2009 Butlins Mineworkers Championships - Youth Band Championship retrospective


There was plenty to enjoy on the Sunday morning as the three youth bands produced some wonderful entertainment in the Butlins Youth Championship.

Youth Brass
Youth Brass - Butlins Brass: Youth Brass 2000 add the Butlins title to their impressive CV
Picture: Nicky Stirzaker

Whilst there were only three bands that competed in the Youth Section on Sunday morning, those involved served up a feast of entertainment for the judges, C Brian Buckley and Lynda Nicholson, along with the packed audience who warmed themselves up in ‘Reds’ having queued outside in the cold waiting for the doors to open. 


The three bands, Youth Brass 2000, Shirland Welfare Training and Coleshill Town Youth had been notified in advance of the order of play, so there was no last minute rushing around. Each of the bands took to the stage with a remarkable degree of studied concentration.

Within the 20 minutes of playing time, the bands had to perform a march and a hymn tune – the best basics for developing brass band playing - and some own choice music.


Youth Brass 2000 (Peter Collins) have built a reputation for themselves for producing musical performances of the highest standard (you sometimes have to be remember they are a youth band) and once again, they did the same here to take home the £1,000 top prize and Keith Wardle Memorial Trophy.

The band opened up in fine fashion with the ‘Florentine March’ that featured excellent ensemble playing, before euphonium player Sarah Lenton produced a quite lovely performance of Evelyn Glennie’s ‘Little Prayer’ where her control and technique was outstanding. 

Next was an up-beat but controlled interpretation of ‘Valero’ that led into their final number, ‘Shine as the Light’.

This is a piece that has served the band well in the past but on this occasion the quality of ensemble sound dropped off, and it didn’t go un-noticed by the adjudicators either who commented on it during their assessment of the contest to the audience before the announcement of the results. 

That aside, the band had done more than enough to take the first prize – something they will be looking to add to at the Action Medical Research Youth Entertainment Contest on 1st February for sure.


Shirland Welfare Training has been blessed down the years for being trained under the guidance of the inspirational Marie Smith. Now she has passed the baton on and the conducting mantle is now in the hands of the equally inspirational Andrew Dennis. 

Andrew did a fine job here, leading his troops through a programme, where despite one or two uncertain moments, saw them give an excellent account of themselves to come runner up.

The upbeat march ‘True and Trusty’ was great, whilst ‘Dear Lord and Father of Mankind’ and Vaughan Williams’ ‘English Folk Song Suite’, where the opening march, ‘Seventeen Come Sunday’ was particularly impressive, were also delivered with a real sense of confidence allied to a keen ear on ensemble balance and tuning.


That just left the immaculately dressed Coleshill Town Youth led by Stephen Fagg. 

It was the first time 4BR had heard the young Midland outfit, and not only did they give a good account of themselves, they thrived on the opportunity to perform in front of a large audience. 

The march, ‘Carnival King’ had a couple of uncomfortable moments but was full of youthful brio, but the real highlight in a programme that included the hymn tune ‘Lloyd’ and the theme from ‘Dr Who’ was the cornet solo, ‘Sugar Blues’ performed by Chris Brooker, who was very self assured and mature beyond his years in his performance.

Excellent insight

Having made their decisions, the judges then gave an excellent insight into what they were looking for and what they had actually heard.  Whilst congratulating the bands on their performances, reminders were given about making sure the selection of music was within the capabilities of the band.

In the end nobody could have had any complaints about the winners, and the organisers will be hoping for a bigger entry next year and beyond. 


The Action Medical Research Youth Entertainment Contest at Blackpool in early February is currently a focal point for a number of youth bands, but with the advent of this contest we could well see both of them benefiting in the future if they do not seek to compete against each other.

The banding movement needs to encourage youth bands as best it can and this contest seeks to do just that. We are sure next year more bands will take the opportunity to find out what it is all about.

Malcolm Wood 


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