The 100th NIBA Championship took place at the Market Place Theatre in Armagh last weekend, with brass bands once again playing an important role in celebrating the occasion. Accordion, flute and Concert Bands also held their National contests, whilst the event also hosted the Flute Band World Championship.
Old Boys double
1st Old Boys enjoyed the celebrations with victories for both their senior and youth ensembles, with the Championship Section success seeing the seniors gain the invitation to compete at the 2019 European Championship in Montreux.
Adjudicator, Derek Broadbent had high praise for both bands too, remarking that the youth band under Jacklin Bingham had produced 'a great performance that had ticked all the boxes', whilst the seniors led by Stephen Cairns had given a rendition of the set-work 'Salamander' by John McCabe that 'showed how it should be played'.
The Championship Section was a keenly fought affair, with all the competitors giving performances of note.
In the end though, the experience and quality of 1st Old Boys soloists and ensemble work shone though as they claimed the honours by a clear three point winning margin. Runner-up was Downshire Brass, with Third Carrickfergus claiming the final podium slot ahead of defending champion Laganvale.
1st Old Boys euphonium player Alan Haworth took the 'Best Soloist' award, with Stephen Cairns presented with the Conductor's Prize. They also took the 'Overall Band of the Day' accolade.
In the Second Grade contest, Drogheda Brass successfully defended their title under Michael Maher by giving a well-structured account of the set-work, 'Chaucer's Tunes' by Michael Ball.
It was the band's fourth victory in the past five years, as they repelled the strong challenge from podium finishers Roughan Silver and Lourdes Brass Band. Drogheda also claimed the 'Best Cornet' and Best Bass' section prizes.
Wellington Memorial Silver reclaimed the Third Grade honours under the direction of Gary Proctor, as they produced a fine account of 'The Journal of Phileas Fogg' to claim a two-point margin of victory over last year's Fourth Grade champions Dynamic Brass with Navan Silver in Third.
Although Poyntzpass Silver was the sole representative in the Fourth Grade and Stedfast Shoes Brass in the Fifth, both gave fine performances, whilst there was a great deal to enjoy in the Youth Brass event as both 1st Old Boys Silver Junior and Downshire Youth showed young talent is blossoming.
The winner retained their title thanks to a cracking performance of Rimmer's march 'Slaidburn', followed by sensitive rendition 'Lady Stewart's Air' and Alan Fernie's 'Starlight'.
1st Old Boys enjoyed the celebrations with victories for both their senior and youth ensembles, with the Championship Section success seeing the seniors gain the invitation to compete at the 2019 European Championship in Montreux4BR
Adjudicator: Derek Broadbent
Set-work: Salamander (John McCabe)
1. 1st Old Boys Silver (Stephen Cairns) — 193
2. Downshire Brass (Michael Alcorn) — 190
3. Third Carrickfergus (Brian Connolly) — 187
4. Laganvale Metal Technology (Stephen Crooks) — 186
5. Three Rivers Brass (Noel Barr) — 184
6. Murley Silver Band (William Hill) — 183
Best Instrumentalist: Alan Haworth (euphonium) — 1st Old Boys' Silver
Conductor Prize: Stephen Cairns (1st Old Boys' Silver)
Overall Band of the Day: 1st Old Boy's Silver
Set-work: Chaucer's Tunes (Michael Ball)
1. Drogheda Brass (Michael Maher) — 185
2. Roughan Silver (Gary Proctor) — 183
3. Lourdes Brass Band (Michael Hannan) — 182
4. Comber Silver (Wesley Thompson) — 181
5. CWA Brass (Ernest Ruddock) — 180
Best Cornet Section: Drogheda Brass
Best Bass Section: Drogheda Brass
Set-work: The Journal of Phileas Fogg (Peter Graham)
1. Wellington Memorial Silver (Gary Proctor) — 179
2. Dynamic Brass (Harold Whan) — 177
3. Navan Silver (Steven Murray) — 176
4. Dungannon Silver (Boris Pinto) — 174
Set-work: A Ravenhill Suite (Dorothy Gates)
1. Poyntzpass Silver (Robert Davidson) — 171
Set-work: Own Choice
1. Stedfast Shoes Brass (Shane Smith) — 168
Set-work: Own Choice
1. 1st Old Boys Silver Junior Band (Jacklin Bingham) — 180
2. Downshire Youth Band (Michael Alcorn) — 178