2013 British Open Championship — Runners & Riders

4BR looks at the 20 bands all hoping to make it an 'Arabian Night' to remember in Birmingham on Saturday.

Black DykeBlack Dyke
Dr Nicholas Childs

Open Record:
With a record like no other, this will be the Queensbury band’s 110th appearance at a contest they have won a record 29 times.

However, you do have to go back to 2006 for the last time the Gold Shield was in their possession, so Pondashers will be hoping that they can go one better than 2011 & 2012 and reclaim the title under Director of Music Dr Nicholas Childs.

His record includes two victories, although he will be hoping that they also continue their good fortune at the draw with four prime spots in the last few years. 

Recent contesting good fortune has been mixed at Bradford, Oslo and Birmingham, but you still suspect that if they are on top form they could well be celebrating a 30th Open success.  

Player to listen out for:
Zoe Hancock - the flugel player has been unflappable on the contest stage in Dyke colours since coming to the band. 

Principal players:
Principal Cornet: Richard Marshall
Principal Euphonium: Gary Curtin
Soprano: Paul Duffy
Solo Trombone: Brett Baker
Solo Horn: Sheona White
Flugel: Zoe Hancock
Baritone: Katrina Marzella
Eb Tuba: Joseph Cook
Bb Tuba: Matt Routley

4BR Ranking: 2

2013 Form:
Regionals: 6th (Yorkshire)
European Championship: 3rd
English Nationals: Winners

Appearances: 110th time

Debut: 1856

Open Record:
29 Wins: 1862, 1863, 1871, 1879, 1880, 1881, 1891, 1895, 1896, 1899, 1902, 1904, 1908, 1914, 1935, 1957, 1968, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1976, 1977, 1983, 1985, 1986, 1992, 1995, 2005, 2006
25 Seconds: 1877, 1887, 1888, 1900, 1903, 1905, 1907, 1909, 1917, 1922, 1934, 1938, 1971, 1978, 1984, 1988, 1993, 1994, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012
12 Thirds: 1868, 1873, 1884, 1894, 1916, 1937, 1953, 1958, 1963, 2002, 2003, 2010
8 Fourths: 1890, 1912, 1919, 1921, 1936, 1970, 1979, 1989
5 Fifths: 1864, 1920, 1936, 1952, 1966
4 Sixths: 1947, 1962, 2004, 2008
25 times unplaced
1 disqualification: 1865

Open Record since 2000:
Conductor and draw

2012: 2nd (Nicholas Childs) (10)
2011: 2nd (Nicholas Childs) (12)
2010: 3rd (Nicholas Childs) (13)
2009: 2nd (Nicholas Childs) (16)
2008: 6th (Nicholas Childs) (1)
2007: 2nd (Nicholas Childs) (15)
2006: Winners (Nicholas Childs) (11)
2005: Winners (Nicholas Childs) (13)
2004: 6th (Nicholas Childs) (6)
2003: 3rd (Nicholas Childs) (11)
2002: 3rd (Nicholas Childs) (3)
2001: 2nd (Nicholas Childs) (14)
2000: 2nd (Nicholas Childs) (15)

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Brighouse & Rastrick
Professor David King

Open Record:
The long wait for a seventh British Open success continued for the West Riding band last year, even though they impressed many with their eloquent performance from the early number 5 draw under Prof David King.

However, Symphony Hall still hasn’t been the happiest of hunting grounds with the band now seeking a first podium finish since 1998.

The Australian maestro returns once more to see if he can make it fifth time lucky with his band. On paper he appears to have all the right playing ingredients at hand to claim his own fifth title a decade after his last with YBS. 

Recent form has been good – with a solid performance at Bradford and a lucrative day out on the Whit Friday circuit, but a first Open win since 1978 would be priceless.

Player to listen out for:
David Thornton – the euphonium star continues to get better with age and seems to revel under the artistic freedom given under David King.

Principal players:
Principal Cornet: Stuart Lingard
Principal Euphonium: David Thornton
Soprano: Andrew Bannister
Solo Trombone: Ryan Watkins
Solo Horn: Andy Moore
Flugel: Lucy Cutt
Baritone: Ciaran Young
Eb Tuba: David Hebb
Bb Tuba: Simon Gresswell

4BR Ranking: 4

2013 Form:
Regionals: 2nd (Yorkshire)
Whit Friday: Winners of Saddleworth title

Appearances: 73rd time

Debut: 1890

Open Record:
6 Wins: 1929, 1932, 1933, 1934, 1936, 1978
3 Seconds: 1965, 1977, 1983
5 Thirds: 1939, 1940, 1973, 1976, 1998
7 Fourths: 1942, 1943, 1961, 1964, 1984, 1999, 2002
7 Fifths: 1960, 1971, 1987, 2003, 2009, 2011, 2012
5 Sixths: 1938,1944, 1959, 1986, 1995
39 times unplaced

Open Record since 2000:
Conductor and draw

2012: 5th (David King) (5)
2011: 5th (David King) (10)
2010: 10th (David King) (2)
2009: 5th (David King) (8)
2008: 8th (Alan Morrison) (16)
2007: 11th (Alan Morrison) (7)
2006: 12th (Ian McElligott) (16)
2005: 7th (James Gourlay) (6)
2004: 11th (James Gourlay) (5)
2003: 5th (Major Ian McElligott) (17)
2002: 4th (Major Ian McElligott) (12)
2001: 8th (Allan Withington) (8)
2000: 12th (Allan Withington) (8)

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Carlton Main Frickley Colliery
Phillip McCann

Open Record:
Carlton Main has had a bit of an up and down existence at the Open since their return in 2003, but at present they may not be in better shape to add to their brace of victories in 1922 and 1958.

Last year’s 12th place was a disappointment after their podium finish in 2012, but since then they have flourished – topped by a solid outing at Butlins and a superb Yorkshire Area victory at Bradford earlier this year.

Phillip McCann continues to draw engaging performances of musical interest from a very solid ensemble which contains a number of outstanding soloists.

They may well be a band to fear if they repeat the form shown at St George’s Hall and can get another helpful draw.

Player to listen out for:
Arfon Owen – just one of a stable of high quality lead players, the Welsh solo horn has bags of experience and a real touch of class about his playing. 

Principal players:
Principal Cornet: Kirsty Abbotts
Principal Euphonium: Toni Durrant
Soprano: Gary Bates
Solo Horn: Arfon Owen
Flugel: Rebecca Abernathy
Solo Trombone: Dean Jones
Baritone: Heather Law
Eb Tuba: Rob Browne
Bb Tuba: Adrian Clarke

4BR Ranking: 12

2013 Form:
Butlins Mineworkers: 3rd 
Regionals: Winners (Yorkshire)

Appearances: 66th time

Debut: 1921

Open Record:
2 Wins: 1922, 1958
5 Seconds: 1941, 1957, 1959, 1969, 1972
4 Thirds: 1948, 1950, 1956, 2011
3 Fourths: 1928, 1944, 1963
2 Fifths: 1927, 1946
2 Sixths: 1923, 2006
47 times unplaced

Open Record since 2000:
Conductor and draw

2012: 12th (Phillip McCann) (15)
2011: 3rd (Phillip McCann) (5)
2010: 8th (Phillip McCann) (11)
2009: 16th (Russell Gray) (9)
2008: 7th (Russell Gray (12)
2007: 12th (Russell Gray) (11)
2006: 6th (Russell Gray) (19)
2005: DNC
2004: 18th (Brian Grant) (7)
2003: Winners of Grand Shield (W. Rushworth) (prom): 18th (W. Rushworth) (14)
2002: 19th (William Rushworth) (17) (rel)
2001: 17th (John Hinckley) (6)
2000: 9th (John Hinckley) (21)

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Co-operative Funeralcare Band
Allan Ramsay

Open Record:
Co-operative Funeralcare (they have played at the Open under five different names) returned to the contest in 2003 and have secured one podium finish in 2004.

However, many felt they were a little unlucky not to have at least featured in the top six last year after delivering a fine performance off the early number 4 draw under the baton of Allan Ramsay.

He directs once more and his return has coincided with a timely boost to contesting form after a disappointing start to the 2013 season – failing to qualify for London and losing out at the West Lothian contest to rivals Whitburn. 

That was lucratively reversed at the recent Land O’ Burns contest and just at the right time to set them up as one of the dark horses for a top six finish this year.

Player to listen out for:
Glenn Van Looy – a new look haircut for the Belgian superstar, but the quality of his brilliant playing remains unchanged.

Principal players:
Principal Cornet: Jim Hayes
Principal Euphonium: Glenn Van Looy
Soprano: Caroline Tennant
Solo Trombone: Paul Kiernan
Solo Horn: Iain Fleming
Flugel: Andrea Casey
Baritone: Chris Shanks
Eb Tuba: Steve Walsh
Bb Tuba: Andy Smith

4BR Ranking: 13

2013 Form:
Regionals: 3rd (Scotland)
West Lothian Festival: 2nd
Land O’ Burns: Winners

Appearances: 26th time

Debut: 1956

Open Record:
3 Thirds: 1993, 1997, 2004
1 Fourth: 2006
21 times unplaced:

Open Record since 2000:
Conductor and draw

2012: 7th (Allan Ramsay) (4)
2011: 14th (Michael Fowles) (13)
2010: 11th (Michael Fowles) (16)
2009: 8th (Michael Fowles) (12)
2008: 11th (Andrew Duncan) (9)
2007: 14th (Allan Ramsay) (5)
2006: 4th (Allan Ramsay) (15)
2005: 10th (Frank Renton) (15)
2004: 3rd (Ian McElligott) (13)
2003: 2nd at Grand Shield (N. Childs) (prom): 13th (James Scott) (12)
2002: 16th (John Hinckley) (4) (rel)
2001: 12th (James Gourlay) (4)
2000: 11th (Kazuyoshi Uemura) (16)

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Philip Harper

Open Record:
Fresh from their tour to Australia, Cory will be looking to continue their remarkable British Open record since the turn of the Millennium and add a sixth title to their CV.

They haven’t been outside the top six since 1998, and it would be a brave man to bet against them carrying on that run under Philip Harper, who led them to an excellent third place finish on his debut with the band last year.

The draw seems to hold few fears, whilst the odd year record may well suggest another victory if they can reproduce the form shown at the Europeans and the recent World Music Contest in Kerkrade.  

The Welsh Area result seems to have been a bit of an anomaly. 

Player to listen out for:
Steve Stewart – with all the well publicised soprano hoops to jump through, no player seems better equipped to meet the challenges on the test piece than the electrifying Scotsman.

Principal players:
Principal Cornet: Tom Hutchinson
Principal Euphonium: Matthew White
Soprano: Steve Stewart
Solo Trombone: Chris Thomas
Solo Horn: Owen Farr
Flugel: Richard Davies
Baritone: Stephen Kane
Eb Tuba: Simon Howell
Bb Tuba: Fraser Bish

4BR Ranking: 1

2013 Form:
Regionals:  5th (Wales)
European Championship: Winners
World Music Contest: 2nd

Appearances: 51st time

Debut: 1922

Open Record:
5 Wins: 2000, 2002, 2007, 2009, 2011
4 Seconds: 1950, 2004, 2005, 2006
4 Thirds: 1972, 2001, 2008, 2012
3 Fourths: 1951, 1975, 1976
2 Fifths: 1974, 2010
2 Sixths: 1999, 2003
30 times unplaced

Open Record since 2000:
Conductor and draw

2012: 3rd (Philip Harper) (13)
2011: Winners (Robert Childs) (9)
2010: 5th (Robert Childs) (1)
2009: Winners (Robert Childs) (6)
2008: 3rd (Robert Childs) (11)
2007: Winners (Robert Childs) (16)
2006: 2nd (Robert Childs) (17)
2005: 2nd (Robert Childs) (16)
2004: 2nd (Robert Childs) (2)
2003: 6th (Robert Childs) (13)
2002: Winners (Robert Childs) (16)
2001: 3rd (Robert Childs) (20)
2000: Winners (Robert Childs) (22)

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Desford Colliery
Nigel Seaman

Open Record:
Desford may not have yet won the British Open, but over the years they have come close and given listeners some memorable performances in the process.

That said, last year was an odd one –with a performance that eventually came 9th, but could have either won or come last such was the musical risk taking of MD Nigel Seaman.

He knows the orchestral original of this year’s test piece very well though, so don’t be surprised that the Midlanders once again give plenty of food for thought in the box.

A decent second half draw would be welcome (after five consecutive single digit appearances), although as always, what contest shape they come here in is a bit of a mystery after a disappointing fourth place at Butlins and their non appearance at the Areas.   

Player to listen out for:
Brian Winter – a chance to hear one of the classiest flugel players around (he was superb at the National last year). 

Principal players:
Principal Cornet: Gary Wyatt
Principal Euphonium: Michael Howley
Soprano: Daniel Shave
Solo Horn: George Thackray
Flugel: Brian Winter
Solo Trombone: Thomas Berry
Baritone: Kate Williams
Eb Tuba: Jon Truscott
Bb Tuba: Phillip Convey

4BR Ranking: 30

2013 Form:
Butlins Mineworkers: 4th
Regionals:  DNC (Midlands)

Appearances: 41st time

Debut: 1970

Open Record:
1 Second: 1979
2 Thirds: 1980, 2006
2 Fourths: 1982, 2007
2 Fifths: 1984, 1986
2 Sixths: 1983, 1987
31 times unplaced

Open Record since 2000:
Conductor and draw

2012: 9th (Nigel Seaman) (8)
2011: 7th (Nigel Seaman) (6)
2010: 7th (Martin Winter) (7)
2009: 7th (James Gourlay) (1)
2008: 14th (Nigel Seaman) (3)
2007: 4th (Frans Violet) (10)
2006: 3rd (Nigel Seaman) (12)
2005: 16th (Peter Parkes) (1)
2004: 3rd at Grand Shield (P. Parkes) (prom): 7th (Peter Parkes) (17)
2003: DNC
2002: DNC
2001: 19th (Peter Parkes) (12) (rel)
2000: 20th (Peter Parkes) (19)

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Fairey Band
Garry Cutt

Open Record:
Only Black Dyke can claim more victories at the British Open than Fairey, but the Stockport band has now gone the longest period in their history without adding to their total of 16 wins.

They have come close of course, but the last two outings have been a disappointment, and they were off the pace somewhat last year in coming 10th.

A change of direction sees the vastly experienced and highly successful Open specialist Garry Cutt take over the baton, and his musical nous should ensure that they are once again a contender for the major prizes, especially if they can continue with their decent luck at the draw. 

No London appearance this year, so all thoughts and efforts are on Symphony Hall after a year that hasn’t quite lived up to expectations – so far.   
Player to listen out for:
Ben Richeton – one of the new breed of fearless soprano players who seem impervious to pressure. He was on red hot form at London last year and this piece could be the perfect showcase for his talents.

Principal players:
Principal Cornet: Dave Morton
Principal Euphonium: Jim Fieldhouse
Soprano: Ben Richeton
Solo Trombone: Michael Thompsen
Solo Horn: Julie Backhouse
Flugel: Mike Eccles
Baritone: Sarah Lenton
Eb Tuba: Simon Moffett
Bb Tuba: Mark Evans

4BR Ranking: 8

2013 Form:
Regionals: 4th (North West)
Whit Friday: 2nd in Tameside

Appearances: 70th time

Debut: 1938

Open Record:
16 Wins: 1941, 1942, 1944, 1945, 1947, 1949, 1950, 1956, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1965, 1979, 1987, 1993, 1998
14 Seconds: 1943, 1946, 1948, 1953, 1960, 1967, 1975, 1982, 1986, 1988, 1991, 1995, 1997, 2010
5 Thirds: 1969, 1977, 1984, 1992, 1999
6 Fourths: 1959, 1971, 1996, 2000, 2003, 2005
2 Fifths: 1985, 2006
7 Sixths: 1951, 1957, 1970, 1978, 1990, 2001, 2002
19 times unplaced

Open Record since 2000:
Conductor and dra
2012: 10th (Russell Gray) (16)
2011: 11th (Russell Gray) (17)
2010: 2nd (Russell Gray) (12)
2009: 12th (Philip Chalk) (7)
2008: 15th (Philip Chalk) (8)
2007: 7th (Philip Chalk) (12)
2006: 5th (Simon Stonehouse) (8)
2005: 4th (Simon Stonehouse) (9)
2004: 12th (Allan Withington (11)
2003: 4th (Allan Withington) (9)
2002: 6th (Allan Withington) (19)
2001: 6th (Howard Snell) (2)
2000: 4th (James Gourlay) (17)

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Allan Withington

Open Record:
The ‘Double’ champion returns to defend the title they won in such thrilling fashion last year under the baton of Allan Withington.

That 12th win seemed to give the band a huge boost of collective confidence after a period when the musical partnership was taking its time to gel, but they are now a short priced favourite to retain the famous Gold Shield and repeat the historic achievement of their predecessors a century ago.

With the MDs personal Open duck also broken with last year’s victory they should be confident of once again featuring in and around the podium places at the very least, although they won’t be taking anything for granted after their North West Area hegemony was stopped in its tracks earlier in the season.

Player to listen out for:
Lesley Poole – one of the most consistent and musically engaging horn players in the banding world.  

Principal players:
Principal Cornet: Mark Wilkinson
Principal Euphonium: Glyn Williams
Soprano: Richard Poole
Solo Horn: Lesley Poole
Flugel: Helen Williams
Solo Trombone: John Barber
Baritone: Natsumi MacDonald
Eb Tuba: Stewart Baglin
Bb Tuba: David McGlynn

4BR Ranking: 3

2013 Form:
Regionals: 2nd (North West)
Whit Friday: Tameside winners

Appearances: 74th time

Debut: 1909

Open Record:
12 Wins: 1909, 1910, 1912, 1913, 1915, 1926, 1927, 1928, 1964, 2004, 2008, 2012
6 Seconds: 1911, 1916, 1952, 1987, 1998, 2002
7 Thirds: 1914, 1925, 1957, 1970, 1981, 1985, 2007
6 Fourths: 1958, 1965, 1986, 1991, 2010, 2011
8 Fifths: 1918, 1953, 1968, 1972, 1988, 1996, 1999, 2000
5 Sixths: 1917, 1984, 1994, 2005, 2009
29 times unplaced

Open Record since 2000:
Conductor and draw

2012: Winners (Allan Withington) (9)
2011: 4th (Allan Withington) (15)
2010: 4th (Howard Snell) (17)
2009: 6th (Garry Cutt) (5)
2008: Winners (Garry Cutt) (10)
2007: 3rd (Garry Cutt) (3)
2006: 13th (Garry Cutt) (9)
2005: 6th (Garry Cutt) (18)
2004: Winners (Garry Cutt) (12)
2003: 7th (Thomas Wyss) (3)
2002: 2nd (Bramwell Tovey) (8)
2001: 7th (Bramwell Tovey) (3)
2000: 5th (Bramwell Tovey) (9)

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Grimethorpe Colliery
Luc Vertommen

Open Record:
Just the four wins so far for Grimethorpe – but four memorable ones at that, even though the last was back in 1991.  For their legions of supporters a fifth is well overdue. 

With the elegant Luc Vertommen at the helm after his highly impressive debut with the band at the Yorkshire Area and a very settled line up of high class players at his disposal, confidence is high.

Last year they almost delivered something special and they remain the one band that can win this contest by producing something magical - if things click.

The draw has been kind to them in the last couple of years, so if they can pick a decent one out of the velvet bag the crowd favourites may well be in the hunt for that elusive fifth title.

Player to listen out for:
Michael Dodd – the best decision he made was not to retire from playing with Grimey, as he remains one of the classiest contest performers around.

Principal players:
Principal Cornet: Roger Webster
Principal Euphonium: Michael Dodd
Soprano: Kevin Crockford
Solo Trombone: Chris Gommersall
Solo Horn: William Rushworth
Flugel: Ian Shires
Baritone: Michael Wells
Eb Tuba: Shaun Crowther
Bb Tuba: John Beaumont

4BR Ranking: 9

2013 Form:
Regionals: 3rd (Yorkshire)

Appearances: 67th time

Debut: 1935

Open Record:
4 Wins: 1967, 1969, 1984, 1991
4 Seconds: 1945, 1963, 1973, 2008
11 Thirds: 1960, 1961, 1968, 1971, 1979, 1983, 1987, 1990, 1994, 2000, 2009
4 Fourths: 1972, 1998, 2001, 2012
7 Fifths: 1976, 1981, 1989, 1992, 1995, 1997, 2007
3 Sixths: 1946, 1980, 1985
33 times unplaced.

Open Record since 2000:
Conductor and draw

2012: 4th (Garry Cutt) (17)
2011: 9th (Garry Cutt) (16)
2010: 9th (Allan Withington) (15)
2009: 3rd (Allan Withington) (3)
2008: 2nd (Allan Withington) (6)
2007: 5th (Allan Withington) (4)
2006: 9th (Allan Withington) (4)
2005: 12th (Allan Withington) (4)
2004: 9th (Frank Renton) (9)
2003: DNC
2002: 14th (James Gourlay) (10)
2001: 4th (Garry Cutt) (13)
2000: 3rd (Garry Cutt) (20)

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Michael Fowles

Open Record:
Hepworth continues to punch well above its weight at the major contests – and especially here at the British Open.

They won their place at the top table by claiming the Grand Shield in 2005 and made an immediate return following relegation in 2012 in the most emphatic fashion.

Purposeful and committed, they produced a fine account of themselves off an early draw last year under the direction of Michael Fowles to end 11th – a solid performance that should ensure they don’t have to worry too much about another Blackpool return.

They were not so good at the Masters (although more than a little unlucky to end 15th) but there was a much better return at the English Nationals where their confident approach certainly appealed. 

More of that and a possible top ten finish may be on the cards for the first time since 2008.

Player to listen out for:
Peter Moore – make sure you catch him, as he is surely destined for a career playing the original orchestral version of this test piece for many years to come. 

Principal players:
Principal Cornet: Andy Holmes
Principal Euphonium: Mike Kilroy
Soprano: Mark Smedley
Solo Horn: Danny Powell
Flugel: Katherine Betham
Solo Trombone: Peter Moore
Baritone: Charmain Gott
Eb Tuba: Ben Millest
Bb Tuba: Mike Everett

4BR Ranking: 24

2013 Form:
Regionals: 5th (Yorkshire)
Whit Friday: 4th in Saddleworth
All England Masters: 15th
English National: 4th

Appearances: 9th time

Debut: 2005

Open Record:
No wins
8 times unplaced:

Open Record since 2000:
Conductor and draw

2012: Winners of Grand Shield (R. Gray) (prom): 11th (Michael Fowles) (6)
2011: 15th (Michael Bach) (rel) (8)
2010: 15th (Brian Grant) (5)
2009: 11th (Ian Porthouse) (14)
2008: 9th (Ian Porthouse) (17)
2007: 8th (Mark Bentham) (13)
2006: 11th (Mark Bentham) (6)
2005: Winners of Grand Shield (M. Bentham) (prom): 8th (Mark Bentham) (2)

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David Roberts

Open Record:
Kirkintilloch has shown remarkable tenacity in maintaining their record of thirteen consecutive appearances at the British Open since their debut in 2001. 

This year was a case in point – bouncing straight back at the Grand Shield (under Phillip McCann) after relegation in 2012.

It did raise a few eyebrows in the process, but their form in coming runner-up at the Scottish Championship and third at West Lothian showed that they were already a highly competitive top flight force.

This year they opt for their fifth change of conductor in as many years, with the highly experienced David Roberts of Rothwell Temperance making the journey north to lead a band that on its day continues to surprise. 

Player to listen out for:
Calum Tonner – another highly rated young soprano player who has been catching the eye of many a top flight band south of Hadrian’s Wall.

Principal players:
Principal Cornet: Stephanie Mitchell
Principal Euphonium: Andy Robson
Soprano: Calum Tonner
Solo Trombone: Helen Douthwaite
Solo Horn: Rachel Neil
Flugel: Fiona Pitcathley
Baritone: Scott Findlater
Eb Tuba: Laura McCormick
Bb Tuba: Richard McCann

4BR Ranking: 23

2013 Form:
Regionals: 2nd (Scotland)
West Lothian Festival: 3rd
Grand Shield: 2nd

Appearances: 13th time

Debut: 2001

Open Record:
1 Fourth: 2004
1 Fifth: 2008
10 times unplaced

Open Record since 2000:
Conductor and draw

2013: 2nd at Grand Shield (P. McCann) (prom)
2012: 14th (Paul Holland) (14) (rel) 
2011: 2nd at Grand Shield (G. Cutt) (prom): 16th (Luc Vertommen) (3)
2010: 17th (Garry Cutt) (10) (rel): 
2009: 9th (Selmer Simonsen) (2)
2008: 5th (Selmer Simonsen) (15)
2007: 18th (Nigel Boddice) (2)
2006: 7th (Steve Bastable) (2)
2005: 13th (Steve Bastable) (8)
2004: 4th (Steve Bastable) (16)
2003: 11th (Frank Renton) (16)
2002: 12th (Frank Renton) (6)
2001: Winners of Grand Shield (A. Ramsay) (prom): 16th (Allan Ramsey) (19)

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Michael Bach

Open Record:
With a test piece that demands so much colour and character, this may well be the year that Leyland secures its second British Open title.

No other combination has the same propensity to engage the musical senses as Michael Bach and his talented players – as was shown in them claiming the North West Area title and producing a brace of fine performances at the Europeans in Oslo. 

They haven’t quite managed to rid themselves of a touch of inconsistency at times, as heard last year when they almost but not quite put themselves in the mix both here and at London.

However, if they get another decent draw and they can keep the adrenaline levels under control could be enjoying a celebratory ‘Arabian Night’ to remember in Birmingham.

Player to listen out for:
John Doyle – no other player so enjoys the contest challenge as much the brilliant soprano star. If he’s smiling after the final top E then you know his band is in with chance of Open glory.

Principal players:
Principal Cornet: Iain Culross
Principal Euphonium: James MacLeod
Soprano: John Doyle
Solo Trombone: Daniel Brooks
Solo Horn: Rebecca Doyle
Flugel: Romana Hallstead
Baritone: Hannah Platt
Eb Tuba: Chris Doran
Bb Tuba: Bill Carter

4BR Ranking: 7

2013 Form:
Regionals: Winners (North West)
European Championship: 7th
Whit Friday: 3rd in Tameside

Appearances: 41st time

Debut: 1948

Open Record:
1 Win: 1994
3 Seconds: 1981, 1990, 1992
3 Thirds: 1989, 1991, 1996
4 Fourths: 1985, 1988, 2008, 2009
1 Fifth: 1993
3 Sixths: 1982, 1998, 2012
25 times unplaced

Open Record since 2000:
Conductor and draw

2012: 6th (Michael Bach) (11)
2011: 10th (Jason Katsikaris) (11)
2010: 12th (Philip Harper) (6)
2009: 4th (Jason Katsikaris) (13)
2008: Winners of Grand Shield (J. Katsikaris) (prom): 4th (Jason Katsikaris) (4)
2007: DNC
2006: DNC
2005: DNC
2004: DNC
2003: 14th (Peter Bassano) (5) (rel)
2002: 11th (Garry Cutt) (5)
2001: 9th (Brian Grant) (5)
2000: 10th (Howard Snell) (10)

Marieka Gray

Open Record:
A remarkable debut appearance for a band formed 99 years ago, but still battling for survival in the lower sections as recently as 2005.

Marieka Gray has done an equally remarkable job in developing a closely knit outfit into a real challenger for top flight honours -  as was shown in building upon a fine performance at the Scottish Open late last year which blossomed into an Albert Hall qualification spot at the North West Area contest and victory at the Grand Shield.

Anyone doubting the authenticity of their credentials was given short shrift by their impressive third place finish at the English Nationals in Birmingham. 

Debutants they may be, but do not underestimate the quality they bring to the event – they are a band very much on the up.   

Player to listen out for:
Christopher Binns – as shown by our 4BR interview, here is a very talented and very level headed young man with a great future ahead of him. 

Principal players:
Principal Cornet: Joanne Johnson
Principal Euphonium: James Emberly
Soprano Cornet: Kenny Pain
Solo Trombone: Christopher Binns
Solo Horn: Mick Morris
Flugel: Natalie Beer
Baritone: Michael Thewliss
Eb Tuba: Gordon Clarke
Bb Tuba: Jonny Shaw

4BR Ranking: 19

2013 Form:
Regionals: 3rd (North West)
Grand Shield:  Winners
English National: 3rd

Appearances: Debut

Debut: 2013

Open Record: N/A

Open Record since 2000:
Conductor and draw

2013: Winners of Grand Shield (Marieka Gray) (prom)
2012: 8th (Marieka Gray) 
2011: 8th (Marieka Gray)
2010: 4th in Senior Cup (A. White) (prom)
2009: Winners of Senior Trophy (J. Ward) (prom)
2008: 10th (J. Ward)
2007: 6th (A. White)

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Reg Vardy
Conductor: Russell Gray

Open Record:
One of a batch of bands who will be nervously looking over their shoulders at a possible return to the Grand Shield if they do not gain a good result on Saturday.

An early draw and too many errors saw them end 16th last year, so they have a lot to do under the baton of Russell Gray if they are to ensure a third successive Open appearance in 2014.

Just three top six finishes in 34 appearances shows what they are up against, although they have recovered form somewhat after a disappointing result at the North of England Area contest. 

Their performances at the English National showed that they still have the quality to make a real mark here for the first time since their trio of top ten finishes in 2004/5/6, and in Russell Gray they have one of the most musically inspired MDs around – a real bonus on this piece for sure.  

Player to listen out for:
Paul Robinson – a wonderful euphonium performer and a huge asset to any contest performance.

Principal players:
Principal Cornet: Dennis Vork
Principal Euphonium: Paul Robinson
Soprano: Tom Glendinning
Solo Horn: Steve Hardy
Flugel: Joanne Behan
Solo Trombone: Andrew Enzor
Baritone: Fiona Casewell
Eb Tuba: Jen Farms
Bb Tuba: Colin Dixon

4BR Ranking: 26

2013 Form:
Regionals: 2nd (North of England)
English Nationals: 5th

Appearances: 35th time

Debut: 1966

Open Record:
No Wins:
No Seconds:
No Thirds:
1 Fourth: 1987
2 Fifths: 1977, 1982
No Sixths:
31 times unplaced

Open Record since 2000:
Conductor and draw

2012: 16th (Ray Farr) (3)
2011: Winners of Grand Shield (Nicholas Childs) (prom): 13th (Ray Farr) (4)
2010: DNC
2009: DNC
2008: DNC
2007: 13th (Ray Farr) (6) (rel)
2006: 17th (Ray Farr) (7)
2005: 9th (Ray Farr) (17)
2004: 8th (Ray Farr) (19)
2003: 8th (Ray Farr) (4)
2002: 15th (Ray Farr) (11)
2001: 12th (Ray Farr) (11)

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Seindorf Beaumaris
Conductor: Gwyn M Evans

Open Record:
The North Wales band made its debut at the British Open in 2012 – the first North Wales band at the contest since Point of Ayr in 1994 – and did a fine job off the dreaded number 1 draw to end a very solid thirteenth.

Their inspirational MD Gwyn Evans continues to develop some of the most talented young players in banding.  

His return after illness at the Welsh Area didn’t quite come in time to gain a return trip to the Royal Albert Hall, but by the Masters in Kettering they were back on top form as they produced a wonderfully lyrical performance to capture the title against high class opposition. 

More of that and they will be very confident of more than making a mark on a piece that could well suit the MD and his band to a tee.

Player to listen out for:
Bronwen Evans – a very accomplished and classy horn soloist and section leader.

Principal players:
Principal Cornet: Nicholas Hughes
Principal Euphonium: John Storey
Soprano Cornet: Bari Gwilliam
Solo Trombone: Kate Gwilliam
Solo Horn: Bronwen Evans
Flugel: Cai Isfryn
Baritone: Callum MacDonald
Eb Tuba: Gavin Saynor
Bb Tuba: William Marston

4BR Ranking: 15

2013 Form:
Regionals: 6th (Wales)
All England Masters International:  Winners
Appearances: 2nd time

Debut: 2012

Open Record:
1 unplaced

Open Record since 2000:
Conductor and draw

2012: 2nd in Grand Shield (G. Evans) (prom): 13th (Gwyn Evans) (1)
2011: 3rd in Senior Cup (G. Evans) (prom)
2010: Winners of Senior Trophy (G. Evans) (prom)
2009: 5th in Senior Trophy (G. Evans)
2008: 11th (G. Evans)
2007: DNC
2006: Withdrew
2005: 11th in Grand Shield (G. Evans)
2004: 11th (M. Hansen)
2003: 6th (G. Evans)
2002: 12th (G. Evans)
2001: 2nd Senior Cup (G. Evans) (prom)

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Ian Porthouse

Open Record:
Tredegar will be well aware that just two years after making history by becoming the first band to win the Grand Shield and British Open in the same year, they could be facing a return to Blackpool if they fail to recapture the type form that made them into such a consistent major contesting force under Ian Porthouse.

They made too many errors last year and paid the price, although they could count themselves a tad unlucky they didn’t capture the Welsh Area title earlier this season.  

Not so at the Masters when the gremlins struck again as they searched for a hat-trick victory.

The draw has been kind to them here, so they will hope that continues as they seek to impose their major contest winning credentials once more.    

Player to listen out for:
Lewis West - a gifted multi instrumentalist who has become an integral part of the Welsh band’s contesting armoury.

Principal players:
Principal Cornet: Dewi Griffiths
Principal Euphonium: Daniel Thomas
Soprano: Ian Roberts
Solo Trombone: Stephen Sykes
Solo Horn: Hannah Drage
Flugel: Lewis West
Baritone: Jack Lapthorn
Eb Tuba: Michelle Hockings
Bb Tuba: Andy Russell

4BR Ranking: 5

2013 Form:
Welsh Open: Winners
Regionals: 2nd (Wales)
All England Masters International: 5th

Appearances: 19th time

Debut: 1976

Open Record:
1 Win: 2010
1 Second: 1996
2 Sixths: 1997, 2011
14 times unplaced

Open Record since 2000:
Conductor and draw

2012: 15th (Ian Porthouse) (12)
2011: 6th (Ian Porthouse) (14)
2010: Winners of Grand Shield (I. Porthouse) (prom); Winners (Ian Porthouse) (8)
2009: DNC
2008: DNC
2007: DNC
2006: DNC
2005: 18th (Thomas Wyss) (5) (rel)
2004: 19th (Russell Gray) (15)
2003: 9th (Russell Gray) (18)
2002: 8th (Steve Bastable) (18)
2001: 13th (Steve Bastable) (17)
2000: 8th (Steve Bastable) (12)

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Virtuosi GUS
John Berryman

Open Record:
Virtuosi GUS celebrates its 80th birthday this year and can look back on its 41 past Open appearances since 1934 with a great deal of pride.

It has included two victories – one famously off the number 1 spot under Stanley Boddington in 1954, although you suspect they won’t want to really try and repeat that this time around – despite coming to the contest in perhaps their best spell of extended form for many a year.

That was shown last year at both the Open and Nationals and was built upon with a deserved victory at the Butlins Mineworkers Championship, a non nonsense London qualification at the Midlands Area and a brace of classy runner-up places at the Masters and especially the English Nationals.

Emotions must be kept in check on John Berryman’s swan song Open appearance, but if they do, then they are a real dark horse more than capable of registering a top six finish or better. 

Player to listen out for:
Chris Jeans – amid all the outstanding youthful talent in the ranks, you still can’t beat the class and experience of this wonderful performer.

Principal players:
Principal Cornet: Peter Collins
Principal Euphonium: Mark Giles
Soprano: Martin Britt
Solo Horn: Nathan Waterman
Flugel: Thomas Fountain
Solo Trombone: Chris Jeans
Baritone: Jo Stephenson
Eb Tuba: Linda Hobbs
Bb Tuba: Mike Smith

4BR Ranking: 16

2013 Form:
Butlins Mineworkers: Winners
Regionals: 2nd (Midlands)
All England Masters International: 2nd
English National: 2nd

Appearances: 42nd time

Debut: 1934

Open Record:
2 Wins: 1954, 1988
1 Second: 1980
5 Thirds: 1946, 1952, 1974, 1982, 1986
2 Fourths: 1983, 1995
3 Fifths: 1948, 1949, 1964
3 Sixths: 1950, 1953, 1969
25 times unplaced

Open Record since 2000:
Conductor and draw

2012: 8th (John Berryman) (7)
2011: 8th (John Berryman) (1)
2010: 13th (John Berryman) (14)
2009: 2nd at Grand Shield (J. Berryman) (prom): 14th (John Berryman) (15)
2008: DNC
2007: DNC
2006: DNC
2005: DNC
2004: DNC
2003: 15th (Major Peter Parkes) (1) (rel)
2002: 17th (Brian Grant) (15)
2001: 10th (Frank Renton) (1)
2000: 7th (Melvin White) (6)


Sunday 14 July • Pemberton Old Wigan Brass Bands. Enfield Street,. Pemberton,. Wigan WN5 8DZ


Friday 19 July • Pemberton Old Wigan Band . Enfield Street,. Pemberton,. Wigan. WN5 8DZ

Barnsley Brass - Stephen Sykes, Principal Trombone of The Cory Band

Saturday 20 July • St Mary's Church, Kippax, Leeds LS25 7HF

Boarshurst Silver Band - Sunday Brass Concert - Skelmanthorpe Band

Sunday 21 July • Boarshurst Band Club, Greenbridge Lane OL3 7EW

Boarshurst Silver Band - Sunday Brass Concert - Phoenix Brass

Sunday 28 July • Boarshurst Band Club, Greenbridge Lane OL3 7EW

Dobcross Silver Band

July 15 • 2 x Cornet Players required. Positions are negotiable, excluding Principal as players are willing to move around. Experience preferred but all ages considered if ability can be demonstrated. Enjoyable rehearsals/great socials!

Waltham St. Lawrence Silver Band

July 13 • Our welcoming non-contesting band, based near Maidenhead, Bracknell and Reading, seeks: . Solo Euphonium . 1st Horn . Percussion, kit and tuned: we have a lovely pair of timps! . Solo Cornet to complete the front-row line-up. 2nd Cornet

Newtown Silver Band

July 12 • Musical Director. Following the retirement of our current Musical Director after 40 years of loyal service the band is seeking a new Musical Director to take the band forward. We are a 3rd section band with a busy programme and enthusiastic members. .

Martin Heartfield

Conductor, Adjudicator, Educationalist


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