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Bright and Black start for BTS Day

The British Trombone Society quartet competition got off to a bright start recently — with a win for Black Dyke.

Black Dyke


The inaugural British Trombone Society (North-west) Trombone Quartet Competition got off to a bright start recently.

Held at Peel Hall at the University of Salford, the day started off bright and early when the doors opened to the smell of coffee and cookies all generously supplied by the event organisers.

Warmed up

All everyone had warmed up, it was the time for the draw which was posted up in and around the hall. Although originally the event attracted as many as nine quartets, illness and other unforeseen circumstances led to a few last minute withdrawals, although this did not detract from the event and by 11.00am all competitors were ready and waiting to take to the stage.

Black Dyke

First up were the Black Dyke Trombone Quartet. They opted for a work entitled 'Roman Triptych' — a 3 movement work which contained moments of precise ensemble, lyrical solo playing and technical virtuosity — all of which were highly praised by adjudicator Bob Hughes.

The winners and runners up will both get invites to perform at prestigious BTS events throughout the year4BR

Bone Squad

Bone-squad were next to take to the stage, starting out with a very challenging arrangement of the overture from 'The Barber of Seville' which featured some wonderful alto trombone playing by Stephen Haynes. By stark contrast 'A Night in Tunisia' concluded their performance in what was one of the most contrasted programmes of the day.


The trombone quartet of Otley Brass Band delivered a performance of energy in their reading of 'Mendelssohn for Trombones'. This was the first time the quartet had performed together in this kind of event and from the standard evident, it is hoped it is not the last — it was a very encouraging performance.


Finally the Bacchus Quartet brought the competition to a close. Bacchus's programme included some wonderfully cultured playing of both Mozart and Beethoven classics, especially Beethoven's 'Equali'. Following this, Gabb's arrangement of 'New York, New York' put the gloss on this fantastically performed programme of music.


Before the presentation of awards, the competitors and audience were treated to a masterclass given adjudicator, Bob Hughes.

The masterclass was given in the format of a 'Massed Blow' with everyone from competitors and organisers to audience members taking part. Lasting for an hour the class focused on the basic issues of balance, phrasing and intonation, and was thoroughly enjoyed by all.


After a short break the results and awards were given. The eventual winners were the 'Black Dyke Trombone Quartet' with 'Bone-Squad' coming in at a close second place.

The winners and runners up will both get invites to perform at prestigious BTS events throughout the year, but such was the high standard of all performances, organisers are giving all quartets who took part the chance to perform at a local BTS of their choosing in 2009.

Wonderful success

The day was a wonderful success and is booked in for the same weekend next year (5th December) where it is hoped more quartets will be taking part.

Event organiser Gareth Westwood told 4BR: "I would like to thanks Bob Hughes (BTS President) for adjudicating, Brett Baker (BTS vice-president) for co-organising, and all the competitors and audience members that turned out on that cold Sunday morning to take part."

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Alan Duguid

BA (Hons), PGDipMus, PGCE
Conductor, Composer, Adjudicator (ABBA)