Festival Brass claimed the 2019 Dutch Open title in Drachten on the weekend. It was the Belgian band's first major success under the baton of MD Steven Verhaert as they continue their rise to become a major contesting force in European banding.
Number 1 win
Off the number 1 draw in a keenly fought Championship Section event, they opened their programme with 'The Battle of Athens' from Philip Harper's 'The Greatest Storyteller' suite, followed by a fine Eb tuba solo 'Canto' played by Bernd van Echelpoel, and their own-choice test-piece selection of 'A Brussels Requiem'.
It gave them, gave them a narrow single point margin of victory over De Bazuin-A, Oenkerk, with De Wâldsang, Buitenpost in third and further confirmed that they will now be seen as one of the favourites for the Belgian National title later this year — a title they last won in 2008.
They also returned home with the DOBC trophy and Euro 1250 first prize as well as an invitation to participate in a Yamaha Band Clinic.
Close behind came the Dutch challenger of De Bazuin-A, Oenkerk, as Klaas van der Woude led them through an exciting programme that included Philip Sparke's 'A Tale as Yet Untold', whilst third placed De Wâldsang, Buitenpost also opted for 'A Brussels Requiem' as the centrepiece of their programme under Rieks van der Velde.
Elsewhere there were some interesting choices of major repertoire, from Ludovic Neurohr's 'The Fallen Bride' to Paul Raphael's 'Destination Moon' and 'Machu Picchu — The Secret City' by Thibaut Bruniaux amongst others.
The 'Best Soloist' award went to vibraphone player Gerda Tuinstra from Brassband Rijnmond who gave a superb rendition of 'Jubilee Variations' by Marco Putz.
There was a clear winner in the First Section contest as Brass Band Amersfoort conducted by Vincent Verhage secured their first Dutch Open success with a commanding five-point margin of victory over rivals Brass Band Oefening en Uitspanning Wijk en Aalburg and third placed Brass Band Bamberg.
The impressive winners opened their account with the Wilfred Heaton march 'Le Tricot Rouge', before the well known banding administrator and trombone player Walter Lommerde claimed a deserved 'Best Soloist' award for his leading role in Peter Graham's 'Radio City'. They closed with a commanding rendition of 'A King's Lie' by Stan Nieuwenhuis.
There was plenty of ambition on show with Brass Band Oefening as they produced closed their programme with 'Of Distant Memories', whilst the growing maturity of German brass band movement was shown with Bamberg's exciting 'Journey to the Centre of the Earth'.
In the Second Section it was another Belgian band that triumphed as Mercator Brass Band conducted by Brass Band Willebroek principal cornet Lode Violet secured the honours from Dutch rivals Gloria Dei, Gerkesklooster-Stroobos with De Bazuin B, Oenkerk in third.
Opening with 'Dark Abyss' from Eikanger Bjorsvik 'Tales of the North Sea' 2017 Siddis and Brass in Concert entertainment winning programme, they followed it with Christopher Bond's 'Aristotle's Air'.
They secured the Euro 500 top prize with a resounding rendition of Simon Dobson's 'A Brief Symphony of Time' inspired by the life and work of theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking.
In what turned out to be a close run battle for the top spot, runner-up Gloria Dei, Gerkesklooster-Stroobos showcased Tom Davoren's 'Living Power' as well as 'As a Glow' by Ludovic Neurohr in their set, whilst the central core of De Bazuin B, Oenkerk came with Bertrand Moren's colourful 'Mountain Views'.
The 'Best Soloist' accolade went to horn player Josephine Veenstra of De Lofklank, Ureterp for her fine rendition of Jhn Golland's 'Ballade'.
They also returned home with the DOBC trophy and Euro 1250 first prize as well as an invitation to participate in a Yamaha Band Clinic4BR
Adjudicators: Simone Rebello & Armin Bachmann
1. Festival Brass Band (Steven Verhaert) — 95pts
2. De Bazuin-A, Oenkerk (Klaas van der Woude) — 94pts
3. De Wâldsang, Buitenpost (Rieks van der Velde) — 92pts
4. Soli Brass, Leeuwarden (Anne van den Berg) — 91pts
5. Spijkerpakkenband (Erik Janssen) — 89pts
6. Brassband Rijnmond (Erik van de Kolk) — 88pts*
7. Kirkintilloch Kelvin (Charles Keenan) — 87pts
* 5 point time penalty
Most Entertaining Programme: De Bazuin-A, Oenkerk
Best Soloist: Gerda Tuinstra (Brassband Rijnmond)
Adjudicators: Simone Rebello & Armin Bachmann
1. Brass Band Amersfoort (Vincent Verhage) — 94pts
2. Brass Band Oefening en Uitspanning Wijk en Aalburg (Anno Appelo) — 89pts
3. Brass Band Bamberg (Franz Matysiak) — 88pts
Most Entertaining Programme: Brass Band Amersfoort
Best Soloist: Walter Lommerde (trombone) — Brass Band Amersfoort
Adjudicators: Bert Appermont & Danny Oosterman
1. Mercator Brass Band, Kruibeke (Lode Violet) — 93pts
2. Gloria Dei, Gerkesklooster-Stroobos (Jaap Musschenga) — 92pts
3. De Bazuin B, Oenkerk (Sietse Hamersma) — 91pts
4. De Lofklank, Ureterp (Gerk Huisma) — 90pts
5. Brassband David, Zwolle (Wilbert Zwier) — 87pts
6. Backum Brass (Vincent Verhage) — 86pts
7. Gereformeerde Brassband Groningen (Jan Werkamn) — 84pts
8. Euphonia, Wolvega (Hendry van Loo) — 82pts
Most Entertaining Programme: Gloria Dei, Gerkesklooster-Stroobos
Best soloist: Josephine Veenstra (horn) — De Lofklank, Ureterp