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Report & Results: 2015 Swedish National Championship

Garry Cutt is crowned a winning conductor a fifth time in Sweden as he helps Windcorp to a seventh successive title success.

Garry Cutt
 

The growing popularity of brass banding in Sweden was certainly shown in Varamo on the weekend, as a record number of bands and ensembles took part in the National Championship.

The event which started in 1982 now attracts bands from all parts of the country, and this year saw a gala concert performance from Belgian National Champion Willebroek as well as an opening ceremony concert featuring defending champion Windcorp alongside soloists Lucy Cutt, James Fountain and Glenn Van Looy.

Gregson guest

The Swedish Brass Band Federation (SBBF) Svenska Brassbandforbundet also paid a personal tribute to composer Edward Gregson, who was a welcome guest to the event, with his compositions featured as the set works in each of the sections.

In the Elite Section there was a keen battle for the title over two days of contesting, as Windcorp directed by Garry Cutt repelled the strong challenge of rivals Solna Brass and debutants Gota Brass to claim a seventh consecutive title.

Cultured

A cultured performance of Gregson's 1984 work, 'Dances & Arias' laid the foundation for the latest success, before victory was sealed 24 hours later with a superb rendition of Philip Sparke's 'Variations on an Enigma', which was aided by the outstanding contribution of the band's prize winning trombone section.

Solna Brass pushed the champion all the way to the finishing line as they delivered a fine account of 'Of Distant Memories' as their own choice selection, whilst Gota Brass also showed that they are very much a major force to be reckoned with as they delivered a sparkling take on 'A Tale as Yet Untold'.

Fifth win for Cutt

Understandably the Fairey Band Musical Director was delighted with what proved to be a fifth Swedish Championship win with Windcorp, although as he revealed to 4BR his celebrations were tempered by a painful bout of gout!

"This was the fifth time I have been privileged to lead Windcorp to the title, but it was also the most outstanding,"Garry said.

"They are a wonderful bunch of highly motivated musicians who work so quickly and can adapt their playing to encompass any style of writing.

The differences between the Gregson and the Sparke were so well defined — they really were two very special performances. It's not surprising that the trombones won the best section award — as they combine two players from Gothenburg Opera with a Doctor of Nuclear Physics!"

Finishing touches

Garry added: "I flew in last weekend for a fabulous celebration concert, before meeting up again just 24 hours before the contest. However the work they had put in and the standard of professionalism meant all I had to do was put on the finishing touches.

To win for a fifth time was special — especially as Lucy played as we needed a second flugel for the Gregson. It's even made the gout feel less painful!"

4BR understands that the victory will bring with it an invitation to compete at the European Brass Band Championship in Lille in 2016, although it has also been confirmed that the band intends to make a welcome visit to the UK next year to play at the Whit Friday contests.

Garry concluded: "Even in the short time I've been coming to the event I have seen just how much it has developed. Now it's really taking off with so many great young players coming through from the grass roots. I think Swedish brass banding is about to make a real mark."

Other sections:

That opinion was reinforced in the First Section where there was a commanding victory for Asenhoga Brass conducted by Eikanger Bjorsvik euphonium star Patrick Randefalk, their second title success in three years and fifth since 2002.

Their finely worked performance of 'Occasion' by Edward Gregson gave them a clear four point winning margin over Lunds Universitets Brassband conducted by Michael Antrobus, with Torsby Brass a further four points back in third.

In the Second Section there was a victory to celebrate for Bors Brass who claimed their first National success under the baton of Ulrik Lundquist after their performance of Gregson's early 'Partita' saw them edge out rivals Halmstad Brass with reigning champion Gnojo Brass in third.

The growing foundation of Swedish banding is based on the vibrant mini-brass concept which sees bands and ensembles of players up to the age of 15 compete against each other.

This year 11 bands took part with the gloriously names BUBB — Bors Ungdomsbrassband beating off the challenge of rivals Sodertorns Minibrass and AYBB — Asenhoga Youth Brass Band to cliam the title.

Meanwhile, the Rookie Band of the Year Award went to the appropriately named The Fun Brass, Almhult.

They are a wonderful bunch of highly motivated musicians who work so quickly and can adapt their playing to encompass any style of writing.The differences between the Gregson and the Sparke were so well definedGarry Cutt.

Results:

Elite Section:
Test Piece: Dances and Arias, Edward Gregson
Adjudicators: Frans Violet, Hannes Buchegger, Edward Gregson, Kjell-Erik Paulsrud, Michael Zoppas
Set Work/Own Choice = Average

1. Windcorp Brass (Garry Cutt): 94/95 = 94.5
2. Solna Brass (Emil Bjorklund): 92/92 = 93.0
3. Gota Brass (Stig Maesk): 89/93 = 91.0
4. Betlehemskyrkans Musikkar (David Glanneskog): 88/87 = 87.5
5. Uffes Blas Brass (Mattias Hjortlinger): 83/88 = 85.5

Best Section: Trombones (Windcorp)
Best Conductor on Set Test: Garry E Cutt (Windcorp Brass)


First Section:
Set Work: Occasion (Edward Gregson)
Adjudicators: Glen van Looy, Hannes Buchegger

1. Asenhoga Brass (Patrik Randefalk) — 94
2. Lunds Universitets Brassband (Michael Antrobus) — 90
3. Torsby Brass (Berit Palmquist) — 86
4. Malmo Brass (Jan Winborg) — 83
5. Smyrna Brass (Anders Hellman) — 82
6. Sodertorns Brass (Kenneth Drougge) — 80

Best Instrumentalist: Malin Stenseke Arup (flugek) — Smyrna Brass
Best Conductor on Set Test: Patrik Randefalk (Asenhoga Brass)


Second Section:
Set Work: Partita (Edward Gregson)
Adjudicators: Frans Violet, Michael Zoppas

1. Bors Brassband (Ulrik Lundquist) — 89
2. Halmstad Brass (Mikael Johansson) — 88
3. Gnosjo Brass (Jan Hultegard) — 86
4. Allianskyrkans Musikkar, Jonkoping (N/K) — 84
5. Granse Brass (N/K) — 82
6. Immanuel Brass, Enkoping (N/K) — 80

Best Section: Euphoniums (Gnosjo Brass)
Best Conductor on Set Test: Mikael Johansson (Halmstad Brass)


Youth Section:
Set Work: New Horizons (Edward Gregson)
Adjudicators: Kjell-Erik Paulsrud, Glen van Looy

1. BUBB — Bors Ungdomsbrassband
2. Sodertorns Minibrass
3. AYBB — Asenhoga Youth Brass Band
4. Allianskyrkans Minibrass
4. Wenern Minibrass
4. Gybb — Goteborg Youth Brass Band
4. Immanuel Minibrass — Enkoping
4. The Fun Brass — Almhult
4. Bors Minibrass
4. Gnosjo Minibrass
4. Habo Small Band

Rookie Band of the Year:
1. The Fun Brass, Almhult
2. Habo Small Band

Best Section: Cornets (The Fun Brass, Almhult)
Best conductor on Set Test: Emil Engstrom (Sodertorns Brass)

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