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2011 Brass in Concert Championship — Introduction

4BR looks forward to a full weekend of music making on the banks of the River Tyne.

The Sage
The Golden Gate of Gateshead...

Brass in Concert opens its doors at The Sage on the banks of the River Tyne this weekend, with 11 top class bands ready to impress the knowledgeable audience with their latest entertainment sets.

Taster sessions

Amid the futuristic architecture the event will have a familiar feel, with the music making starting early with the tremendous series of ‘Taster Session’ workshops on the Saturday morning.

Afternoon concerts from the participants and the excellent Rochdale Youth Band will provide the aperitif for the evening Gala Concert, which this year features The International Staff Band of the Salvation Army and welcome returnees, Brass Band of Central Florida.

Plenty to whet the appetite before the action starts on Sunday morning then, when on the stroke of 9.30am, and following the expertly pitched introductions of compere Frank Renton, Redbridge Brass take to the stage.


Little smashers at the fantastic taster sessions

Question mark

Not for the first time though, a question marks hovers over the musical identity of the contest. 

Will we see a liberal desire to experiment and innovate, or a conservative stubbornness to cling to predictability and prescription?

One thing is for certain – you can’t imagine any of the bands closing their programmes with extended excerpts from John Cage’s 4’33” – as Montebello Brass did in the Elite Section of the SIDDIS Contest in Stavanger recently.

Bonkers

The Norwegian version of Brass in Concert is an amazingly fertile breeding ground for innovation, experimentation and downright Scandinavian bonkerness.

Winners, Eikanger Bjorsvik were inspired by such diverse musical sources as Benny Goodman and Alberto Ginastera, whilst Manger Musikklag opted for a ‘Happy Birthday’ theme that included variations from Russia, Norway, Mexico and the Monte Carlo casino. 

Others sought out Carmen Miranda, Napoleon Bonaparte, Nelson Mandela and Tommy Dorsey.

Acquired taste

As enjoyable as the Norwegian entertainment formula is, it remains an ‘acquired taste’ – and as the Viking bands who have made the trip over the North Sea in the last few years have found out. 

The North East Brits are a tad wary of anything too avant-garde being put on their plate.

As a result, highly polished prescription rather than experimental innovation may well win Brass in Concert on Sunday – and the best British bands do know how to appeal to an audience that knows what it likes.

child and newsome
The Doctor's presence will be missed

Not a bad thing

That may not be a bad thing though – as recent experiments in trying something a little left field here have tended to come unstuck – including the rather archaic points scoring system that is in desperate need of a radical overhaul.

Still, there is plenty to enjoy, with a well planned event offering the knowledgeable audience the chance to sit back in the comfort of the plush auditorium seats and soak up the entertainment on show.

Frank Renton will as always provide the slick links and juicy bon-mots, whilst there are more prizes on offer for the contestants than a re-run of Bruce Forsyth and The Generation Game. 

It’s not often you can say at a brass band contest - ‘Didn’t they all do well...’

There is a well balanced adjudication panel, with Philip Sparke and Rob Wiffen passing judgement on the musical merits, with Luc Vertommen and David Horsfield casting their eye over the entertainment.  

The soloists will have to impress soprano legend Peter Roberts - a man who certainly enjoyed his time in the spotlight at this contest over the years.

Missing

Sadly, the one man who will not be here will be Dr Roy Newsome, who passed away recently. His presence will be felt though we are sure.

4BR as always will cover the contest weekend in full with our live comments and twitter feed, plenty of pics and post match analysis.

Join us for what promises to be a prescription note for a cracking weekend.

Iwan Fox



Foden's Band - St Michaels & All Angels Church

Saturday 25 May • Egerton Road, Ashton on Ribble, Preston PR2 1AJ


St Pinnock Brass Band - Rock Choir Cornwall

Sunday 26 May • Sterts Theatre, . Sterts, . Liskeard, . PL14 5AZ PL14 5AZ


Contest: All England International Masters

Sunday 26 May • The Lighthouse Theatre, Kettering Conference Centre, Thurston Drive NN15 6PB


Lewes, Glynde and Beddingham Brass Band - Eastbourne Bandstand - 1812 concert

Wednesday 29 May • Bandstand, Grand Parade, Eastbourne BN21 3AD


Black Dyke Band - George Lawton Hall, Mossley

Thursday 30 May • George Lawton Hall, Stamford St, Mossley, Ashton-under-Lyne OL5 0HR


Stannington Brass Band

May 23 • A rare opportunity has arisen to join one of Sheffield's leading bands with a vacancy for an EEb TUBA PLAYER to complete our bass section. We have a good band room atmosphere and a calendar of interesting concerts and contests.


Horbury Victoria Band

May 22 • Horbury Victoria Band.. Preparing in good time for section one next year require Solo Euphonium and Front Row Cornet.. A not too busy, friendly and happy band. Rehearsal Wednesday 8pm


Hathersage Band

May 22 • BBb Bass to join in our music making under MD Andy Furmidge. Hathersage Brass Band is a non-contesting band whose friendly members enjoy performing at Village Galas and Fetes as well as several Christmas concerts.


Duncan A. Beckley

BA, QTS, LTCL, FTCL, ARCM
Conductor, adjudicator, band trainer and teacher