Take 5
Five early season events not to miss

Lots to look forward to in the early part of 2024, but these five events should top your 'not to miss' list .

There are plenty of contests, concerts and events on the 2024 calendar worth taking a trip to enjoy - but these are our five that should top your wish list. 

RNCM International Brass Band Festival
Friday 26th – Sunday 28th January
RNCM Manchester

Without doubt the most important showcase event in the brass band calendar in the UK. 

This will be the first year it is curated by a collective team headed by Artistic Director Dr David Thornton, and there is little doubt that a new era is being marked.

His ethos of ‘dropping the rules’  to “encourage imagination, diversity, curiosity and openness”  builds on the deep foundations established by his predecessor Paul Hindmarsh, and with six superb elite level bands and a host of world class soloists and other attractions, it is a weekend that shouldn’t be missed.

It's a line-up featuring in performance order: Foden’s, Brass Band Treize Etoiles, Tredegar, Black Dyke,  Cory and Brighouse & Rastrick, as well as soloists Sheona White, Lionel Fumeaux, Matthias Hofs (above), Siobhan Bates, Brett Baker, Gary Curtin, Glyn Williams and Ellena Newton.

Add in performances from the Grimethorpe Youth Band, students at the RNCM, interviews and discussions and you get a packed weekend that certainly lives up to Dr David Thornton’s ambitious billing.

Find out more :



Norwegian National Championships
Grieg Hall
Friday 9th – Saturday 10th February

On the National Championships weekend the brutalist architecture of the Grieg Hall in Bergen is turned into the beating heart of Norwegian banding.

Even in reaching middle age (the first event took place in 1979) it still retains a rebellious sense of ambition and explorative musical vigour that stirs the blood.  

Where else for instance will you be able to get to hear a work entitled, ‘Jesus in Tibet’ alongside 'Where Angels Fly', 'Fraternity' and more in the top section as own-choice works, as well as 'Symphony of Colours' as the set-work and the usual plethora of exciting (and sometimes overly ambitious) own-choice selections in each division – First to Fifth. 

It’s gloriously eclectic, very often memorable, occasionally bonkers and always interesting. The beer is expensive of course, but the music making more than makes up for it.

Find out more: 

UniBrass Championships 
Warwick Arts Centre
Saturday 17th February

One of the great success stories of the current contesting movement in the UK – with students leading the way in doing what students do best: Enjoying themselves.

The sense of inclusion and diversity permeates the day – from the friendly competitiveness of the UniBrass Shield and Trophy contests, through to the Gala Concert, which this year will be provided by Foden’s Band and guest soloist James Fountain.

Each band provides a 20-minute set that mixes the serious as well as the playful which invariably act as something of a showcase for emerging playing, conducting and composing talent.

Find out more: 

Yorkshire Regional Championships
Huddersfield Town Hall
Saturday 2nd – Sunday 3rd March    

Regional favouritism aside from those who proudly proclaim their ‘Area’ is as equally important and exciting, there is still something about these championships that set it apart.

Perhaps it is the bluff Yorkshire pride that is worn like an invisible badge of honour by every band that takes to the stage, but it is hard to think of other ‘Area’ victories in English banding that are so keenly fought over – especially in the top section.

You get the feeling sometimes that being proclaimed Yorkshire Champion and claiming the local bragging rights is even more important than perhaps winning a National title itself.  

It makes for a great weekend finding out for yourself.

Find out more:

National Youth Championships of Great Britain
Dean Close School
Saturday 23rd March 

Revitalised and rejuvenated, the National Youth Championships head to Cheltenham this year with the promise of another great day of inclusive music making.

There is plenty to keep you entertained - with the Besson Prodige Showcase Section a non-competitive delight, packed with youngsters simply enjoying their experience of playing in front of a supportive audience.

The Yamaha Performance Section and World of Brass Championships Section open the door to competition – all with the overriding aim of increasing experience and encouraging the exploration of pathways to further encourage interest in banding in university and beyond.

Find out more:

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Saturday 20 April • Pemberton band room. Enfield street. Wigan WN5 8DZ

PEMBERTON OLD WIGAN DW BRASS BANDS - Guest soloista Glyn and Helen Williams

Saturday 20 April • Pemberton Old Wigan Band. Enfield Street,. Pemberton,. Wigan WN5 8DZ

Barnsley Brass -

Sunday 21 April • Holiday Inn, Barnsley Road, Dodworth, Barnsley S75 3JT

Reading Spring Gardens Brass Band - Reading Festival of Brass: Open Workshop Rehearsal

Saturday 27 April • St Laurence Church, Reading RG1 3EJ

London Central Fellowship Band - Hemel Hempstead Salvation Army

Saturday 27 April • Waterhouse St, Hemel Hempstead HP1 1ES

Reading Spring Gardens Brass Band

April 13 • We are seeking a ** Euphonium or Baritone ** player to join our ranks! This is an exciting time to join Reading Band having recently qualified for the fourth section national finals for the first time in 65 years!

Reading Spring Gardens Brass Band

April 13 • We are seeking an ** EEb Bass and BBb Bass ** player to join our ranks! This is an exciting time to join Reading Band having recently qualified for the fourth section national finals for the first time in 65 years!

North Lakes Brass

April 12 • 2ND & 3RD CORNET VACANCIES. Due to relocation, we're looking for two cornet players to complete our friendly lineup.. Promoted to the 3rd Section in 2024 we are a mainly contesting band and rehearse every Wednesday from 7:30 - 9:30 in the centre of Keswick.

James McLeod

BMus (hons)
Euphonium Soloist, Teacher and Conductor


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