facebook twitter rss vimeo shop label

*
banner

Report & Results: 2017 Midlands Championships: Championship Section

An impressive Virtuosi GUS emphatically make it four wins in a row in Bedworth, as a rejuvenated Thoresby Colliery join them in Kensington in October.

Games at Bedworth
  Adam Cooke adds another regional title success to his CV with Virtuosi GUS

Virtuosi GUS reinforced their major title winning credentials with an emphatic victory at the Midlands Regional Championships.

Their fourth consecutive success under the direction of Adam Cooke was delivered with a sense of musical elan that has increasingly become a hallmark of their performances over the past year. The Butlins Champion secured their place at the Royal Albert Hall with a rendition of 'Pageantry' that oozed regal splendour.

Runner-up battle

Behind them came a dozen well beaten rivals who must have known after the defending champion had played off the number 4 draw that they were to be engaged in a battle for the runner-up spot. In the end it even that was denied them, as Thoresby Colliery, who produced a substantive account led by Ian McElligott as the first band to play, returned to Kensington for the second year in a row.

Intriguingly, the final result was almost a mirror image of 2016 — with the top seven bands gaining the same spots. It also meant that former champion Desford Colliery missed out again in third place under the baton of Thomas Wyss, with the remaining top-six places going to Ratby Co-operative, Derwent Brass and Jaguar Land Rover.

Best produced

"All winning performances are great, but I think this was the best we've produced together at the Area," Virtuosi GUS MD Adam Cooke told 4BR. "The maturity of the sound, the security of the soloists and the confidence of the ensemble on stage was amazing.

You hear conductor's saying that they couldn't have asked for anything more — but that was the certainly the case with this one."

Adam also revealed that his band had worked harder than ever to ensure a somewhat unfamiliar piece to many of the younger players in particular, was ready for the contest.

"I've known the piece as a player, but I studied the orchestral score in depth. The music speaks for itself and links to Holst, Vaughan Williams and Bantock for me. I didn't want to create anything from it that wasn't in the score.

My players under stood this. It's been a great musical experience for us all — and we will now be performing 'Pageantry' in concerts throughout the year. "

Respected

Adam's interpretative approach certainly found favour in the box, where Leigh Baker and Cory MD, Philip Harper later revealed that they had been looking for performances that 'respected' the composer's intentions and detailed scoring.

In his pre-results analysis Philip emphasised the need for 'refinement' and 'reverence', of 'tonal balance' and the ability to show incremental 'dynamic contrast' — all elements that were displayed in full by the winners.

"That was so good to hear — and was further pinpointed in the written remarks," Adam said. "This was a great team effort, but a special mention must go to our principal cornet Thomas Fountain and George Bruce on solo euphonium. Both were simply outstanding.

We've already met two of our contest objectives for the year, but those are now behind us. Our primary focus over the next few weeks is working hard on 'Reflections on Swan Lake' for the Grand Shield, as we all want to get the band back to the British Open where we believe we belong."

Considered approach

Few would argue that Virtuosi GUS will now be one of the favourites for that contest after such a commanding victory, whilst Thoresby Colliery will also be looking forward to that Blackpool challenge buoyed by a performance that also owed much to Ian McElligott's considered musical approach.

Desford meanwhile could consider themselves a little unlucky that the contest gods didn't find in their favour on this occasion (they were drawn immediately after Virtuosi GUS), although some noticeable minor errors in an account full of spirited brio may just have cost them their place at Kensington Gore.

Meanwhile, Ratby, Derwent and Jaguar Land Rover all offered substantial evidence of their growing top flight credentials in performances that only occasionally fell below podium place expectations. Behind them, for the judges in particular, it was a question of consistency of execution and perhaps some interpretative individuality that didn't resonate in the box as much as it did in the hall. Only towards the bottom end of the results did the more obvious struggles make themselves apparent.

Stylistic substance

And although no band (the winners included) emerged completely unscathed by this timely test of musicality, it was noticeable that with the top-six or so, the approach to Howell's score was one of musical consideration — testament to the experienced MDs appreciation of its immense stylistic substance.

None though appreciated it better than Adam Cooke and Virtuosi GUS, with a victory that not only gave them a 25th Midland Regional Championship title, but could well herald further major successes in the coming months.

You hear conductor's saying that they couldn't have asked for anything more — but that was the certainly the case with this oneMD, Adam Cooke

Results:

Championship Section:

Test Piece: 'Pageantry' (Herbert Howells)
Adjudicators: Leigh Baker and Philip Harper

1. Virtuosi GUS (Adam Cooke)*
2. Thoresby Colliery (Ian McElligott)*
3. Desford Colliery LCIWTF (Thomas Wyss)
4. Ratby Co-operative (Mareika Gray)
5. Derwent Brass (Keith Leonard)
6. Jaguar Land Rover (Dave Lea)
7. Spal Sovereign Brass (Trevor Jones)
8. Blidworth Welfare (Martin Heartfield)
9. Staffordshire (Steven Walsh)
10. Newstead Brass (Philip Goodwin)
11. Bilton Silver (Rugby) (David Stowell)
12. Jackfield (Elcock Reisen) Simon Platford)
13. Bedworth Brass (David Maplestone)

*Top two bands qualify for National Final at The Royal Albert Hall



bRITISH oPEN

British Open line-up announced

July 20 • 19 world class bands will battle it out for the honour of being crowned 2018 British Open champion at Symphony Hall in September.


Michelmersh

Your Logo Here stands up to be counted

July 20 • The team from Your Logo Here meet the very specific stand banner demands of a hard working brass band in Hampshire.


Proms

Proms double for Childs

July 20 • David Childs gets armed to make a late substitution appearance at the Welsh Proms — just days after his BBC Promenade Concert performance at the Royal Albert Hall.


Jersey

New horizons for Jersey as MD heads to Spain

July 20 • Jersey Premier Brass will be led by a new MD as their inspirational founding conductor Tim Pritchard prepares to take his leave to Spain.


Roberts Bakery Band - Bluedot Festival

Saturday 21 July • Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre. . The University of Manchester. . Macclesfield, Cheshire SK11 9DL


Medway Band - Higham Church Annual Prom

Saturday 21 July • St. Marys Church. 1 Abbey Farm Cottages . Church Street. Higham. Rochester . ME3 7LS


Lofthouse Brass Band - Oxenhope Railway Station

Sunday 22 July • Oxenhope Railway Station, The Railway Station, Station Road, Haworth BD22 8NJ BD22 8NJ


Tendring Brass - Opening Night Concert of the Frinton Mission 2018

Saturday 28 July • Greensward,. Frinton on Sea,. Essex CO13 9DN


Lofthouse Brass Band - Filey Bandstand

Sunday 29 July • Filey Bandstand, The Crescent, Filey YO14 9JS YO14 9JS


Blidworth Welfare Band

July 20 • *PRINCIPAL EUPHONIUM* A great opportunity has arisen for a first class Euphonium player to join one of the UK's most upwardly mobile Championship section bands. The successful candidate will be a regular solo feature at concerts, contests and recordings.


Arrow Valley Brass

July 20 • The Band seeks cornet players, front and back row to add to a band steadily improving under Andy Culshaw.. The band is friendly and welcoming and has a good mix of concerts and competitions. . Main rehearsal is on Sunday morning in Inkberrow, Worcs.


Loxley Silver Band

July 19 • Musical Director - We are a friendly, contesting band currently holding a strong position in the fourth section. We have a varied concert/engagement programme in place and we are looking for a Musical Director who can help us to move onwards and upwards.


Sandy Smith


Conductor, teacher, adjudicator and arranger