facebook twitter rss vimeo shop label support us


Report & Result: 2019 Welsh Open

Filton Concert Brass claim a clear-cut victory in Porthcawl as they successful defend their Welsh Open title in style.

  Filton crossed the River Severn to take the Welsh Open title for the third time.

Just a week or so before another Anglo-Welsh clash of rivals takes place in Cardiff, an enjoyable day of cross-border musical battle in Porthcawl ended with a clear-cut victory for Bristol based visitors Filton Concert Brass.

Under the direction of Tom Davoren the defending champion once again claimed the impressive CISWO Challenge Trophy and £1,000 first prize — this time in "totally convincing" fashion according to adjudicator Philip Harper in his written remarks.


It was also the third time in the last four years that Filton had made their way across the River Severn to secure victory — ending three points clear of their nearest rivals City of Cardiff (M1), with fellow top section Welsh Area contenders Llwydcoed in third.

A delighted Thundersley was fourth, claiming the qualification place on offer for the Spring Festival, whilst the top-six was completed by the impressive First Section Midlanders of Jackfield just ahead of former champion Tongwynlais Temperance.

No doubt

Taking to the stage as the penultimate contender on a day that attracted a large and supportive audience to a warm Pavilion Theatre, Filton laid out their challenge from the off with 'The Matchless King' by Joel Collier.

It was followed by euphonium soloist Anthony Smith's fine account of the 'Finale' from Tom Davoren's 'Rituals', whilst ensemble contrast came with the touching beauty of 'Quem Pastores' by Geoffrey Nobes and Queen's witty 'Bring Back that Leroy Brown'.

Their victory, which also saw them claim an additional £300 as 'The Most Entertaining Band' from adjudicator Sarah Hayward, and the 'Best Horns' prize, came with a dramatic rendition of 'Danse Macabre Variations' by Benjamin Tubb.

In his clear pre-results summary, Philip Harper left no-one in doubt to his choice of winner: They had been a "long, long way" ahead of their rivals he said.

The margin of victory therefore didn't come as a surprise to those who had enjoyed a full day of varied entertainment programming from the 14 competitors, with Philip adding that there were '10 bands' that were closely matched behind Filton, with three others slightly adrift at the bottom.

Three factors

Tom Davoren's confident ensemble certainly gave the Cory MD the 'three factors' he was looking for; with ample evidence of a 'good regime' of solid banding basics, blend and ensemble clarity, a well-defined 'musical journey' that had context and variety, all linked to the 'ability to deliver it on stage' with their polished presentation and playing.

It may also have included the MD's trendy shirt, which even brought a tongue in cheek observation on Mr Harper's adjudication sheet (from a man not shy of wearing a colourful creation or two himself), although as Tom later told 4BR — he was determined to make an impression from the moment the band took to the stage.

"That shirt cost a bomb!" he said with a laugh. "You've got to capture the attention of the audience from the start and I knew the band's playing would do that for me.

We have a focus at the moment based on the important contests to come at Torquay and Blackpool, but this was also very much part of our plans.

I'm delighted at the way the band performed. It's a great start to the year, but we know have to build on it in the next few months."

Impressive Cardiff

Another band enjoying a great start to 2019 was City of Cardiff (M1) who provided an impressive early marker under Christopher Bond with a set that utilised his own compositions and arrangements — including the dramatic 'Anfonaf Angel' to open, followed by the old Tom Jones classic 'It's not Unusual'.

His flugel solo 'Lady of the Lake' and the Stephen Roberts arrangement 'Puttin' on the Ritz' led into the hywl of Matthew Hall's 'Legends of Cyfarthfa' as they took home the hefty Tower Colliery Trophy and £500 prize — as well as giving themselves a huge boost of collective confidence ahead of the Welsh Area contest in Wrexham.

Meanwhile, the hard working Llwydcoed will also have taken heart from their podium finish under Chris Turner, as a set that encompassed a touch of 'Nordic Polska' to the mythical adventures of 'Visions of Kolkhis' eventually ended a solid third.

Spring Festival battle

Behind them there was much to play for (with seven bands in contention for potential Spring Festival qualification) as Melvin White used all his years of experience with Thundersley to help grab the trip to Blackpool in May with a set that featured his own beautiful arrangement of Malcolm Arnold's 'Sarabande' as well as the 'Best Soloist' talents of James McLeod on euphonium on Andrew Stevenson's 'Metropolis'.

First Section Jackfield will also have been boosted ahead of their 'Symphony of Marches' challenge in Bedworth in a few weeks time, as they ended fourth, bagging £300 as the 'Best First Section Band' as well as taking the 'Best Percussion' award aided by a super xylophonist in Olly James.

Merit and substance

There was also much to enjoy with a hard working Tongwynlais Temperance in sixth as they continue to rebuild under Gareth Hann, whilst Philip Harper made the point that all 14 bands had given performances of merit and variety.

That was shown with Burry Port's Adrian Williams giving a superb rendition of 'Memory' to claim the 4BR 'Best Soprano' prize, whilst Tim Pannell took the 'Best Cornet' award for his all-round display of excellence with Haverhill Silver. 12 year old Dylan Rowlands was presented with the Rosemary Deere Shield as the youngest player.

On a highly encouraging day for the hard-working contest organisers, the Welsh Open attracted a large and knowledgeable audience to enjoy a well run and presented event — aided by David Hayward's excellent compere skills and a couple of sensible breaks in the proceeding to give the audience a chance to enjoy the brisk seaside air.

It ended with a deserved victory for Filton Concert Brass — although ardent Welsh supporters will be hoping for a slightly different outcome at the Principality Stadium next weekend.

I'm delighted at the way the band performed. It's a great start to the year, but we know have to build on it in the next few monthsFilton Concert MD, Tom Davoren


Adjudicator: Philip Harper

1. Filton Concert (Tom Davoren) — 193
2. City of Cardiff (M1) (Christopher Bond) — 190
3. Llwydcoed (Christopher Turner) — 189
4. Thundersley (Melvin White) — 188
5. Jackfield (David Maplestone) — 187
6. Tongwynlais Temperance (Gareth Hann) — 186
7. Enderby (Ryan Richards) — 185
8. Haverhill Silver (Paul Filby) — 184
9. Burry Port Town (Ceri John) — 182
10. Pontardulais Town (Paul Jenkins) — 181
11. Tylorstown (Gary Davies) — 180
12. AW Parker Drybrook (Joshua Ruck) — 178
13. BTM (Jeff Hutcherson) — 177
14. Abergavenny Borough (Sean O'Neil) — 176

Spring Festival Qualification: Thundersley

Most Entertaining Band: Filton Concert Brass
Best First Section Band (not in main prizes): Jackfield
Best Soloist: James McLeod (euphonium) — Thundersley
Best Cornet: Tim Pannell (Haverhill Silver)
Best Soprano: Adrian Williams (Burry Port)
Best Horns: Filton Concert
Best Percussion: Jackfield
Youngest Player: Dylan Rowlands (Burry Port) — aged 12

Support us for less than a cup of coffee...

4BR wants to ensure that the brass band movement remains vibrant and relevant. We also want to be able to question, challenge and critically examine those who run and play in it, producing high quality journalism that informs as well as entertains our readers.

So if like us you value a strong, independent perspective on the brass band world - then why not consider becoming a supporter and help make our future and that of a burgeoning brass band movement more secure.

So one less cappuccino then?

Support us    


Put your band on the global banding map

May 20 • The 4BR Classified Service is the most effective way to ensure your band's activities, aims and objectives are shown to the world. Sign up now make sure you get your musical ambitions on line and connected to those you want to be linked up with.


Report & Result: 2019 Senior Cup

May 18 • Northop claims the Senior Cup honours in what is proving to be a memorable season as they gain promotion with Wantage Silver, Llwydcoed and Ratby Co-operative to Grand Shield.


Report & Result: 2019 Grand Shield

May 18 • NASUWT Riverside take Grand Shield back to the North East as they look forward to British Open debuts alongside the returning the cooperation Band


Result: 2019 Senior Trophy

May 18 • Vernon Building Society Poynton claims a triumphant victory in the Senior Trophy as they gain promotion to the Senior Cup alongside City of Bradford, Verwood Concert Brass and Shepherd Group.

Foden's Band - St Michaels & All Angels Church

Saturday 25 May • Egerton Road, Ashton on Ribble, Preston PR2 1AJ

St Pinnock Brass Band - Rock Choir Cornwall

Sunday 26 May • Sterts Theatre, . Sterts, . Liskeard, . PL14 5AZ PL14 5AZ

Contest: All England International Masters

Sunday 26 May • The Lighthouse Theatre, Kettering Conference Centre, Thurston Drive NN15 6PB

Lewes, Glynde and Beddingham Brass Band - Eastbourne Bandstand - 1812 concert

Wednesday 29 May • Bandstand, Grand Parade, Eastbourne BN21 3AD

Black Dyke Band - George Lawton Hall, Mossley

Thursday 30 May • George Lawton Hall, Stamford St, Mossley, Ashton-under-Lyne OL5 0HR

Worsbrough Brass

May 20 • Worsbrough Brass, based just outside of Barnsley are looking for the following instruments to join their team:. . Cornet. Trombone. Bass. Percussion. . All of which positions are negotiable. . . We are a very friendly band that would love to see you at a rehearsal

Oxford Cherwell Brass

May 20 • OCB are looking to recruit a 2nd horn, 2nd baritone & 2nd trombone player to complete our middle and lower band lineup. A good selection of concert work and contests planned for 2019 as we settle into life in the 2nd section.

Hucknall & Linby Brass

May 20 • Hucknall and Linby MC Brass are looking for a Bb bass player to complete their line up. This position offers a trip to the 1st section National finals in September and the enjoyable challenge of the Championship section from January 2020.

John Maines

BA (Hons)
Presenter, compere and conductor