two 5 out of 7 times.

Having won this section 3 of the past 7 years (and had several other top finishes), Spires figure to be in the mix.  They'll get some competition from some newer bands wanting to show their stuff, but should make a good run at pushing their record to 4 of 8.

SunshineSunshine Brass Band
James Cheyne

Recent Form:
2007 NABBA Championships: 5th/7 (Challenge Section)
2006 NABBA Championships: DNC
2005 NABBA Championships: 7th/7 (Honors Section)

Sunshine is one of the oldest bands in the section (and the contest). They have 5 titles to there record (3 Honors and 2 Challenge).

They have undergone some personnel changes in recent years and if things have stabilized they could return to their winning ways.

4BR prediction:

This is a very difficult section to call, so we are going to base our (once again) dodgy predictions on past experience of the bands and their MDs. 

Spires and Natural State look to be the two favourites...but there are a few other bands that could contend for the top spot.

1.  Natural StateBrass Band
2.  Spires Brass Band
3.  Derby City Brass Band

Dark Horse: Sunshine Brass Band


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