Report & Results: 2014 West Lothian Festival of Brass

Co-operative Funeralcare complete their stranglehold on domestic Scottish silverware with latest victory at West Lothian.


Co-operative Funeralcare completed their stranglehold of all the major domestic Scottish titles with an impressive victory at the West Lothian Festival of Brass entertainment contest in Livingston.

Directed by Allan Ramsay, they completed the Scottish Open, Scottish Championship, Land O’ Burns and West Lothian ‘Grand Slam’ thanks to a commanding performance at the Howden Park Centre that saw them beat off the challenge of reigning champion Whitburn, with Kingdom Brass in third.

Slickly presented

With the contest utilizing the ‘Brass in Concert’ points allocation method, Co-op’s slickly presented set gained maximum points for both music and entertainment, with third place for programme content.

Cool heads

MD Allan Ramsay was delighted that the clear four point margin of victory now gave the band the rare opportunity to display the silverware from the quartet of major Scottish contests at forthcoming high profile events.

"This was the latest victory based on hard work and commitment," he told 4BR. "I feel the band is really developing into a high class outfit, with cool heads giving us a confident stage presence.

We have a settled line up of players and a real desire to keep building on the impressive results of the last couple of years, especially at the major championships."

Allan added: "With some high profile concerts to enjoy over the next couple of months before the British Open it will be good to show off the rewards for all that hard work."

Latin beat

Co-op opened their programme with the choreographed ‘Semper Fidelis’ march before segueing into the Latin beat of ‘Los Hermanos de Bop’.

A stunning new Adrian Drover arrangement of ‘You Needed Me’ featuring trombone soloist Paul Kiernan gained the ‘Best New Composition/Arrangement’ prize, whilst the ‘Best Section’ cornet feature of Allan’s own arrangement of ‘There’s Great Day Coming’ contrasted with Howard Snell’s lovely treatment of the negro spiritual ‘Steal Away’, enhanced by subtle choreography and multi-media imagery.

The band rounded off its programme with a powerful rendition of ‘Turris Fortissima’ by Stephen Ponsford.

Adjudicators Alan Fernie, Archie Hutchison and Alan Fernie were left in little doubt over the ultimate destination of title, which returned to Co-operative Funeralcare for the third time in four years and the sixth time in total. It was also Allan Ramsay’s fifth win at the event since it started in 2002.

Not all cylinders

There was to be no debut victory for the new combination of Lee Skipsey and Whitburn, as the defending champion couldn’t quite fire on all cylinders, despite taking the award for the best performance of a compulsory Howard Snell work, with the sparkling arrangement of the overture to ‘Candide’ to open their set.

However, they couldn’t quite maintain the quality of that impressive opening statement of intent, despite some fine playing on show with the following, ‘Caoineadh Cù Chulainn’ flugel and soprano duet, ‘Cats Tales’, ‘Sleep’ and ‘Horizons’ by Paul Lovatt-Cooper to close.

Return to form

Meanwhile, there was a welcome return to form for third placed Kingdom Brass, under the baton of Eoin Tonner, with Chris Mansfield taking the ‘Best Soloist’ award for his excellent rendition of Andrew Lloyd Weber’s ‘As If We Never Said Goodbye’.

Their eclectic set also included a new arrangement by the MD of ‘Happy’, ‘The Witch of the Westmerlands’, ‘Concertino Catalonia’, ‘The Sorcerer's Apprentice’ and ‘You'll Never Walk Alone’.

I feel the band is really developing into a high class outfit, with cool heads giving us a confident stage presenceMD, Allan Ramsay


Adjudicators: Stan Lippeatt (music), Archie Hutchison (Entertainment), Alan Fernie (Programme content)

Music/Entertainment/Programme Content = Total

1. Co-operative Funeralcare (Allan Ramsay): 100/60/36 = 196
2. Whitburn (Lee Skipsey): 95/57/40 = 192
3. Kingdom Brass (Eoin Tonner): 90/54/34 = 178
4. Kirkintilloch Kelvin Brass (Charles Keenan): 85/51/38 = 174
5. Clackmannan District Brass (Paul McKelvie): 80/48/32 = 160

Withdrew: Kirkintilloch

Most Entertaining Performance: Co-operative Funeralcare

Best New Composition/Arrangement: Co-operative Funeralcare
You Needed Me (Randy Goodrum arr. Adrian Drover)

Best Section/Ensemble: Co-operative Funeralcare
There's A Great Day Coming (Will Thompson arr. Terry Everson / Allan Ramsay)

Best Soloist: Chris Mansfield (trombone) — Kingdom Brass
As If We Never Said Goodbye (Andrew Lloyd Webber arr. Bill Geldard)

Best Performance of a Howard Snell Composition/Arrangement: Whitburn
Candide Overture (Leonard Bernstein arr. Howard Snell)

Become a supporter and help make our future secure.

4barsrest continues to be a proudly independent voice. There are no paywalls to overcome to be able to enjoy what we do to keep our journalism at the heart of the brass banding world. Support us with a one-off donation or subscribe from just £2.50 per month.

Support us    


BBE provides Open English link to future Europeans

September 26 • Brass Bands England announces that its European Championship representatives will come from the British Open.


Award winners celebrated at BBE Conference

September 26 • The 2021 BBE Awards honoured inspirational youngsters, to on-line invention, community engagement, education, leadership and a lifetime of providing entertainment.


Bond, Dobson and RVW add to musical tests for 2022 Euros

September 26 • Original works by Christopher Bond, Simon Dobson and Ralph Vaughan Williams add to the contesting attractions for the 2022 European Championships


Wilby marks Vaughan Williams celebration at European Championship

September 26 • A new commission from Prof Philip Wilby celebrating the life and work of Ralph Vaughan Williams will form the competitive musical centrepiece of the 2022 European Championships in Birmingham

Contest: Lower Section National Finals

Sunday 19 September • The Centaur, Cheltenham Racecourse, Prestbury, Cheltenham, GL40 4SH

Bodmin Town Band - Bodmin Town Band in concert

Friday 24 September • St Petroc's Church, Priory Road, Bodmin PL31 2DT

Regent Hall Concerts - RAF Central Band Brass Ensemble & Seraphim Consort

Thursday 30 September • Regent Hall (The Salvation Army). 275 Oxford Street. London. WC1 2 DJ WC1 2 DJ

Regent Hall Concerts - Fulham Band

Friday 1 October • Regent Hall (The Salvation Army). 275 Oxford Street. London. WC1 2 DJ WC1 2 DJ

Regent Hall Concerts - Bone-afide Trombone Quartet

Friday 1 October • Regent Hall (The Salvation Army). 275 Oxford Street. London. WC1 2 DJ WC1 2 DJ

Garforth Brass

September 26 • Garforth Brass (3rd section Yorkshire Area) is seeking cornet players (positions negotiable) as the band prepares for forthcoming concerts and contests. We are looking to build further following recent promotion and merger with Garforth Jubilee Band.

Shipston Town Band

September 25 • We are rehearsing covid safe in our refurbished band hall. We are looking to recruit Bb Cornets position negotiable Principal Trom Bass Trom Eb Bass and Bb Bass to bring the band up to full strength

Staines Brass

September 25 • Staines Brass are looking for , Soprano, and E flat Bass and B flat Bass players to join our ranks following the return to rehearsals. Our rehearsal nights are Thursday 8pm and we are based The Lammas Park, Staines, TW18 4XZ

Mark Wilkinson

Cornet Soloist, Teacher, Adjudicator, Conductor


 © 2021 4barsrest.com Ltd