The 25th French Open Championships will take place in the beautiful Loire valley town of Amboise next month (7th-9th June), where a dozen bands will compete for the various prizes in the shadow its magnificent 15th century chateau.
As brass band contest venues go it is perhaps the prettiest in the world — and it's not often you can take break from contesting to wander around Leonardo da Vinci's tomb.
In the main contests the competitors will perform their own-choice programmes which must include the set-works 'Ascension' (Philip Wilby) in the Championship Section; 'Brass Metamorphosis' by James Curnow for the First Section; 'Rhapsody in Brass' by Dean Goffin for the Second, and John Golland's 'Prelude, Song & Dance' in the Fourth.
There is also a very popular 'Whit Friday' style march competition on the Saturday morning in the town square in front of the famous chateau.
The adjudicators this year are headed by Jury President Chris Jeans, Luc Vertommen and Norbert Pfammatter with the march competition judged by Peter Collins. The outside entertainment programmes for the best public performance will be adjudicated by Michel Dubois.
The Championship battle will see former champions Flowers up against one of France's elite level bands in former National champion Brass Band Aeolus, whilst there is domestic battle in the First Section between Brass Band Atout Vent and Brass Band Du Val De Loire.
There is a tri-nation link in the Second Section where the English representative of Eagley Band is up against the French duo of Brass Band De La Vienne and the Swiss visitors of Helvetia Brass Band and Brass Band Avenir De Lignieres.
In the combined Fourth & Youth Section, North London Brass makes the trip across La Mange to see if they can wrestle the title back home with them from Brass Band Oceane and Brass Band Du CRR De Tours.
The weekend commences on Friday (6.30pm) with a welcoming ceremony at the Chateau d' Amboise where the various draws will be made.
Saturday will see the main competitions take place in the Beaumarhais Theatre (9.00am start) with the march contest taking place from 10.00am till 12.30pm in the Michel Debre Place. In the afternoon all the bands will also perform their entertainment programmes
The Gala Concert on Saturday evening will start at 9.00pm and will feature Flowers Band conducted by Paul Holland.
The event is rounded off on the Sunday with a 'Festival of Brass' in front of the Chateau d' Amboise.
The Championship battle will see former champions Flowers up against one of France's elite level bands in former National champion Brass Band Aeolus4BR
Flowers Band (Paul Holland)
Brass Band Aeolus (Benoit Fourreau)
Brass Band Atout Vent (William Houssoy)
Brass Band Du Val De Loire (Jerome Genza)
Eagley Band (Chris Wormald)
Brass Band De La Vienne (Mathias Charton)
Brass Band Des Pays De La Loire (Hans Loirs)
Helvetia Brass Band (Yves Sauthier)
Brass Band Avenir De Lignieres (Cyril Perrenoud)
Fourth Section & Youth Band Section:
North London Brass (Andrew Brittin)
Brass Band Oceane (Pascal Piedefer)
Brass Band Du CRR De Tours (David Hubert)