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Report & Results: 2019 NABBA Championship

Fountain City claim a commanding victory in Fort Wayne under Prof David King

  Prof David King and Fountain City take the acclaim in Fort Wayne as they head for title success

Fountain City Brass Band reinforced its position as the premier contesting outfit in North American banding by winning the NABBA Championship title in Fort Wayne, Indiana in commanding fashion.

Musical authority

Two outstanding performances under the baton of Prof David King of the imposing set-work, 'Partita' by Wilfred Heaton and their own-choice selection of 'A Brussels Requiem' by Bert Appermont claimed the title for the eighth time since 2007 ahead of distant rivals James Madison University with Brass Band of Central Florida in third.

The eventual margin of success over the two days at the ornate Embassy Theatre was also an accurate reflection of their musical authority, as Prof King shaped interpretations of engrossing insight; Heaton's massive opus flowing with austere beauty and style, whilst Appermont's composition, reflecting on the effects of the infamous Brussels terrorist attacks of 2016, resonated with despair, pathos and hope.

It was playing of a very high quality; dark, warmly hued ensemble sounds and precise, articulate technique were allied to superb individual solo lines and an intuitive appreciation of the MD's musical intentions. It would have stood impressively against elite level contenders anywhere in the banding world.

Fine bands

It meant that a trio of fine bands were left to battle for the podium positions somewhat in their wake, although each produced performances over the two disciplines of impressive stature.

James Madison University eventually pipped their rivals to come runner-up; their elegant rendition of 'Partita' under Kevin Stees contrasted with a febrile 'Music of the Spheres', whilst Brass Band of Central Florida under Gareth Pritchard provided equally engaging accounts, especially with their textured own-choice rendition of Jan de Haan's intriguing 'Metamorphosis for Brass Band'.

Just behind them came Atlantic Brass Band as Salvatore Scarpa inspired a refined 'Rococo Variations' that caught the ear of many, whilst the final top-six places went to the consistent Chicago Brass Band and the promoted Georgia Brass Band

Adjudicator Allan Ramsay (joined by William Himes, Keith Wilkinson and Stephen Bulla over the two days) later described on his Facebook page the bands as giving, "some stunning performances on show, both exciting and highly emotional."

None though could match the overall level of consistency and detailed appreciation of Fountain City as led by their charismatic Australian conductor they retained their National titles with a display of formidable musical authority.

First Section:

Whilst there was no debate over Fountain City's victory, there was to be a great deal of discussion over the result in the First Section, as the imposition of time penalties made an impact on the eventual destination of the title.

The published NABBA contest rules stated that each band had a maximum stage time of 36 minutes in which to perform the set-work, 'Another World's Hell' by Simon Dobson and their own-choice test-piece selection.

Unfortunately, seven of the eight competitors overran the limit; incurring from a 3 to 18 penalty point deduction from their score (see below) which resulted in some significant changes to their eventual placing.

However, the one band that did not incur any penalty was the eventual winner Dublin Silver Band under Tim Jameson.

The Ohio based band produced two fine accounts of the set-work and their own-choice of Jonathon Bates' exciting 'Out of the Storm Clouds' to finish ahead of runner-up Illinois Brass Band. They in turn added a thrilling account of 'Harmony Music' to their set-work rendition, but in the process incurred 6 time penalty points to drop from a putative first to a confirmed second place.

Central Ohio eventually took third (incurring a 3 point penalty) thanks to an evocative rendition of 'The Saga of Haakon the Good', whilst the remaining top-six places went to Rockville Brass Band, Oakland University Brass Band and Five Lakes Silver Band.

Meanwhile, Arkansas Musicworks Brass Band fell from a potential second place to seventh as they incurred a massive 18 point time penalty.

Second Section:

Capital City Brass Band from Jackson, Michigan claimed a third National title, as under MD Jim Otto they produced a brace of excellent accounts of the set-work, 'Coventry Variations' by Bramwell Tovey and their own-choice of 'Olympus' by Philip Harper.

It enabled them to just pip fellow Michigan based Motor City Brass Band despite them providing a rousing account of 'Brass Triumphant' by Gareth Wood that couldn't quite close the gap on their rivals.

The excellent standard of playing on show saw the top four bands separated by just five points in the overall results table, with Milwaukee eventually having to settle for third despite giving a table topping own-choice rendition of Philip Sparke's 'Endeavour'.

Just missing out on a podium finish was New England Brass Band, with the remaining top-six places going to Upper Canada Brass and Fillmore Philharmonic Brass.

Third Section:

There was National success at the fourth time of trying for Old Crown Brass Band in the Third Section.

The band formed in 2007 in Fort Wayne gave their home town fans plenty to cheer as they claimed victory under MD TJ Faur, with fine renditions of the set-work, 'Chorale & Toccata' by Stephen Bulla and their own-choice of 'The Saga of Haakon the Good'.

There was something of a Nordic battle for the honours as defending champion, Triangle Brass Band from North Carolina opted for 'Viking Age' by Thierry Deleruyelle as their own-choice selection.

Once again the overall standard of playing was high, with Fountain City Academy Band eventually coming third ahead of Dublin Metro Brass.

Youth Sections:

There was plenty of enthusiasm, endeavor and excellence on show in the three youth events, with the Fountain City organisation showing that they have a production line of emerging talent (bringing well over 100 players to the event) with the Fountain City Honor Band taking the Youth Championship Section title and the Fountain City Youth Band claiming the Youth Open Section honours.

Triangle Youth took the Youth First Section title.

Once again the NABBA organisers will have been delighted at the growing success of the event, which this year attracted BrassPass.tv live-streamed coverage at the wonderful Embassy Theatre, which will be home to the contest until 2021.

As always there was a very supportive atmosphere, especially for the enthusiastically contested solo and ensemble events, which saw a number of outstanding performances, including Rosie King, topping her husband's success by winning the flugel/tenor horn Slow Melody title.

It was playing of a very high quality; dark, warmly hued ensemble sounds and precise, articulate technique were allied to superb individual solo lines and an intuitive appreciation of the MD's musical intentions4BR


Championship Section:

Set Work: Partita (Wilfred Heaton)
Adjudicators: William Himes; Keith Wilkinson; Allan Ramsay; Stephen Bulla

1. Fountain City (Prof David King) — 291.6
2. James Madison University (Kevin Stees) — 280.0
3. Brass Band of Central Florida (Gareth Pritchard) — 279.6
4. Atlantic Brass Band (Salvatore Scarpa) — 278.8
5. Chicago Brass Band (Dr Colin Holman) — 273.2
6. Georgia Brass Band (Trey Harris) — 266.4
7. Colorado Brass (Randall Hoepker) — 261.8
8. San Antonio Brass Band (Matthew Mireles) — 255.6

First Section:

Set Work: Another World's Hell (Simon Dobson)
Adjudicators: William Himes; Dr Kate Wohlman; Stephen Allen

1. Dublin Silver Band (Dr Tim Jameson) — 280.4
2. Illinois Brass Band (Stephen Squires) — 277.6**
3. Central Ohio Brass Band (Jessica Sneeringer) — 270.2*
4. Rockville Brass Band (Nigel Horne) — 269.8***
5. Oakland University Brass Band (Dr Kenneth Kroesche) — 267.8****
6. Five Lakes Silver Band (Dr Steven Kandow) — 261.2**
7. Arkansas Musicworks William Ratcliffe) — 258.6******
8. Madison Brass Band (Craig Mason) — 257.2***

Second Section:

Set Work: Coventry Variations (Bramwell Tovey)
Adjudicators: Gordon Ward; Dr Kate Wohlman; Stephen Allen

1. Capital City Brass Band (Jim Otto) — 278.6
2. Motor City Brass Band (Craig Strain) — 276.6
3. Milwaukee Festival Brass (Mark A Taylor) — 274.0
4. New England Brass Band (Stephen Bulla) — 273.4
5. Upper Canada Brass (Rita Arendz) — 269.8
6. Fillmore Philharmonic Brass (N/K) — 269.4
7. Youth of Central Florida (Aaron McGarvey) — 268.4
8. Cincinnati Brass Band (Jon Noworyta) — 266.4
9. River Brass (Dr Pat Stuckemeyer) — 266.4
10. Austin Brass Band (John Caputo) — 263.3

Third Section:

Set Work: Chorale & Toccata (Stephen Bulla)
Adjudicators: Keith Wilkinson; Allan Ramsay; Stephen Bulla

1. Old Crown Brass Band (TJ Faur) — 282.2
2. Triangle Brass Band (Tony Granados) — 275.8
3. Fountain City Academy (Lee Harrelson) — 270.0
4. Dublin Metro Brass (William Ballenger/Kevin Wallack) — 256.8

Youth Championship Section:

Adjudicators: Keith Wilkinson; Dr Kate Wohlman; Stephen Allen

1. Fountain City Honor — 284.8
2. Watson Brass Band — 283.0**

Youth First Section:

Adjudicators: Keith Wilkinson; Dr Kate Wohlman; Stephen Allen

1. Triangle Youth — 286.0

Youth Open Section:

Adjudicators: Keith Wilkinson; Dr Kate Wohlman; Stephen Allen

1. Fountain City Youth — 273.0***
2. Triangle Youth Academy — 272.0
3. Avon High School — 267.0

Overall total is weighted 60% for test-piece and 40% for rest of programme

Tiebreaker: The band with the highest test-piece
Second Tiebreaker: The band rated higher on the test-piece by two of the three judges
Time penalty imposed at rate of 1 point per judge for each minute or fraction of a minute by which the maximum stage time is exceeded

* 3 point time penalty
** 6 point time penalty
*** 9 point time penalty
**** 12 point time penalty
***** 15 point time penalty
****** 18 point time penalty

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