Three consecutive weekends of outstanding multi-media inspired brass band entertainment came to a close with the Whitburn Band claiming the top section Kapitol Cory Online Championship title.
Theirs was a richly deserved and highly appropriate success; their polished 1930's revival set produced by multi-talented percussionist Ryan Bradley combining elements of visual inventiveness and humour with neatly curated individual contributions to form a thoroughly engaging presentational whole.
The up-tempo opener, 'Sing, Sing, Sing' (With A Swing) led into the euphonium duet from Scott Kerr and Chris Shanks in the Laurel and Hardy inspired 'Another Fine Mess!', before rounding things off with Matthew Hall's exciting 'Nightingale Dances'.
As well as winning the overall award, Whitburn also claimed the prizes for 'Best Euphoniums/Baritones', 'Best Trombones' and 'Best Percussion' — led by Ryan himself on drums.
Blues and Bubbles
Humour was very much to the fore with runner-up, Amersham, with a wonderfully witty 'Blue Brothers Bonanza' that incorporated excerpts from the famous John Belushi film interspersed with the high energy playing and singing. Not surprisingly it took the 'Most Entertaining Award'.
In what proved to be a close podium battle for the top honours (each of the top three bands was a first pick of one of the judges), it was London & Southern Counties Area champion Friary Brass that eventually came third with their slickly presented 'Zoom, Bubbles and the Need to Dance' set — helped along by their prize winning tubas.
Elsewhere, the GUS Band's homage to their home area of Northampton took the 'Best Regional Music' award whilst Dan Robson of Easington Colliery was a deserved 'Best Soloist' for his dazzling cornet rendition of the famous Harry James 'Concerto for Trumpet'.
There was an equally impressive winner of the First Section title as Strata Brass denied further Scottish success with an excellent 'Tribute to the Beatles' set that brought a taste of the halcyon days of 'The Fab Four' and the famous Cavern Club in Liverpool right into the heart of viewer's living rooms.
With a neat twist on 'A Little Help from My Friends' the programme was boosted by excellent contributions from their 'Best Horns', guest pianist and bass guitarist.
Runner-up Coalburn certainly set a high bar off the number 1 draw with their 'African Spirit' set which featured a brand new arrangement of 'Weeping' by conductor Gareth Bowman to help them also take the 'Best Basses' and Yamaha Percussion Awards.
Close behind were compatriots Johnstone Band, who also included a brand-new work from the pen of Nicholas Olsen entitled 'Black Cart Water', whilst their 'Best Cornets' certainly made their mark in their balanced programme.
Elsewhere, there was a strong socially distanced challenge from Dallas Brass Band from Texas.
They featured a virtuoso rendition of Monti's famous 'Cazardas' by their euph star Grant Jameson, whilst both Drogheda Brass and Strabane Brass (who took the 'Best Regional Music' award for their evocative reconciliation theme) also impressed with their programmes alongside a brilliantly entertaining 'Best Entertaining' Langley Band.
The worldwide popularity of the contest was certainly seen in the Second Section where a fantastic trio of European bands took the podium honours.
Lakeland Brass from Switzerland certainly provided a startling example of polished playing and production values. Their winning programme encapsulated trips to the Stravinski Auditorium in Montreux all the way to Heaven and Hell via a sparkling 'Czardas' violin and euphonium duet, a traditional alp horn soloist (not forgetting their 'Best Trombones') and even a touch of AC/DC rock.
Fjell Brass from Norway (who won the awards for 'Best Horns' and Yamaha 'Best Percussion' — and perhaps the 'Best use of Chickens' and skiing cornet player if there were ones) came runner-up, whilst Brass Band B10 from Germany was third with their engaging 'Windows of the World' production.
Well put together sets from Lochgelly (which featured a super 'Best Soloist' winner in Lynsey 'Whirlwind' Aitken), Bearpark & Esh and Brass Band Hinualt ended in the top six, whilst Ifton Colliery took the 'Most Entertaining Award' with a colourful set that even featured tuba playing werewolf!
There was a clear winner in the Third Section with United Brass from Belgium claiming an unanimous verdict from the judges.
Theirs was an eclectic set — with a brand-new work entitled 'Theme Hawking' by Yves Meersschaert arranged by Frank Vantroyen taking the competition's overall 'Best New Music Award', whilst they also featured classy vocals (with Frank again!) before closing with 'Hollywood Finale' by Christopher Houlding.
UK representation was close behind with two strong podium finishers in Weymouth Concert Brass, who claimed the 'Most Entertaining' and Yamaha 'Best Percussion' Awards for their upbeat take on the Covid pandemic.
Theirs was an uplifting set with humour and much anticipated summertime freedom at its core, whilst Langholm also put a huge smile on the face, especially with their opening touch of 'Madness'.
A super post horn solo from Dave Tattersall of Whitworth Vale & Healey Band took the 'Best Soloist' award whilst other prizes were shared by top six finishers Musikgesellschaft Brass Band Rehetobel, Towcester Studio and Brilliante Brass Band.
Another major highlight of the overall event was the attraction for bands at all levels to compete — with no less than 20 contenders in a fabulously entertaining Fourth Section.
In the end it was a highly polished Morecambe Band under Andrew Porter that deservedly claimed the unanimous decision from the judges.
Their 'A Brief Encounter By The Sea' theme saw a mix of classy playing and visual imagery blended together to seriously impress — something that did just that with Cory MD Philip Harper who said the performance "would stay with me".
'All By Myself'; 'Seaside Rendezvous' and 'Bring Me Sunshine' featured many of the bands soloists and left the judges bowled over. In addition to the overall prize, flugel player Carol Porter won the 'Best Soloist' award with accolades also claimed by their 'Best Euphoniums & Baritones' and 'Best Percussion'.
There was a clear runner-up in Woodhouse Prize with a cracking homage (with pieces all arranged by MD, Richard Windle) to the legendary Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show — which came to Sheffield in 1891. It deservedly took the 'Most Entertaining' award as well as the prize for 'Best Basses'.
South Cumbria Band was third ahead of well put together sets from Holmestrand Brass from Norway (who claimed a brace of awards), Golborne Brass and Crosskeys Silver who took the 'Best Regional Music' prize.
There was plenty of endeavour and excellence in the enjoyable University Section, with a high-quality performance by Oakland University from the USA taking the title ahead of the University of Huddersfield and King's College London.
Oakland's celebration of selfless service and courage in the aid of others was honoured in their programme entitled 'Heroes' which saw them claim the awards for 'Best Cornets' as their repelled the strong challenge from University of Huddersfield and the surprise package of King's College London.
Huddersfield's trombone star Kyle Blake won the 'Best Soloist' Award for his performance of 'In the Wee Small Hours', whilst King's College took home a bagful of silverware; including 'Most Entertaining Band', 'Best Regional Music', 'Highest Placed Shield Section Band' and 'Best Percussion' for their vividly produced and paced 'London Calling' set.
There was a home winner in the Youth Section with City of Cardiff (M3) Youth Band, as the Welsh youngsters under Carol Flannery Davies produced a super set to take the title ahead of Elland Silver Youth and Lions Youth.
The band said they wanted to have fun — and that was certainly shown from their opening number featuring 13 year old Callum Hathaway on drums, before heading into 'Smile' and the upbeat, choreographed finisher, 'Runaway Baby'.
It saw them not only claim the title but also pick up prizes for 'Best Trombones', 'Best Basses' and 'Best Percussion'.
Runner-up Elland showed off their 'Big Band' skills sets with a cracking performance that encompassed Weather Report to Louis Prima via a fantastic 'Best Soloist' performance from cornet player Alistair Smith of 'Sugar Blues', whilst their horns also picked up their section prize.
Third place went to Lions Youth, who ensured that their performance was an 'all inclusive' affair with the addition of players from their Junior and Beginner Bands included in their 'Queen' inspired set.
Elland Silver Starter Band showed that there was no age barrier to enjoyment in taking part in the contest as their fun-packed 'Lions, Tigers and Bears' set took the 'Highest Placed Beginners Band' prize, whilst it was great to hear the playing of Dudoreliai from Lithuania who won the 'Best Regional Music' award.
Overall, the second Cory online championships were a great success — marked by huge advances in the ability of bands to produce videos presentations that featured balanced (if occasionally generously engineered) playing, with exciting, and at times, breath-taking visual packages.
However, it was also noticeable that all had grasped the opportunity to use multi-media in a progressive, proactive way with wit and humour linked to reflection and pathos. They were fantastic adverts for pride, inclusivity and excellence.
So too Cory's own efforts — led by an indefatigable Philip Harper as host, generous judges and the remarkable production skills of Ali Woodman who was deservedly presented with the 2020 Cory Bandsperson of the Year award for his efforts. He would have been applauded by every band that took part.
And whilst the band did offer its apologies for inappropriate remarks made by one of the adjudicators during the one of the sections of competition, it was dealt with in an urgent and professional manner that was appreciated by those who took part and who enjoyed the entertainment at home.
However, it was also noticeable that all had grasped the opportunity to use multi-media in a progressive, proactive way with wit and humour linked to reflection and pathos. They were fantastic adverts for pride, inclusivity and excellence4BR
Adjudicators: Tom Hutchinson, Steve Stewart*, Nigel Seaman (in order)
1. Whitburn: 2/1/2 = 5
2. Amersham: 1/2/4 = 7
3. Friary Brass: 3/3/1 = 7
4. GUS Band: 5/4/3 = 12
5. Paris Brass Band: 4/5/5 = 14
6: Enderby: 7/6/6 = 19
7. Brunel Brass: 6/10/8 = 24
8. Easington Colliery: 8/7/12 = 27
9. City of Cardiff (Melingriffith) M1: 11/8/10 = 29
10. St Dennis: 9/13/7 = 29
11. UNISON Kinneil: 12/9/9 = 30
12. Aldbourne: 10/11/13 = 34
13. Lyngby-Taarbaek Brass Band: 14/12/11 = 37
14. Lydbrook: 13/14/16 = 43
15. Michelmersh Silver: 15/15/15 = 45
16. Filton Concert Brass: 16/16/14 = 46
Most Entertaining Award: Amersham
Best Regional Music: GUS Band
Best Soloist: Dan Robson (cornet) — Easington Colliery
Best Cornets: GUS Band
Best Horns: City of Cardiff (M1)
Best Euphoniums & Baritones: Whitburn
Best Trombones: Whitburn
Best Basses: Friary Brass
Yamaha Percussion Award: Whitburn
Adjudicators: Chris Thomas, Helen Williams, Simon Howell (in order)
1. Strata Brass: 2/1/1 = 4
2. Coalburn Silver: 1/3/3 = 7
3. Johnstone Band: 5/2/2 = 9
4. Dallas Brass Band: 3/6/4 = 13
5. Drogheda Brass: 4/5/5 = 14
6. Strabane Brass: 6/4/6 = 16
7. Seindorf Arian Deiniolen: 7/10/7 = 24
8. Wotton Silver: 9/7/9 = 25
9. Langley Band: 8/8/10 = 26
10. Pontardulais Town: 10/9/8 = 27
11. North Skelton: 11/11/11 = 33
12. Freckleton: 12/12/12 = 36
Most Entertaining Award: Langley
Best Regional Music: Strabane Brass
Best Soloist: Grant Jameson (euphonium) — Dallas Brass
Best Cornets: Johnstone Band
Best Horns: Strata Brass
Best Euphoniums & Baritones: Strabane Brass
Best Trombones: Wotton Silver
Best Basses: Coalburn Silver
Yamaha Percussion Award: Coalburn Silver
Adjudicators: Rob Nicholson, Steve Kane*, Steve Jones (in order)
1. Lakeland Brass: 1/1/2 = 4
2. Fjell Brass: 4/3/1 = 8
3. Brass Band B10: 2/2/7 = 11
4. Lochgelly: 3/6/4 = 13
5. Bearpark & Esh Colliery: 5/5/6 = 16
6. Brass Band du Hinaut: 6/4/8 = 18
7. Ifton Colliery: 7/8/3 = 18
8. Roughan Silver: 10/7/5 = 22
9. Gresley Colliery: 8/10/11 = 29
10. Brass Band Westfalen: 9/12/9 = 30
11. Annan Town: 11/9/13 = 33
12. Broxburn & Livingston: 12/11/12 = 35
13. Chinnor Silver: 13/13/10: 36
14. Ware Brass: 14/14/14 = 42
Most Entertaining Award: Ifton Colliery
Best Regional Music: Annan Town
Best Soloist: Lynsey Aitken (cornet) — Lochgelly Band
Best Cornets: Brass Band B10
Best Horns: Fjell Brass
Best Euphoniums & Baritones: Bearpark & Esh
Best Trombones: Lakeland Brass
Best Basses: Brass Band Westfalen
Yamaha Percussion Award: Fjell Brass
Adjudicators: Helen Williams*, Sion Rhys-Jones, Steve Jones (in order)
1. United Brass: 1/1/1 = 3
2. Weymouth Concert: 3/2/2 = 7
3. Langholm: 5/3/3 = 11
4. Musikgesellschaft Brass Band Rehetobel: 2/4/6 = 12
5. Towcester Studio: 4/5/4 — 13
6. Brilliante Brass Band: 6/6/7 = 19
7. Whitworth Vale & Healey: 9/9/5 = 24
8. Gillingham Imperial Silver: 7/7/10 = 24
9. Littleport Brass: 8/8/8 = 24
10. Ireland Colliery Chesterfield: 10/10/9 = 29
11. Cardiff North Lakes Brass Band: 11/11/11 = 33
Most Entertaining Award: Weymouth Concert
Best Regional Music: Towcester Studio
Best Soloist: Dave Tattersall (post horn) — Whitworth Vale & Healey
Best Cornets: Brilliante Brass
Best Horns: Gillingham Imperial
Best Euphoniums & Baritones: Musikgesellschaft Brass Band Rehetobel
Best Trombones: Towcester Studio
Best Basses: Langholm Town
Yamaha Percussion Award: Weymouth Concert
Adjudicators: Glyn Williams, Ailsa Russell*, Hannah Plumridge (in order)
1. Morecambe: 1/1/1 = 3
2. Woodhouse Prize: 2/2/2 = 6
3. South Cumbria: 4/4/3 = 11
4. Holmestrand Brass: 5/5/4 = 14
5. Golborne Brass: 8/3/5 = 16
6. Crosskeys Silver: 3/7/6 = 16
7. Langley Brass: 6/8/11 = 25
8. Simply Brass: 9/6/12 = 27
9. Twin Cities: 7/9/15 = 31
10. Blackley Band: 10/14/8 = 32
11. Loxley Silver: 12/13/9 = 34
12. Amington Band: 15/11/10 = 36
13. Shanklin Town: 14/10/14 = 38
14. Witney Town: 17/15/7 = 39
15. Royston Town: 11/17/17 = 45
16. Test Valley: 13/19/13 = 45
17. Ashover Brass: 18/12/18 = 48
18. Fakenham Town: 16/16/16 = 48
19. Wincanton Silver: 19/18/19 = 56
20. Dronfield: 20/20/20 = 60
Most Entertaining Award: Woodhouse Prize
Best Regional Music: Cross Keys Silver
Best Soloist: Carol Porter (flugel) — Morecambe
Best Cornets: Holmestrand
Best Horns: Holmestrand
Best Euphoniums & Baritones: Morecambe
Best Trombones: Golborne
Best Basses: Woodhouse Prize
Yamaha Percussion Award: Morecambe
Adjudicators: Tom Hutchinson, Hannah Plumridge, Chris Osborn (in order)
1. Oakland University: 1/2/1 = 4
2. University of Huddersfield: 2/1/3 = 6
3. King's College London: 5/3/2 = 10
4. Lancaster University: 3/6/4 = 13
5. University of Warwick: 4/4/6 = 14
6. Southampton University: 6/7/7 = 20
7. University of Bristol: 8/5/8 = 21
8. University of Birmingham: 9/8/5 = 22
9. University of Sheffield: 7/9/10 = 26
10. Bangor University: 10/11/9 = 30
11. Cardiff University: 11/10/11 = 32
Most Entertaining Award: King's College London
Best Regional Music: King's College London
Best Soloist: Kyle Blake (trombone) — University of Huddersfield
Highest Placed Shield Section Band: King's College London
Best Cornets: Oakland University
Best Horns: University of Huddersfield
Best Euphoniums & Baritones: Bristol University
Best Trombones: University of Sheffield
Best Basses: Southampton University
Yamaha Percussion Award: King's College London
Adjudicators: Glyn Williams, Steve Kane, Gareth Johnson (in order)
1. City of Cardiff (M3): 1/1/2 = 4
2. Elland Silver Youth: 2/2/1 = 5
3. Lions Youth Brass: 3/3/3 = 9
4. Gresley Colliery Youth: 4/4/5 = 13
5. Elland Silver Training: 5/5/4 = 14
6. Abbey Brass (Jedforest): 6/6/6 = 18
7. Dudoreliai: 7/7/7 = 21
Most Entertaining Award: Lions Youth
Best Regional Music: Dudoreliai
Best Soloist: Alistair Smith (cornet) — Elland Youth
Highest Placed Intermediate Band: City of Cardiff (M3)
Highest Placed Beginners Band: Elland Silver Training
Best Cornets: Gresley Colliery Youth
Best Horns: Elland Silver Youth
Best Euphoniums & Baritones: Lions Youth
Best Trombones: City of Cardiff (M3)
Best Basses: City of Cardiff (M3)
Yamaha Percussion Award: City of Cardiff (M3)
Best New Music Award: Theme Hawking (Yves Meersschaert arr. Frank Vantroyen)
1. Yorkshire: 17.76
2. Scotland: 18.29
3. Rest of the World: 18.36
4. Europe: 18.96
5. Northern Ireland & Ireland: 19.21
6. Wales: 20.57
7. Midlands: 22.11
8. North & North West: 22.40
9. London & South: 22.50
10. West of England: 25.16