2015 Spring Festival — Grand Shield: As it happened

All the action from the 2015 Spring Festival Grand Shield — as it happened.

Grand Shield • Saturday 9, 19:11:11

So there you have it, Rothwell Temperance and Woodfalls head to Birmingham in September. Congratulations to Jaguar Land Rover on their Senior Cup triumph and to Rainford for their Senior Trophy victory.

That's the end of our live coverage from what is a sunny Blackpool. News reports and retrospectives will appear on 4BR in the near future.

Grand Shield • Saturday 9, 19:05:26


Opera House
Test Piece: Arabian Nights - Fantasy on Rimsky Korsakov’s Scheherazade for Brass Band (Stephen Roberts)

Adjudicators: Stephen Roberts & Rob Wiffen

1. Rothwell Temperance (David Roberts)*
2. Woodfalls (Dr Robert Childs)*
3. Whitburn (Prof. Nicholas Childs)
4. Virtuosi GUS (Adam Cooke)
5. Reg Vardy (Russell Gray)
6. Marsden Silver Prize (Glyn Williams)
7. Northop Silver (Thomas Wyss)
8. Camborne Town (John Berryman)
9. Hepworth (Mark Peacock)
10. East Yorkshire Motor Services (Alan Morrison)
11. Tongwynlais Temperance (Christopher Bond)
12. Mount Charles (David Stowell)
13. Pemberton Old Wigan DW (Kevin Gibbs)
14. Burry Port Town (Nigel Seaman)
15. Wingates (Paul Andrews)
16. Aldbourne (Jonathan Pippen)
17. Unite the Union (City of Sheffield) (David Hirst)**
18. Redbridge (Alan Duguid)**
19. Thoresby Colliery (Brian Grant)**
20. Kingdom Brass (Eoin Tonner)**

Best Instrumentalist: Brett Baker (trombone) Woodfalls

*Promoted to British Open
**Relegated to Senior Cup

Grand Shield • Saturday 9, 18:26:31

The 4BR Prediction

It's all over in the Grand Shield with Burry Port concluding what has been a very long day.

Arabian Nights has proved to be a very stern test indeed for the large majority of bands today with only an elite handful getting close to conquering its many demands. In reality however, none have emerged unscathed.

Chris Thomas goes for a top six of:

1. Woodfalls
2. Whitburn
3. Rothwell Temperance
4. Reg Vardy
5. Virtuosi GUS
6. Hepworth
Dark horse Wingates

Grand Shield • Saturday 9, 18:19:12

20. Burry Port Town (Nigel Seaman)

A good opening and there are warm sounds heard although errors and slips start to creep in as we progress.

A slinky, snake charming flugel solo is delivered with confidence and Nigel Seaman handles the changes of mood and style with skill.

Individual entries are generally secure but the cadenzas suffer from tuning issues and slips and suddenly the good work of earlier is undermined.

The Con Fuoco flies along at a good tempo but it's just tending to get a touch scrappy now and concentration levels seem to be diminishing.

The tempestuous seas don't quite run with the imagination and although the final Tranquillo is sensitively done, this has been another performance of initial promise that the band was ultimately unable to sustain.

Overall Some excellent moments from Burry Port but the band was unable to maintain the high standard of the opening.

Grand Shield • Saturday 9, 17:55:04

19. Woodfalls (Dr Robert Childs)

A big, sonorous opening and there is an immediate stamp of quality about this with a few familiar faces around the stands including Brett Baker, Simon Gresswell, Paul Duffy and Brendan Wheeler

Everything is in its place and individual entries are delivered with accuracy whilst the balance and dynamics are carefully observed.

Above all is there is a feeling of shape, musicality and flow about this that we haven't heard from many bands today. Lovely touches from the percussion colour the musical picture and solo cornet excels.

Fine trombone work from Brett Baker and the fanfares are so effective as they fly from one side of the band to the other.

The trombone cadenza is stylishly done with so much space and although horns are a touch scrambled, euphoniums are top drawer. The transitions are so well handled between the changing moods and this is a performance that simply sits so well and comfortably.

Good basses and the tension is gradually cranked up with a fine sense of pacing. This is really getting up a head of steam.

As we head into the storm we sense the rolling of the ocean and although the sound is powerful, it is not overblown. There is a real sense of the players responding to the MD throughout and the mysterious transition into the final Tranquillo heralds a serene approach to a stirring final flourish.

Overall Well now......that was quite an account from Woodfalls. Not without a little help from a few friends but so well shaped and with some lovely touches. Right up there with the best of them today.

Grand Shield • Saturday 9, 17:30:36

18. Hepworth (Mark Peacock)

A solid opening sets the scene well and the opening paragraphs unfold with warm sounds and relatively few slips. There is a good style about this and the MD has the measure of the pacing.

Flugel solo is stylish and the tempos are well judged. Soprano slips off note as we head into the trombone declamations but there is good drama about this. Trombone cadenza is uneven as are the horns but euphonium duet is excellent and the Con Fuoco sets off at a bristling pace. There is a sense of energy about this although it doesn't quite excite us as much as the very front runners have.

A few uncomfortable moments follow as concentration levels lapse but the storm is one of seathing power as the sands shift into the final Tranquillo. There is an appropriately peaceful atmosphere here that precedes a brisk final gesture.

Overall A persuasive account from Hepworth. Not quite enough to challenge for Open qualification we feel but solid and workmanlike.

Grand Shield • Saturday 9, 17:06:19

17. Kingdom Brass (Eoin Tonner)

A weak opening sound and tuning proves to be a problem in the exposed passages that follow. This is a very hesitant opening.

Entries do not always speak together and although the band tries to get down to the quieter dynamics, there are simply too many ragged entries.

Well done flugel...a nicely shaped solo. Early nerves seem to calm a little and the band starts to find its feet. It's still hesitant at times though and trombone cadenza doesn't quite hit the spot.

The Con Fuoco doesn't find the cumulative energy that is crucial to this part of the piece and tuning is again a problem.

The band tires noticeably as we approach the close with stamina being a major factor in this and numerous other performances during the course of the day.

Overall Arabian Nights prove to be a serious challenge for Kingdom Brass today, as it has been for the large majority of bands in the Grand Shield.

Grand Shield • Saturday 9, 16:42:28

16. Aldbourne (Jonathan Pippen)

An uneasy opening that doesn't find its flow as individual entries are clipped.

This doesn't seem to be settling and the error count continues to hold back progress. Flugel solo is well handled though and solo euphonium also does well......the damage has already been done but suddenly the band seems to relax and the performance finds a degree of momentum.

By the time we reach the Con Fuoco this is so much better. Not without slips still, but we are now driving on (perhaps too much so at times) and there is an energy that was missing earlier in the performance.

We don't quite sense the rolling seas in the storm and it clearly tires as we head towards the final Tranquillo which is nicely shaped and controlled but earlier errors will surely cost.

Overall A performance from Aldbourne that was rich in intent but high in errors.

Grand Shield • Saturday 9, 16:21:45

15. Pemberton Old Wigan DW (Kevin Gibbs)

The opening goes for the jugular in brazen fashion although atmospheric sounds follow. Frustrating clips detract and the ensemble isn't always precise but there is good atmosphere evident and the flow is well shaped by the MD.

Nicely intoned flugel solo and the tempo is well judged here. Fine sounds from solo trombone in cadenza although horns struggle and the good work is undone. Tuning not always secure between the two euphoniums.

The tempo just pulls back a touch in the Con Fuocobutp there is some excellent playing on display a times, even though it is dogged by inconsistency.

The momentum builds well and the rolling oceans of the storm are palpable as we hear the chromatic runs in the cornets.....at last!

The picture calms and the final Tranquillo is played with serenity and affection. A rousing final peroration concludes a mixed but at times inspired performance.

Overall An interesting one from Pemberton. Not the sum of its parts but at times, displaying playing of very high quality.

Grand Shield • Saturday 9, 15:55:40

14. Reg Vardy (Russell Gray)

A weighty opening has power and presence but it's not always quite together and there are noticeable slips and lapses as individual players fall prey to the exposed entries that punctuate the opening slow music.

Fine work from solo cornet as we head into the Allegro molto and now it gathers pace as the trombones and cornets bounce their fanfare figures across the band.

Solo trombone cadenza not quite consistent but horns just about get away with it and euphoniums excel. Con Fuoco is just that, furious and played with real malice. There's excellent detail on display as the tension builds and percussion make a telling contribution. Russell Gray controls the pacing in brilliant fashion and we sense the rolling of the oceans as Sinbad's ship is tossed on the high seas.

The transition into the final Tranquillo is effective and the Tranquillo itself, calm and serene leading to a passionate climax and a vigorous closing flourish.

Overall It took a little while to get going but when it did it brought the piece to life. A highly engaging reading from Russell Gray and his team.

Grand Shield • Saturday 9, 15:31:19

13. Wingates (Paul Andrews)

Paul Andrews has opted for a very 'left field' band with horns, basses and cornets all to his left hand side.

It's a solid opening and dynamics are well observed. There's a relaxed flow and shape to the music that hasn't always been evident today and soloists acquit themselves well. The ensemble is not always absolutely taut but the approach is one of thoughtful musicality and the changing moods are well negotiated.

Cadenzas are not without slips but the Con Fuoco gets off to a brisk, dynamic start. It loses its composure at times as cracks start to show but the MD steadies the ship and the momentum is regained.

We don't quite sense the rolling of the ocean as the storm reaches its height but the tranquility that follows is imbued with sincerity and the closing bars hit just the right tempo.

Overall A valiant performance that tried to capture the essence of the music.

Grand Shield • Saturday 9, 15:06:55

12. Redbridge (Alan Duguid)

Good presence to the opening but as the slow music unfolds, tuning issues intervene and the music needs more shape and flow.

Individual solos and entries are often of good quality but we are missing the essential character of the music and the exotic images that are behind it.

The Allegro molto has no real sense of urgency and this really needs to drive onwards. Good trombone cadenza followed by competant horns and solid euphonium duo but again, the Con Fuoco lacks any real energy and drive. It's a shame as there are clearly quality players on the stage.

Climax needs more intensity and as we head into the final Tranquillo, tuning is once again skewed at times leading to a uninspiring final flourish.

Overall A disappointing performance from the Londoners. Lacking in any real character or dynamism.

Grand Shield • Saturday 9, 14:45:13

11. Northop Silver (Thomas Wyss)

A big opening although one that relies on volume rather than depth of sound.

There are confident sounds around the stands though. It isn't always subtle but this is a full blooded approach to the score. The down side is that it's also a touch one dimensional. We would like to hear more contrasts, both in terms of volume and mood.

Soloists emerge reasonably unscathed but although it's reasonably safe, this is a performance that simply isn't catching fire.

Con Fuoco is steady rather than furious although the momentum does begin to build as the storm takes hold in the latter stages.

The band really tries to find the repose in the final Tranquillo although voices not speaking together or at all undermine the flow and it's a tired, energy sapped final flourish.

Overall Plenty of commitment from Northop but a performance that struggled to find any real dynamism or energy.

Grand Shield • Saturday 9, 14:27:33

Half way point in the Grand Shield and very few bands have emerged from their tussle with Arabian Nights with their musical integrity intact.

For us there is a clear leader so far in Whitburn with a close battle for second place between Rothwell Temperance and Virtuosi GUS.

There's still every thing to play for though as Northop prepare to kick off the second half of the draw.

Grand Shield • Saturday 9, 14:14:26

10. Whitburn (Professor Nicholas Childs)

The opening immediately stamps authority on the performance. Big rounded sounds and so well balanced.

The sands settle and for the first time today we hear the instrumental voices speak together as the mysterious tone is set. There's a refinement and polish about this that immediately speaks to us and there is a composure about the playing that is coming from Nick Childs in the middle.

The trombone declamations are confident and nothing is overblown or overstated with the louder dynamics always kept well in check......and the performance is so much better for it.

Fine trombone cadenza....even toned and confident.. Horn does well and euphoniums lead us into a tempestuous Con Fuoco that bristles with energy.

Everything is precise and in its place as the momentum builds and again, the inner detail is heard throughout the band from top to bottom.

Nick Childs paces the rising tension in masterful fashion and the trombones give us an orchestral sound that impresses. The final climax is searing and the evocative transition into the final Tranquillo effective as the music finds its sanctuary in the closing paragraphs, leading to a breathless final flourish to a performance of refinement and insight.

Overall A performance of intelligence, musical quality and technical accuracy. Outstanding stuff from the Scots. Nicola Sturgeon would be proud!!!

Grand Shield • Saturday 9, 13:47:45

9. Virtuosi GUS (Adam Cooke)

An opening of broad, bold brush strokes. Powerful and at once engaging.

The mysterious sands shift to reveal a picture of haunting, enigmatic beauty. This is fine playing indeed and imbued with so much atmosphere. If anything detracts it is the odd lapse in tuning but everything has so much space here.

Cornet arpeggio's are clean and the inner detail is heard with clarity and accuracy and again there is a relaxed spaciousness to all of the solo entries.

Great sounds from Chris Jeans on solo trombone and he swaggers up to play the cadenza facing the audience. Just the slightest of slips but the euphoniums are nicely balanced.

The Con Fuoco achieves its focus through accuracy and intensity rather than sheer volume (a welcome relief after some today) and it builds with real purpose. What great sounds from the trombones!

Everything unfolds with such authority and the approach to the final Tranquillo is swathed in mystery. Just tiny lapses as voices don't quite speak but there is tenderness in abundance here and the final flourish is well handled.

Overall Playing of authority, insight and atmosphere. Not entirely faultless but there was to much to admire here.

Grand Shield • Saturday 9, 13:33:57

Full Draw

1. East Yorkshire Motor Services (Alan Morrison)
2. Tongwynlais Temperance (Christopher Bond)
3. Marsden Silver Prize (Glyn Williams)
4. Rothwell Temperance (David Roberts)
5. Unite the Union (City of Sheffield) (David Hirst)
6. Thoresby Colliery (Brian Grant)
7. Camborne Town (John Berryman)
8. Mount Charles (David Johnson)
9. Virtuosi GUS (Adam Cooke)
10. Whitburn (Prof. Nicholas Childs)
11. Northop Silver (Thomas Wyss)
12. Redbridge (Alan Duguid)
13. Wingates (Paul Andrews)
14. Reg Vardy (Russell Gray)
15. Pemberton Old Wigan DW (Kevin Gibbs)
16. Aldbourne (Jonathan Pippen)
17, Kingdom Brass (Eoin Tonner)
18. Hepworth (Mark Peacock)
19. Woodfalls (Dr Robert Childs)
20. Burry Port Town (Nigel Seaman)

Grand Shield • Saturday 9, 13:25:25

8. Mount Charles (David Stowell)

A powerful opening declamation and the dynamics are wide ranging even if voices don't quite speak at the lowest levels.

The slower music needs to flow a little more for us......it's clear that there are quality players around the stands but it needs more tenderness and pliability of line.

Individual solo entries are played with confidence there is the odd nasty moment along the way (cornet into the Allegro molto).

Excellent trombone entries and the trombone cadenza is (nearly) spot on. Horn is distinctly uncomfortable although euphoniums recover the situation. Con Fuoco builds well but the music that follows doesn't quite dance as it should and it needs more rhythmic cohesion.

Fine sounds from trombones once again and the rising swell of the seas is effective. They Tranquillo is nearly so effective but once again there are frustrating lapses leading to a lack lustre closing flourish.

Overall Another inconsistent account. At its best there was fine playing evident but all too often undermined by lapses and errors.

Grand Shield • Saturday 9, 13:01:09

7. Camborne Town (John Berryman)

Camborne look to turn from the west of England to give us a touch of eastern promise and the opening has both breadth and character.

The sands of time shift and although it's a little heavy dynamically, this is effective and paints the musical picture with style and atmosphere.

It's a shame that we don't hear the dynamic level subside to a genuine double piano but there is a craftsman like approach to Camborne's playing that although prone to the odd intonation issue is engaging.

A pliable flugel solo is shaped and cajoled from the middle and although just a tad tentative here and there, we again here the tales behind the music played out with clarity.

Trombone cadenza comes off although horns not entirely comfortable. Euphoniums do well though and the Con Fuoco is not the most unhinged but there is plenty to admire in the playing. It's just a touch too polite at times but always musical.

We can sense the band tiring as the piece progresses but full marks for commitment. The effort really begins to tell as we approach the final stages but the Tranquillo to close is played with real affection leading to a restrained final statement.

Overall A highly musical reading from Camborne that was stamped with John Berryman's personality from the start. Always musical if not always perfectly executed.

Grand Shield • Saturday 9, 12:37:41

6. Thoresby Colliery (Ian McElligot)

Good balanced opening chords and the sands shift mysteriously to reveal the early glimpse of the princess.

Lower dynamics are effectively exploited and it is clear that the band is willing to take risks. There is some stylish playing on display here with committed solo entries and thoughtfully created atmospheres.

Declamations from trombones and cornets are strangely tentative. We'd really like to hear something bolder here but there is some high quality playing on display from Thoresby nonetheless.

Trombone cadenza is a touch uncomfortable although euphoniums at effective. Con Fuoco could do with a little more fury but everything is tidy and its place. MD and band could just do with throwing a little caution to the wind for our taste. The music would benefit but we can't deny the technical competence on display here.

The final Tranquillo is slow. This is hard for the players but they cope well and the atmosphere is good despite odd moments of strain.

The final flourish sounds tired but this was solidly out together account.

Overall A technically competent yet rather restrained account from Thoresby with the accent on precision rather than sheer excitement.

Grand Shield • Saturday 9, 12:12:44

5. Unite the Union (City of Sheffield) (David Hirst)

An untuneful opening settles down although voices often don't speak together.

Dynamics are well observed and the band clearly tries to find the atmosphere of the score even though tuning and the occasional uncomfortable entry intervene.

Snake charming flugel rises to her feet for a nicely intoned solo and the approach to the Allegro molto is effective. Kevin Holdgate is an experienced head on solo trombone although cadenza isn't entirely comfortable with slips on euphoniums also unsettling the atmosphere.

Tempo pulls back in the Con Fuoco and we lose the sense of cumulative momentum that is crucial here. Change of style is good but there are some nasty errors starting to creep in as lips tire.

It's getting scrappier as it progresses and bold and arresting sounds are all too often undone by straining tuning and wayward entries. The band really tries to get down to the lower dynamics in the final Tranquillo which is to its credit but those nagging slips continue and it just needs to flow a little more.

A slightly wild final flourish.

Overall An inconsistent account from Unite the Union. Not without effective moments but the error count was high.

Grand Shield • Saturday 9, 11:52:56

Four bands down in the Grand Shield and Rothwell Temperance are leading the field by a margin so far for us.

Grand Shield • Saturday 9, 11:48:46

4. Rothwell Temperance (David Roberts)

The opening sound hits us between the eyes. It's loud but it's also bold and authoritative.

The opening paragraphs unfold like a papyrus scroll and the inner band parts are heard with clarity. As with all bands so far there are little slips and momentary lapses in tuning but there is a sense of presence and stylistic awareness that engages.

Great trombone sounds and answering cornets are spacially effective.

Trombone cadenza is confidently despatched as is euphonium duet and the Con Fuoco rages and lashes us against the metaphorical rocks. Effective style change and this pushes on with purpose and commitment. Tight cornet entries and the momentum is so well handled leading to a powerful statement of the trombone motto.

The veil of sand shifts atmospherically into the final Tranquillo which has a fine sense of musical repose. Climax is effective as is the final breathless flourish which comes off well.

Overall: Fine playing from Rothwell. Drama in spades and despatched with impressive confidence and style.

Grand Shield • Saturday 9, 11:26:45

3. Marsden Silver Prize (Glyn Williams)

The opening has good breadth and there is a confidence about the entries that makes us sit up and listen.

There is an air of mystery that permeates the music that follows and the dynamics of the score are well adhered to. Slips in solo entries creep in which unsettles what is a carefully created atmosphere but there is a good deal about this that engages.

Excellent solo trombone declamations and the drama builds effectively. This is a performance that clearly benefits from having someone in the middle that has played the piece.

Good sounds in the Con Fuoco and we hear good detail as the tension builds effectively. Again sounds are bold and have breadth. Shifting sands into the final paragraphs are atmospheric. Just a slip in the horn unsettles.

Ending strains a touch but there was plenty to enjoy here.

Overall: There was a style and shape about this that had real presence. Slips held it back at times but a well thought out performance.

Grand Shield • Saturday 9, 11:03:26

2. Tongwynlais Temperance (Christopher Bond)

A broad, confident opening although tuning in trombones is uncomfortable. This has an immediate atmosphere about it though and despite minor slips the dynamics are effective and we sense the mystery of the desert.

One or two clumsy entries get in way of the music but there is a sense of style evident at all times and the MD shapes the music so well. Well done flugel.......stylish stuff.

The Piu Tranquillo is so nicely done and there is a definition about the trombone and cornet declamations that displays authority.

Trombone nearly! Euphoniums do well and again there is a sense of authority about this. Allegro molto is kept at a sensible forte and drives on well. Good detail evident as the tension builds and we sense Sinbad's ship being tossed around on the high seas.

Good dramatic control and there is a mysterious veil of mystery that precedes the final flourish with controlled sounds and a carefully judged atmosphere leading to a bright final statement.

Overall:A vivid reading that found the essential atmosphere of the music but did not escape unscathed.

Grand Shield • Saturday 9, 10:41:35

1. East Yorkshire Motor Services (Alan Morrison)

Bold opening could be a touch broader but the acoustic isn't going to help the bands today.

Some tentative sounds as the atmosphere takes time to settle. Solo entries are decidedly mixed in quality but the changing atmospheres are well captured and flugel does well.

There are ragged entries along the way but excellent cadenza from solo trombone. It's so difficult to creat warmth in the dryness of this acoustic. Good Con Fuoco which has venom and the transitions are well handled.

Builds well and there is now a sense of momentum about the performance that has taken time to come to life.

The shifting sands lead us into a slightly nervous Tranquillo and although the Largo builds to a bracing final flourish this was a performance that didn't quite ignite this morning.

Overall: An unsettled opening account from EYMS and one that demonstrates just how tough the bands are going to fine this piece today.

Grand Shield • Saturday 9, 10:21:42

We are all set for a day of Arabian adventure in the Grand Shield with EYMS on stage playing the National Anthem.

Live comments by Chris Thomas

1. East Yorkshire Motor Service (Alan Morrison)

Grand Shield • Saturday 9, 10:18:55


Comments: Chris Thomas

Test Piece: Arabian Nights (Stephen Roberts)
Opera House
Split Draws: 9.20am & 12.50pm

Adjudicators: Stephen Roberts & Rob Wiffen

1. East Yorkshire Motor Services (Alan Morrison)
2. Tongwynlais Temperance (Christopher Bond)
3. Marsden Silver Prize (Glyn Williams)
4. Rothwell Temperance (David Roberts)
5. Unite the Union (City of Sheffield) (David Hirst)
6. Thoresby Colliery (Brian Grant)
7. Camborne Town (John Berryman)
8. Mount Charles (David Johnson)
9. Virtuosi GUS (Adam Cooke)
10. Whitburn (Prof. Nicholas Childs)

Bands in second half

Aldbourne (Jonathan Pippen)
Burry Port Town (Nigel Seaman)
Hepworth (Mark Peacock)
Kingdom Brass (Eoin Tonner)
Northop Silver (Thomas Wyss)
Pemberton Old Wigan DW (Kevin Gibbs)
Redbridge (Alan Duguid)
Reg Vardy (Russell Gray)
Wingates (Paul Andrews)
Woodfalls (Dr Robert Childs)

Grand Shield • Saturday 9, 09:00:22

Your judges today are as follows:

Grand Shield: Stephen Roberts & Rob Wiffen
Senior Cup: Paul Holland & Steve Sykes
Senior Trophy: Adrian Morris & Mark Wilkinson

Grand Shield • Saturday 9, 08:58:25

Good morning from Blackpool where all the last minute preparations are taking place. The first part of the draw for the Senior Cup is underway and we post it once the judges have gone in the box.

We start with the Senior Cup at 10.00am

Grand Shield • Friday 8, 15:57:19

Summary of Winners

2014 Flowers
2013 Milnrow
2012 Hepworth
2011 Reg Vardy
2010 Tredegar
2009 Rothwell Temperance
2008 Leyland
2007 Polysteel
2006 Aveley & Newham
2005 Hepworth
2004 Sellers International
2003 Carlton Main Frickley Colliery
2002 Cwmaman Institute

Grand Shield • Friday 8, 15:56:32

Test Piece

Arabian Nights is a brass band test piece based on Rimsky Korsakov’s famous orchestral suite Scheherazade. It was commissioned by Martin & Karyn Mortimer, to whom the piece is dedicated, for the 2013 British Open Brass Band Championship.

Because the music is so well known I decided not to stray too far from the original material but have composed some new passages to give the piece an integral shape and added some extra virtuosity to suit the exigencies of a test piece and the character of the brass band.

The opening presents Rimsky Korsakov’s main theme followed by a sequence of newly composed colouristic sections that represent the mystery of the Middle East and allude to the other principal themes. Scheherazade’s theme, the melodies of the whirling Dervishes, the battle calls and the voyages of Sinbad’s ship, together with the young lovers’ theme are all recalled with a greater or lesser degree of accuracy to the original. The piece is a small tribute to one of the great masterpieces of classical music, but is principally designed to highlight the colours and versatility of the brass band and to be a salute to the players, conductors and organisers who spend so much time in dedication to their art.

As a test, the fantasy presents a wide variety of moods and character as well as some deliberately written ‘awkward’ passages and tests of stamina, range and control. Thus the goal is produce a performance that combines musical personality, exemplary technique and impressive virtuosity! : Stephen Roberts

Stephen Roberts

Born in London, Stephen Roberts studied horn and piano at the Royal College of Music and gained a PhD in composition at the University of Birmingham. He has an unusually wide portfolio of compositions, including orchestral and chamber works for BBC Radio 3, music for brass and wind bands, educational pieces and commercial music for film, television and radio.

His arrangements, particularly for brass, are well known throughout the world and his transcription of Holst’s Planets Suite was used as the test piece for the 2003 British Open Brass Band Championship.

For twenty years Stephen was horn player with the Fine Arts Brass Ensemble, as well as performing with nearly all the UK’s orchestras from the BBC Big Band to the London Symphony Orchestra. He first became involved with brass bands during the 1980s as musical director of the Jones & Crossland Band and later the Desford Colliery Band amongst others.

He has gained a considerable reputation as a successful conductor with plenty of prizes on the contesting circuit and resultant demand as an experienced adjudicator. He has also held posts as Associate Conductor and Composer in Residence with the English Symphony Orchestra, Professor of Horn at the Birmingham Conservatoire and Lecturer in Conducting at the University of Birmingham. Since 2002 he has been Professor of Orchestration and Arranging at the Royal Military School of Music, London.

Reprinted courtesy of British Open Brass Band Championships

Grand Shield • Friday 8, 15:46:56


Paul Holland, Adrian Morris, Stephen Roberts, Steve Sykes Mark Wilkinson and Rob Wiffin


Audience entry from from 8.30 am
Tickets available on the day from the Winter Gardens Box Office.
£12.00 and £7.00.

Grand Shield • Friday 8, 12:40:33

Grand Shield:

Opera House

TEST PIECE—Arabian Nights—Stephen Roberts

First Half Draw 9.20 am
First Band 10.20 am

Second Half Draw 12.50 pm

F: First half draw
S: Second half draw

Aldbourne (tba) (S)
Burry Port Town (Nigel Seaman) (S)
Camborne Town (John Berryman) (F)
East Yorkshire Motor Services (Alan Morrison) (F)
Hepworth (Mark Peacock) (S)
Kingdom Brass (Eoin Tonner) (S)
Marsden Silver Prize (Glyn Williams) (F)
Mount Charles (David Johnson) (F)
Northop Silver (Thomas Wyss) (S)
Pemberton Old Wigan DW (Stig Maersk) (S)
Redbridge (Alan Duguid) (S)
Reg Vardy (Russell Gray) (S)
Rothwell Temperance (David Roberts) (F)
Thoresby Colliery (Brian Grant) (F)
Tongwynlais Temperance (tba) (F)
Unite the Union (City of Sheffield) (David Hirst) (F)
Virtuosi GUS (Adam Cooke) (F)
Whitburn (Prof. Nicholas Childs) (F)
Wingates (Paul Andrews) (S)
Woodfalls (tba) (S)

Competing bands have been informed that all players must be registered with the British Open Online Registry, complete with a photograph.

As registration forms and photographic ID are no longer required, each player will be requested to report to the registration desk, where the officials will check their details with the British Open Online Registry.

Derwent Brass - THIS IS DERWENT 30! Gala Concert

Saturday 9 July • Allestree Woodlands School Theatre, Blenheim Drive, Allestree, Derby DE22 2LW

Lofthouse 2000 Brass Band - Summer Music Sunday - RHS Harlow Carr Gardens

Sunday 10 July • RHS Harlow Carr Gardens. Crag Lane. Harrogate. HG3 1QB HG3 1QB

Thundersley Brass Band - 'Best of British' themed Summer Concert

Sunday 10 July • Richmond Hall,. Richmond Avenue. Benfleet. Essex SS7 5HA

Boarshurst Silver Band - Milnrow Band

Sunday 10 July • Boarshurst Band Club. Greenbridge Lane. Greenfield. Saddleworth OL3 7EW

Otterbourne Brass -

Sunday 10 July • Chandlers Ford Methodist Church so532gj

Crofton Silver Band

July 5 • SOLO CORNET & BACK ROW CORNET. Crofton Silver Band are looking for Solo & Back Row Cornets to add to their line up as the band looks forward to celebrating its 150th Anniversary next year with an exciting mix of concerts and contests.

Crofton Silver Band

July 5 • FLUGEL. Due to work commitments, Crofton Silver Band are looking for a Flugel to add to their line up as the band looks forward to celebrating its 150th Anniversary next year with an exciting mix of concerts and contests.

Enderby Band

July 5 • We are looking for a cornet player (position negotiable). We have a variety of concerts/contests scheduled to continue our journey in the Championship Section. We use social events to create fantastic team working, so you would be joining a fab group.

Alan Widdop

Conductor, Brass teacher, Adjudicator (ABBA)


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