Articles & features: 2005 / International
Who are the players (and conductor) who we have chosen as the 4BR Band of the Year for 2005? Some great performers from all around the world have made it into our band for us, but do you agree with our choices?
James Baldwin, a member of Traralgon City Band in Victoria, is yet another banding icon who has shaped the foundations of banding Downunder.
Twenty-one-year-old Daniel van Bergen is set for the biggest challenge of his young life.
Greater Bendigo Concert Brass is calling all current and retired players and their families, supporters and friends to participate in a reunion over the weekend of 4th & 5th February, 2006.
Every year we make a special award to someone, or an organisation who we believe has enhanced the brass band movement, not only in the past 12 months but perhaps throughout their lifetime. This year we are proud to make that award to David Gallaher of the
Here is a real tricky one for you to vote on. What was the very best contest performance you heard during 2005 - and we don't just mean one that took the winners prize either. There is a possible endless selection to choose from...
What was the best piece any band performed during 2005 then? Lots of stuff played - some great, some good, some not worthy of a mention maybe?
Which talent do you think made the biggest new impression on the banding scene during 2005. Lots to choose from as someone and something has created a real impression in the last 12 months.
Who were the best Lower Section/Youth Band in 2005 then? Some quite brilliant achievements during the past 12 months from lots of bands, so if you think your band were the best, then get voting.
Some of the very best performers in the movement have released CDs this year, and all have been of fantastic quality. It's going to be a pretty difficult choice for you to make.
There have been some fine recordings released by numerous band during the past 12 months, but which one did you think was the best of the lot. There was plenty to choose from.
We have some of the greatest talents in the world within our movement, but who do you think was the one absolute star of the year.
Who do you think should gain the accolade as the best stickman (or woman) for 2005. There have been some pretty exciting talents on show on the podium in the past 12 months, but who do you think was the best.
Who do you think should be awarded the accolade as the 4BR Band of the Year for 2005. Plenty to choose from isn't there?
It's time to get your thinking caps on and start to vote in the categories to see who you think has been the best of the best in 2005.
Malcolm Wood was at Tameside last weekend to enjoy a great entertainment event - it even brought back memories of Jim Montgomery and Bob Stokoe!
Glasgow is a great city with a great big divide: Football and Brass Bands - there was nothing to choose between them on the weekend - just ask the conductors and managers.
What happens when you get 17 bands playing 14 different test pieces? The Scottish Open found out what on the weekend.
It may have been a cold old day in St. Helens but 35 bands braved the elements to battle it out for the prizes. John James was there to and to listen for 4BR.
Brass in Concert at The Sage, Gateshead proved to be a superbly organsied event at a great venue. So did the contributions of the bands prove just as memorable?
4BR has a quick glance at the five bands that will be taking to the stage to try and gain domestic honours at the first Socttish Challenge Shield contest.
The Scottish Open is one of the best organised brass band contests in the UK, but it is still facing an uncertain future. Can the 2005 version bring in the crowds for what is on paper a cracking event?
17 bands line up at the Royal Concert Hall with their own choice selections at the ready. 4BR casts its eye over them all.
These are the men in the box this year for the different sections of the event. So now you know who you need to impress.
4BR's Trinny and Suzannah were on hand at the weekend to see what was hot and what was not. All in the best possible taste of course!
Making people laugh is a serious business at the best of times, so why do brass bands still think entertainment equals belly laughs. 4BR looks back at the humour, or lack of it, at Brass in Concert this year.
A fantastic venue, great organisation but lots of wood and black and white everywhere you look! 4BR enjoyed Brass in Concert.
Soprano star Alex Kerwin has had a busy couple of months after racking up the air miles once again to fly back to the UK and Europe. This is her diary for yet another journey in her busy schedule - this time with here children in tow!
The man who has brought us some of the finest works ever written for the brass band medium talks to 4BR's Chris Thomas about his influences and those great works themselves.
4BR takes a look back at the premier Norwegian Entertainment Contest, which this year saw the Elite Division title taken by Eikanger.
These are the judges who the bands and soloists will have to impress this weekend.
4BR looks at the 11 bands that will be trying to take home with them the most prestigious entertainment title in the business.
A new era in the UK's premier banding contest takes place this weekend when 11 of the best in the land take to the stage at The Sage, Gateshead to entertain a packed house of 1500 people.
Malcolm Wood and Dave Tinker enjoyed themselves at Hyde Town Hall as a record number of contestants, but a poor turn out from the listeners took part in the prestigious event.
There was no doubt the Americans are improving, but are they improving in the right way? 4BR was there to find out and to sample US brass band entertainment at its best.
Pat Herak is 4BR's man in the States, and these are his thoughts on his first visit to the US Open.
Chicago is 4BR's kind of town. Lots of sport and beer for sure, but it is also a city that has its problems. This is what we found out on our second trip here.
These are the three men who will judge the bands here. Oh, and they be explaining themselves to the bands on the Sunday morning as well!
There was only one winner here in the Fourth Section - and with the organisation they have in place, Oldham Band (Lees) could by looking at a long winning streak indeed.
On a day when the tuning problems led to some forthright views from one of the judges, it was Flixton who certainly kept things in check to take the Third Section title.
Wire Brass put the disappointment of Harrogate firmly behind them by winning the Second Section here - and also managed to overcome the dreaded 4BR prediction curse as well!
Even in a huge 26 band field there was no doubt about who was the deserved winner here. Marsden and Glyn Williams took inspiration from the Fodens of 1928 and 1964 and it certainly paid off.
It was Staffordshire who were the one band to make all the figures add up the right way on the weekend, when other simply found their musical arithmatic on Herbert Howell's odd old piece went astray.
4BR looks at the seven runners and riders for this years events at Arlington Heights.
4BR will be heading across the 'Big Pond' later this week to sample the delights of Chicago Illinois and the US Open Brass Band Championships. It promises to be another great event.
The South Australian State Band Championships were held last Saturday in the picturesque Barossa Valley.
In the 31 years a lot of bands have been declared the winners here, but these are the ones who the most first prizes.
Lots of famous and not so famous judges have been in the box over the years here. 4BR has compiled the longest list ever on who was where and when - and who gave you a prize or not from 1974 to 2005!
Pontins is a right of passage; an essential part of a player's and band's evolutionary process. If you haven’t been to the sun-kissed beaches of the North Wales coast in late October for a weekend of unadulterated pleasure, then you haven't lived.
These are the men in the box this weekend - and the men the bands will have to try and impress.
A neat and clever test piece, plenty of tunes and a hatful of bands should make for a cracking contest here on the Saturday.
A slightly smaller field this year, but one packed with bands who are more than capable of winning and winning well here. Should make for a fair old scrap for the bunce on offer then.
A huge turn out of bands should mean a marathon not a sprint to the title here, but with a very crafty choice of test piece that makes demands on the musicianship of the performers, it should lead to a long but enjoyable day.
It should be a keenly fought fight in the First Section as a whole raft of bands will make the trip to Prestatyn confident of picking up the top prize on a classic work from bandings past.
There is a fair line up of quality bands to be found at Pontins this year all trying to take home with them the Harry and Margaret Mortimer Title on a piece with a fair bit of history to itself.
4BR will be at Pontins this weekend when over 100 bands will try and take home with them the 5 Pontins titles on offer. The Championship Section meanwhile offers a real test for some very well matched bands.
Eight brass bands will compete this weekend in the South Australian Band Championships, to be held at Chataeu Tanunda in the beautiful Barossa Valley.
The Royal Albert Hall is the biggest and best place to win a brass band contest - even when you do it with a bit of a conjurors trick.
Off a terrible draw and against some pretty stiff opposition coming straight after them, did Leyland really did shock us all by winning the 2005 Nationals?
If winning the 2005 Nationals Championships wasn't enough - Leyland did it off the most unproductive and unluckiest draw number at the contest since 1968 as well!
Russell Gray now has his name in the history books as a National winning conductor in a year when everything he has directed has just about been a winner as well.
After a peiord of uncertainty, Leyland are back as National Champions in a dream come true for some dedicated players and an inspirational MD.
In the last couple of years there have been some good winning performances, but have they been any better than the top 10 we have picked. See what you think?
4BR has updated our useless facts and figures for you. So if you are bored between bands try and find the year when a monkey orchestra and its conductor was a main attraction at the venue (and they were not competing!)
If you want to know where the inspiration for 'Eden' comes from, then 4BR has found out all about the poet John Milton and his great work. Don't say we don't try and educate you...
Iwan Fox looks at Eden - a piece that is as significant as Contest Music and Cloudcatcher Fells and a new dimension in the art of writing a test piece for brass band.
Dr John Pickard is one of the most refreshing new composers to write for brass band - a medium he is no stranger to.
David Read, Malcolm Brownbill and John Berryman are the omnipotent trio deciding the Eden fates this year in the box.
4BR looks at the records of the 19 conductors (Nigel Taken has two bites of the forbidden apple on Eden) trying to add a National title to their CV this year to see if they are really as good as their record suggests.
4BR looks at the records of the 20 bands who will take to the stage trying to win the title this weekend.
This could very well be a critical year for the Nationals and its future. Will there be a full hall to hear the 2005 Champion Band of Great Britain and if so, who do we think it is going to be?
Matthew Van Emmerik is a talented young Australian who has gained international acclaim as a euphonium player.
4BR had a fine time in the 'posh' town of Harrogate - enjoying the delights of the playing, the organisation, the cuisine - but not the orange shower in the hotel!
John James certainly enjoyed himself listening to the bands in the Third Section - especially as all the bands brought something to a quite fantastic test piece by Philip Harper.
4BR looks back at one of the very best Fourth Section contests of recent times - one that really did have everything.
Malcolm Wood looks back with a sense of deja vu as Yorkshire Imps take the First Section title and book themselves a place back in the big time of Yorkshire's elite.
Malcolm Wood looks back at a contest won by the St. Keverne band from Cornwall that was overshadowed by the comments of one of the adjudicators - rightly or wrongly.
There was plenty to see and hear in Birmingham on the weekend - although you did need some opthalmic help with certain things.
This weekend sees a plethora of bands converge on the posh bit of Yorkshire called Harrogate, all to have a great musical scrap to see who will be crowned National Champions for 2005.
This is what William Relton, Derek Broadbent and Nigel Boddice wrote about the top six prize winning performances.
4BR looks back on a day when Black Dyke took one step closer to achieving a 2005 'Triple Crown'.
4BR looks at the bands who are looking to master Darrol Barry's tricky work and leave Harrogate crowned as National Champions.
4BR casts its eye over the bands here in the Third Section hoping to leave Harrogate crowned as National Champions.
4BR looks at the runners and riders in the Second Section - all hoping to leave Harrogate crowned as National Champions.
4BR has a look at the four test pieces and the four composers whose works will be on show this weekend.
4BR has a look at all the runners and riders in the First Section hoping to be crowned National Champions this weekend.
These are the eight men who the bands will have to try and impress this weekend at Harrogate. A great selection of talent and experience – they have all done it and worn the t-shirts, so it will be mighty difficult to pull the wool over their eyes or ears
4BR looks at the new work, inspired by one of the most emotional days in British history - ’The Night To Sing’ by Bramwell Tovey
4BR looks at the 18 contenders from the UK and the USA, who will be trying to put their names on the famous Gold Trophy for all eternity.
The New South Wales State Band Championships goes down as one of the highlights of the banding year for 4BRDU.
It is the greatest brass band contest in the world; full of passion, talent, brilliant performers and performances and with more than a sprinkling of controversy. Welcome to the 153rd British Open Brass Band Championships.
4BR looks at the track records of the 18 men who will take to the stage this year to try and get their name on the most famous trophy in the banding world.
This year's test piece may remember the end of the Second World War in Europe, but somehow the British Open survived the priod 1939 - 1944. 4BR finds out what the years were like.
4BR looks at the career of the composer of the set work for this year's contest.
Twenty seven bands will be participating in the NSW Championships this weekend, to be held in the Macquarie Theatre at the Macquarie University, Ryde.
With all the attention the poor old soprano cornet has been receiving lately, it is appropriate to profile one of our rising stars.
Last weekend Her Majesty’s Theatre in Ballarat was alive with the sound of brass as the Royal South Street Society hosted the brass solo, ensemble and band championships in conjunction with the Victorian Bands’ League.
A course to remember: the rucksacks and holdalls were being carelessly dragged across the mud; the contrast of hugging and shuffling shyness between teenagers was noticeable.
Jack Lapthorne is an amazing old bugger. At the age of 88 he plays Second Baritone with Marion City Band in South Australia – and the remarkable thing about this is that after a 66-year break from playing, he took it up again at the age of 86!
Iwan Fox talks to C. Brian Buckley, the Secretary of the Adjudicators Association to find out what opinions they have about the way in which they see their role in banding's future.
Over 25 years ago, Derek Bourgeois wrote about his views on brass band contesting. Now, Stephen Didcott looks at his thought provoking topic again.
Dallas Niermeyer continues his series of thoughts on adjudication.
4BR Downunder recently caught up with the energetic and talented Dom Harvey in Adelaide where he guest conducted the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra for their Zeppelin Flies Again Concerts.
Pete Meechan and 4BR took time out to listen to the contenders for the other World Championships on offer for the brass bands in Kerkrade, where the Brits put up a great fight on a pretty uneven playing field.
Pete Meechan was on hand for 4BR to listen and comment on the bands taking part in the inaugural Brass Band World Championships, and see impeccable Swiss timing win the day.
Iwan Fox talks to Philip Watson,the Development Officer for the BFBB, who has the difficult job of raising the profile of the banding movement - all in 25 hours a week.
Pat Herak was on duty for 4BR at the World Championships in Kerkrade and he cast his all seeing American eye on an event that boasted bands, beer and horse meat sausages!
Midland Brick Brass in Western Australia is lucky to have this gorgeous and talented young lady as a member of their band playing cornet. 4BR Downunder caught up with her recently at the WA State Band Championships.
4BR looks at the seven bands who hope to leave Kerkrade crowned as World Champions.
4BR casts its introductory beady eye over the forthcoming World Championships in Kerkrade this weekend. Who will come back with the prize and the title of Champions of the World?
At the recent Black Dyke 150th Anniversary Concert in Manchester the star of the show was the Wizard of Oz, James Morrison. Iwan Fox met up with him for a quick chat about his great and not so great moments as well as his amazing playing!
Maryborough, Queensland was the terrific setting for the Queensland State Band Championships over the June long weekend this year. Maryborough is currently celebrating 150 years, and the competition was part of this year-long celebration in which the town
Music Auditorium, Churchlands Senior High School, Churchlands (Perth) WA, Saturday 4th June to Monday 6th June 2005.
John James enjoyed himself with hundreds more, especially Glyn Williams and his Marsden Band who took top honours at the JJB Brass and Bier Fest contest. This is what he made of it all.
4BR looks back at the day in the hot and humid atmosphere of the Corn Exchange and wonders if it was all worth it?
4BR looks back at the Cambridge examination on Cloudcatcher Fells, when the Scottish Co-op were the best prepared to conquer the great Lake District peaks.
4BR's Malcolm Wood was out and about on Whit Friday to soak up the atmosphere of this unique event in the banding world. This is what he remembers about it all!
4BR looks at the test piece - John McCabe's classic 'Cloudcatcher Fells' - a piece of technical brilliance and sublime beauty.
4BR has a look at the regenerated but pragmatic International Masters and tries to work out who we think may be crowned as the first champions.
4BR gives you the 53 indispensible facts you need to know about the contest.
4BR pays tribute to Ted Griffiths - a man who has really given his life to the banding movement and who has ensured generations to come will enjoy it too.
All the statistics you need to have at your fingertips if you want to bore your friends in the pub on a wet Sunday afternoon.
4BR has a look at the records of the 19 men who will be looking to add the title 'Masters Champion' to their CV and pick up a cool £1000 for themselves into the bargain.
4BR casts its eye over the 19 bands that will take to the stage here on Sunday hoping to become the first International Masters Champion.
4BRDU looks at four banding families; The Magins, the Bains, the McDonalds and the Bowmans, all of whom have brass banding in their blood.
Barbara Turner takes an affectionate personal look back at the remarkable career of Hilda Tansey (1901-1975), one of Australia's great brass pioneers.
4BR enjoyed the weekend in Blackpool - really we did, although trying to enjoy the nightlife was a bit beyond a couple of Methodist Chapel boys from the Valleys.
4BR looks back at a Grand Shield that certainly lived up to its reputation and gave the Hepworth (Persimmon Homes) Band another title to its name.
John James was on hand to listen to a whole hatful of quality performances on Edward Gregson's test piece. In the end though it was the Alliance movement that pipped the Temperance brigade to top spot.
Montage proved to be one heck of a test for the bands in the Senior Cup, but the winners perhaps took inspiration from the set work in the Grand Shield, and left with the last laugh - especially over 4BR!
Continuing his series, Dr. Roger Webster looks at two serious problems that can cause great problems for players - Dystonia and Valsalva.
John James was on hand to hear the composer of Extreme Make Over give his thoughts and fancies on the inspiration behind his work - from Tchaikovsky to Frank Zappa.
20 quality bands line up here to tackle a very difficult set work, and try to gain one of the four promotion places to the Grand Shield. Some famous names mix with some rising stars for what should be a keenly fought contest.
The Grand Shield came into being in 1921 and has a history and heritage that is inextricably linked with the British Open Contest and the Belle Vue Gardens in Manchester. This is the time line that it has created over the years since 1819.
4BR takes a look at how the qualifiers from the Grand Shield to the British Open have done since 1991.
The euphonium players of the 21 bands in the Grand Shield will be having a few sleepless nights ahead of 'Masquerade' this weekend, as they tackle on of the hardest euphonium cadenzas ever written. Mark Bousie investigates.
John James was up early in the morning to enjoy the B Section, and was treated to an absolute masterclass from the Austrians and a touch of genius from an ex Vienna Philharmonic trumpet player.
EBBA used the Groningen event to open up a debate about its future, as well as fielding some detailed questions about Wales, YBS and even its accounts.
4BR looks back at a night when the performance of the presenter outshone the bands, soloist and the three young conductors - for all the wrong reasons.
The 2005 European was the chance for EBBA to show the banding world that the European is safe in thier hands - but did Groningen really give us the blueprint for the future without Besson?
4BR looks back at Black Dyke's triumph on a weekend when there were many unanswered questions - but not about who deserved to win.
4BR has updated our useless facts and figures for you to cast an eye over and inwardly digest. You can amaze your friends with all the trivia here (if you have any left that is).
For those of you with a bent for a bit of culture, 4BR gives a pocket history of the city of Groningen and some info on the Martiniplaza venue where it will all take place.
4BR brings you all the statistics you need to know about from 1978 to 2005 about the European Championship.
4BR looks at the three test pieces to be used this weekend in Blackpool; Philip Wilby's immense 'Masquerade', Peter Graham's electrifying 'Montage' and Edward Gregson's groundbreaking 'Connotations'.
A very experienced line up of judges this year for the bands to try and impress. No news to which section they will go, but you may get some idea if you read on.
20 bands will be battling it out in the Spanish Hall playing Gregson's Connotation trying to gain promotion to the Senior Cup.
One of the real indications that the revamped Spring Festival has become a success has been the amount of bands who now clamber to try and get an invitation to the Senior Trophy. Who will it be?
20 quality bands line up here to tackle a very difficult set work, and try to gain one of the four promotion places to the Grand Shield. Some famous names mix with some rising stars for what should be a keenly fought contest.
If you thought the Grand Shield was a hard contest to pick a winner from, the this year’s Senior Cup will also get you scratching your head and wondering who out of the 20 bands on show will have the class to either take the title or pick up one of the qu
We cast our eye over the 22 bands on show this Saturday in Blackpool. Plenty of talented players, determined MDs and lots and lots of pure unbridled ambition to get to Birmingham.
22 quality bands line up to test their luck and fortune on Philip Wilby's 'Masquerade', but which one do we think will leave the Winter Gardens as Shakepsear said, with the last laugh?
There are nine bands taking part this year, but only six pieces of own choice music will be used. However, two of them have never been heard here before and the rest are classics of their generation.
4BR has been listening to this year's cracking new test piece from the pen of Johan de Meij, Extreme Make-Over - Metamorphosis on a Theme of Tchaikovsky.
4BR looks at the CVs of the six men charged with picking the 2005 Champion Band of Europe.
The B Section this year sees six bands take to the stage in what is becoming an ever more important contest for the future of the Championships and for the movement as a whole. This is the future and it needs your support.
We have a look at the records of the nine competing bands all hoping to leave the Martiniplaza shaken and not stirred into becoming the 28th Champion Band of Europe.
There is a fine line up of bands for what could be the start of a new beginning or perhaps the end of a great dream. Who will leave the Martiniplaza as Champions though?
John James was at the BFBB AGM and reports on what proved to be a tension filled meeting as Chairman Robert Morgan took the gloves off in his annual report and had a eloquent bash at a few sacred cows of the movement.
The 2005 National Band of New Zealand is preparing for its forthcoming European Tour. 4BR Down Under looks at the itinery, the lineup of personnel and the history of the band that hopes to come back as World Champions.
In the second part of her exclusive diary, Tabby Clegg and the Yorkshire Co-op Band build up to their appearance at the National Championships, the Band of the Year contest and finally a bit of relaxation before the long trip home.
Back from its mammoth adventure on the other side of the world, members of the United Co-op Yorkshire Brass Band now have plenty of experiences to cherish and stories to tell! Tabby Clegg kept a two part diary exclusively for 4barsrest.
Teacher and youth band conductor Veronica Bowman from South Australia gives her opinions and thoughts on motivating students and encouraging them to continue playing.
Smithills and Chris Wormald do it again - this time by a short head from Abraham Darby and Wardle High in the Schools Section.
4BR had to get up early to listen to the Junior Championships, but it was well worth while as Camborne Youth took the honours with a cracking performance to take the top award back on the long road to Cornwall.
4BR reviews the County Championship, where the enthusiasm and vibrancy of the winning MD was reflected in the performance of her brilliant Gold winning band.
4BR looks back at the largest section on the day when a Mount Charles Youth literally stood out from the rest in winning the title.
4BR looks back at the Premier Championship where a mythical sinking by Simon Dobson was perhaps the real highlight of a day where the bands didn't quite match the brilliance of his test piece 'Lyonesse'.
The talented young composer Simon Dobson continues to make new fans with his music – this time at the National Youth Brass Band Championships. 4BR caught up with him in Manchester and talked to him about his new work and his future plans.
Brian Ravenhill has been researching all about the famous Ivy Benson and her All Girl Band. One of the most famous players in the band was Gracie Cole, who was no stranger to the brass band world (even at Grimethorpe) in the 1940s.
There are some notes that you need to have a look at if you are thinking about taking the Diploma exams.
The NABBC offers a pre study course for those who wish to take the opportunity to get a qualification in brass band adjudicating.
Fancy learning the the art of adjudicating. The National Association of Brass Band Conductors and the University of Salford have a Diploma available for those who wish to study.
Sunday 27-Thursday 31st March Mellieha, Malta
4BR Downunder takes a look back at the 2005 B Grade Australian National Band Championships held at the Adelaide University in South Australia at the end of last month.
4BR looks back at the recent Tameside Open, which saw a top section victory go to a band having a great 2005 after a poor 2004.
4BR looks ahead to what promises to be a great Sunday of brass band playing at the Royal Northern College of Music.
4BR Downunder takes a look back at the 2005 D and Junior Grade Australian National Band Championships held at the Adelaide University in South Australia at the end of last month.
4BR Downunder takes a look back at the 2005 C Grade Australian National Band Championships held at the Adelaide University in South Australia at the end of last month.
4BR Downunder takes a look back at the 2005 A Grade Australian National Band Championships held at the Adelaide University in South Australia at the end of last month.
4BR looks back at a fine week of banding in windy Wellington where Gothenburg took the top honours at the 125th New Zealand National Championships.
Is there an answer to the problem of adjudicating a brass band contest? Three men of the movement have given their views about the subject, from 1986 to date.
Malcolm Wood looks back at the highs and lows of this years Regional Championships.
The late and great Trevor Walmsley DFC gave this personal appraisal of the adjudicators art back in 1986.
The composer Stephen Roberts has plenty of experience of being in the box. Here he gives his thoughts on adjudication problems.
Dallas Niermeyer gives us a brief overview of the history of brass band adjudication in America. Can the British learn anything from the American experience?
4BR is out in New Zealand soaking up the atmosphere ahead of this weekend's 125th National Championships.
Due to the problems of not having enough man power we can only give a brief account of Norfolk Wherry's fine win at Stevenage. Sorry folks.
Peter Bale looks back at the Third Section where Jersey Premier Brass and Gavin Saynor top the top prize and clinched 1 of 3 qualification spots for Harrogate with their assured performance of Tam O'Shanter.
Malcolm Wood braved the Second Section where Sandhurst Silver and Roger Burke took the top honours and claimed one of the two qualification spots for Harrogate.
Peter Bale talks us thorugh the First Section where Staines Brass and Ian McElligott came through without egg on their faces while other bands "walked on eggshells".
Malcolm Wood looks back at the Championship Section where Redbridge and Melvin White made it a fabulous four in a row and gained one of the two places on offer for the Finals in October.
A retrospective look at the Fourth Section where Broxburn Silver and Coalburn Silver took the top spots and booked their tickets for Harrogate later in the year.
A retroespective look at the Third Section where Shotts St Patrick's and MD Alan Duguid took the top prize from Selkirk Silver and Richard Duff in second.
A retrospective look at the Second Second where Granite City Brass under David James claimed a two point victory over Lochgelly.
4barsrest looks at the First Section where Johnstone Silver and Gavin Lindsay stormed to a three point victory to claim a 'finals' spot in Harrogate later this year.
A slightly delayed look at the Championship Section where Newtongrange under Allan Ramsey secured the top prize and an invitation to compete at the 2006 Europeans and of course in London in October.
John Collins and Oldham (Lees) Band stormed to victory here and will be looking forward to crossing the Pennines to play in Harrogate later this year. Malcolm Wood talks us through the day.
John James got there in planty of time to hear the Third Cection bands playing Tam O'Shanter. Ultimately it was Stuart Barton directing Trinity Girls that took 1st prize and claimed their ticket to Harrogate.
Dave Tinker sits back and reflects on a real set of Variation where Wire Brass and Paul Andrews cam away with first prize and an invitation to Harrogate later in the year.
Our man Dave Tinker looks back at the First Section where the Freckleton Band under Paul Dalton took the top prize and claimed a trip to Harrogate later in the year.
Malcolm Wood and Mark Bousie talk us throuth the championship section where Russell Gray and the Leyland Band made it a North West double.
Steve York take a look at the events in Torquay last weekend where the bands making up the West of England region were battling out for a trip to Harrogate or London, later this year.
Our man at the contest, Stephen Roberts, takes us through the process of adjucdication, NABBA style. Stephen adjudicated two sections at the contest.
Matlock proved themselves to be a class above the rest here, even in a field of 21 very good performances on the tricky Divertimento.
Marie Smith and amazing band of talented youngsters did it again here - this time mastering a 50 year piece of music. Who said youngsters couldn't play the old classics?
Some things in life are a bit more predictable than others, but even Buy As You View's win here had hints of something a bit different about it for sure.
Alan Morrison had three mini contests here to judge as the 14 bands split themselves into three little contests, but it was a band making a comeback that took the honours.
There were two classy bands here showing that Wales cannot just master a Scottish tale in rugby, but also when it comes to horses, women and the Devil as well.
Deiniolen just about overcame the Vaughan Williams here to win the Second Section, but perhaps Oscar Wilde would have been a good judge in the box on a day when a few things went missing.
The resurgence of the Parc and Dare Band continued in Wales, as they certainly enjoyed the delights of a 'Comedy' to send themselves once more to Harrogate.
Lots of talented youngsters and some fine playing saw two worthy bands make the trip to Harrogate.
The Third Section here had something for everyone here - some great playing, some manic conducting and a hero of a percussionist as Grange Moor topped it all with cracking winning performance.
It was a case of who could master the evils of drink, women and the Devil in Burton, where a Phoenix rose from the flames to take the title.
4BR looks back at the events at Burton, where the judge set the tone for a result that had the tongues wagging.
4BR looks back at a bit of a controversial contest on Comedy where a pre match favourite was certainly not laughing come the announcement of the results.
It was strictly peering through the gaps in your fingers at the carnage that was wrecked on a VW here, but Hebden Bridge came through just about unscathed to claim the title.
4BR looks back at the First Section, where we thought Yorkshire Imps had just done enough to win, but Hatfield caught the judges ears and retained their title.
4BR looks back at a breathtaking contest which saw Grimethorpe triumphant for the first time since 1996 and Richard Evans claim his first ever Yorkshire title.
Seindorf Arian Frenhinol Dyffryn Nantlle [Nantlle Vale Royal Silver Band] return to Regional contesting after a break over 40 years at Swansea's Brangwyn Hall this weekend. If you are there, make sure you go and listen.
We take a look at this weekends North America Brass Band Championships to be held in Chicago.
A large old field of 22 bands for Stan Lippeatt to get his teeth into here, and he will have a difficult task for sure to seperate these bands into order. Rather him than us.
Eighteen bands line up to do battle over a bit Scottish drinking and driving. Not quite a pint of Watney's Red Barrel, but still a good yarn to tell for the winning band.
Thirteen bands take to the stage here to try and master a brass band classic in the form of the VW Variations. It could be hard, but someone will find favour with Malcolm Brownbill for sure.
Eighteen bands are due to line up here for a stand up turn on a bit of Comedy, but which of them will tickle the fancy of David Read?
The top bands south of the Watford Gap line up to get to grips with the Romans and David Read. What will the result be we wonder?
The last of the Regional competitions takes place in Stevenage this weekend, so 4BR cast its eye over the London banding scene in preperation.
4BR certainly enjoyed ourselves at the Dolphin Centre in Darlington - although why on earth it was called as such we never got to find out.
The bands here found life difficult trying to master Divertimento, but in the end it was Five Rivers who came out on top.
4BR was there to listen to the bands that did battle with the serious business of comedy, and it was Easington Colliery who had the last laugh.
4BR looks back at Deraham Band's fine victory when they managed to pick up the story of whiskey, women and the Devil and make it into a winning combination.
4BR looks back at a classic performance - from the adjudciator at least at the Second Section contest here, as Lockwood Brass claimed a hat trick of titles in three years and three different sections.
4BR looks back at the Championship Section here in Darlington on a day when Ray Farr had a bit of a funny turn to take Reg Vardy's 28th Regional title.
A home grown test piece for the 10 bands to get their teeth into here. Written a while ago now for the youth of Scotland, will it still be a test of the best here many years later?
This should be interesting. Scottish bandsman and women playing about a drunken night out on the town? Surely none of them will have a clue what the composer is talking about?
There will be plenty of variations on show here for this contest, but which of the 12 bands here can master the Vaughan Williams and book themselves into a bed and breakfast in Harrogate in September?
The Scots have a dry sense of wit, and this may be put to the test with this particular test piece. Who will be left laughing come Sunday night?
The 10 best bands in Scotland line up to see who can conquer Rienzi and lay claim to the Scottish title and the European qualification place.
Scotland is a very proud Celtic nation - and is also a very well run brass banding movement. Can that organisation get more bands to compete at the Regional Championships, and can the bands themselves become more succesful at national levels?
Eighteen bands line up on the Sunday to do battle on four movements from the pen of Bryan Kelly. Who can master this quartet and gain a place in Harrogate?
What a record to uphold here . The last four National Champions have come from this contest, so what bands will head for Harrogate to try and make it five in a row for the North West?
A classic test piece awaits ten very good bands here and it could very well turn out to be a classic contest on the VW variations.
The contest is taking place in Blackpool where everyone goes for a laugh. But it's serious business for the Comedy brigade here to see who wins a place at Harrogate.
The North West Championship Section has also been a tremendous contest, but this year there are only the two places for London up for grabs. Someone will be celebrating, but who will miss out?
We have a look at the North West contest at Balckpool, where the good folk tend to have a more restrained approach to the whole business of the brass band contest.
4BR gives you the lowdown on Wagner's opera Rienzi. It's all togas and trouble really.
4BR casts its eye over the men who will be using their experience to make the decisions this year around the country.
A huge field of 21 bands for Bryan Hurdley to seperate will mean a long day in the tent. However both he, the bands and the audience should enjoy it and three bands in particular will leave Torquay very happy indeed.
This what you get when you mix drink, a woman and old Nick himself together on a night out for one man and his horse. Who will come home sober and triumphant then at the end of the piece - and then not too sober and still triumphant after the results?
Sixteen bands face a very stern test indeed in the shape of the VW Variations. There will be casualities, but a few bands here will still fancy their chances of impressing Roy Roe and booking a place in Harrogate.
It won't be much of a laugh for the bands who have to tackle Comedy here this year to try and impress John Maines in the adjudicator's box, but someone will be having the last laugh come results time.
It really could be anyone's pick here in the Championship Section as a whole host of potential winners line up to battle it out on Rienzi and gain the favour of Roy Roe.
There are more important things in life than brass banding for sure, and this weekend will be the poorer for losing one of its finest exponents.
A great turn out of bands here show that there is still plenty of life in Section Four banding in Wales. But can they get to grips with a bit of Scottish trickery?
The Welsh have their own whiskey, and plenty of trouble from their wives, but who can overcome all that plus the Devil as well?
The composer had a bit of a Welsh sounding name, but can the bands here make any sense of what he actually wrote and win a place at Harrogate?
The Welsh have a great sense of humour, but who will be the bands laughing all the way to Harrogate after this Comedy?
Ten of the best bands in the Principality line up to do battle on an old Welsh Male Voice favourite. But can anyone topple Buy As You View?
The Brangwyn Hall in Swansea will see 52 bands take to the stage this weekend in what promises to be a keenly fought over series of contests from a vibrant Welsh banding scene.
The Midlands can offer no less than 84 bands to listen to over the next two weekends, so why not forget about their organisational blips and get to Burton on Trent to enjoy their brass bands battling it out against each other instead.
Malcolm Wood looks back at the final of the BBC Radio 2 Young Brass Soloist Final held at the RNCM on Saturday 19th February
A big field for this one, and which of the bands will overcome a tricky test piece and book a place in the hotel rooms of Harrogate with the blessing of Malcolm Brownbill.
A very large field of 19 bands will tackle the joys (and pitfalls) of the story of drink, women and the Devil - what a combination eh?
Fourteen bands line up to tackle the difficult variations placed in their path by Vaughan Williams. Can they master it, and who will get the nod from Malcolm Brownbill for Harrogate?
Fifteen bands line up to battle it out on John Ireland's Comedy Overture - but who will be going home laughing on Saturday night?
Twelve bands line up to do battle on Rienzi. So who will come out on tops in one of the most equally contested top sections sections in the entire country?
There seems to be the signs of a real renaisance in the contesting scene in the North, so what can 4BR look forward to next weekend.
Yorkshire can claim to be the heartland of the British Brass Band movement - but is it? The Championship Section should be a corker, but are things as healthy in the other sections?
Katrina Marzella - herself a former winner, takes a look at the contenders for this years prestigious BBC prize, which takes place on Saturday in Manchester.
4BR was at the Empress Ballroom in Blackpool, and were entertained royally by some fabulous playing and some equally fabulous entertainment. Everyone was winner - and that was what it was all about.
Nice to report a much more healthy turn out in the Fourth Section this year as 13 bands try to master the tricky but enjoyable Divertimento.
Nine bands will try and balance their ability to have a wee dram and meddle with the Devil's business to overcome a very difficult test on Tam O'Shanter's Ride.
It should be a stern test for the bands here to try and overcome one of the classic compositions ever written. Who will master the VW?
The bands who want to try and make it to the Championship will have to overcome a bit of Comedy first of all. It won't be a laughing matter for many for sure though.
A fantastic contest is in prospect here as 14 bands tackle Rienzi and try and claim one of the two extra qualification places on offer for the best bands chosen by Nigel Boddice and David Horsfield.
There was some great playing and some great presentation in the Third and Fourth Divisions here. And 4BR enjoyed it - even if we didn't understand most of what was being said!
The Second Division proved to be eyecatching as well as pretty good on the old ears as well, with the emergance of some exciting talent on the conductor's rostrums.
The First Division proved to an interesting contest - with technique rather than musical insight sometimes coming out on top too often. Not so for the winners though...
We take a bit of a sideways look at the 2005 Norwegian Championships, when bells were played and bodies pushed into all shapes and sizes of jumpers and uniforms to try and win the titles on offer.
Nine bands will have to get to grips with the fine Divertimento by Bryan Kelly – a piece with something in it for everyone. Derek Broadbent should enjoy himself then.
Eleven bands will try and impress Alan Morrison with their Scottish tales of drunken horse riding – not that he knows anything about that sort of behaviour! Who will capture the essence of old Tam and the Devil though?
Eight bands line up here to tackle one of the truly great test pieces for band. Who will overcome the variations from the VW master and book a place in Harrogate later this year.
11 bands line up to do battle on John Ireland's Comedy – but it won’t be a laughing matter for those trying to win a trip to Harrogate and a place in the Finals.
Darlington kicks off the Regional season, and the top bands here line up to see if they can master Wagner and Rienzi to gain a trip to London. There is an extra third place up for grabs this time, so it should make it a real dog fight.
4BR looks back at the Elite bands in Norway and how a contest of brilliance was nearly undermined by adjudicating of near incompetence.
16 are set to take part in the Fourth Section, where they will have to impress the adjudicators who will be sat in the open.
14 bands will be playing their own choice selections to open adjudicators in the Third Section. We cast our eyes over the bands.
4BR casts its eye over the 12 bands hoping to fight their way out of the Second Division at Bergen.
4BR casts its eye over the 12 bands hoping to make the step up and join the Elite bands in Norway this weekend.
These are the winners of all the prizes of offer in the Elite Section over the years - just for your records.
4BR will be in Bergen to listen to the very best bands in Norway battle it out to see who will represent them at the 2006 Euroepan Championships. Can Stavanger make it three in a row, or will someone stop them?
The very best bands in Norway will be lining up in the superb Greig Hall in Bergen on Friday and Saturday this weekend to see who will take the top honours. 4BR will be there.
4BR sends off its usual postcard back home from the day out at Yeovil, where the entertainment was not all that it was meant to be.
4BR was there all day (and missed the great Welsh rugby win!) at Yeovil and casts its eye back over the 13 performances to see which ones caught our fancy and which ones caught Colin Hardy's.
The Scottish Brass Band Association's influential President, ALAN MCLAREN, invites us to look outward as he introduces the concept of National Brass Band Week.
This is what you need to know about the adjudicator Colin Hardy - the man the bands have got to impress to make sure he does knock off too many of the 200 points he has on offer.
We have a look at the 13 bands hoping to take home with them the £2000 top prize from adjudicator Colin Hardy.
We cast our eye over the 28th running of the Yeovil Brass at the Octagon Entertainment Contest, which sees thirteen championship bands battling it out for the £2000 top prize and a winning start to 2005 this Saturday.
Tim Mutum is the foremost authority on brass band recordings, and for this article for 4BR he looks at the plethora of recordings that Black Dyke has made over the years.
Composer James McFadyen gives his opinions and thoughts what to do when composing and arranging for a brass band.
Malcolm Wood was at the recent Association of Brass Band Adjudicators AGM to hear the views of Martin Ellerby, Simone Rebello and Iwan Fox as they put their points across to the men in the boxes.
It was a very emotive win in the Fourth Section for Nigel Morgan and the Tewkesbury Band in a contest that drew praise from the man in the box, adjudicator Alan Hope.
4BR spent the weekend sampling the delights of Skegness and the Bultins Mineworkers Open Festival. This is what we thought of the experience.
John James was there to listen to all the bands in the Second Section try to get to grips with Bruce Fraser's Verona Lights and try and make an impression on John Maines in the process. This is what he thought.
Dave Tinker casts his eye back over the bands in the First Section who had the slightly more difficult task than they may have thought of mastering a bit of baallet music to claim the top prize of £1200.
We look back at the Third Section where seven bands put on fine shows to try and win the £1200 top prize, and which also showed what others were missing.
We look back upon the the second leg of the Bultins Championship Section that saw the ten bands perform 23 minutes of entertainment to catch the ears of the judges in the box and the audience in the open.
We have a look back at the highs and lows of the first leg of the Bultins event that saw 10 bands get to grips with Harmony Music in an attempt to secure the £5000 top prize at Skegness.
These are the men to impress this weekend in Skegness.
14 bands line up to see if they can master a bit of festival music and take home with them a nice fat cheque for £1,200. We make our very dodgy prediction as well - gulp!
We have a look at the seven bands who will be trying to get to grips with their sea legs and master the old classic, 'The Shipbuilders'. Who will be celebrating a maiden voyage come Saturday night.
We cast our beady little eyes over what should be a keenly contested contest as 14 bands get to grips with Bruce Fraser's fine 'Verona Lights'. Someone will have their life lit up a bit come Staurday if they win the £1,200 top prize.
We cast our eye over the 14 bands who will be putting on their ballet shoes and tutus and getting to grips with the fine 'Ballet for Band' to see if they can pocket the £1,200 top prize.
10 bands will be taking the stage on the weekend to impress on the set work and entertainment programmes they have had to prepare in the hope they can get their hands on the whooping great £5000 top prize.
This weekend sees the Butlins Mineworkers Championships in Skegness. It promises to be a great family weekend, with fun and games, plus plenty of great music to enjoy. All this and loads of money on offer to the winners!
The Skelmanthorpe Band are looking to appoint a first class Principal Cornet after the All England Masters. The band rehearse...
South West BBA West Own Choice Contest
Venue: The Winter Gardens, Royal Parade, Weston-Super-Mare, Somerset. BS23 1AJ
South London Fellowship Band
Venue: The Salvation Army. Ramsgate Corps. 167a High Street. Ramsgate. Kent CT11 9TT