2018 Scottish Open
As it happened

All the action from the 2018 Scottish Open Championship — As it happened.

Saturday 24, 21:54:44

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Whitburn makes it five in a row

The end of enjoyable day

Well it's the end of an enjoyably day here in Perth where Whitburn reign supreme for the fifth successive year at the Scottish Open. They are a difficult band to beat on home soil under the direction of Prof Nicholas Childs (above)

They were pushed very hard by a rejuvenated Co-operative Funeralcare under Michael Fowles, whilst Wantage will party long into the night after their third place finish. Elland Silver could well wake up with sore heads after the Yorkshire outfit finished fourth.

Pemberton Old will be satisfied with fifth, whilst the Americans of Atlantic Brass Band will return home with happy memories of their trip to the UK, and especially to Scotland. They were the most welcome of visitors.

Frank Renton told it as it was, and he didn't mince his words at the awards ceremony. It will have given the bands and conductors plenty to think about as they digested their late night food and drink in Perth.

Our thanks go to SBBA and the team led by Carrie and John Boax for their wonderful welcome and Scottish hospitality. It's a long way, but Perth is always a great place to be on a banding weekend.

Saturday 24, 20:56:58

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Scottish Open


Saturday 24th November
Perth Concert Hall
Own Choice test piece composed by Edward Gregson

Adjudicators: Frank Renton and Steve Sykes

1. Whitburn Band (Prof Nicholas Childs) — 193
2. Co-operative Funeralcare (Michael Fowles) — 192
3. Wantage Silver (Paul Holland) — 191
4. Elland Silver (Daniel Brooks) — 190
5. Pemberton Old Wigan DW (Ben Dixon) — 189
6. Atlantic Brass Band (Salvatore Scarpa) — 188
7. EYMS (Stig Maersk) — 187
8. Fishburn (Lewis Wilkinson) — 186
9. Rainford Band (Gareth Brindle) — 185
10. Rothwell Temperance (David Roberts) — 184
11. Kirkintilloch Kelvin Brass (Charles Keenan) — 183
12. Bon Accord (Stephen Malcolm) — 182
13. Dalmellington (Nigel Boddice MBE) — 181
14. East London Brass (Jayne Murrill) — 180
15. Northop Silver (John Doyle) — 179
16. Kirkintilloch (Raymond Tennant) — 178
17. Newtongrange Silver (Andrew Duncan) — 177
18. Bathgate ( Dr David Thornton) — 176
19. Bo'ness & Carriden (Lee Skipsey) — 175

4BR Soloist Award: Chris Flynn (euphonium) — Co-operative Funeralcare

Saturday 24, 20:18:31

Scottish Open:

Malcolm Wood's final thoughts and prediction

This was an engaging contest where Edward Gregson's wonderful compositions have been a joy to listen to in testing all the bands.

'Rococo Variations' remains one heck of a major work, and it was a surprise that so many band's picked it. It was right on the limit and beyond of many.

'Of Distant Memories' was perhaps a craftier choice, whilst it was a pity we didn't hear more of 'Connotations' and 'Dances & Arias'. They could have been inspired choices today in the right hands.

It could be close at the top where the quality shone, with very little in it. The results will hopefully be around 8.30pm after a concert by University of Salford Brass Band conducted by Brett Baker.

4BR Prediction:

1. Whitburn
2. Rothwell Temperance
3. Co-operative Funeralcare
4. Northop Silver
5. Kirkintilloch
6. Wantage Silver

Dark Horses East London Brass, Rainford, Bo'ness & Carriden

Saturday 24, 19:57:23

Scottish Open:

19. Rainford (Gareth Brindle)

Rococo Variations

A reading that certainly allowed the musical detail to shine through here. All the variations linked well and the tempos were kept under close scrutiny. Not as red bloodied as some at times today and the dynamics were a little subdued — but it worked.

Some persuasive solo lines (Morvern Sinclair on cornet was superb) and the ensemble playing kept its cohesive focus until the close.


An MD who brought the best out of his ensemble with lots of detail. Not right at the top end today perhaps, but one for the judges to mull over for a possible top six?

Saturday 24, 19:48:08

Scottish Open:

18. Bo'ness & Carriden (Lee Skipsey)

Of Distant Memories

A musical account of brass banding heritage from Bo'ness very much in the mould of the MD, Lee Skipsey — intense, showy even, but full of musical insight and sincerity.

The ensemble playing was compact, neat and tidy, with some excellent solo lines (well done sop, solo cornet and euph) and the music always flowed. A few occassions when it got overwrought, but the desire to shape the lines was admirable. A great close was so passionate.


An MD who brought the best out of his ensemble today. Lots of intensity on show — the sleeves must be covered by hearts.

17. Fishburn (Lewis Wilkinson)

Of Distant Memories

Distant Memories of brio and passion, but not as much precise clarity as there could have been. The style and shape was excellent, but the rather incessant small error count in the end tarnished all the well laid intentions. When it gelled it was excellent — warm and broad in tonality, shaped with a caring hand at the helm.

Tiredness crept in towards the end to rob things of the glorious feel of fulfilment.


A performance that didn't really came off today — and we said that was a pity as the intent was clear and so was the musical shape laid out so well by the MD.

Saturday 24, 18:55:30

Scottish Open:

16. Kirkintilloch (Raymond Tennant)


A very well thought out reading this that brought the integrated set of variations together in such a musically compact manner.

The MD let his band play with musical freedom and oh boy did they respond. The quality of the ensemble and solo lines was a real joy. This was playing of a piece that was within the player's capabilities but also allowed then the opportunity to play with a sense of musical freedom. Enjoyed that.


Bravo, Kirkintilloch. It may not be victorious today but that was a rendition that had real freshness to it amongst the plethora of Rococos and Distant Memories. May give the judges something to ponder.

15. EYMS (Stig Maersk)

Of Distant Memories

An intriguing one. A reading that was bang on the money but also had obvious moments where it lost focus and its musical impact.

It wasn't as heart on the sleeve as others today, but it still had warmth and musicality. Some fine solo lines were featured and starred but if it could have all gelled together it had the potential to rattle the cages of the best today. A nearly one.


Almost but not quite you suspect for EYMS today. Another day and a few less obvious errors and it was a possible contender.

Saturday 24, 18:25:08

Scottish Open:

14. Rothwell Temperance (David Roberts)

Rococo Variations

A Rococo rendition that pulled no musical punches at all and was typical of the fully committed approach of Yorkshire outfit. It was one of the few interpretations so today where the variations slotted together with such ease and no stilted change of musical gear or style.

At times it was real heart on sleeve stuff with a cracking sop and principal cornet lesding the way. Some of the playing was sumptious and at other times had a perfect hard edged precision. We heard detail that wasn't evident in other accounts.


An account that really tickled our taste buds (and quite a few others we think) today. Whether the judges like it as much remains to be seen, but that was Rothwell on the very best of their form.

13. Bon Accord Silver (Stephen Malcolm)

Of Distant Memories

An enjoyable and heartfelt trip down the musical memory lane.

The warmth and colour in the ensemble was present all the way through and whilst there were some tricky solo lines that just felt strained, the musical endeavour and focus was never lost.

So much to like about the approach and the feeling for the music — never over sentimental, but laced with a genuine sense of affection and growing passion.


A performance that had a great deal to commend and engage the listener with, and despite the odd moments it showed that the band and especially the MD knew this score so well.

Saturday 24, 17:23:56

Scottish Open:

12. Whitburn (Prof. Nicholas Childs)

Rococo Variations

A Rococo from the defending champion that bristled with musical clarity and energy throughout. Gregson's six variations were expertly directed and portrayed with nods of affection to the composers that inspired them.

Nicholas Childs ensured nothing was overdone and the music was allowed to find a natural flow. The soloists all stepped up today and the concluding Wilbyesque fugue was an absolute joy.


A quality show from Whitburn that was focussed from the first note until the last, and had that champion feel about it. Could take some beating and more like the Whitburn of the autumn contest season of last year than this one.

11. Atlantic Brass Band (Salvatore Scarpa)

Rococo Variations

A performance based on a very fine reading of the score the American visitors should be proud of. It was one that focussed on the musical style and engaged you all the way through.

There were some tricky moments in some of the variations but the music flowed and never sounded harsh or over bearing. The less is more effect paid rich dividends here.


A musical reading that had so much to commend. That was joyful music making — not without fault or error, but so good to hear in the approach from MD and band.

Saturday 24, 16:40:36

Scottish Open:

Malcolm Wood's halfway thoughts

An interesting contest so far.

Gregson's masterful pieces are providing a testing work out, with his 2008 opus, 'Rococo Variations' the favoured choice so far, although some bands may hold their breath for what Frank Renton and Steve Sykes may say about their efforts.

'Of Distant Memories' that has also proved popular with just one enjoyable account of 'Dances & Arias' and not a single 'Connotations'.

All to play for though in the second half.

4BR Prediction:

1. Co-operative Funeralcare
2. Northop Silver
3. Wantage Silver
4. East London Brass

Saturday 24, 16:26:15

Scottish Open:

10. Elland Silver (Daniel Brooks

Of Distant Memories

A nicely shaped and honed reading from the Yorkshire band that the MD made the most of.

Well paced with tempo markings and dynamics that were within the capabilities of the ensemble which produced a warm tonality to match the neat musicality.

Other ensemble elements were a touch bold and imbalanced but there was some excellent solo lines that caught the ear time and again, Full marks to principal cornet, sop, euph and flugel.


Well thought out performance that the MD did so well to mould and match to his band's capabilities.

9. Northop Silver (John Doyle)

Rococo Variations

An insightful 'Rococo' from Northop that was full of endeavour and more than a pinch or two of subtle character. The approach made for engaging music making, although it was occasionally inconsistent in execution.

There awere some excellent solo contributions from (and we think we spot ex Black Dyke soprano Paul Duffy on bass). The tempos and dynamics were kept under firm control by the MD to allow the musical character to come through — with a super, bold ending.


An account that certainly brought Gregson's music to the fore, although the odd problem or two in execution just robbed the picture of its intended, subtle gloss.

Saturday 24, 15:53:09

Scottish Open:

8. Pemberton Old Wigan DW (Ben Dixon)

Of Distant Memories

A ‘Distant Memories’ that almost came off today. Nostalgic in style, but some of the nuts and bolts of the piece were not as tight as they could have been. Some excellent solo lines and determined ones too.

The reprise of the opening statement has that vital energy needed with the trombones excelling and there was much to be engaged with throughout this performance in so many aspects.


A tasty one from Pemberton that almost came off big style. There was the odd moment or two of unease, but it certainly was a performance that engaged from first note until.

7. Co-operative Funeralcare (Michael Fowles)

Rococo Variations

A Rococo that had Michael Fowles’ intrinsic fingerprints all over it from the start to finish. So well paced and he allowed his players to express themselves so musically to lift the notes and style off the page.

Each of the movements linked well and were so well styled and characteristic of the composers they paid homage to.

Some excellent solo lines (Jim Heyes on cornet), tempos and dynamics to culminate in a very fine account that will certainly give the judges lots to ponder.


A terrific reading matched by a performance where ‘The Co’ has shown their best form of the contesting season. An account that could well be featuring in dispatches later today.

Saturday 24, 15:03:12

Scottish Open:

6. Kirkintilloch Kelvin Brass (Charles Keenan)

Of Distant Memories

The first ‘Distant Memories’ of the day — and it had lots to appreciate both in the way it was styled and shaped by the MD and the way the players responded to his intentions.

Kirky’s principal cornet is a diamond. She sparkles so brightly throughout her solo passages and is an excellent lead throughout, whilst the rest of the band respond in kind.

There is the odd blemish, but it never detracts from the overall picture that maintains its musical character throughout.


A reading full to the brim with musical character and one that never wilted despite the odd tricky moment or two.

5. Damellington (Nigel Boddice MBE)

Rococo Variations

A reading full of spirit and musical intent that was very well thought out from the middle. Each of the six variations were given great care and consideration

The quicker, louder variations occasionally lost clarity (from our vantage point), but there was no doubting the musical warmth that permutated throughout the reading.


Lots to admire and appreciate here in a performance where the insightful, intellectually stimulating reading paid dividends.

Saturday 24, 14:05:16

Scottish Open:

4. Newtongrange Silver (Andrew Duncan)

Rococo Variations

A rendition that didn't quite gel as much as it could have. Each section had plenty to admire about it, but there were hints of tension in the quieter, slower elements that took the edge off things.

There were also some excellent solo contributions (and the odd nervous entry as well) but some of the tempo and dynamics were perhaps pushed a little bit too much at times to give clarity. A nearly one?


One that had the potential but didn't link together with the solidity as much as it could have done to really make a mark.

3. Bathgate (David Thornton)

Dances & Arias

A very enjoyable account this on a stern test despite it reaching middle age. David Thornton ensured that he brought both contrasting styles off in spades as well as linking things together so well.

Great contributions from the soloists, (well done euph) and some lovely warm bloodied sounds that added up to a very musical account.


A piece that suited the band well and a reading from the MD that captured the different contrasts so effectively.

Saturday 24, 13:19:45

Scottish Open:

2. Wantage Silver (Paul Holland)

Rococo Variations

Another reading full of fine musical intent and excellent understanding to link the six variations together.

A little restrained at times, but this was a performance where the MD coerced the best out of his troops by bringing the music to the fore.

The tempos and dynamics were controlled and didn't go OTT. Full marks to the principal players for their effort here. It really paid off.


Cracking reading from the MD of a very testing work and a performance that had much to admire.

1. East London Brass (Jayne Murrill)

Rococo Variations

What an engaging opening performance this was. Jayne Murrill's ensemble thoroughly drilled into the detail and style of their account — starting confidently and featuring a witty Waltz, bright Howarthesque Toccata, and flowing RSA tribute sections. There were some excellent solo and ensemble lines and such a neat approach to the music from the middle.

Confidence was upbeat for the McCabe and Heaton segments before a bravura close in the true Wilby style fugue.


One to make a mark here. Well chosen work to suit strengths and played with stylish and stylised intent.

Saturday 24, 12:24:28

Scottish Open:

Perth Concert Hall
Own Choice test piece by Edward Gregson

Adjudicators: Frank Renton and Steve Sykes

1. East London Brass (Jayne Murrill)
2. Wantage Silver (Paul Holland)
3. Bathgate (David Thornton)
4. Newtongrange Silver (Andrew Duncan)
5. Dalmellington (Nigel Boddice MBE)
6. Kirkintilloch Kelvin Brass (Charles Keenan)
7. Co-operative Funeralcare (Michael Fowles)
8. Pemberton Old Wigan DW (Ben Dixon)
9. Northop Silver (John Doyle)
10. Elland Silver (Daniel Brooks)
11. Atlantic Brass Band (Salvatore Scarpa)
12. Whitburn Band (Prof Nicholas Childs)
13. Bon Accord (Stephen Malcolm)
14. Rothwell Temperance (David Roberts)
15. EYMS (Stig Maersk)
16. Kirkintilloch (Raymond Tennant)
17. Fishburn (David Hirst)
18. Bo'ness & Carriden (Lee Skipsey)
19. Rainford Band (Gareth Brindle)

Here we go then with the Scottish Open and the music of Edward Gregson. A choice of four cracking pieces to be heard today (Connotations, Dances & Arias, Of Distant Memories, Rococo Variations) with Frank Renton and Steve Sykes making the all important decisions.

The comfort break is after band 10.

Saturday 24, 12:04:47


Youth Percussion Section:

1. Midlothian Perc Ensemble — Gold certificate

Midlothian Training — Gold certificate
Perth & Kinross — Gold certificate

Coalburn — Silver certificate

Saturday 24, 11:18:22

Youth Percussion Section:

What an engaging 90 minutes this has been listening and watching the four groups of talented youngsters play a rich variety of instruments and producing great sounds and timbres.

What stood out was the fact that not only was each player completely focused on what they had to do, but were also mindful that their contribution was only one part of a team effort.

If that wasn’t enough, we even had a string ensemble accompany one of the groups during their performance. Someone will nick that idea for Brass in Concert for sure...

As for a winner, the concluding Midlothian Percussion Section is our hunch. All four ensembles were cracking though.

There’s a short instrumental slot now from Sterling artist, Rachel Neil, solo horn with Fairey Band before the result is announced.

Saturday 24, 09:21:39

Youth Percussion Section:

Commence: 9.30am

Adjudicator: Alasdair Rankin

1. Coalburn Percussion Academy (Gordon Millar)
2. Perth & Kinross Percussion Ensemble (Lynsey Paterson)
3. Midlothian Training Ensemble (Barbara Jane Waddell)
4. Midlothian Percussion Ensemble (Barbara Jane Waddell)

Saturday 24, 08:28:37

Good morning from Perth

A great day awaits

Good morning from Perth Concert Hall on a morning that the locals say is a bit 'dreich'. It's not the type of day that you'll be thinking about heading out for a bit of Christmas shopping for sure — and with this action to tempt you inside a warm hall.

Not that the competing bands will worry too much. First up we have the Percussion Section at 9.30am in the Youth Championships.

Then at around 12.30pm, 19 bands go head-to-head playing the music of Edward Gregson in a bid to be crowned Scottish Open champion.

Join us later for the action. Until then, it's greeting familiar faces, a brew and keeping tabs on the cricket in Sri Lanka.

See you in a bit.

Friday 23, 22:35:13

International field prepares for Scottish Open

Bands from Scotland, England, Wales and the USA will tackle works by Edward Gregson to try and claim the Scottish Open title.

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