The Windcorp Band has become the first national representative to secure its place at the European Brass Band Championships in Freiburg in 2015, following their victory at the Swedish National Championship in Värnamo on the weekend.
Fifth straight win
Directed by Phillip McCann, it was their fifth consecutive win at the event, as they beat off the challenge of three rivals with a brace of high class performances of the classic Eric Ball test piece, ‘Journey into Freedom’ and their own choice selection of Edward Gregson’s ‘Of Distant Memories’.
It gave Windcorp a commanding seven point margin of victory over runner-up Betlehemskyrkans Musikkår, conducted by Per Engström Göteborg, with 2014 European representatives Solna Brass, directed by Emil Björklund in third.
The Scotsman, who also claimed the prestigious ‘Best Conductor’ award, was understandably delighted with the latest success — his first at the Swedish Championships, in what has been a truly memorable conducting year.
Phillip told 4BR: "This was a wonderful victory — especially for the players and everyone associated with the Windcorp Band. I’ve had a great time with them, and their hard work and commitment has been outstanding — as was shown in both performances in claiming the National title."
Icing on cake
He added: "It’s also been a year to remember personally for a cornet player from Kinneil Band — first with the Yorkshire Area success and podium finish at the Albert Hall with Carlton Main, British Open qualification with Kirkintilloch and now this.
The icing on the cake though is the presentation dinner at Goldsmith’s Hall in London on Wednesday at the Worshipful Company of Musicians to receive the Iles Medal — and then Brass in Concert to finish the year off."
The foundation for the victory came on the Friday when a typically detailed, lyrical account of the Eric Ball masterpiece saw Windcrop take a clear two point margin into the own choice discipline, where another lyrically inspired reading of the Gregson score off the number 1 draw saw them end a further three points clear of their nearest rivals and also gave the MD his ‘Best Conductor’ award.
David Read was one of the adjudication team that was impressed by the performances, as he told 4BR: "The winners certainly gave us two very polished performances and the overall standard was good in the Elite Section.
The differences between the bands coming second and third were small, but Windcorp were clear winners."
With Betlehemskyrkans Musikkår unable to close the gap on their own choice selection of ‘Paganini Variations’, it was Solna Brass who posed the greatest threat to another Windcorp victory, with a fine performance of their own choice selection, ‘A Take as yet Untold’, which featured a superb individual ‘Best Soloist’ contribution from their euphonium player Håkan Wikeståhl.
A memorable contest weekend for the band was rounded off as they performed with Australian superstar James Morrison in the Gala Concert.
In the First Division there was an equally imposing victory for Åsenhöga Missionskyrkas Brass under the direction of Eikanger Bjorsvik euphonium star Patrik Randefalk as they claimed the title by a hefty five point margin after performances of the Eric Ball set work, ‘Four Preludes’ and their own choice selection.
Meanwhile, in the Second Division Gnosjö Brass Band under the baton of Jan Hultegård claimed a two point victory over rivals VM-brasset and Värnamo Missionkyrkas Brass Band with their performance of the set work, ‘Devon Fantasy’, whilst the Youth Section title was claimed by Bors Youth Brass Band.
The winners certainly gave us two very polished performances and the overall standard was good in the Elite Section. The differences between the bands coming second and third were small, but Windcorp were clear winnersAdjudicator David Read
Set Work: David Read, Torgny Hanson & Franz Matysiak
Own Choice: David Read, Tom Brevik & Franz Matysiak
Set Work/Own Choice: Aggregate total
1. Windcorp Brass (Phillip McCann): 93/97 = 95
2. Betlehemskyrkans Musikkår (Per Engström Göteborg): 91/92 = 91.5
3. Solna Brass (Emil Björklund): 88/94 = 91
4. Uffes Blås Brass (Mattias Hjortlinger) 86/90 = 88
Best Soloist: Hakan Wikestahl (euphonium) — Solna Brass
Best Conductor: Phillip McCann (Windcorp Brass)
1. Åsenhöga Missionskyrkas Brass (Patrik Randefalk) — 98pts
2. Lunds Brass Band (Roger Andersson) — 93pts
3. Torsby Brass (Berit Palmquist) — 92pts
4. Malmö Brass Band (Jan Winborg) — 91pts
5. Ryttargårdskyrkans Brass Band (N/K) — 90pts
Best Soloist: Johannes Forsberg (euphonium)- Åsenhöga Missionskyrkas Brass
Best Conductor: Patrik Randefalk (Åsenhöga Missionskyrkas Brass)
1. Gnosjö Brass Band (Jan Hultegård) — 88pts
2. VM-brasset — 86pts
3. Värnamo Missionkyrkas Brass Band — 84pts
4. Berga/Immanuel Brass, Stockholm — 83pts
5. Österledsbrasset, Gamla Uppsala — 82pts
6. Axxon Brass Band — 81pts
Best Soloist: Tubasektionen i Värnamo Missionkyrkas Brass Band
Best Conductor: Jan Hultegård (Gnosjö Brass Band)
Youth Brass Bands:
1. BYBB — Bors Youth Brass Band
2. Uffes Youth Brass Band
3. ÅYBB—Åsenhöga Youth Brass Band
4. Bors Minibrass
4. Gnosjö Minibrass
4. GYBB—Göteborgs Youth Brass Band
4. Immanuel Minibrass, Enköping
4. Jönköpings Juniorbrass
4. Södertörns Minibrass
4. Värmlands Ungdomsbrass
Best Soloist: Rebecca Toth (tuba)
Best Conductor: Mattias Hjortlinger (Uffes Youth Brass Band)