Articles & features: 2006 / International
Who are the players (and conductors) who we have chosen as the 4BR Band of the Year for 2006? Some great performers from all around the world have made it into our band for us, but do you agree with our choices?
The 4BR Headmaster has been writing his 2006 end of term reports on the 25 top ranked pupils in the 4BR school. Which pupils will get an extra present for New Year from Mam and Dad and which ones will get a clip around the ear for their efforts.
All had enough Christmas pud and turkey? Then sit back and relax as we reveal the award winners for 2006. Maestro please.....
Who are the players (and conductor) we have chosen as the 4BRDU Band of the Year for 2006? There are some great performers chosen but do you agree with our choices?
Iwan Fox looks back at the 13 years when David King reigned supreme at YBS.
The 2006 4BR Special Award goes to Markus Bach, the architect behind the European Brass Band Championships and in 2006 the man who epitomised the belief that the contest had a future post the Besson collapse.
Here is a real tricky one for you to vote on. What was the very best contest performance you heard during 2006 - 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 2006 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 2006? Lots to choose from as someone or something have created a real impression in the last 12 months.
Who was the best Lower Section/Youth Band in 2006 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 2006. 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 2006. 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 2006.
John Stirzaker was one of just a few hardy souls who had a fantastic day's entertainment at the Tameside Youth Contest.
The Scottish Open has had four years to establish itself in Glasgow, but its future lies in Perth it seems.
There is always a good old scrap on the cards when the Scots lock horns with the English, although they are keen to battle amongst themselves too. Whitburn though came out of it all as Champions - and off a number 1 draw!
Only four bands, and not many more people than that in the audience, but Johnstone Silver still won a very entertaining contest.
John James was on hand to listen to the bands in an enjoyable Cup Contest, which saw victory go to
The Scottish banding future is in safe hands it seems after some superb performances in the Youth championships. John James was on hand to enjoy it all.
John James was on hand all day at the Wilkinson's Northern Open to see which bands really had the cutting edge when it came to the prizes.
These are the eight ment who the bands will have to impress at Glasgow this weekend.
The keenly fought Scottish Youth Championships are held on the same day in Glasgow where all the very best young players are on display in three sections for the judges David Childs and Alaistair Orr.
12 bands line up to do battle for the Scottish Challenge Cup and try and gain the domestic bragging rights to tide them over into the new contest season.
Four well matched bands take to the stage to see if they can raise the Scottish Challenge Shield
14 bands will line up to see if their own choice performance will catch the ears of judges Dr Robert Childs and Stephen Roberts
The end of season Scottish Open takes place in Glasgow on the weekend. Which one of the 14 bands taing part can round off their season in style?
Malcolm Wood spent a bit of time looking and listening to the variety of ancillary events at this year's Brass in Concert and even managed to get the 4BR Editor to try and play a few notes too!
Newcastle and Gateshead are two of the most vibrant places in Europe - an ideal place then for a rejuvenated Brass in Concert Championships to put up the 'Full House 'signs'.
Try as they might, getting an audience to laugh is still a mystery to too many bands as this year at Brass in Concert showed.
Not even Grimethorpe could beat the man who is still the King of Brass Band Entertainment, as Tricky Dickie creates his own history at Brass in Concert.
One time at band camp!
Who's won what and when. Winners and conductors, best soloists, march prize and all the awards fromth the UK's premier entertainment competition.
There is an experienced line up of judges this year waiting to be impressed.
4BR takes a look at the cast list of entertainers lined up for our enjoyment this weekend at The Sage, Gateshead and wonders if they have got what it takes to top the bill come the results.
Brass in Concert may be 30 years old this year, but there is no sign of middle age spread as 12 top bands come to The Sage to see if they can impress the judges and win loads of dosh.
Malcolm Wood and Dave Tinker enjoyed a long day of high quality playing in Dukinfield Town Hall, where Katrina Marzella enhanced her already fine reputation by taking the prestigious Senior title.
The US Open had a real trans Atlantic feel to it this year, but it was those lads and lasses from Central Florida who will take the Jumbo to the UK next week with thier home country entertainment title tucked into their belts once more.
It seems the growth and improvement in the standard of banding at the US Open has been something to savour - a bit like the pizzas by all accounts.
In a very enjoyable contest it was Eccleston Brass who took the honours on Gareth Churcher's exciting new work.
What was needed in the Second Section it seems was an understanding of all things Swiss. Kippax seem to have eaten a whole mountainful of Toblerones then in claiming a well earned victory.
It was a battle of two Fourth Section giants on the weekend, with Oldham Brass (Lees) gaining revenge over Dodworth MW to tkae the title in a great contest.
There was nothing common about Chalford's winning performance in the First Section as they headed back to the West country as champions.
On a day when a musical Blitz took its fair share of casualties, it was Pennine that emerged from the rubble victorious - and a fair bit richer.
Malcolm Wood casts his critical eye back over a great weekend of music making when not everything went to its usual plan at Pontins.
The role, responsibility and accountability of adjudicators is an area which has received a lot of attention recently. Many aspects were debated on 4BRDU last month, as opinions were offered in response to the 2006 Victorian Championships retrospective.
Ralph Pearce was a welcome visitor to the Royal Albert Hall this year, and the former music teacher now in charge of musical matters for the Salvation Army in Arizona brought his keen eye and well informed views to bear on the contest.
This year, the South Australian Band Association State Band Championships are being held Sunday 5 November, in conjunction with the Barossa Contest Committee, at the Brenton Langbein Theatre, Tanunda.
These are the three men who will judge the bands at the 2006 US Open, and once again they will be explaining themselves to the bands on the Sunday morning!
4BR looks at the seven runners and riders for this years event at Arlington Heights.
4BR will be in Arlington Heights, Illinois again for the US Open Brass Band Championships. With perhaps their finest line-up yet, this promises to be another great event.
There is an impressive line up of judges this weekend to cast their ears over the performances.
The fun and games start out with the Fourth Section and coupled with a fine test piece and cracking line up of well matched bands it should be a great contest.
A brand new piece will test the bands here this weekend and it should make for a little cracker.
In addition to the Championship Section, Sunday’s offering comes in the form of what promises to be an entertaining Second Section with a well matched up field of bands tackling Darrol Barry’s ‘A Swiss Excursion’, adjudicated by Roy Roe and Barry Thompson
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 Kenneth Downie’s ‘Music For the Common Man.’
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.
Can the Staffordshire Band become only the second band in the history of the contest to make it a hat trick of wins here? If they do it will be some achievement.
The fun and games, great music, good prize money and the chance to dress up as a a nun in the night. Pontins has it all.
There is no place quite like London and the Royal Albert Hall - it just reeks of the smell of something. But what?
Every now and again, Grimethorpe Colliery (UK Coal) face a bit of an uncertain future and every time they produce a wonderful performance to win a National. Is it too much to ask they do it a bit more often than once every 14 years though?
Riki McDonnell. Most brass musicians world wide have heard of him and his many successes. But how many of us really know about the man behind the euphonium? Alexandra Kerwin gets up close and personal....
Written by a young Hector Berlioz and given something of an individual make over by Frank Wright in 1961, is 'Les Francs Juges' any good?
Could the 2006 Nationals be the defining point of its very future and can Black Dyke do the 'Double'. They are the questions 4BR tries to answer.
4BR looks at the records of the 20 conductors 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 that will take to the stage trying to win the title this weekend.
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. Eevn Leyland's winner last year doesn't make it for us. These ten were real stonkers.
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!)
There is an experienced mix in the box this year - the same line up as 2003 and three men who know a fair old bit about this particular test piece.
There were only three bands in the B Grade section but by no means was there a shortage of quality.
The C Grade section fielded a strong list of competitors and was closely contested.
The strength and standard of both the C and D Grade bands in Victoria seemed to be generally very high, particularly in comparison to bands in the same grade in other Eastern states.
The Junior Bands are always a delight to watch, and this contest was no different.
The 2006 Victorian Championships were held on the weekend of 14-15 October, in Ballarat, by joint organisers the Victorian Bands League and the Royal South Street Society.
4BR has trawled through the record books once more to bring you who has won the most money at the Nationals since 1945, and how much the competition has actually paid out. It may surprise a few of you.
Sir Stanley Burbury Centre, University of Tasmania in Hobart will be the venue for the 2006 Tasmanian Band Championships being held this weekend 14-15 October. The concert bands will compete on Saturday and the brass on Sunday.
When: Sunday 15 October 7.30pm Where: Wendouree Centre for Performing Arts Adjudicator: Major Eric Anderson Test Piece: Princethorpe Variations by Kenneth Downie
When: Sunday 15 October 2.30pm Where: Wendouree Centre for Performing Arts Adjudicator: Bruce Armstrong Test Piece: Inspiration by Jan de Haan
When: Sunday 15 October 10.15am Where: Wendouree Centre for Performing Arts Adjudicator: Major Eric Anderson Test Piece: Pacific Dreams by Jacob DeHaan
When: Sunday 15 October 8.30am Where: Wendouree Centre for Performing Arts Adjudicator: Bruce Armstrong Junior B Grade Test: St Andrew's Variations by Alan Fernie Junior C Grade Test: Castle of Scotland by James Pendleton
When: Saturday 14 October 7.30pm Where: Wendouree Centre for Performing Arts Adjudicator: Major Eric Anderson Test Piece: The Night to Sing by Bramwell Tovey
4BR investigates who has been winning all the money on offer this year in the Championship Section at the contests they can enter, and what contests pay the most. Is it the glory, or the bucks?
4BR Editor Iwan Fox asks a few notable people whether adjudicators should speak or not at the conclusion of our most prestigious contests - the Open and Nationals.
Anthony Banwell meets up with Phil Lawrence as he does battle in his very individual way to try and get a youth band set up in Essex every bit as good as any in the country.
Over the duration of the several days I spent at the 2006 MIFB I heard the festival referred to several times as "one of the best kept secrets". Never a truer word was said in jest.
A cracker of a contest saw plenty of great playing and a young man and his band take the title back to Yorkshire.
If you were looking for all the emotion, passion, excitement and even a touch of farce then forget the Ryder Cup on the weekend, the Third Section contest had it all and more.
Alan Fernie's Gothic Dances provided lots of problems according to the composer for just about every band on the day. And he should know - he was in the box.
The Perfect Fool provided a stern test of nerves and skill, but also patience as the First Section set work had more wrong notes than could be found in a Premiership managers back pocket. The winners didn't seem to mind though.
4BR looks back at the weekend in Harrogate when some things went more smoothly than others.
Christopher Thomas catches up with Edward Gregson to find out if after 16 years away from the brass band test piece genre he may be about to return.
4BR's Malcolm Wood spent an enjoyable weekend in Prestatyn listening to some great playing and entertainment from the youth bands. The only pity it seems was that there weren't too many people with him to enjoy it all.
4BR has a quick glance over the scores of the four test pieces and gives our own very individual interpretation on what we think of them...
These are the eight men in the box this weekend - and there is plenty of experience in a nice mix of young and...not so young to get all important decisions right.
Its a big field of 22 bands to tackle a bit of historical music making, but which one of them will be cronwed champion band come the results?
Philip Sparke has provided the 22 bands here with a great test piece. So which of them will be celebrating with lashings of pop and crisps for the youngsters and something a bit stronger for the olders heads come Sunday.
4BR casts its beady little eye over the 17 bands that hope to leave Harrogate crowned as the best band in the land.
Which one of the 16 bands here this weekend can recapture all the glory of the balsa wood sets and biased presenters of the 1970s Best of Brass and claim victory on Gordon Langford's 'Sinfonietta'.
4BR looks at the 16 bands who will try to capture the gothic splendour of Alan Fernie's test piece and walk away crwned as the best Second Section band in the land.
It may well be about which of the 16 bands here can really get into the Goths if they are to end up as National Champions. Marilyn Manson look out then!
4BR looks at each of the 17 bands determined to leave Harrogate as National First Section Champion.
The First Section may still be seeking a true identity after 15 years of trying, but it won't stop the 17 bands here in their 'foolish' determination to become champions.
The Lower Section National Finals hits the genteel well heeled town of Harrogate this weekend. 4BR will be there and enjoying it even if the Conference Centre is a souless place and the cream teas are a tad on the expensive side.
Pat Herak was at the the St John Arena for the TBDBITL Renunion on Saturday 2 September.
It's all a question of hard work and graft if you want to win an Open and gain all that glory. Just ask Black Dyke how they did it...
Whatever the result, the lack of audience for some bands and even the judges not bothering to tell us why they made their decision, you could always end up back at the bar at Jury's Hotel and get the lowdown on the 154th British Open.
Forget what 4BR thought, these were the written opinions of the three men in the box - David Raed, Nigel Boddice and Michael Ball.
4BR has updated its records to find out how the bands from the Grand Shield have fared over the years. Some have come and eventualy conquered whilst others haven't been so lucky and have even disappeared from the face of the banding earth.
4BR's guide to the important characters and personalities that feature in Philip Wilby's music of 'Vienna Nights'. And no, Rigsby's cat from Rising Damp isn't one of them...
4BR has updated our list of useless facts and figures about the British Open to bore the pants of your loved ones if you have a quiet moment or two thie weekend. It's a sure fire recipe to lose any fiends you may have...
4BR has updated its stats on the draw once more - and gues what? If you get a real early one the odds on you winning are still as long as Andorra's winning a match in the European Football Championships qualifiers.
4BR looks at the odds of an unexpected shock result occuring at the Open this year - 10 years after Marple. It has happened on more than one or two occassions you know.
A fantastic piece is on offer this weekend with Philip Wilby's amazing homage in 'Vienna Nights'. This what we thought of it when we heard it before the big day.
Philip Wilby has the happy knack of producing fantastic works for brass band. If you didn't know much about him, then you can read why he is held in such high regard in the music world.
4BR looks at the track records of the 19 men who will be trying to win for their bands and also get their hands on a prized Mortimer Trophy to put on top of the television.
4BR looks at the records and form guide of the 19 runners and riders hoping to win the famous gold Trophy.
With perhaps the strongest line up of bands ever at Birmingham this year and a great set work, Symphony Hall seems set for a classic contest. But who will win?
Cairns Brass Youth Blitz their First Contest!
2006 promised to be very busy year for me here in Dunedin. Now we are over half way through and the time has just flown by...
For us, this section was one of the highlights of the weekend. Starting at the early time (early for a Sunday, at least!) of 8.30am, it was pleasing to see a crowd of approximately 200 people in the auditorium to applaud the juniors onto the stage.
This was a long session to cover....but we were kept entertained and amused.
This was an enjoyable section to listen to with one of the greatest classic lower grade test pieces of all.
Another section with, in our opinion (and obviously Mr Jarrett’s), a clear winner. Warringah Concert Brass made a clean sweep of all events, but Sutherland Shire Brass were hot on their heels!
Few were surprised to see Waratah Brass make a clean sweep of the A Grade events, once again firmly positioning itself as number 1 in New South Wales, and worthy winners they were.
This weekend sees 26 brass bands line up for this years state titles. Few would argue with the magnificent choice of venue. The Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre, Penrith should be great in terms of acoustic, comfort and organisational logistics.
Pupil and euphonium player Ave Spencer gives a personal view of the 2006 Bromsgrove Brass Band Summer School.
4BR has dug up two old photos from the early 1960s of two great bands. But who are the players and what became of them?
Tim Mutum looks back at a time when you could pick up good quality brass band records on user friendly budget basement labels.
Alexandra Kerwin provides a detailed account, complete with photographs, of the 5 days of fun!
4BR has a look through the history books and finds that there really isn't anything new under the brass band sun - with the exception perhaps of performing monkeys at the National Championships.
Tim Mutum has a final look at the new brand of specialists who started to cater for the brass band buying public.
Tim Mutum looks at the heyday of the brass band record industry, when four major labels produced recordings to meet the demand.
Allan Littlemore remembers perhaps the finest bass trombone player who ever lived - the great Joe Moores of the Fodens Motor Works Band.
Apologies for it being a bit late this year, but it would have been wrong not to have offered our opinion on what was a quite amazing Nationals in Dunedin.
Following the results of WA State Championships and NZ Nationals, several bands have shuffled with St Kilda Brass regaining top spot.
What to know what the official adjudications were like. 4BR has the remarks from the three judges on the top four bands.
Fodens Richardson finally got what they deserved on the weekend at the English Nationals. A far cry from what happened to Englands footballers in Germany, although the result wasn't as nail biting.
It was hot, sticky and nail biting to a very a predictable result - that was the story of the English Nationals as well as the World Cup Quarter Finals.
There will be three wise men in the box at the Lowry at the weekend - all three know what it takes to make a winning performance too.
4BR has a look at the Philip Sparke set work 'Dances and Alleluias' and finds a link between it and a pair of womens Monolo Blahnik shoes. Read on....
14 of the best bands in England line up to see which one of them can be crowned the first National winners of their country.
This weekend sees the inaugural English National Championships. About time too. Lots of talking points too, from the judging process to the 4BR possible choice of winners.
Geoff McGregor reviews the recent concert by CNL Brass at the Lake Macquarie Performing Arts Centre.
We have discussed the Notices of Motion from Queensland in our June editorial. Here we present the Notices moved by NSW, Tasmania and Victoria. Feel free to comment.
Composer Phil Lawrence bemoans (and by heck does he bemoan) the short sighted decision to choose 'Judges of the Secret Court' for the National Finals. From Berlioz to The New Seekers - they all get it in the neck...
4BR's Malcolm Wood was out and about to take in the sounds of the bands and some rather peculiar sights.
4BRDU reviews The East Coast of Australia Band Championships and Festival of The Bands.
Kapitol Promotions have secured ownership of the titles associated with the National Finals. Will that mean security for our greatest event or a period of uncertainty?
After arriving back home in Adelaide, Chris Bowman reflects on his fantastic banding holiday in the UK, where he was a guest of the PolySteel Band.
Malcolm Wood looks forward to the Whit Friday experience once more. Plenty of bands, prize money and lots of great music on a day that does have a greater meaning.
The 2006 Western Australian State Band Festival was held at Churchlands Senior High School on Saturday June 3.
Cambridge is that kind of town and it certainly gives the Masters an unique atmosphere, even if the local waitress makes you feel a bit of a dumbo.
Cambridge is a place well known for those who use their brains. Dave Roberts and Rothwell certainly passed the tough exam paper on Paganini, but plenty of others fell by the wayside...
Brisbane Excelsior Band rises to the top of the table on the back of their 10th place at the Corn Exchange in Cambridge.
Bored? Tired? Haven't got any friends? This may be the reason why...
4BR has updated all the records you need to know about the Masters contest since it first started in 1989.
Philip Biggs pays respect to the late Robert Howard who is the posthumous recipient of the Dedicated Service Award this year.
4BR looks at the Alton Towers of brass band test pieces, and wonders of if it will once again excite those who opt for the thrilling ride.
4BR takes a glance at the 21 MDs this year to find out which ones have the form to suggest they could be adding a Masters title to their CV.
4BR looks at the 21 bands who are trying to leave Cambridge on Sunday night crowned as the Masters of all they survey.
This weekend sees bands from all over the world converge on a tight corner of Cambridge to see who will become the Masters International Champions.
After just over a week in the UK, Chris has experienced the local Guiness, Chippers - oh... and lots of brass banding!
This week brass bands from all around the world will be contributing to Brass Band Week - another fundraising initiative of Brass Band Aid.
There was much discussion before the event to how the bands were going to cope with 'Harmony Music'. After it, they were still talking about it too, although the judges thought that one performance stood out from the rest.
There was real drama on the weekend - and we are not talking about the FA Cup Final in Cardiff either. OK, we are, but just a little bit...
A Scottish composer, a Scottish winner, a Scottish judge and even their National football team ended up winning a cup on the weekend. It seems things are looking up north of the border, and Rob Richardson was on hand to witness it all.
Aveley and Newham certainly showed the rest of the banding world that London bands can win major brass band contests, even if they did have to celebrate without the aid of some jellied eels and a couple of Pearly kings in Blackpool.
John James was welcomed to the Annual General Meeting of the BFBB this year and heard an upbeat, but realistic assessment of their work and future plans.
A year ago Rob from Adelaide, South Australia, set off to the Great Brass Band Land. Chris Bowman from 4BRDU caught up with him in Blackpool and here's the update on the Journey.
Chris Thomas speaks to the man who has brought us some of the most memorable works for brass band, and whose next major work will feature at the forthcoming English National Championships.
Tim Paton takes a look at the tricky question of what exactly constitutes an arrangement of an original work.
Composer Tim Paton looks at the myths and realities of writing music in the computer age. They certainly don't make writing good music any easier for one...
Phil Lawrence has been up to his neck with music, aliens, pop and rock and getting his next belt on his quest for Karate expertise. Anthony Banwell caught up with him to find out what he has been up to.
20 bands will be battling it out in the Spanish Hall trying to find the essence of qualification to gain promotion to the Senior Cup.
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.
We cast our eye over the 19 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.
Six men, good and true will make the decisions this weekend, although we don't knw as yet what combinations they will be in. Have guess though...
4BR looks at the three works being used this weekend to test the bands on their quest to reach Symphony Hall.
20 good bands try to deliver the essence of contesting success in the Senior Trophy and gain promotion one step closer to the British Open.
20 bands will try and bring a bit of harmony to their contesting lives by overcoming Philip Sparke's fiendish work. The succesful quartet will make it a step closer to the British Open.
19 top class bands line up to try and win a place at Birmingham's Symphony Hall in September. Only two places up for grabs so its like trying to win a Willy Wonka golden ticket.
David Tinker of 4BR was at the Buxton contest to witness (in some pain it must be said) how the day unfolded.
John James was on hand to listen to the two composer's talk about the works that were used at the contest. And he asked some interesting questions too...
A gathering of over 100 past and present members and supporters of the Hahndorf Town Band celebrated the band's milestone with a sumptuous dinner at The Hahndorf Inn.
The Hahndorf Town Band's 80th Anniversary Contest was a success and is surely to spawn future events in the historic Adelaide Hills town.
Belfast may have had its fair share of troubles in the past, but it gave the European Championships the warmest of welcomes.
4BR was at the EEBA Forum to find out what plans EBBA has for the future and what the BFBB had to say for itself ahead of Birmingham next year.
The B Section once more produced a winning performance of the rarest class. It was a fantastic musical experience for everyone there, but it did make it a bit of a problem for the contest.
The European Championships really got into the swing of things at the Gala Concert and Composer's Competition which was an enjoyable aperitif to what was to follow.
The 29th European Championships were certainly a memorable event, but they also provided a bit of a shock as well - or did they? 4BR looks back at the Own Choice section of the contest on the Saturday.
The 29th European Championships were certainly a memorable event, but they also provided a bit of a shock as well - or did they? 4BR looks back at the Set work section of the contest on the Friday night.
4BR has all the important stats you need to know about the European Championships if you ever wish to go on Mastermind.
4BR looks at the men (no women this year) who will make the all important decisions to choose the respective European Champions.
4BR anticipates an enjoyable contest when four bands tackle Elaine Agnew's fine set work and their own choice pieces in their bid to be crowned B Section European Champions.
4BR looks at Ian Wilson's set work Seascape with High Cliffs and finds a test piece that will test the bands abilities to create a musical picture of a quite beautiful landscape.
Ian Wilson and Elaine Agnew are the two composers whose works will test the bands in the Championship and B Sections.
4BR has a look at the selections to be performed by the Championship Bands in the own choice section of the contest on the Saturday.
4BR looks at the ten bands and their records who will hope to leave Belfast on the weekend crowned as the 29th European Champions.
4BR looks forward to the the Championship Section contest. Can Black Dyke retain their title or will it go to one of the other nine contenders.
4BR looks forward to the 29th European Brass Band Championships and the delights of the fine city of Belfast.
Brisbane, Queensland was the setting for the Australian National Band Championships this year. 4BRDU takes a look at the Junior Grade performances over the Easter weekend.
Brisbane, Queensland was the setting for the Australian National Band Championships this year. 4BRDU takes a look at the B Grade performances over the Easter weekend.
Brisbane, Queensland was the setting for the Australian National Band Championships this year. 4BRDU takes a look at the D Grade performances over the Easter weekend.
Brisbane, Queensland was the setting for the Australian National Band Championships this year. 4BRDU takes a look at the A Grade performances over the Easter weekend.
Brisbane, Queensland was the setting for the Australian National Band Championships this year. 4BRDU takes a look at the C Grade performances over the Easter weekend.
Our second Downunder Rankings update for 2006 following the Australian National Championships in Brisbane. St Kilda Brass from Dunedin takes the lead.
Just the four bands made it to the stage for the Junior Championships, but the standard was good and the winners were simply brilliant.
10 bands took to the Bruntwood Theatre stage in a bid to become County Champions, and it was one of the smaller outfits that finally emerged triumphant.
12 bands took to the stage at the Haden Freeman Theatre to battle it out for the title of Best Community Band in the UK, and it was the great youngsters from Mount Charles that won the day.
Just the two battled it out for the title of being the best school band in the country, and it proved to be a close run thing.
The Premier Championships may have only the two bands taking part, but it still made for an exciting contest.
The National Youth Championships can tell us a great deal about our present and futu. So are we in good health, or are there things that can be done to improve our well being?
We've put together a synopsis of each of the Tests for A, B & C Grade, together with a profile of the composers.
We're coming to the Nationals and looking forward to catching up with everyone!
With only a few days to go till the Australian National Band Championships in Brisbane, Queensland, bands are busy and excited with last-minute rehearsals and travel preparations.
We're getting to the business end of preparations now for the 2006 Australian National Band Championships.
There was plenty of contesting going on at NABBA including the other lower sections and the hard fought individual honours.
4BR looks back at the Honors Section where the bands had to tackle Gilbert Vinter's kaliedoscopic Spectrum as well as their own choice selection to take the title.
4BR looks back at the playing at the Championship Section Contest as Columbus conquered the New World once again.
4BR sampled the delights of the Louisville from the Bluegrass Brewery Company to the best of the bands at this year's NABBA Championships.
Malcolm Wood was at the RNCM to witness some real star quality on display and hear some wonderful performances from four potential stars of the future.
Just in case you are tempted to pop out for a cup of tea, we have the schedule of events for Sunday.
This weekend sees the fantastic talents of the best youth bands in the country take to the stage at the RNCM, for the National Youth Brass Band Championships. 4BR will be there to report on the event.
4BR looks back at the 2006 Regional Championships and asks whether there are lessons to be learnt for everyone concerned?
Our first Downunder Rankings update for 2006 includes results from Otago Southland Regional contest. Results for 2001 have been removed from the table.
Tameside provided the backdrop for the bands to keep on contesting on the weekend, and it also provided the chance for some to make a point (or several according to the judges)in winning their respective sections.
4BR looks at the bands taking part in the Honors Section at the Championships, which equates to the First Section back here in Blighty.
Pat Herak looks at the up and coming bands who will be battling it out in the Youth Section here.
4BR takes a look at the bands in the Explorer Section of the NABBA Contest.
4BR looks at the challengers in the Challenge Section itself as they strive to claim their own version of the Second Section National title.
The very best bands in North America line up on the weekend to see if they can take home with them the title as the best brass band in the USA.
Pat Herak looks at the 2006 North American Brass Band Championships, which take place in New Albany, Indiana this weekend.
No one could complain at the result here could they, as the composer himself was in the box to award the honours to Barton Town and Barnard Castle.
Steve Jack was on hand to witness Durham Constabulary win the Third Section (he actually played for them) and with a bit of help from a learned friend he managed to give a retrospective on the enjoyable Third Section.
Just the five bands made it to the stage to tackle the immensly difficult 'Images'by Howard Snell. Lockwood won, but they all deserved medals for having to play it in the first place.
A great piece and two very good performances here as Felling and Easington tickled the musical palette of Brian Buckley and book their journey to Harrogate.
Reg Vardy made it yet another win at the weekend, but if they were being complacent this one gave them a bit of a nail biting finish to contemplate.
Our man Jack was at the Dolphin Centre (or what remained of it from last year)to enjoy the delights of the North of England Championships...
It may have been a bit of a marathon for the man in the box, but it was one heck of an enjoyable amarathon and a fantastic win for Thundersley Brass.
Sixteen bands took to the stage to give of their best on Voyage of Discovery, and it was the Haverhill Band that finally found their sea legs to come out on top.
Five years is a very long time in the banding world to wait for a Regional title, but it was all worth while for Aveley and Newham in the end at a slightly surprising Championship contest.
It could have become a marathon, but it didn't. 26 great bands and a fantastic contest as Verwood Concert topped the lot.
Entertainments proved itself to be a very stern test here in Torquay - a town well known for its ability to show itself a good time. Only a couple of bands managed to do the same though it seems.
There has been a great deal of debate over the test piece for the Second Section, but there was little debate about the quality of the winners here on the weekend. St. Dennis continue on their rise to the top.
A great old contest saw Helston take the top honours and indulge in a bit of Furry Dance celebrations.
It was always going to be a close run contest here in the top section - but how close nobody could have guesssed. Right down to the very last band in fact.
It may have been a long way to travel to Torquay, but a great welcome, some great performances and even a good Indian take away made it all worthwhile for the 4BR Proton boys.
It was a question of young and old in the Fourth Section as a great contest was made all the better by a great test piece, great playing and a great bunch of players.
There was plenty to entertain the large audience on the Saturday morning as Beaumaris B returned to the Welsh Regional Contest with a fine win.
The Second Section saw perhaps the most comprehensive victory of the weekend, and even the entire Regional Championships when Newbridge Celynen took the top honours.
12 years after they won the National First Section title, the Northop Band are back to try and win it again after taking the honours in a very good contest in Swansea.
BAYV made it five in a row here, but was there any sign that they are about to have their hegemony challenged?
Swansea may well be the most formal of all the regional venues, but it has an idiosyncratic charm all of its own - especially when it comes to life and death.
Experience the history, vision and imagination... as Peter Sykes leads Hawthorn Band on a new journey.
There was only one winner here in the First Section - not even the weather could stop Dalmellington here so what hope the English and Welsh in Harrogate. .
It was a day of records at Motherwell as Scottish Cop-op regained their title and booked themselves a place at Eruo 2007, whilst the MD took his 16th Regional title to boot.
There may not have been a great number of bands here this year, but there was some encourgement in the performances that better times mat lie ahead for the foundation of the Scottish contesting movement.
A real test, but an enjoyable one that brought the best out of the bands here. Gilbert Vinter's Entertainments saw victory go to the papermakers of Tullis Russell Mills, who celebrated in fine Fife style!
The Scottish bands here found Voyage of Discovery much to their liking and there were two outstanding performances that caught the judges ears - but were they the same two as 4BR?
It was arctic conditions outside but inside there was a great atmosphere and a red hot Fourth Section contest which was won in fine style.
On a cold day everyone in the Empress Ballroom was in need of warming up - and Rainford and Flixton certainly turned up the heat.
It was a home town win here in the Second Section as Blackpool stormed to victory on a day when Howard Snell's test piece once more took casualties.
Wire Brass will head to Harrogate as deserved champions here on a day when perhaps all their challengers didn't quite go for broke.
Was this really the must see event that it promised to be, or did Fodens win a contest that saw their rivals come no where near their brilliant standard?
Oh we do like to be beside the seaside - not when its cold enough to freeze the appendages off a pawn brokers sign that is.
It was a bit of a marathon for Alan Hope and Geoffrey Whitham here in theFourth Section, but in the end theypicked out three good bands to head for Harrogate, amid the friendly atmosphere and clinking beer glasses.
Images of the Millennium was a very strong test for the bands here, but Foresters Brass 2000 made it sound quite easy and gave Stan and Pete an easy job to pick the winners.
Pleasently surprising was the veridct of our man at the Third Section on the weekend here. Had he been on the Burton ale or was he listening closely to a pretty good contest.
This was a real First Section contest. Plenty of good solid bands and a lot of quality playing made for an enjoyable day sat in the splendour of the old Town Hall.
There was bound to be one result no one saw coming in the Regionals this year, but was it really Newstead's win at Burton on Trent.
4BR took in the sights and sounds of Burton on Trent's Town Hall last weekend and found it to be a strange mix of beer, bands and bagpipes with a bit of Geoffrey Whitham's secret past thrown in for good measure.
There was sadness accompnaying the contests here last year, but hopefully not this time as the youngsters of the West of England are really starting to make their mark.
A huge field of bands for Alan Morrison and Steve Pritchard Jones to sort out. Now where is Bryan Hurdley when you need him?
Entertainment is the name of the game in Third Section, but which bands will tickle the fancy of Geoffrey Whitham and Denis Wilby?
A real full line up of bands for Alan Morrison and Steve Pritchard Jones to sort out, although the test piece may well do that for them first of all.
A good strong line up of bands will take to the stage here with just the one aim in mind - a voyage to Harrogate.
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 and gain favour from Geoffrey Whitham and Denis Wilby.
A huge field of bands for Chris Wormald to get his teeth into here, and he will have a difficult task for sure to separate these bands into order. Rather him than us.
Its going to be a good band who can gets to grips with Gilbert Vinter’s great piece on the weekend, so Colin Hardy may have his work cut out on this one.
This is a difficult one – and we are not just talking about the test piece either. Who will get the nod from Chris Wormald here then?
Which band will capture the seafaring essence of the Goff Richard’s test piece and book a place at Harrogate then?
The top bands south of the Watford Gap line up to get to grips with Jules Verne's magical story and try to impress Colin Hardy.
We have said in the past that it is easy to dismiss the level and standard of banding in London and the Southern Counties. That may have been true in the fairly distant past, but not now it isn’t.
Some new faces boost the Fourth Section this year up to 11 bands and they will have to impress the composer himself on his own test piece.
Nine bands take to the stage here to try and impress Brian Buckley with their entertaining renditions of the test piece by Gilbert Vinter.
Just the five bands take to the stage here hoping to overcome a very serious test of character let alone technique and musicianship.
A closely matched group of bands get set to tackle Goff Richards exciting test piece, but which of them will show their sea legs and come out on top.
It would appear to be a question of who can challenge Reg Vardy on paper to stop them notching up yet another Regional win, but it may be a lot closer than you may think come the results on this one.
Where we spoke of a possible renaissance in the North East last year, there is a real possibility that we are talking a crisis this time around.
A good 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 from the pen of Alan Fernie though?
The Welsh certainly know how to entertain, but which of the bands here will unlock the secrets of Gilbert Vinter’s great old piece?
This could be hard work for the bands here. A very difficult test piece could cause a fair share of casualties for David Read to sort out?
It may only be a smallish field, but there should be plenty for Malcolm Brownbill to admire as the Welsh take to the high seas on Goff Richards difficult set work.
Can anyone stop Buy As You View from claiming their fifth title in a row and their 24th in total on a piece that should suit the Welsh – it is all about mining in some way isn’t it?
They may be back to losing ways at the rugby, but Wales still has the habit of producing winning brass bands at six nations level (OK, three) - or does it?
A great test piece, some great performances and a delightful start to the Yorkshire Regionals. Why couldn't it all have been like this then?
Entertainments certainly proved to be one heck of a test in the Third Section, and so it proved as Vinter's great old work took plenty of casualities along its way.
No fault of the bands, the conductors, the players or even the judges on this one, but the Second Section turned out to be a bit of a lottery - except there were no real winners.
There is no other way to describe the decision on this one on the weekend. Awful, simply awful.
Bradford leaves you with many impressions - some good, some strange and some slightly surreal.
4BR looks back at a day when there was a clash of the titans on Journey to the Centre of the Earth in Bradford - how's that for a mixed bag of film references then!
A great line up of bands on the Sunday to do battle on Alan Fernie’s neat and tricky set work. It will take a bit of playing to see who makes it through to Harrogate.
What a record to uphold here. Whoever gets through here could well be one of the favourites come Harrogate itself, but they first have to overcome the tricky hurdle that is set by Gilbert Vinter’s Entertainments.
Which of the bands here will overcome the difficulties of Howard Snell’s stern ‘Images of the Millennium’ and book their hotel room for Harrogate.
Will any of the bands here will get to grips with the seafaring nature of Goff Richards test piece or will their struggle like musical landlubbers?
Can Leyland retain the local bragging right to go with their National title credentials, or will someone else leave Blackpool as the best in the North West?
There is a belief that the good folk of the North West are a bit more sophisticted than their rivals over the Pennines, but does that mean they breed better bands?
A big field for this one, and picking a winner will be a difficult task. Who would like to be in the box for this one then?
A very large field of 19 bands will tackle the joys (and pitfalls) of the story Gilbert Vinter's great test piece.
Twelve bands line up to tackle the very difficult set work from the pen of Howard Snell. Will they be able to overcome it or will it take a number of casualties?
A large field of seventeen bands line up to battle it out on Goff Richards colorful Voyage of Discovery. Which one will find the key and book their place at Harrogate though?
Twelve bands line up to do battle on Journey to the Centre of the Earth. So who will come out on tops in one of the most equally contested top sections sections in the entire country?
The Midlands can offer no less than 81 bands to listen to next weekend. It is a well run event with plenty of good bands, but are they producing the winners come the National Finals?
A home grown test piece for the small field of bands here, but it is about a part of the country that many of them may not know too much about. Lets see who impresses the composer in the box then.
It’s all about entertainment in the Third Section, but entertainment with a twist or two from the pen of Gilbert Vinter. It should make for an enjoyable contest then.
This is perhaps the most severe test of all in Scotland this weekend. Can anyone master Howard Snell’s rest piece we wonder?
The Scots have a dry sense of wit, and a fine sea faring history. So who will tap into that he best here and make the most of Goff Richards test piece?
How will the best bands in Scotland get to grips with Peter Graham's thrilling test piece, and which one will take the additional European qualification place?
Scotland has a lot to be proud about in 2006 - its rugby team for one. But are their brass bands capable of sending the English (and Welsh) back home to think again come Finals time?
4BR gets to speak with the man behind the Championship Section test piece this year - Peter Graham and his thrilling Journey to the Centre of the Earth.
A reflection by Alex Kerwin on the 'all stars' weekend as the band recorded the soon-to-be-released 'Poles Apart' CD.
Steve Miles reflects on his first six months in Dunedin and looks forward to the further expansion of the Southern Brass Academy.
Just in case you wanted to show off to your fellow bandsmen in the pub, 4BR gives the definitive guide to Jules Verne and his Journey to the Centre of the Earth. Its all true...
We don't know what the collective noun for a group of brass band judges are, but there is a whole lot of them in the boxes around the country over the coming weeks.
Nice to report a healthy turn out in the Fourth Section this year as 12 bands try to master the tricky but enjoyable Anglain Dances by Alan Fernie.
Nine bands will try and break the secret of the entertainment business here and book a place at Harrogate.
With all the problems that have been associated with the test piece this year, the bands who gain qualification will have certainly done it the hard way.
The bands who want to try and make it to Harrogate will have to overcome a bit of seafaring music making this year from Goff Richards. Anchors away!
A fantastic contest is in prospect here as the 14 bands tackle Journey to the Centre of the Earth and try and claim one of the two extra qualification places on offer in addition to those already allocated to Black Dyke and Grimethorpe.
Yorkshire may be the beating heart of the brass band movement in the UK, but is it in a healthy state. This weekend may tell if it is or not.
4BR Chief Correspondant Malcolm Wood and Dave Tinker were at the Winter Gardens and enjoyed a long day of fantastic entertainment from the best youth bands in the country.
Jason Mears has made his mark in Australian banding and now looks forward to success with Darebin City Brass-Preston Band.
Aimee Beaumont, percussionist with the New Zealand National Youth Band, tells of her experience on this year's summer course and tour.
Dr. Robert Childs takes a closer look at Alan Fernie's enjoyable Anglian Dances and finds a piece that will need a lot of care and attention to make into a winning performance.
Dr. Robert Childs looks at Gilbert Vinter's great set work for the Third Section and finds that it will need a lot of care and attention.
Dr. Robert Childs looks at Howard Snell's very difficult set work for Section 2 bands and sets out the approach needed to find that winning formula.
Dr. Robert Childs looks at the difficulties and problems that need to be overcome with the tricky First Section set work by Goff Richards.
Dr. Robert Childs knows what it takes to win a brass band contest - and it all comes down to the work you do before you take to the contest stage. Here he talks about that preperation and in other articles talks about each test piece in Sections 1 - 4.
The Norwegians do a lot of things right, but could there be the first signs of a cyncial approach to a Championship born out of innocence?
There was a great battle in the open between 15 enthusiastic bands. The problem was that the other 16th was in a class of its own and shouldn't have been there.
It was a triumphant Voyage of Discovery from the Jolster Musikklag Band in the Third Division as they took the honours against their rivals.
The conductors Egil, Erling and Eirik battled it out in the Second Division where Folleso finally came out on top of a high class field of 13 bands.
What do you get when you mix a Norwegian multi millionaire with a Belgian conductor and a story from an English eccentric? Answer - a winning perfomance for Tomra Brass Band that's what.
As with all the best contests, the result was in doubt right up until the last band played on the Saturday. Yep - it really was...
Klang(!) may have been the onomatopoeic title of the set work here, but it was also the sound of the some bands chances of winning going through the floor of the Grieg Hall in Bergen. We were there to sample the action on the Friday night.
One for the stats freaks out there. 4BR gives a quick list of all the records here in Bergen over the years.
4BR gives the lowdown on the composer of the set work for the Elite bands, and a little bit of info on the piece Klang(!).
17 are set to take part in the Fourth Section, where they will have to impress the adjudicators who will be sat in the open once more.
Twelve bands will be performing their own choice selections to open adjudicators in the Third Section. We cast our eyes over the bands.
4BR casts its eye over the 13 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.
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 2007 European Championships. Can Eikanger retain their title or can someone else stop them?
4BR will be in Bergen this weekend to bring you a flavour of one of the most exciting brass band contests in the world - the Norwegian Nationals.
Tabby Clegg takes a look at the ever increasing success of the PolySteel Band and finds a streak of iron replacing their formery flowery soul.
The 15 bands gave the sell out audience plenty of variety on the weekend. These are the pieces that were played.
Malcolm Wood was at Yeovil from 9.00am right through to the bitter end as Tredegar restored Welsh pride on a day where elsewhere the Dragon took a bit of a beating.
Sixty-four young musicians attended this year’s camp at Nudgee College, Boondall – the largest number of participants to attend a youth brass band camp in Queensland.
4BR's Christopher Thomas meets up with one of the brass band movements most original compositional voices, John McCabe.
Duncan Beckley is the man who will be in the box from 9.30am needing to be impressed.
15 bands will line up to do battle at the Octagon Yeovil this weekend to see who will claim the 29th title and the £2000 first prize.
Aveley and Newham return to deepest Somerset to see if they can retain their Yeovil crown this weekend, and put one over their Welsh and English rivals ahead of the forthcoming Regional Championships.
There was some great entertainment on show at Bultins on the weekend - some intentional and some definately not.
It was all to play for on the Sunday where PolySteel and Philip Harper may have been pipped by the surprise package of Redbridge, but it was still enough to take the overall title.
4BR looks back at the Staurday section of the two legged contest and found that the real winner was once more the immense St. Magnus.
Even though they may have only won by one pont, the Matlock Band were the clearest winners of the whole Butlins weekend with their cracking account of Alan Fernie's test piece.
Nearly 90 years after it was written, Prometheus Unbound still proved itself to be one heck of a difficult test piece. Kippax found the right mix of music and the mystical though.
It was Haverhill and Mark Ager who came out of the musical wash whiter than white with their Purcell mix and took the top prize in the First Section.
4BR looks back on a contest where a wise approach with a young band showed the way to victory for Christine Gent and Thoresby Colliery Youth.
Composer and Music Associate of the Fairey Band, Phil Lawrence will hear the UK premiere of his ‘Gregoritas’ on January 28th. He told 4BR all about it.
British Bandsman Editor Kenneth Crookston was at the recent ABBA AGM where Alan Morrison put forward his assessment of a criteria-based system of adjudication.
Davey Boyes moved from the UK to New Zealand nine years ago and hasn’t looked back.
8 bands line up to see if they can master Iain Rayner's enjoyable 'A Cavendish Suite' 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 eleven bands who will be trying to get to grips with Alan Fernie's neat and descriptive 'A Royal Mile Suite' which should test the bands musical Scottish accents to the full.
We cast our beady little eyes over what should be a keenly contested contest as 18 bands get to grips with the mystical problems of Prometheus Unbound. Someone will have their life lit up a bit come Saturday if they win the £1,200 top prize for sure.
Skegness may be a long way away and surrounded by speed cameras, but once you get there the Mineworkers Festival offers something for everyone.
We cast our eye over the 13 bands who will be trying to make it Purcell White and take home with them the cracking first prize.
4BR has a look at the set works and composers that will test the bands at Skegness on the weekend.
11 bands take to the stage on Saturday and Sunday hoping that their mix of St. Magnus and Saints Come Marching In will pick them up the six grand first prize. We cast our eye over them and gave our first dodgy prediction of 2006.
Here is the list of judges who will be casting their experienced eyes and ears over the bands performances this year in Skegness.
For the first time, Australian and New Zealand bands have been ranked on the basis of National, State and District contest results.
Dr Kevin Cameron is an acclaimed music educator and conductor based in Adelaide, South Australia.
4BR has updated the records to show which draw numbers may give your band that little bit of an extra slice of luck come draw time - and which ones won't.
Tim Mutum continues his look at the history of brass recordings on glorious vinyl with the bands that recorded on the famous Fontana label.
Tim Mutum starts a new series on 4BR about the history of brass band recording. He starts with a look at the most sought after records of all - those on the classic Paxton label.
We currently have vacancies for EUPHONIUM & HORN players to complete our ambitious and dynamic teams. We rehearse on Wedn...
Friezland Whit Friday Contest
Venue: Friezland Parish Hall, Oaklands Road, Greenfield,Oldham. OL3 7LQ