2009 Brass in Concert Championship - Runners and Riders


4BR takes a look at the cast list of entertainers lined up for our enjoyment this weekend. Which of these dozen will tickle the fancy then?

CarltonCarlton Main Frickley
Russell Gray
4BR Ranking: 10

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Kirsty Abbotts
Euphonium: Toni Howden
Soprano: Gary Bates
Trombone: Becky Lundberg
Horn: Leah Williams
Flugel: Sam Fisher
Baritone: Bob Archer
Eb Tuba: Ben Dixon
Bb Tuba: Ray Sykes MBE

Brass in Concert Record:

Appearances: 12th time
Debut: 1977
Best Result: 4th place in 1979 & 1982
Worst Result: 10th place in 1978 & 1980

Last 10 Years:
2008: DNC
2007: DNC
2006: DNC
2005: DNC
2004: 9th (Brian Grant) (2)
2003: 9th (William Rushworth) (11)
2002: 9th (William Rushworth) (7)
2001: 6th (Paul Andrews) (11)
2000: DNC
1999: DNC

GrayAlso: 1977 (7th) (Denzil Stephens); 1978 (10th) (David James); 1979 (4th) (David James); 1980 (10th) (David James); 1981 (=7th) (Kevin Bolton); 1982 (4th) (Denzil Stephens); 1983 (8th) (1983); 1984 (8th) (Geoffrey Whitham).
Carlton Main return to Brass in Concert for the first time since 2004 and following a year that held so much promise but until now has been something of a major disappointment.

The return of Kirsty Abbotts on principal cornet will be a huge boost to confidence, but they will need every player around the stand to be on top form, and have an inspired programme of music to make a mark here.

Russell Gray has a reputation of trying something a little different shall we say (remember the Brian Rix inspired trouser down Norwegian thigh slapping with Mount Charles a few years back) and that will come in handy.
Player to listen out for: Kirsty Abbotts – great to see an exceptional cornet talent back where she belongs.

RothwellRothwell Temperance
David Roberts
4BR Ranking: 7

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: James McCabe
Euphonium: Andy Marsh
Soprano: Paul Argyle
Trombone: Nick Walker
Horn: Catherine Roberts
Flugel: Richard Golding
Baritone: Andy Padgett
Eb Tuba: Edward Hodkin
Bb Tuba: Ben Ridgeon

Brass in Concert Record:

Appearances: Debut appearance
Debut: 2009
Best Result: N/A
Worst Result: N/A

RobertsLast 10 Years: Debut appearance

The long awaited debut of Rothwell is a cause for celebration and not just to those people who thought that Brass in Concert was in danger of becoming something of a ‘closed shop’.

The band fully deserve their invitation courtesy of some well orchestrated bits of media pressure and of course, some pretty impressive results of late – it would have been a controversial decision to justify their non participation if they didn’t get the nod after their performances this year.

What they bring to the entertainment format though is a little bit of a mystery – the test piece discipline sees them produce wonderfully committed renditions, but what about something a little ‘lighter’ so to speak?

We may not be surprised to find that a very good is a very good band whatever the contest format.

Player to listen out for: James McCabe – the cornet fulcrum around which everything else revolves.

Fountain CityFountain City
Joseph Parisi
4BR Ranking: 51 

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Chris Larios
Euphonium: Lee Harrelson
Soprano: Ryan Sharp
Trombone: Karen Zawacki
Horn: TJ Menges
Flugel: Matthew Vangjel
Baritone: Helen Tyler
Eb Tuba: Mark Norman
Bb Tuba: Scott Watson

Brass in Concert Record:

ParisiAppearances: Debut appearance
Debut: 2009
Best Result: N/A
Worst Result: N/A

Last 10 Years: Debut

Great to see Fountain City appear at Brass in Concert this year – and they come full of confidence after posting their sixth consecutive major championship win in the United States.

Those who scoff at the notion that those victories do not make them a truly competitive outfit here may end up with egg on their faces – remember Florida a few years back?

The band was deeply impressive in winning the US Open just a week ago and they have been working their socks off in preparing for this visit.  They have bags of talented performers in the ranks and a very astute MD at the helm.

They may be not as whiz bang flashy as the Floridians, but prepare to be musically impressed. 

Player to listen out for: Lee Harrelson – the euphonium star is now a driving force in US banding and a wonderful exponent of his chosen instrument.

Paul Holland
4BR Ranking: 22

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Chris Howley
Euphonium: Andy Hicks
Trombone: Rob Marsh
Soprano: Paul Eddy
Horn: Stewart Crawford
Flugel: Danny Winder
Baritone: Carolyn Chandler
Eb Tuba: Phil Green
Bb Tuba: Jon Daw

Brass in Concert Record:

6th time
Debut: 1998
Best Result: 6th in 2003, 2004
Worst Result: 11th in 1998

Last 10 Years:
2008: DNC
2007: DNC
2006: 12th (Philip Harper) (1)
2005:  9th (Philip Harper) (9)
2004:  6th (Philip Harper) (3)
2003:  6th (Philip Harper) (3)
2002:  DNC
2001:  DNC
2000:  DNC
1999:  DNC

HollandAlso: 1998 (11th) (Michael Fowles)

Another returnee – althought this one comes as a substitute for the Norwegians of Manger who pulled out a few weeks back.

Flowers have built a fine reputation for themselves as an entertainment band, but at this contest in the last couple of years they were here their performances were musical souffles – nice and fluffy with little of musical calorific value under the surface. 

They will need something with a bit more substance this time around if they are to make a mark, but with confidence high after London and with plenty of talent in the ranks and at the helm, they could well surprise a few. 

Player to listen out for: Danny Winder – a startlingly good flugel player when the mood takes him.

Dr Robert Childs
4BR Ranking: 1

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Ian Williams
Euphonium: David Childs
Soprano: Bert van Theinen
Trombone: Chris Thomas
Horn: Owen Farr
Flugel: Joanne Childs
Baritone: Susan Thomas
Eb Tuba: Oliver Brown
Bb Tuba: Fraser Bish
Percussionist: Alun Horgan

Brass in Concert Record:

Appearances: 8th time
Debut: 1979
Best Result: Winners: 2008
Worst Result: 12th: 2000, 1996, 1977

Last 10 Years:
2008: Winners (Dr Robert Childs) (10)
2007: DNC
2006: DNC
2005: 3rd (Dr Robert Childs) (1)
2004: DNC
2003: DNC
2002: DNC
2001: DNC
2000: DNC
1999: DNC

Bob ChildsAlso: 1979: 2nd (Denzil Stephens); 1980: 3rd (Denzil Stephens); 1981: 5th (Denzil Stephens); 1997: 10th (Jeremy Wise) 1998: 4th (Jeremy Wise)

2008 Programme:
Enter the Galaxies; The Waltonian; Sing, Sing, Sing; Sunrise Over Blue Ridge; The Hot Canary Euphonium Soloist - David Childs; An American Tale

The reigning champion makes the trip north with their Grand Slam aspirations at an end – although, coming third at London in most people’s book isn’t really something of a failure.

It is for them though and they will be determined to end their year with a fifth major title to their name.

What they bring north with them this time in their defence will be interesting though – last year’s programme was slick, inventive and highly polished in execution, but didn’t really extend them as far as many people may have thought. 

This time they may come out all guns blazing – and that could be something to witness, despite the recent outbreak of Swine Flu in the ranks.

Another victory could be assured if they do – a podium finish at the very least being on the cards if they play to form. Swine pigs might fly if they don’t…

Player to listen out for: Ian Williams – 20 years as principal cornet – and superb one at that.

Stephen Roberts
4BR Ranking:  14

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: David Smith
Euphonium: Robin Taylor
Soprano: Martin Britt
Horn: Murray Borthwick
Flugel: Brian Winter
Trombone: Mark Horton
Baritone: Kate Williams
Eb Tuba: Jonathan Truscott
Bb Tuba: Paul Thomas 

Brass in Concert Record:

Appearances: 14th time
Debut: 1977
Best Result: Winners in 1982, 1984, 1985
Worst Result: 11th in 1978

Last 10 Years:
2008: 8th (Nigel Seaman) (12)
2007: 8th (K. Steward) (5)
Last appeared 1987

RobertsAlso: 1987 (2nd) (Robert Watson); 1986 (2nd) (Howard.Snell); 1985 (Winners) (Howard Snell); 1984 (Winners) (Howard Snell); 1983 (2nd) (Howard Snell); 1982 (Winners) (Howard Snell); 1981 (3rd) (Howard Snell); 1980 (2nd) (Howard Snell); 1979 (3rd) (Don Blakeson); 1978 (11th) (Howard Snell); 1977 (10th) (Albert Chappell)

2008 Programme:
Saints Fantasy; Comedy Tonight; Blessed Assurance Flugel Soloist - Brian Winter; Arrive Derchi Roma; On Bosworth Field; Show Me the Way to Go Home

2007 Programme:
Postcard From Mexico; La Virgin de La Macerena - soloist David Smith; The Day thou Gavest; The Clock with Dresden Figures; Anyone Can Whistle; Finale from Daphnis and Chloe

Would the real Desford please appear at this contest? 

The last two years have either been a musical version of watching programmes on UK Gold (classic repeats from yesteryear) or a rag bag selection of ideas from the Coalville Women’s Institute.   Who else would have thought up last year’s programme?

Desford are a top class band capable of challenging for the podium places when they are in the right frame of mind and the right amount of time has been spent in rehearsal (just look at their record) – when they are not though, they are also rans.

Which one will turn up this weekend then? 

Player to listen out for: Robin Taylor - one of the very best in the business 

: Jason Katsikaris
4BR Ranking: 6

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Leon Renilson
Euphonium: Philippe Schwartz
Soprano: Matthew Balsom
Trombone: Daniel Brookes
Horn: Kate Eggleshaw
Flugel: Nicky Longden
Baritone: Katrina Marzella
Eb Tuba: Chris Doran
Bb Tuba: Bill Carter

Brass in Concert Record:

Appearances: 25th time
Debut: 1982
Best Result: Winners in 1989, 1991, 1992, 1997
Worst Result: 7th place 2007, 2006

Last 10 years:
2008: 7th (Jason Katsikaris) (8)
2007: 7th (Russell Gray) (12)
2006: 7th (Russell Gray) (9)
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)

KatsikarisAlso: 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); 1998: 2nd (Richard Evans)

2008 Programme:
The Dreaded Groove & Hook; Punchinello; It’s a Lovely Day Tomorrow; Elves Dance Baritone Soloist - Katrina Marzella; Aint No Mountain High Enough; Psalm of Prais

2007 Programme:
I’ve Got Rhythm; Bombasto; Donegal Bay - soloist Katrina Marzella; Cossack Fire Dance; Carnival Overture

Leyland could produce a real trump card this year under Jason Katsikaris with a programme that will certainly be challenging but perhaps not to everyone’s taste.

Jason Katsikaris is not afraid to try something a bit different, although last year they seemed to chicken out of going the whole hog after a brilliant Simon Dobson inspired start. 

His talents will be used again this year, as will a clutch of other talented young compositional tyros – but will it tickle the fancy of the judges? With plenty of talented players at his disposal to showcase, fortune may favour the brave.

Player to listen out for: Philippe Schwartz – the new euphonium star has a reputation for achieving perfection.

Reg VardyReg Vardy
Ray Farr
4BR Ranking: 20

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Tina Mortimer
Euphonium: Paul Robinson
Soprano: Tom Glendinning
Trombone: Chris Bentham
Horn: Steve Hardy
Flugel: Joanne Behan
Baritone: Laura Boyle
Eb Tuba: Jen McCausland
Bb Tuba: Alistair Storey
Percussion: Jonathon Fenwick

Brass in Concert Record:

Appearances: 33rd time
Debut: 1977
Best Result: 3rd in 2003
Worst Result: 12th in 1992

Last 10 Years:
2008: 11th (Allan Ramsay) (11)
2007: 10th (Stephen Malcolm) (1)
2006: 6th (Ray Farr) (2)
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)

FarrAlso: 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); 1998: 7th (Bryan Hurdley)

2008: Programme:
Hallelujah Parade; I Bring Thee All - 2nd movement of the Suite To the Chief Musician; Charivari Cornet Soloist – Jim Hayes; Able; Dies Irae

2007 Programme:
The Devil’s Galop; Evergreen; Bombasto; Anyone can Whistle; Huapango; The Cup of Life

By all accounts Reg Vardy is amongst a few bands that have been shown the yellow card by the organisers to give notice that they need to start producing the goods or face a period on the sidelines.

After the performances of the last two years that alleged warning would be fully justified, as they have been mediocre to say the least.

The return of Ray Farr then seems to have come just at the right time, and with the boost that their performance at London will have given them, a return to the quality performances of just a few years back cannot be discounted.

They have a point or two to prove to their home supporters and they could well make them here on the weekend.

Player to listen out for: Tina Mortimer – since taking over the principal chair she has made it her own, and she was one of the star performers of the day at London.

Garry Cutt
4BR Ranking: 3

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Mark Wilkinson
Euphonium: Glyn Williams
Soprano: Alan Wycherley
Trombone: John Barber
Horn: Lesley Howie
Flugel: Helen Williams
Baritone: Natsumi Inaba
Eb Tuba: Les Neish
Bb Tuba: Derek Jackson 

Brass in Concert Record:

Appearances: 18th time
Debut: 1983
Best Result: Winners in 1987, 1988, 1990, 1998, 2000
Worst Result: 8th in 2006

Last 10 Years:
2008: 6th (Garry Cutt) (2)
2007: 2nd (Garry Cutt) (6)
2006: 8th (Garry Cutt) (3)
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)

Garry CuttAlso: 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); 1998 (Winners) (Nicholas Childs)

2008 Programme:
Another Star; Eyes of a Child; The Champions; Salt of the Earth: 2nd Movement Tuba Soloist - Les Neish; Gallop; Finale from Symphony No 4

2007 Programme:
Fest Musik der stadt Wein; Injection From Mission Impossible; Carnival for Bass - soloist Les Neish, Eb Bass; On the Quarter Deck; Lezghinka; Grandfather Clock – soloist, Glyn Williams; Finale from Checkmate

If Foden’s can get their high octane musical mix right then they could well produce a performance that not even Jenson Button could match.

If they don’t though (and it sounded as if someone had put diesel in the petrol tank at the start last year) then another opportunity could be missed.

No other band can match the talent around the stands and the V12 sound that they make when they open up in thrilling fashion, but they can be a little conservative with their choices of music (see 2007) and last year they rather shot themselves in the foot before they could press it on the accelerator.

They won’t be short of desire or determination after the disappointment of London though and you sense they won’t make the same mistakes twice.

Player to listen out for: Mark Wilkinson  –  on absolute stunning form at the major contests all year.

BrighouseBrighouse & Rastrick
Richard Evans
4BR Ranking: 5

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Stephen Wilkinson
Euphonium: Steven Walsh
Soprano: Alan Hobbins
Trombone: James Stockdale
Horn: N/K
Flugel: John Lee
Baritone: Cieran Young
Eb Tuba: Shaun Crowther
Bb Tuba: Simon Gresswell 

Brass in Concert Record:

Appearances: 5th time
Best Result: Winners in 2006, 2007
Worst Result: 4th in 2008
Debut: 2005

Last 10 Years:
2008: 4th (Alan Morrison) (6)
2007: Winners (Richard Evans) (11)
2006: Winners (Richard Evans) (4)
2005: 2nd (James Gourlay) (8)

Evans2008 Programme:
Music for Epcot - Chaos from Reflection of Earth; Jean de Florette Euphonium Soloist - Michael Howley; The Thin Red Line; A Je Vous Dirai Maman; The Lords Prayer and Main Titles from King of Kings

2007 Programme:
All Night Long; I’d Rather have Jesus – soloist, Stephen Wilkinson; Blaze Away; Mr Sandman; Vitae Aeternam

Now then. If Brighouse win here this weekend then it will be the greatest comeback against the odds since Ian Botham kicked the backsides of the Australians at Headingly in 1981.     

Heaven knows what has been going on in the bandroom at West Riding in these past couple of weeks, but it has certainly been interesting to say the least.

On their day, Brighouse can bring the house down and with the players around the stand and with the ability to call upon the services of one of the best band arrangers in the business, surely they will be able to produce something memorable even if the odds appear stacked against them.

In 1981 England had Botham. In 2009 Brighouse has Dicky Evans.  It’s a huge ask though.

Player to listen out for: Stephen Wilkinson – a principal cornet player fast maturing into one of the best around.

FaireyFairey Band
Philip Chalk
4BR Ranking: 11 

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Laura Hirst
Euphonium: Gary Curtain
Soprano: Nick Walkley
Trombone: Roz Davies
Horn: Anita Milde
Flugel: Lucy Murphy
Baritone: Katie Raisbeck
Bb Tuba: Mick Morris
Eb Tuba: Gary Proctor

Brass in Concert Record:

Appearances: 9th time
Debut: 1977
Best Result: Winners in 1996
Worst Result: 6th in 1983

Last 10 Years:
2008: 5th (Philip Chalk) (4)
2007: 4th (Philip Chalk) (9)
2006: 5th (Simon Stonehouse) (6)
2005: DNC
2004: DNC
2003: DNC
2002: DNC
2001: DNC
2000: DNC
1999: DNC

ChalkAlso: 1977 (5th) (Richard Evans); 1980 (5th)  (Walter Hargreaves); 1983 (6th) Denzil Stephens; 1996 (Winners) (James Gourlay); 1997 (3rd) (James Gourlay)

2008: Programme:
Chant; Thriller; A Close Walk with Thee; Spike Jones `v` William Tell; Send in the Clowns Flugel Soloist - Neil Hewson; Witches Sabbath

2007 Programme:
Overture to Candide; Bess You Is My Woman; La Belle Americaine - soloist Steve Walsh; The President; It’s Not Unusual; Reunion & Finale - Gettysburg

How on earth can Fairey top last year’s performance then?

Possibly by toning down the theatrics and playing a bit more music may be the answer. The deathly inspired choreography and macabre visual treats of twelve months ago were brilliantly executed, but some of playing was a bit on the dead end side too. 

Fairey are now a much more confident and solid outfit with real star performers in the end chairs and quality ensemble to back them up – and the results at the majors are starting to show that too.

If will surely be something to catch the eye, but if it is matched by something to catch the ear too then Fairey could well be in the mix come the results. 

Player to watch out for: Lucy Murphy – one of the classiest flugel players around.

GrimethorpeGrimethorpe Colliery
James Gourlay
4BR Ranking:  4

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Robert Westacott
Euphonium: Michael Dodd
Trombone: Gary MacPhee
Soprano: Kevin Crockford
Horn: Arfon Owen
Flugel: Andy Holmes
Baritone: Michael Wells
Eb Tuba: Ken Ferguson
Bb Tuba: Phil Blake-Convey 

Brass in Concert Record:

Appearances: 30th time
Debut: 1977
Best Result: Winners 13 times
Worst Result: 4th in 1996

Last 10 Years:
2008: 3rd (Michael J. Garasi) (7)
2007: 3rd (Phillip McCann) (3)
2006: 2nd (Steven Mead) (10)
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) 

GourlayAlso: 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)

2008 Programme:
Fanfare for Rocky; Sing, Sang, Sung; The Prayer; Rolling Thunder; McArthur Park

2007 Programme:
Green Hornet; Pirates of the Caribbean - The Curse of the Black Pearl; Michelangelo - soloist Michael Dodd; Bring Back that Leroy Brown; Falling in Love Again; Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Grimethorpe no longer come to Brass in Concert as overwhelming favourites any more, but they are good value for their odds to add a 14th title to their name under the baton of James Gourlay.

He is a man inspired this year with the baton and his inventive musicality and dry wit could well give Grimethorpe an unexpected edge.

The players are performing well too and with a bit of extra time on their side since the British Open they could be in just the right frame of mind and in tip top playing condition to once more rule the roost.

If they have been able to unearth the odd musical gem from either their back catalogue or from the MD’s contacts, then look out – Grimey could well be back with a bang. 

Player to listen out for: Michael Dodd – the most sought after euphonium player around we are told – and you will hear why too.


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