2013 Brass in Concert Championship — As it happened

Live comments from the 2013 Brass in Concert Championship as it happened.

Sunday 17, 19:22:40

That's it from The Sage, Gateshead. We hope you've enjoyed our coverage this weekend as Cory retains their title.

We'll have the usual news and retrospectives this week.

Good night from Gateshead

Sunday 17, 18:01:17



1. Cory (Philip Harper): 54/60/36/34 = 184
2. Tredegar (Ian Porthouse): 60/48/34/40 = 182
3. Foden's (Allan Withington): 51/39/38/38 = 166
4. Grimethorpe Colliery (Dr Robert Childs): 48/57/32/28 = 165
5. Brighouse & Rastrick (Martin Winter): 57/33/40/24 = 154
6. Leyland (Richard Evans): 42/42/22/36 = 142
7. Virtuosi GUS (Adam Cooke): 45/36/28/32 = 141
8. Carlton Main Frickley Colliery (Leigh Baker): 33/51/24/26 = 134
9. Whitburn (Anne Crookston): 36/45/30/22 = 133
10. Flowers (Paul Holland): 39/30/26/30 = 125
11. Fairey (Garry Cutt): 30/54/20/20 = 124

Don Lusher Trombone Award: Chris Thomas (Cory)
Harry Mortimer Best Principal Cornet Award: Kirsty Abbotts (Carlton Main Frickley Colliery)
The Fesa Trophy for Best Flugel Award: Chris Bradley (Whitburn)
The Gateshead MBC Trophy for Best Soprano Award: Kevin Crockford (Grimethorpe Colliery)
The Louis and Colin Johnson Trophy for Best Percussion Section: Tredegar
Best Euphonium: Michael Dodd (Grimethorpe Colliery)
Best Baritone/Horn: Lesley Poole (Fodens)
John Fletcher Best Basses Award: Brighouse & Rastrick
Best Entertainment and Presentation: Tredegar
Best Programme Content: Brighouse & Rastrick
Quality of Performance: Cory
Own Choice March: She Loves You (Leyland)
Best Soloist: Kirsty Abbotts (Carlton Main) Papa Can You Hear Me?
New Composition/Arrangement Award: Philip Harper (Finale Rachmaninov Piano Concerto Number 3)
Winning MD: Philip Harper
Youngest Player: Romana Halstead, Leyland (aged 16)

Sunday 17, 17:38:44

4BR Round-up:

It's been a very enjoyable and interesting day - although you wouldn't say it has been a memorable one with lots of bands still struggling to really appreciate the new artistic ethos of the contest.

The new mission statement says 'musical excellence without artistic restriction' and that certainly applied to Brighouse today - although they may still not win. Cory delivered a tour de force, but one that didn't always make coherent sense, whilst Foden's went down to Brighouse route with a set that very nearly but not quite came off.

Grimethorpe's more traditional fayre would have ticked boxes, but wasn't on the innovation edge, whilst Tredegar and Leyland put on entertainment packages that varied in overall delivery.

Don't be surprised them if either Carlton Main or Whitburn sneak into the frame somewhere or Virtuosi GUS for that matter.

Not a memorable contest, and no real clear winner either - this one could be close, but a personal choice for the 4BR Editor would be Brighouse by nose from Cory with Foden's followed by Grimethorpe, Leyland and Tredegar. Carlton Main is the dark horse for us with Whitburn, Virtuosi GUS, Flowers and Fairey.

4BR Prediction:

1. Brighouse & Rastrick
2. Cory
3. Foden's
4. Grimethorpe
5. Leyland
6. Tredegar
7. Carlton Main
8. Whitburn
9. Virtuosi GUS
10. Flowers
11. Fairey

Sunday 17, 16:37:57

11. Carlton Main Frickley Colliery (Leigh Baker)

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Colonel Bogey (Kenneth Alford)
Papa Can You Hear Me ? (Michael Legrand arr Leigh Baker)
Cornet Soloist: Kirsty Abbotts
The Good The Bad and the Frickley (Ray Farr arr Leigh Baker)
The Mansions of the Lord (Nick Glennie-Smith)
Over The Rainbow (arr Tom Davoren)

Memories of Granada Band of the Year from the early 1970s and Carlton Main marching onto the stage with a big bass drum to bash out a well known march. This time we get the whistling tune and the formation playing with a background sound of the the jungle of Bridge on the River Kwai. Somehow this doesn't quite make sense with what follows.

From a bonkers Alec Guinness to Barbara Striesand cross dressing as Yentl the Yeshiva boy is one heck of a leap, but it is made musically plausible by a sublime piece of cornet solo playing by Kirsty Abbotts. That was simply beautiful.

Carlton Main go for the slapstick award - with their take on the cheroot smoking man with no name - although he seems to be smoking a cigar more suited to Fidel Castro! There's a great shot of Ray Sykes on the big screen too - complete with his shiny white pearlers that once belonged to Shergar by the looks of it.

Leigh Baker finally makes it to the stage for the next piece - complete with military drummers. Fine brass band playing this - with such a well balanced ensemble sound. Just an untidy end - but this was evocative music making.

A Tom Davoren bobby dazzler to close with a new arrangement of an all time classic - featuring a trio of flugel playing Dorothy's to open. It takes a bit of time to get to Oz and then its bip bop pop goes Toto as things liven up. The old Wizard is not unfrocked but the huge gong at the end would have deafened him for sure - if not the final chord!

A curious mix - but one that worked very well in the end thanks to the quality off the delivery. There was plenty to entertain and inform and it seems to have struck a bit of a chord with the audience too. A bit of a dark horse for a top six finish.

Sunday 17, 16:04:46

10. Brighouse & Rastrick (Martin Winter)
La Mer

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The North Sea—Erik Bllodaxe in hi Drakkar (Martin Winter)
The Mediterranean - Ballet of the Star Fish (Martin Winter)
The Indian Sea - Karma Naand (Martin Winter)
The Dead Sea - A Prayer for the departed (Martin Winter)
The Atlantic—Batucada Barracuda (Martin Winter)

A real journey into the unknown for both the audience and Brighouse with a full suite inspired by the various oceans of the world.

The North Sea is all Viking meets the drunken sailor - and is bold, brilliant, full of colour and vibrancy with all the ensemble elements putting in a hard shift.

Brilliant special effects to follow as the music sounds likes one of those oversized fish tanks in a council house - bubbling away like a pan of Heinz soup on the stove. Great trom lead in a bluesy solo is backed by more inventive sounds. This is certainly very different and engages the musical senses in full. Bravo.

Off to the Indian Ocean now and then to the Dead Sea with more weird and wonderful sounds (kazoos in the end of Harmon mutes and tamblas, wiggly snake charmers and Hare Krishna bells) All that is missing is Sachin Tendulkar and a bowl of Vindaloo curry - fantastic sounds - it's like Bombay on market day!

What a beautiful, haunting sense of evocation to follow - it sends a shiver down the spine. Fabulous stuff.

Back home on El Niño by the sounds of it and more percussion led musicality. There is a touch of the samba in here as we head into port but how on earth do we bump into a sousaphone along the way? Its fun and games, but weird this - brilliantly so!

The most coherent programme theme of the day - and delivered with such panache and authority. High class intelligent music making from a high class intelligent musician at the helm. This was music making that captured the new Brass in Concert ethos of 'without artistic restriction' to a tee.

Sunday 17, 15:12:47

9. Cory (Philip Harper)
Scaling the Heights

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Climb Every Mountain (arr Philip Harper)
Featuring: Owen Farr (Tenor Horn), Vocalist Dave Mitchell
Mambo Caliente (arr Sandy Smith)
From the Hillside (Alan Fernie)
Featuring: Richard Davies (Flugel), Owen Farr (Tenor Horn), Stephen Kane (Baritone), Matthew White (Euphonium)
Londonderry Air (John Iveson arr Philip Harper)
Trombone Soloist: Christopher Thomas
Finale from Rachmaninov Piano Concerto Number 3 (arr Philip Harper)
Climb Every Mountain (arr Philip Harper)

Its Owen Farr as Julie Andrews before Dave Mitchell takes on the vocals - just starting a little flat before he gets the perfect pitch. He's certainly suave - but it's a bit Las Vegas showbiz rather than Austrian Anschluss busting. Very different to say the least. Makes you wonder what Owen would look like in a wimple battling the Nazi hordes though...

Cory sit in big band formation for the mambo fizzer with jazz solo spots that have the bite of a rum chaser laced with absinth - its enough to make the eyes water! Very showy, slick and as bright and razor sharp as the MDs flaming red shirt.

A return to a traditional format for Alan Fernie's 'From the Hillside' - and the featured quartet play with marked tenderness. It sounds a bit like Strangers in the Night to start with though - but soon develops with such a fine sense of beauty.

The most tenuous thematic link takes us to the old Iveson trombone standard - lushly played by Chris Thomas. Superb stuff but just the odd blip in the accompaniment detracts.

To close, a real tour de force that they hope to scale the heights with to take the title - and a touch of Russian virtuosity on the old joanna. They are really showboating here - with fantastic technique on display all round the band. The soloists are stunning and the finale climax shakes the foundations.

The encore Julie Andrews coda is a clever touch.

If you forget the rather tenuous programme linkage and instead revel in the quality and the delivery of the music making there was something for everyone to enjoy here. Some worked better than others it must be said - but overall it was such a potent display rounded off with a remarkable piece of virtuosity.

Sunday 17, 14:36:07

8. Whitburn (Anne Crookston)

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The Death of Tybalt (Sergei Prokofiev arr Andrew Duncan)
All The Things You Are (Jerome Kern arr Ward Swingle transcribed by Philip Littlemore)
Lament from 'Macbeth' (Peter Meechan)
Flugel Soloist: Chris Bradley
Gee, Officer Krupke (Leonard Bernstein arr Simon Kerwin)
Symphonic Dances from West Side Story (Leonard Bernstein arr Eric Crees

An interesting start with a powerful surge of adrenaline and mental images of poor old Tybalt being run through after biting his thumb at his adversaries. Good to hear the Scots once again showing their ability to showcase something different - a bit like a good old scrap between Rangers and Celtic fans after a local derby.

Another interesting musical side step with a little bit of Jerome Kern - played with loving affection and stylish aplomb in both its lyrical and upbeat modes.

There is a Shakespearian connection with the music performed here and the second outing for the Lament is delivered with the aid of an effective touch of narration. This is classy stuff with enough flow to reach its climax and repose - just tarnished by a lack of precision between solo lines and fragility in the accompaniment at the end.

Romeo & Juliet to close the Shakespeare theme, although the three troms to start are as together as those coppers in the 'Plebgate' scandal. New York rozzers with Glaswegian accents always sound odd though.

It is getting a tad tired as we reach the finale - but there is a great deal of style about the playing and the MD keeps the music bubbling along in tempo. Once again the brave approach is evident - as they really do for the dynamic contrasts, and it all rounds off in fine fashion and a happy ever after close.

A well worked programme that was neatly directed by the MD. Lots to admire with the selection of music and the different styles and genres that were featured. Could surprise a few this.

Sunday 17, 13:48:56

7. Leyland (Richard Evans)

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Because, Lady Madonna, Get Back (Lennon/McCartney)
When I'm 64 (Lennon/McCartney arr Alan Fernie)
Something (George Harrison)
Cornet Soloist; Iain Culross
She Loves Me (Lennon/McCartney)
While My Guitar Gently Weeps (George Harrison)
Duet: Ramana Halstead (Flugel), Yasuaki Fukuhara (Marimba)
The Best of The Beatles (Lennon/McCartney)

A slightly odd start - just three horn Beatles (no Ringo then), and it takes a while to get into the flow with Lady Madonna which is thumped out.

The audience waits the entrance of the Grand Master - and in he comes - dressed as Sergeant Pepper - all John Lennon with round glasses and lurid red jacket.

The Tricky Dicky fans are already eating out of the palm of his hand. There is the usual slapstick humour delivered with panache in the old 64 classic and everyone seems to be reliving their youth before Led Zeppelin came along and spoilt things.....

Its enjoyable stuff - although the love song hasn't got that bittersweet feel about it as the original did (George's missus did run off with Eric Clapton) and it wouldn't be a Dicky programme without a march - although this one is taking it a bit far with She Loves You. Odd. A swaggering Beatle from the old military Jiggs Jaeger arrangement. Can't imagine him on a sitar smoking a bong full of LSD.

The duet is simple and so effective though - a wonderful take on a lovely classic. One of the highlights of the day.

Another military band arrangement re-arranged in a Beatles Medley - all the other hits we haven't heard so far. All we need is Dicky to start signing Hey Jude and things would be complete.

Its pleasant stuff - but you have to say this isn't exactly hard. Penny Lane gets the piccolo treatment before we head off to a Norwegian Wood, and then Hey Jude. Hopefully Leyland won't break up with incriminations and Dicky start a third section version of Wings after this.

As expected the crowd go completely feral, stark raving bonkers.

Clever, calculated and highly entertaining. Certainly not the most demanding programme you will ever hear, but one that resonated with an audience in need of a dose of youthful nostalgia. They certainly got that by the bucketful here with Dicky on tip top form.

Sunday 17, 13:08:31

Commencing at 1.15pm

6. Grimethorpe Colliery (Dr Robert Childs)

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When Thunder Calls (Paul Lovatt-Cooper)
Los Hominos de Bop (Mark Taylor arr Sandy Smith)
Carnival de Venice (Harry James arr Roger Webster/Mark Freeh)
Cornet Soloist: Roger Webster
Aka Tonbo (Kosaka Yamada/Takeo Yamamoto)
Florentiner March (Julius Fucik arr Dan Price)
Homage to Adolphe Sax (Jan Van der Roost)

A nice get well pick me up to start as Grimey walk on to the strains of a PLC fizzer - simple choreography from soloists before the MD makes his entrance and pushes the huge ensemble sound to a rousing climax. The audience seems to have taken a shed full of barroca in their dinner time drinks as they go bonkers.

It's followed by another stomper as the players bop along with stylish razzle. Grimethorpe are up for this you feel - and have already stamped their mark on proceedings. And now they are starting to tickle the taste buds with an old classic too.

Roger Webster delivers a superb impression of Harry James - although he has two lungs and didn't have to put up with Betty Grable in her prime. On this form you imagine he could have held his own though - its a masterclass of precision technique and intuitive musicality.

An old Childs Brothers favourite from their early days together in the lively Japanese song featuring the two Grimey euphs follows. The rising sun comes to Barnsley. You can almost hear the workers on the nearby Nissan car plant signing along....

The Brassed Off joker is played though - with a new arrangement of the classic Fucik march - with a difference. Its cheeky, cheesy and irreverent - and down right clever. It's even takes the pee out of the film a touch too with the William Tell ending.

Its a test piece excerpt to close from Ancient Times and the final Adolphe Sax ending that is a real leviathan tour de force - with Grimey and the MD revelling in its glory. Huge organ sounds and the power to raise the roof in the final bars. Blimey!

That's really upped the ante - with a stamp of Grimethorpe authority that has sent a wave of electricity through the audience. Such high quality delivery in a programme very craftily put together by the MD. High on the appeal factor this you suspect.

Sunday 17, 12:40:31

Lunch time opinion:

It's been a very enjoyable first half of entertainment that has seen a real eclectic set of programmes from the bands.

Solid no nonsense stuff of quality from Flowers and Virtuosi GUS, a trip back in time with Fairey and trip into the imagination from Tredegar. Foden's may have topped the lot though with a set that made you think.

Its Foden's for us with Tredegar a close second and Virtuosi GUS behind. We will have to wait and see though.

Mid way top three
1. Foden's
2. Tredegar
3. Virtuosi GUS

Sunday 17, 12:34:57

Lunch - contest restarts around 1.15pm approx

Sunday 17, 11:54:42

5. Foden's (Allan Withington)

Bach & Beyond - An Oratorio For Brass Band & 4 Soloists

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Chorale & Variation: St. Matthew´s Passion "Herzlich tut mich verlangen"
(Johann Sebastian Bach arr Allan Withington)

1st Link - Music Box Air
(Johann Sebastian Bach, arr Jacob Vilhelm Larsen)

A Whiter Shade of Pale
(Fisher, Brooker & Reid, arr Robin Dewhurst)
Tenor Horn Soloist: Lesley Poole

2nd Link - Virtuoso roll

Fantasia On: Molto Perpetuo in D minor
(Ottokar Novacêk, arr Jacob Vilhelm Larsen)

3rd Link - Speech

Movement No. 33: St.Matthew´s Passion (For 4 soloists)
(Johann Sebastian Bach arr Allan Withington)

4th Link - ".... I have a dream" (Jacob Vilhelm Larsen)

Gospel Tune: Can´t Nobody Do Me Like Jesus
(Traditional arr Jacob Vilhelm Larsen)

5th Link - Call to Arms

The Battle Hymn of The Republic & End Credits
(William Steffe arr. John Williams & Robin Dewhurst)

A typically inventive start from Mr Withington with Foden's reprising one of his programmes from SIDDIS with Stavanger back in 2010. Stop/Start entrance then a bit of hymn tune baroque and vocals.

From Bach to Procol Harem in one fell swoop - now that takes some doing even for a few old hippies in the audience longing for a time when free love and LSD were all the rage! Its a simple concept and arrangement - but so effective.

Another leap into the imagination with the darkly malicious Perpetuo - played with a serious dose of spite, before we get another intro and more Bach baroque and a touch of the saintly Matthew that flows with warmth. This is a programme that is asking questions of the musical intellect - and you can see a few glazed expressions in the audience it must be said.

Now then - more Martin Luther - the gospel one not the man who gave us the Protestant faith that is (that would have been one heck of a link) and the second dose of happy clappy evangelical swing. Lordy Lordy!

One last link as we get Bach on the battlefield of the Republic. My eyes have seen the glory - mixed and matched with a clever take on a old classic. Some of the accompanying images are a bit odd on the big screen - but this has been a bobby dazzler to close with a trip to New Orleans and an all dancing and marching Foden's to close via more Procol Harum inspired Bach.

Well now. This was a programme that certainly gave us the freedom from artistic restriction ethos - a real tour de force of intellectual music making that made you think from first note to last. It grew on the audience as it went along and finished brilliantly. That was a very classy piece of inventive brass band entertainment.

Sunday 17, 11:11:07

4. Virtuosi GUS (Adam Cooke)

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Mambo from West Side Story (Leonard Bernstein arr Crees)
Waltz from Act III, 'Macbeth' (Guiseppe Verdi arr Jonathan Bates)
So In Love (Cole Porter arr Andrew Wainwright)
Trombone Soloist: Chris Jeans
Lament from Macbeth (Peter Meechan)
Montagues & Capulets (Segei Prokoviev arr Stephen Roberts)
Greensleeves (Traditional arr J D Shaw)

The opening section of Pastime with Good Company provides an odd intro in Mambo time from West Side Story. Henry VIII on the streets of 1950s Harlem pimping with his girls in their beads of womanly delight. A bit of a head scratcher - but it just about works thanks to a neat bit of fizzy trumpet work from young Mr Fountain.

The Verdi waltz is a neat departure from the usual - played with just the right hint of malicious intent of the impending dirty deed to befall King Duncan at the hands of Macbeth and his scheming missus.

There is a lot of solid high class playing on show from GUS.

Chris Jeans is as suave as a Broadway lothario with a wonderfully languid solo spot. All that was missing was for him to come on stage with a rose clasped between his teeth and a smile of deliciously wicked intent on his face. He came close though in a performance of brilliant oily class.

More Macbeth - with Thomas Fountain as the lamenting voice of the Lady who starts to fully comprehend the enormity of her terrible deed. Evocative playing from the soloist, but music takes a bit too long to reach its climax - and as a result strangely leaves little lasting impression.

Even more music inspired by local Midland lad Shakespeare with the famous warring tribes of Verona. Could have done with a cameo from Sir Alan Sugar perhaps, but more solid ensemble playing that paints the picture with colour and purpose.

A neatly tenuous return to Henry VIII with the big band version of Greensleeves (You wonder what came first in the programme planning - the opening or the finisher?) More whammy trumpet work from Mr Fountain as the band ups the tempo and features some great solo spots in a thumper to close.

Plenty of high quality playing on show from GUS from start to finish - even if the thematic links sometimes took a bit of understanding. There was something different about this that engaged the audience though.

Sunday 17, 10:28:15

3. Fairey (Garry Cutt)

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Introduction to Act III, Lohengrin (Richard Wagner arr Denis Wright)
Oh My Beloved Father (Puccini arr Langford)
Cornet Soloist: Paul Hughes
Espana (Chabrier arr Ceri John)
Dance of the Tumblers (Rimsky-Korsakov arr Derek Ashmore)
Prayer from Songs of the Morning (Eric Ball)
Flight to Neverland (John Williams arr Richard Rock)

It's an oldie to open - but very different in context to what we may hear elsewhere today. The parts the band play on are so yellow they come with a Government smoking health warning - it looks like they are written in cuneiform script on velum. Its fine playing though - brisk and precise and well appreciated.

Paul Hughes is a beautiful lead in the Puccini - so delicate and fragile. That was old fashioned cornet playing of the very highest class - something of a lost art nowadays - but not with the lyrical Welshman. Deserving of a diva's bouquet of flowers in anyone's book.

The second trip to the Iberian peninsula as Fairey go all Latin in a fresh take on the old Spanish classic. Has it moments of unease amid the vivid colour but it comes off and keeps the Classicfm theme going.

The musical Eric Ball prayer - Begin the Day with God is a lovely interlude of another forgotten brass band art form - less is more. Its lovely stuff, and well appreciated by the audience, but the question mark hangs over how it fits in with the programmatic theme?

Another piece with a date mark in Roman numerals with the dancing tumblers - which is played with more classy rolls and flips than Olga Korbutt. Its circa Munich Olympic Games too though.

A touch of John Williams to close with music from the Peter Pan sequel from 1991. Great, free flying stuff - cleverly put together and with the type of familiar sound palette that sounds easy on the ear, with the band holding something back to close with a thumping coda to send Captain Hook to his demise.

An interesting programme from Fairey - a real step back in time and styles that although not the most inventive was certainly engaging and well played. Oddly different from what we will hear to day for sure, but it perhaps just needed a few more touches of 21st century modernism to really catch fire.

Sunday 17, 09:41:28

2. Tredegar (Ian Porthouse)
Dreams of Imagination

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Open Sesame! (Stephen Roberts)
Heat of the Day (Pat Metheny arr Jacob Vilhelm Larsen)
Time for Us ( Jacob Vilhelm Larsen)
Kopantisa (Andrew Baker)
Percussion Soloist: Gavin Pritchard
Finale 'Toccata' from Organ Symphony Number 5 (Charles Marie Widor arr. Philip Sparke)
Can't Nobody Do Me Like Jesus (Traditional arr. Jacob Vilhelm Larsen)

A loquacious intro from Frank Renton leads into a cracking opener and a clever play on the band's open victory on 'Arabian Nights' - complete with pantomime genie appearing from the smoke after Ali Baba rubs the lamp of imagination. Out he pops and as if by magic the Open Shield is revealed. Quick and witty - it worked a treat.

The dreams of imagination theme continues with the pulsating bit of Pat Metheny - which really does throb with vibrancy. It's controlled playing with underlying drive and razor sharp accuracy.

The melancholic Nordic interlude is beautifully played - tender and fragile to start with the small quintet leading to a blooming full band and close that sends a chill feeling of loss through the heart. Very classy and evocative stuff.

Gavin Pritchard is startling as the Bulgarian gypsy inspired percussion soloist - Brad Pitt in Snatch was never like this! Buy the lad a new caravan for his Ma! By heck it goes a lick to close Turkish! Bravo! Some playing that.

Tred get the old French organ out for a whip through the Widor - and it very nearly all falls in place - despite the odd messy moment or two. That was a really bold bit of playing which showed ambition all right.

Martin Luther King Jr no less introduces the finale - and its gospel time hallelujah! Sparkling choreography gets the message across - oh yes sireee! On comes genie boy too to close too in a real whizz bang closer that got the audience going.

There is a buzz about the hall after that one for certain. Different and entertaining it had a well defined theme that worked from start to finish. Some eyebrow raising moments but such high class delivery from the Open champions.

Sunday 17, 08:53:09

1. Flowers (Paul Holland)

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Ride (Samuel Hazo arr Jonathan Bates)
Memory from 'Cats' (Andrew Loyd-Webber arr Alan Catheral)
Soprano Soloist: Paul Richards
Concertino Catalonia (Jonathan Bates)
Family Portraits from 'Lowry Sketchbook' (Philip Wilby)
One Small Step (Andrew Duncan)

MD Paul Holland in best white jacket bib and tucker walks on and leads the West of England champion straight into top gear with the Hazo thumper to open - complete with standing cornet choir and front of stage soloists. That certainly woke everyone up!

Paul Richards is on wonderful form with the old West End standard. Elaine Paige would have had a tear in her misty moggy eye with this. Great to hear such high quality sweet lyrical soprano playing. That has set a very high bar for the rest of the soloists to follow.

A trip to Barca, Barca with the Spanish fizz - complete with smoke, lights and more choreography. Slick, polished and making a mark with a neat contrast.

Flowers reprise more of their Butlins programme with the elegant distaff portrait from Philip Wilby. It's helped by the imaginative use of the images on the big screen. One for the Readers Digest brigade perhaps, but very effective in its delivery.

More Butlins blast off stuff with Andy Duncan's finisher. Could this be the first Geordie in space - Away the lads! Certainly dramatic, memory triggering stuff for an audience most of who would have been in their mid 20s when Armstrong took his one small step.

The trip home and splash down bring the epic tale to an appropriate end - only Richard Nixon is missing!

A solid, no nonsense programme very well delivered by Flowers. Didn't really take any risks or try anything too adventurous, but all the better for it in the circumstances. Bravo to Paul Richards and the MD for this one.

Sunday 17, 08:14:23


1. Flowers (Paul Holland)
2. Tredegar (Ian Porthouse)
3. Fairey (Garry Cutt)
4. Virtuosi GUS (Adam Cooke)
5. Foden's (Allan Withington)
6. Grimethorpe Colliery (Dr Robert Childs)
7. Leyland (Richard Evans)
8. Whitburn (Anne Crookston)
9. Cory (Philip Harper)
10. Brighouse & Rastrick (Martin Winter)
11. Carlton Main Frickley Colliery (Leigh Baker)

Sunday 17, 08:09:25

The early morning risers have made it to the hall and the first sights and sounds of Brass in Concert are starting to be heard and seen.

Its a sell out as usual and there is plenty of expectation in the air as the rumours of the programmes filter through. There are some interesting choices to say the least for the audience to enjoy

Saturday 16, 21:06:21

It's an interesting draw with the West of England champions Flowers followed by Tredegar, Fairey, Virtuosi GUS, Foden's, Brighouse & Rastrick, Leyland, Whitburn, Grimethorpe, Cory and Carlton Main.

Plenty of entertainment then from first note until last with some pretty intriguing programmes on the menu.....

Saturday 16, 20:55:55

The 4BR team has finally made it to the hotel and to The Sage.

Its a brilliant venue to hold a brass band contest and on Saturday night there is a tasty aperitif of Foden's, Black Dyke and Cory. Earlier today there was some wonderful workshops for brass and percussion players that finished with an impromptu concert on the concourse.

It all kicks off around 9.30am tomorrow morning with Flowers starting the entertainment.

Saturday 16, 20:53:28

The 4BR team has finally made it to the hotel and to The Sage.

Its a brilliant venue to hold a brass band contest and on Saturday night there is a tasty aperitif of Foden's, Black Dyke and Cory. Earlier today there was some wonderful workshops for brass and percussion players that finished with an impromptu concert on the concourse.

It all kicks off around 9.30am tomorrow morning with Flowers starting the entertainment.

Saturday 16, 13:29:11

Less than 24 hours to go before the first of 11 top class bands takes to the stage at The Sage for the 37th Brass in Concert Championship.

A sneaky look at the programmes of the competing bands suggests plenty of innovation and invention to go with the high class soloists, new music and sparkling arrangements.

If you haven't got a ticket then make sure you follow our coverage as it all unfolds in Gateshead.

Saturday 16, 11:56:03

Making our way to Gateshead today. Should be a cracking contest tomorrow.

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July 23 • . To complete our line-up, Ratby Senior Band are looking to fill our 2nd Euphonium chair. This is a rare opportunity to join our Championship Band. . . Under the Direction of Musical Director Chris Jeans. Rehearsals Weds 8-10pm & Sun 7:15 - 9:15pm

Chinnor Silver

July 23 • Require a Bass player (Bb or Eb), Bass trombone, Soprano cornet and Percussionist. We are a friendly, ambitious 2nd section band that will start 2025 at the top of their Regional league table. We are located in South Oxfordshire and have our own bandroom in Chinnor

Linthwaite Band

July 23 • We are a 4th section contesting Band, based on the outskirts of Huddersfield, and we currently have a vacancy for a tenor trombone, to complete our friendly team.

Chris Wormald

B.Mus (Hons), LTCL, PGCE
Conductor, adjudicator, arranger


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