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2011 4BR Awards — Contest Performance of the Year

Perhaps the most difficult of all the categories to choose the best from? Which contest performance stood out for you in 2011 — and it may not have been a winner?

4barsrest awards

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With so many contests to choose from, which performances lingered longest in the memory banks, and which ones faded quicker than Blackburn Rovers’ attempt to stay in the Premiership?

These were the five that made us sit back and enjoy the most in 2011 – but we are sure there are plenty more that are worthy of a vote or two?


MangerManger Musikklag
Old Licks Bluesed Up (Torstein Aagaard-Nilsen)
Conductor: Peter Sebastian Szilvay
European Brass Band Championships
 

After delivering a truly outstanding performance of the work at the Norwegian National Championship in February, Manger managed to top it with this rendition in Montreux.

Free of any domestic rivalries, they played their hearts out for the banding honour of their country, fronted by an MD who drew out a sense of emotive musicality that by its close left you physically drained.


EikangerEikanger Bjorsvik
Spiriti (Thomas Doss)
Conductor: David King
Norwegian National Championship


Eikanger back to their very, very best – all thanks to a MD in David King who revelled in the opportunity presented to him to create a definitive performance of a work of immense stature. 

Layer upon layer of detail was revealed in all its glory, whilst the sense of musicality elicited from the players was a thing of rare beauty. 

At its close you knew you had just heard one of the truly great brass band contest performances.


CoryCory
Red Priest (Philip Wilby)
Conductor: Dr Robert Childs
British Open Championship


Cory was a class apart at the British Open in 2011, thanks to a performance that was not only nigh on technically perfect, but was also musically on a different level too. 

It was as if Dr Robert Childs had finally liberated his centralised technocratic control impulses and had become the high priest of laissez-faire contest music provision. It was glorious.


BrighouseBrighouse & Rastrick
Paganini Variations (Philip Wilby)
Conductor: David King
Yorkshire Regional Championship
 

The most visceral, gut wrenching, emotion soaked contesting performance since Grimethorpe won the National title in 1992. 

It didn’t matter that it was by no means technically perfect – David King ripped out the beating heart out of Wilby’s magnificent score and presented to the adoring masses in the hall like an Aztec priest appeasing the contesting Gods.

And the mere mortals sat in the plush seats of St George’s Hall late that Sunday night in March went stark raving bonkers.


Bjorsvik BrassBjorsvik Brass
Essence of Time (Peter Graham)
Conductor: Russell Gray
First Division Norwegian Championships


The single contest performance of 2011 that put the biggest smile of musical satisfaction on the faces of the conductor, performers and lucky listeners alike. 

Bjorsvik Brass is some band – but this was some performance even by their standards. 

Played with such relaxed insouciance, borne of artistic musical integrity than artisan contest winning workmanship, Russell Gray moulded the intricate detail of Peter Graham’s score into the musical equivalent of a Faberge Egg – a thing of priceless, completely redundant beauty. 

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Black Dyke Band - Wigan with Russ Abbott

Sunday 24 June • Wigan Youth Zone, Parson's Walk, Wigan WN1 1RU


The Fairey Band -

Sunday 24 June • Subscription Rooms. George St. Stroud. GL5 1AE. United Kingdom GL51AE


Regent Hall Concerts - Royal Greenwich Brass Band

Friday 29 June • Regent Hall (The Salvation Army). 275 Oxford Street Opp. RESERVED. London . W1C 2DJ W1C 2DJ


Thundersley Brass Band - TBB Summer Concert

Friday 29 June • Richmond Hall, Richmond Avenue, South Benfleet, Essex SS75HA


PEMBERTON OLD WIGAN DW BRASS BANDS - WIGAN YOUTH JAZZ ORCHESTRA

Friday 29 June • Mount Zion hall. Pemberton. Wigan WN5 8DZ


Hungerford Town Band

June 24 • Hungerford Town Band has a vacancy for Soprano, Bb Cornet or solo horn. Our existing players players are happy to move around for the right person. Other instrumentalists are always very welcome to join our thriving community based band.


Glossop Old Band

June 24 • Due to family commitments, Glossop Old Band have an immediate vacancy for a Principal Cornet player. We are a friendly first section band with some contesting and a good mix of concerts. Rehearsals are Tuesday 8-10pm at our Band Club.


The Marple Band

June 24 • Lonely, single 2nd man down seeks her principal right hand man to accompany her at rehearsals, concerts, contests and more. Must be able to perform quality solos and be sociable too. Date nights are Friday night with occasional/regular weekends.


Mike Sheppard

B.A. (Hons) Music
Composer, conductor, teacher, author