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2018 British Open
Symphony Hall, Birmingham
Saturday 8 September


Presenter: Iwan Fox
Comments: Steven Mead and Chris Thomas
Images: Ian Clowes and Steve Jack
Social Media: Malcolm Wood and Rebecca Childs
Operations/Editorial: John James and Matthew Ruel
Video Production: James & Sarah Parkinson, 4BR and CU Brass

Tuesday 11, 09:34:48


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1st. Cory (Philip Harper)

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2nd. Valaisia Brass Band (Arsene Duc)

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3rd. Brighouse & Rastrick (Prof. David King)

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4th. Eikanger-Bjorsvik Musikklag (Bjarte Engeset)

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5th. Black Dyke (Prof. Nicholas J. Childs)

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6. Leyland (Thomas Wyss)

Monday 10, 18:56:24

An absolute stunner!

This is what the the three judges wrote about Cory's winning performance:

Good atmospheric opening—fine control from all players. Fabulous euph euph at 24.

26—so clear!

In Cold Blood—fine sounds. Great solo trom and xylo—splendid intensity all through as well as detail.

All so good. Slight pushing at 160, but so exciting. 199—Death bell is just right and great dim by solo horn.

Off stage is just right too. Chorale is splendidly sombre and well controlled.

230—nice shaped, euph line is affecting and a lovely lilt in the cornet solo. Beautiful baritones and so well shaped and musical.

245—shame about the slip, but a small blemish on a beautiful face is not ugly!

277—fine sop. 292—good groove here

321—well done solo cornet. Good sop sounds and well controlled cornet duet at 362. Rit in 375??? Exciting and brilliant close.

An absolute stunner!

It’s a close call so far, but your slow playing was superlative, notched you in front.

Stephen Roberts

Bar 10—don’t breath there Euph—tuned perc maybe a bit too much—but lovely work from soloists.
15 (tick)

26—well delivered
28—good pace and detailing
59—brisk tempo and style. Trom good—xylo fine—good ensemble.
Quality playing this — into 10/8.
154—all measured
160—brilliant—very assured and with great panache.
183 (tick)
192—bold sound and style
199—well matched chord—nice links to (Mvt) 3.
Cornet sounds off stage (at last)—v(ery) good quality cornets.
213—nice blend and good dynamics—horn solo well well placed. Bass trom just slightly louder than others—but excellent ensemble and dynamics. 230—don’t overcook. Euph—lovely touch of rubato.
239—some lovely playing here—just ebb and flow without losing pace and line
257—unlucky bari
260—nice tone nd movement
271—nice transition
277—big moment!

(Mvt) 4—Good tempo, quality, poise and space. 345—hi-hat back a bit. 354—huge sound—but controlled.
362—great control
369—tempi so well chosen—driving you at this fastest tempo—reflective and controlled—building to an amazing display of raw power and drive

This was a really top quality performance that had some rare moments of magic that set it apart. I particularly enjoyed the way each tempo and style was so well judged.

Fantastic performance

Rob Wiffin

Beautifully delivered cornet/euph, tastefully shaped.

Piu mosso has the right movement.
Sop/Euph impress 23, 24. Flug is expressive, contrasted by the razor sharp demi semis in cornets.
Agitato—so much energy, drive, determination and class. 84—Trom fine, and xylo. Bucket-loads of detail page after page.

183 — has such poise and an air of authority. 199 melts away to perfection.
Memoriam—effective cornet calls. 213—Haunting sounds, wonderful. 230 — so much care, this is very touching, you maintain such a beautiful atmosphere.
The music builds with clear lines and emotion. Energico dances along. So much detail. 322—awesome cornet!

Meno mosso works perfectly, as does Maestoso, great colour from percussion too. Presto allows you to show off—its suits you—fantastic!!


A majestic performance, completely brilliant and moving.

Thank you all

Paul Holland

Saturday 8, 21:05:08


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Saturday 8, 19:02:22


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Cory cheer their victory in the foyer and bar area!

1. Cory (Philip Harper)
2. Valaisia Brass Band (Arsene Duc)
3. Brighouse & Rastrick (Prof. David King)
4. Eikanger-Bjorsvik Musikklag (Bjarte Engeset)
5. Black Dyke (Prof. Nicholas J. Childs)
6. Leyland (Thomas Wyss)
7. Carlton Main Frickley Colliery (Luc Vertommen)
8. Grimethorpe Colliery (Allan Withington)
9. Fairey (Garry Cutt)
10. Foden's (Michael Bach)
11. Desford Colliery (LMTF) (Michael Fowles)
12. Tredegar (Ian Porthouse)
13. Aldbourne (Dr David Thornton)
14. Flowers (Phillip McCann)
15. Wingates (Paul Andrews)
16. Hammonds Saltaire (Morgan Griffiths)
17. Whitburn (Florent Didier)
18. Rothwell Temperance (David Roberts)*
19. Co-op Funeralcare (Frans Violet)*

Stanley Wainwright Memorial Trophy: Vincent Bearpark (Principal Cornet) — Valaisia Brass Band
Brian Evans Memorial Trophy: Jon-Vegar Sole Sundal (Eikanger-Bjorsvik Musikklag)
Geoffrey Whitham Memorial Trophy: Philippe Schwartz (Brighouse & Rastrick)

*Relegated to Grand Shield

Saturday 8, 18:33:08

Final thoughts & Prediction

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Bert Appermont composer of 'A Brussels Requiem' with the British Open Shield

What can I say! This has simply been one of the most fascinating and enjoyable British Open contests for a long, long time.

The standard has been scintillating, with fine performances extending well down below the top six, whilst at the top of the pile, we have heard some very special playing indeed.

Bert Appermont's Brussels Requiem has engaged both the audience and the bands with the players clearly demonstrating their enjoyment of the music and the audience responding in enthusiastic fashion.

The result could be very close indeed although for me there is little doubt about the winner. Cory were on another level today, delivering a performance of blistering precision and gravitas that they will be hoping will see the famous shield mike it's way back from Switzerland to the valleys.

Christopher Thomas goes for a top six of:

1) Cory
2) Brighouse
3) Eikanger
4) Valaisia
5) Fodens
6) Leyland

Dark Horses Carlton Main and Grimethorpe

Steven Mead's top six:

1) Cory
2) Eikanger
3) Brighouse
4) Valaisia
5) Leyland
6) Fodens

Saturday 8, 18:01:23

19. Leyland (Thomas Wyss)

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Leyland on stage

A warmly expressive opening with the tiniest of slips along the way. This is encouraging though and forms an impressive appetiser for a driven In Cold Blood to follow.

This has so much drive and energy, allied with excellent use of the dynamics, especially at lower levels. There's impressive detail too although just a tendency to push the upper volume too far at times, masking the detail below.

There is a deeply felt felt warmth about the trombone chorale of In Memoriam and this is moving in its simplicity and musical honesty. There is a lovely flow to the music and again, a pathos and sincerity about the playing that engages.

The dynamism of In Cold Blood once again comes into play in the final movement, but despite one or two scrappy passages, it is the spirit of uplifting affirmation that this time carries us along, prefacing a fine conclusion.

Overall: A good show from Leyland to cap what has been a wonderful contest. This could well surprise a few people.

Christopher Thomas

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Thomas Wyss conducting Leyland

Steven Mead — Criteria Mark Sheet

Criteria Mark Sheet
Marks by Steven Mead

Technical accuracy: 18
Rhythmic precision and clarity: 20
Control of full dynamic range: 19
Ensemble precision: 19
Tuning/intonation: 19
Band sound quality: 19
Balance/clarity of textures: 19
Quality of soloists: 19
Overall understanding: 19
Total musicality from the band: 19

Total: 190

Short Comment:
Wow, Leyland pull out an absolute stunning show right at the end of the contest. The best most complete conformance I've heard from them in many years. Could and should force its way into the top six. Very consistent, great reading, and the players delivered in spades.

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Leyland backstage

Saturday 8, 17:59:11


Saturday 8, 17:58:37

Iwan Fox talks to Don Owen of Stomvi

Saturday 8, 17:41:39

18. Fairey (Garry Cutt)

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Fairey in performance

A quality opening cornet solo and the first paragraphs move along well. This is a fine opening marked by a carefully created atmosphere and thoughtfully shaped melodic lines.

In Cold Blood builds inexorably and there is both drive and drama in the music that follows with detail always evident and wide ranging dynamics that are used to telling effect.

In Memoriam loses its way a little part way through and our interest wanes but there are also some lovely touches of colour along the way.

What a shame that there are slips in the two solo cornets towards the end but this has otherwise been an impressive final movement, capping an intelligent and dynamically articulated account.

Overall: A fine account from Fairey and one that should hold its own amongst very tough competition today. So well put together and projected with solidity.

Christopher Thomas

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Garry Cutt conducting Fairey

Steven Mead — Criteria Mark Sheet

Criteria Mark Sheet
Marks by Steven Mead

Technical accuracy: 18
Rhythmic precision and clarity: 19
Control of full dynamic range: 19
Ensemble precision: 19
Tuning/intonation: 19
Band sound quality: 19
Balance/clarity of textures: 19
Quality of soloists: 17.5
Overall understanding: 18
Total musicality from the band: 18

Total: 185.5

Short Comment:
Very good solid performance from Fairey, but never one really fired the imagination or told a story. Very good band playing, well directed, and generally an excellent sense of ensemble throughout. Pretty tight, pretty secure.

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Fairey take the stage

Saturday 8, 17:14:03

17. Co-op Funeralcare (Frans Violet)

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In performance — Co-op Funeralcare

The opening bars are marred by mistakes but it is the the opening of In Cold Blood where the wheels nearly come off fully. For one horrible moment the performance teeters on the brink of collapse with the band clearly divided in two different places before Frans Violet somehow manages to regain control.

It's a nerve wracking moment and one that the band will wish to forget.

With the moment of panic over things settle to some degree but those mistakes that have dogged the performance so far resurface at various times for the rest of the performance in perhaps the most fragile of all of the performances we have heard today.

Overall: Sadly not Co-Op's finest hour. It recovered to some degree later in the piece but the damage was done early on for the Scots.

Christopher Thomas

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Frans Violet conducting Co-op Funeralcare

Steven Mead — Criteria Mark Sheet

Criteria Mark Sheet
Marks by Steven Mead

Technical accuracy: 14
Rhythmic precision and clarity: 16
Control of full dynamic range: 16
Ensemble precision: 16
Tuning/intonation: 16
Band sound quality: 17
Balance/clarity of textures: 17
Quality of soloists: 16
Overall understanding: 16
Total musicality from the band: 15

Total: 159

Short Comment:
Not a great day at the office for the Co-op . Almost came to a stop at the first Allegro with the band in two different places. Such a pity, and I hope this band can bounce back very quickly from what will have been a less than thrilling feeling for them.

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Frans Violet watches form the wings

Shrewsbury Brass Band - United Reformed Church Choir

Saturday 20 July • United Reformed Church. Coleham Head. Shrewsbury . Shropshire SY3 7BJ

Norfolk Wherry Brass - Norfolk Wherry Brass Memorial Concert

Sunday 21 July • Lingwood Village Hall. Station Road. Norwich. Norfolk. NR13 4AZ

Lewes, Glynde and Beddingham Brass Band - Eastbourne Bandstand - 1812 concert

Wednesday 31 July • Bandstand, Grand Parade, Eastbourne BN21 3AD

Lewes, Glynde and Beddingham Brass Band - Commercial Square Bonfire Society, The Jumping Jac

Saturday 3 August • The Paddock. Little Paddock Lane. Lewes BN7 1UU

Gresley Colliery Band - Byrkley Park Garden Centre

Saturday 10 August • Byrkley Drive, Rangemore St, Burton upon Trent . DE13 9RN

Foss Dyke Band

July 20 • We are looking to strengthen for our return to the 1st Section next year. Under the direction of Michael Howley and assistant conductor Ian Scot. We require E flat and a B flat Bass, and a 2nd Trombone. Great band room atmosphere.

Foss Dyke Band

July 20 • We are looking to strengthen the band for our return to the 1st Section next year. Under the direction of Michael Howley and assistant conductor Ian Scott. We rehearse Wednesday nights 8-10 and Sundays 7-9. The band require a Solo Horn, 2nd Baritone.

Lindley Band

July 19 • FRONT ROW CORNET required to join our friendly band who enjoy a sensible mix of engagements and contests. Our inspirational MD Mike Golding takes rehearsals on Monday and Wednesday evenings in our own modern bandroom located only 1mile from M62 Jcn 24.

Julian Bright

Conductor, Compere/MC, Cornet Soloist