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2011 4BR Awards — Newcomer of the Year

There was plenty of new talent on show in 2011 from players, conductors and bands, to composers, instruments and even new ways of presenting brass band contests.

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4barsrest awardsAlways an interesting category this one, with such a diverse list of potential winners to choose from.

Although there was plenty of doom and gloom to report on, there were also plenty people prepared to take a punt on doing something innovative too. 

Our five come from differing areas of the banding movement.


FodensFoden’s Solo & Quartet Competition

Not often top level brass bands decide to really invest in grass roots banding, but Foden’s is leading the way – especially with this new solo & quartet competition in their home town of Sandbach. 

The format may have been traditional, but the link to local businesses (including the chance to have a spin in a top of the range Audi sports car), the sense of inclusiveness and constructive competition was the key to its undoubted success.

A foundation stone was laid on which a major event can be built. 


X FactorBrass Factor 

Now in its second year, ‘Brass Factor’, promoted and organised by Alex Bray, has the real potential to provide an easily copied blueprint of brass band entertainment to a new audience.

The success does depend on the competitors, judges, presenters and the audience buying into the ‘all inclusive’ concept – but as Alex showed once again in Holmfirth, when they do, it’s a fantastic family night out, which sees everyone having plenty of quality fun.

The lad could well become the brass band movement’s version of a cross between John Henry Iles and Simon Cowell.


VenuzualaVenezuelan Brass Ensemble

It’s not often you get to hear brass playing of this quality anywhere in the world – but to find it on your own doorstep in 2011 as part of the Royal Northern College of Music Festival of Brass was a sensation. 

This was much, much more than the fabulous performances of everything from Bernstein to Mussorgsky – however mind bendingly brilliant they were under the baton of Thomas Clamor. 

It was also music making as a political tool – a showcase of all that is good about the fabulously bonkers government of Hugo Chavez and his desire to make its provision a central tool of empowerment for his people.

It was awesome and awe inspiring.


CentuarNational Finals - Cheltenham 

Kapitol Promotions certainly took a punt on a long shot in moving the Sections 1- 4 National Finals from Harrogate to the famous racecourse in Cheltenham – but it paid off handsomely.

For the first time in many a year the Centaur Centre provided the competitors with the type of facilities they deserved – modern and compact, with a decent acoustic, plenty of food and drink outlets, slick organisation and an early finish each day.

Even the hard pressed traders were given an ideal spot to be busy and some sensible pricing meant supporters came and listened to the bands.


BrighouseBrighouse & Rastrick and The Unthanks

The National Champions achieved plenty of success on the contest stage during 2011, but it is doubtful if even their twin Yorkshire/National double will have created as much of an impression with the general public as their series of concerts with the folk group The Unthanks. 

Sandy Smith spearheaded their involvement which saw them provide a wonderful accompaniment to very demanding, serious artists.

It was a musical triumph on more ways than one – and in the long term, even more important than the victories at Bradford and London.

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Roberts Bakery Band - Bluedot Festival

Saturday 21 July • Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre. . The University of Manchester. . Macclesfield, Cheshire SK11 9DL


Medway Band - Higham Church Annual Prom

Saturday 21 July • St. Marys Church. 1 Abbey Farm Cottages . Church Street. Higham. Rochester . ME3 7LS


Lofthouse Brass Band - Oxenhope Railway Station

Sunday 22 July • Oxenhope Railway Station, The Railway Station, Station Road, Haworth BD22 8NJ BD22 8NJ


Tendring Brass - Opening Night Concert of the Frinton Mission 2018

Saturday 28 July • Greensward,. Frinton on Sea,. Essex CO13 9DN


Lofthouse Brass Band - Filey Bandstand

Sunday 29 July • Filey Bandstand, The Crescent, Filey YO14 9JS YO14 9JS


Walsall Brass Band

July 22 • Walsall Brass Band need a 1st Tenor Horn player & 2 or 3 Cornet players for an event on Sunday 5th August 2 - 4 pm


Flixton Band

July 22 • With an exciting time ahead, Flixton band invite applications for FRONT ROW CORNET. As we prepare to move into 1st section next year we are looking to complete our line up for Cheltenham in September


Frampton on Severn Silver Band

July 22 • We are a friendly non-contesting band in Gloucestershire looking for players, particularly cornets, baritone and basses, but all are welcome. We play at many local events and bandstand jobs, and practice on Tuesday evenings just off Junction 13 of the M5.


David Barringer

BMus(Homs)
Conductor and Adjudicator