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Report & Result: 2018 European Youth Championships: Premier Section

Youth Brass 2000 finally adds the European title to their amazing list of contest achievements — with the desire for more to be added in the future.

Utrecht
  A terrific contest has taken place

After three successive runner-up finishes in the Premier Section of the European Youth Championships, it was fourth time lucky for the all-conquering Youth Brass 2000, as they finally claimed the one title that had eluded them for so long under their inspirational MD, Chris Jeans.

Little wonder the communal joy was totally unrestrained as they joined the other English title winners Wardle Academy in celebration on the stage following the announcement of the results. Their singing could almost have been heard on the other side of the English Channel let alone outside the TivoliVredenburg Hall.

Musical crusade

The result rounded off a four year musical crusade in wonderful 'Triple Crown' fashion. Youth Brass 2000 is now the proud holder of the European, National Championship and British Open titles — extending a record of unparalleled achievement that stretches all the way back to their formation 30 years ago.

However, the frightening news for rivals both home and abroad is that this latest success has whetted the appetite for even more as their MD told 4BR.

"I don't know if I'm happier by the win or simply relieved to have finally done it,"Chris Jeans told 4BR.

"We were determined to do it this year after coming so close in the past, but the standard was so high from some brilliant bands that I did think we may just miss out again. Now that we have won it, we want to do it again and again."

That sentiment was echoed by their indefatigable Band Chairman Don Collins, who added: "This is down to all the hard work of the youngsters and to Chris who inspires them time and time again. The amount of talent and energy they put in is simply incredible, but it has paid off.

Now we finally call ourselves European Champions."

Polished confidence

Incredibly, the latest generation of Youth Brass 2000 is also perhaps the most inexperienced, with 10 new players joining the ranks as older ones have left for university.

However, that did not hold them back here as they opened with polished confidence on 'Ye Morning Stars of Light', followed by the set-work, 'Chaucer's Tunes' by Michael Ball, the percussion solo 'The Tongs and the Bones' brilliantly played by Sophie Stevenson and the funky world premiere of 'The Long Way Home' by Paul McGhee, to secure the much longed for title.

Adjudicator Rieks van der Velde called their playing "incredible". Few would have disagreed.

"We have had plenty of personnel changes of late,"Chris added. "But each time someone leaves another young player joins and shows their potential. It's the best part of my job bringing that out of them with the band."

Title defence help

And although immediate thoughts turned to the celebrations, plans were already being hatched to defend their title in Montreux — although they hoped that both their and Wardle's achievement would now gain support from Brass Bands England.

"I'm sure with some inventive thinking and support we can both return to defend our titles in Switzerland,"Don said. "We are proud to represent our country, but it's one that comes with a great deal of cost. I hope Brass Bands England can look at ways of helping us out for 2019."

Given the remarkable way in which the band is run, Youth Brass 2000 will surely present a very persuasive case for help to BBE as well as a raft of other potential sponsors. They are an amazing organisation — and ones that fly the flag for all that is good in youth banding with pride and professionalism.

Highest standard

The standard of competition this year was perhaps the highest ever — with Catch Basin Brass Band from Austria showing that they are an emerging nation packed to the brim with brass band talent.

Principal cornet Julian Ritsch in particular gave a stunning account of 'Slavische Fantasie', whilst their rendition of 'Gaelforce' to close whipped up a storm of excitement.

Wales will also be justifiably proud of their representatives, as Seindorf Beaumaris Youth Brass Band played with the type of passion you usually associate with the national rugby team.

Led by Gwyn Evans they pulled at the heart strings, especially with their closing item, 'Hireath Cofia'n Gwald' that almost took the roof off the hall, whilst trombone player Merin Rhyd took the 'Best Instrumentalist' award with a staggering rendition of 'Carnival of Venice' — one which adjudicator Rieks van der Velde called "simple fantastic".

Thumping rhythms

Behind them came bands that would have perhaps topped any other youth competition.

Brass Band Berner Oberland delivered a fine set that showcased an appreciation of contrasting styles and a fine euphonium soloist in Dominique Heuberger on 'The Holy Well', whilst the Danish Youth Band led by the ever-smiling Stig Maersk rounded off the day with a set that included everything from Henry VIII and Massenet to the thumping rhythms of Louis Prima's famous 'Sing, Sing, Sing'.

None could top Youth Brass 2000 though — as the English representative finally got their hands on the one trophy that has for so long frustratingly eluded their grasp.

On this form they won't be in any mood to relinquish it for some time to come either.

We were determined to do it this year after coming so close in the past, but the standard was so high from some brilliant bands that I did think we may just miss out again. Now that we have won it, we want to do it again and againChris Jeans

Result:

Premier Section:


Test Piece: Chaucer's Tunes (Dr Michael Ball) & Own Choice programme
Adjudicators: Katrina Marzella-Wheeler, Rieks van der Velde

1. Youth Brass 2000 (Chris Jeans) — 93
2. Catch Basin Brass Band (Andreas Lackner) — 92
3. Seindorf Beaumaris Youth Brass Band (Gwyn Evans) — 91
4. Brass Band Berner Oberland Junior (Jan Muller) — 90
5. Danish Youth Brass Band (Stig Maersk) — 89

Best Instrumentalist: Merin Rhyd (trombone) — Seindorf Beaumaris Youth

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