Youth Brass 2000 continued on their all conquering way as they claimed their third major championship title of the season in Blackpool.
Under the baton of Chris Jeans they added the Action Research trophy to those won at the Butlins Mineworkers Championship in Skegness and the British Open Youth Championship in Preston since January, with a sparklingly delivered 'Beyond the Tamar' set by Philip Harper.
It saw the band take the honours ahead of defending champion Elland Silver Youth, with the Houghton Area Youth in third, as they secured their first victory at the event since 2013 (above).
Although Houghton took the entertainment prize thanks to their slickly delivered 'Toys' inspired suite, Youth Brass 2000 topped the music discipline from adjudicator Mareika Gray as well as taking the 'Most Entertaining Item' prize for 'Indian Daybreak'.
Beyond the Tamar
Youth Brass 2000 took to the stage for their programme with all their players wearing specially designed costumes for the occasion. The quality and precision of the music making was of the same high standard of their tailoring (and won the 'Most Entertaining item' prize), leaving the audience almost in stunned silence at their level of performance.
It meant that there was little even an outstanding defending champion, Elland Silver Youth could have done to retain the title, as they brought the contest to a close with a terrific programme based around the 'Snow White' fairy-tale.
The West Yorkshire outfit eventually finished just two points behind the winners but will now look ahead to their appearances at the forthcoming National Youth and European Championships with relish.
Houghton Area Youth finished third for the second year in a row, but took the entertainment element prize for the first time — a fine achievement given the standard of presentation on show from all competing bands.
The North East band utilised composer Lee Morris's tale of childhood fantasies and dreams in his 'Toy Suite' — presented with flawless choreography — although a little more consistency in their playing may have just helped them to end higher than fifth in the music discipline.
The final top four spot went to Enderby Youth's cleverly conceived programme, where Freddy Mercury joined the 'Queen Academy' to learn how to play in a brass band!
The high energy presentation saw them head home with deserved awards for 'Best Horns', 'Best Basses' and 'Best Deportment'.
Individual prizes were shared out thanks to some great section and solo playing.
Lions Youth ('Best Soprano'), Macclesfield Youth ('Best Euphonium' and 'Outstanding Soloist' — thanks to Alex Walton imitating the great Sir Roger Bannister on xylophone on 'Hat-Trick') and Wardle Academy Juniors ('Band with Most Potential' and 'Best March) took deserved awards.
However, there was little doubt that once again Youth Brass 2000 continues to set the mark in youth band contesting in the UK, as they headed for home with the prospect of making it a four in a row at the National Youth Championships in Manchester in April.
A buoyant MD Chris Jeans, also reminded 4BR that victory had given his band a hat-trick of contesting wins in just five weeks.
"I've said it before, but I am so proud of each and every one of the players,"he said.
"The band has been so busy since the start of the year, so to win three major titles in five weeks is down to the hard work from these wonderful players and their desire to enjoy what they do and be successful."
The MD also pinpointed what he believed was one of the key factors in their triumph on the Opera House stage. "I thought we gave a consistent performance throughout,"he said. "I couldn't have asked for anything more. My players were magnificent."
Chris also placed on record that the success had been a team effort, with vibrant rehearsals led by chairman Don Collins and the hard-working volunteers who give up their time to stitch together the military costumes worn on stage.
'Beyond the Tamar' opened with 'Fanfare & Theme', before 'Storm on Leningrad' was followed by 'Indian Daybreak'. A slight musical diversion came in 'Scherzo for Motor Cycle & Orchestra' sandwiched in between 'Tongoyo' and the breathless 'Finale'.
Victory sees Youth Brass 2000 receive an invitation to appear at the Brass in Concert Championship weekend in November.
Meanwhile, with the competing bands now producing superbly choreographed musical productions for their challenges, the overall standard across the nine bands was arguably as high as it has ever been at the event.
Adjudicators Mareika Gray (music) and Paul Duffy (entertainment) were understandably full of praise after six hours of competition. The musical element was also judged in the 'open' for the first time as an experiment; enabling both judges to appreciate everything that was happening before them.
Mareika told 4BR that said she had enjoyed a fantastic, but difficult day differentiating between the bands. The respected MD cited consistency and tuning as two of main factors in separating out rivals.
She also noted the fine standard of bass trombone and percussion playing and acknowledged that it was a difficult task to put the bands in order of preference.
Paul Duffy also gave an informative assessment to his day. His positive remarks saw him admit that there were only 'small' margins between the bands in his order of merit.
Paul also encouraged players (especially soloists) to learn to play from memory, and in reminding the bands about the size of the Opera House stage, he also encouraged them to maximise what is available to them and to be energetic.
Banding's Peter Kay
Just as entertaining as the bands on the day was compere Chris Haigh — as the Jager Maestro Oompah Band front-man kept the audience fully engaged with his wit and encouragement.
Chris had to be on his toes though, as gremlins in various microphones meant at times he had to think quickly on his feet as did players, conductors and adjudicators to overcome the annoying electrical mishaps. Hopefully the problem will be sorted out for the future.
Once again the contest was recorded, with bands able to buy copies of their performance as well as highlights of yet another wonderful day.
Costing £5 per DVD, further details are available at www.action.org.uk/youth-brass-band
Earlier, there was a cracking Junior Entertainment event as Wigan Youth Zone Brass Band directed by John Don-Duncan took the honours ahead of Kearsley Youth Brass and Blackpool Brass Junior Band.
The new competition started off proceedings in the Arena, with adjudicators Martin Whybrow (music) and Marianne Garbutt (entertainment) enjoying a superb hour of performances.
Wigan Youth Zone built on its recent runner-up spot at the British Open Youth Festival in Preston by going one better with a deserved victory.
The opening 'Layla' was followed by tenor horn soloist, Grace Jeffers showcasing her vocal talents in 'I Dreamed a Dream', before the William Rimmer march 'On with the Brave' led into 'Pirates of the Caribbean'.
Entertainment judge, Marianne Garbutt later praised all the bands for their cracking efforts and encouraged everybody to keep working hard and enjoying what they do.
Speaking on behalf of the organisers, Gary Walczak acknowledged the contribution of everybody involved in what continues to be a special contesting day in the banding calendar, with £900 being raised for Action Medical Research.
Next year's contest will take place on Sunday 12h February.
I thought we gave a consistent performance throughout. I couldn't have asked for anything more. My players were magnificentChris Jeans
Mareika Gray (Music)
Paul Duffy (Entertainment)
Music/Entertainment = Total
1. Youth Brass (Chris Jeans): 1/2 = 3
2. Elland Silver Youth (Samantha Harrison): 2/3 = 5
3. Houghton Area Youth (Brian Adams): 5/1 = 6
4. Enderby Youth (Trevor Hounsome): 3/4 = 7
5. Wardle Academy Junior (Gwen Smith): 4/6 = 10
6. Rochdale Borough Youth (Ben Dixon): 7/5 = 12
7. Macclesfield Youth (Louise Renshaw): 6/7 = 13
8. Lions Youth (Nigel Birch): 8/8 = 16
9. Egglescliffe School Brass Band (Matthew Haworth): 9/9 = 18
Music placing takes precedence in event of a tie
Outstanding Soloist: Alex Walton, Xylophone (Macclesfield Youth)
Most Entertaining Item: Youth Brass 2000 (Indian Daybreak)
Best March: Wardle Academy Junior (1914)
Best Soprano: Lions Youth
Best Horns: Enderby Youth
Best Basses: Enderby Youth
Best Euphonium: Macclesfield Youth
Best Stage Deportment: Enderby Youth
Band with Most Potential: Wardle Academy Junior
Winning Conductor: Chris Jeans
Junior Brass Band Entertainment Festival of Great Britain
Martin Whybrow (Music)
Marianne Garbutt (Entertainment)
1. Wigan Youth Zone Brass Band (John Don-Duncan)
2. Kearsley Youth Brass Band (Mark Harrison)
3. Blackpool Brass Junior Band (Wayne Filer)
Best March: Wigan Youth Zone Brass Band
Stage Deportment: Kearsley Youth
Band with Most Potential: Kearsley Youth
Most Entertaining Item: James Bond (Kearsley Youth)
Best Vocal Item: Wigan Youth
Outstanding Soloist: Kit player (Blackpool Brass)
Youth Entertainment Programmes of Music
1. Wardle Academy Junior (Gwen Smith)
March 1914 (Gordon Mackenzie)
Delilah (Alan Fernie)
Londonderry Air: Adam Warbuton, Trombone
Lord of the Dance
Highland Cathedral (Simon Kerwin)
2. Rochdale Borough Youth (Ben Dixon)
Under the Sea (Simon Oliver)
Go the Distance (Simon Oliver)
The Incredibles (Philip Harper)
King of the Swingers (Michael Goulding)
Circle of Life (Michael Goulding)
3. Youth Brass 2000 (Chris Jeans)
Beyond the Tamar (Philip Harper)
Fanfare & Theme
Storm on Leningrad
Scherzo for Motor Cycle & Orchestra (John Williams arr Klass van der Woude)
Finale: Beyond the Tamar (Philip Harper)
4. Houghton Area Youth (Brian Adams)
'Toys' Suite for Brass Bands (Lee Morris)
Parade of the Tin Soldiers
Made of Wood
The Lonely Russian Dolls
Rodeo & Finale
Reprise of the Tin Soldiers
5. Lions Youth (Nigel Birch)
Trumpet Tune and Air (Purcell arr Frank Wright)
Don't Write Me Off Just Yet (Adam Schlesinger)
Crazy Little Thing Called Love (Freddie Mercury arr Thijs Oud)
Loves Old Sweet Song (Joseph Molloy arr Howard Snell)
L.O.V.E. (Bert Kaemfert arr Milt Gambler)
Le Coq Dor (Rimsky Korsakov arr Alan Catherall)
6. Macclesfield Youth (Louise Renshaw)
Samba De Janeiro (Morreira, Zenker & Enkels arr John Ryan)
Rainforest from Windows of the World (Peter Graham)
Chariots of Fire (Vangelis arr Rieke Van Der Welde)
On the Track (Jack Simpson arr Alan Catherall)
One Moment in Time (Albert Hammond/John Bettis arr Michael Sweeney)
Olympiada (Samuel R Mazo arr Jonathan Bates)
7. Enderby Youth (Trevor Hounsome)
Bohemian Rhapsody (Freddie Mercury/Queen arr Alan Fernie)
I Want to Break Free (John Deacon arr Jan Van Kraedonck)
Another Bites The Dust (Queen arr Phil Lawrence)
A Kind of Magic (Roger Taylor arr Jan van Kraeydonck)
We Will Rock You (Brian May arr Jan Van Kraeydonck)
Reprise: Bohemian Rhapsody (Freddie Mercury/Queen arr Alan Fernie)
8. Egglescliffe School Brass Band (Matthew Haworth)
The Children of Sanchez (Mangione/Gilje)
Flugel Soloist: Richard Brooks
Children of Amazons (Burke)
The Conquest of Paradise (Vangelis/Fernie)
9. Elland Silver Youth (Samantha Harrison)
Morning (Grieg arr Gavin Somerset)
Imperial March (John Williams arr Sandy Smith)
Mirrors (Jonathan Bates)
Magnificent Seven (Elmer Bernstein arr Alan Fernie)
Ode to Joy (Beethoven arr Murray Grieg)
Sparkling Diamonds (arr Sandy Smith)