Articles & features: 2008 / International
Who are the players (and conductors) who we have chosen as the 4BR Band of the Year for 2008? Some great performers from all around the world have made it into our band. But do you agree with our choices?
4BR looks back on the year that was 2008 - full of events, comings and goings and even the odd contest or two...
There have been literally hundreds winners in 2008 - 4BR has the definitive list of those who enjoyed wearing the victors laurels in the past year.
The ballot boxes have been emptied and the votes counted - and the winners for 2008 are....
This year we have decided to hand out a few alternative gongs to those we felt deserved something special to remember 2008 by.
With a bit of help from Charles Dickens, 4BR tries to warm the cockles of your hearts, with a story of the true meaning of a banding Christmas...
Steve Chislett of the Wessex Brass Band Association makes a plea for help - for the benefit of all in the banding movement.
Which talent do you think made the biggest new impression on the banding scene during 2008? Lots to choose from as someone or something have created a real impression in the last 12 months.
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 2008.
Who do you think should be awarded the accolade as the 4BR Band of the Year for 2008. Plenty to choose from isn't there?
Who do you think should gain the accolade as the best stickman (or woman) for 2008. 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?
We have some of the greatest talents in the world within our movement, but whom do you think was the one absolute star of the year?
There have been some fine recordings released by numerous bands during the past 12 months, but which one did you think was the best of the lot. There was plenty to choose from.
Some of the very best performers in the movement have released CDs this year although not a bumper year in terms of number. All have been of fine quality though so its going to be a pretty difficult choice for you to make.
Who was the best Lower Section/Youth Band in 2008 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.
What was the best piece any band performed during 2008 then? Lots of stuff played - some great, some good, some not worthy of a mention maybe?
Here is a real tricky one for you to vote on. What was the very best contest performance you heard during 2008 - and we don't just mean one that took the winners prize either.
The 2008 4BR Special Award goes to the Norwegian Band Federation - Norges Musikkorps Forbund.
Its seems in 2008 history is repeating itself from 30 years ago. Rising unemployment, falling house prices and Liverpool top of the League. Even Cory were on a winning streak...
4BR looks at some seasonal stocking fillers that would keep any gizmo and gadget fan happy on Christmas Day.
4BR puts the number 1 ranked band in the world under the spotlight to find out a bit more about them, their aims and objectives for the next twelve months.
Bramwell Tovey tells us who he would like to invite to come to dinner...dead or alive (and with a few gatecrashers too).
Selection of photos from the 2008 Scottish Open Championships.
There was so much to enjoy on the Sunday in Perth as the Scots showed just what a mixture of forward thinking and talented youngsters can achieve...
Not even Captain Oates would have felt comfortable in Perth on Saturday night - although there was plenty to raise an extra glass to at the Scottish Open once more...
Rumours of their demise have been greatly exaggerated, as Scottish Co-op reclaim the domestic bragging rights north of the border and send a message to the English to go back and think again...
Winning from the number 1 draw is hard, especially when brass monkeys are looking for something to warm up with, but Kirkintilloch Kelvin didn't seem to mind the weather...
The Scottish Challenge Cup restored musical matters in Perth on the weekend - thanks to George Michael not making another appearance on the contest stage...
Four and half hours of quality brass band playing were to be heard at Dukinfield Town Hall on the wekend at the Tameside Youth Championships - and Malcolm Wood was there to hear it all.
The 2008 season comes to an end in Perth on the weekend - and it has become a great place to finish off a long and exhausting year.
14 bands will line up to see if their performance of 'St. Magnus' will catch the ears of judges Stephen Roberts and Chris Wormald.
4BR first encountered Kenneth Downies great test piece back in 2004.
Eight well matched bands take to the stage to see if they can raise the Scottish Challenge Shield.
8 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.
These are the men in the box on the weekend for the Scottish Open, Scottish Shield and Scottish Challenge Cup.
Sunday sees a day full of high class playing at the Scottish Youth Championships from an amazing 21 bands. There must be something in the water up here...
Allen Woodham, Executive Officer of the National Band Council of Australia, wrote the following article in response to a query from a student earlier this year, who was researching the topic.
Selection of postcard photos from the 2008 Brass in Concert Championships from the sage, Gateshead.
Selection of photos from the 2008 Brass in Concert Championships from the sage, Gateshead. Bands 1-6.
Selection of photos from the 2008 Brass in Concert Championships from the sage, Gateshead. Bands 7-12.
They always want to do things bigger and better in the United States, and it seems they are doing just that at the US Open - led by Fountain City - as Michael Boo found out for 4BR.
There may have been a change in venue at the US Open, but the contest is fast gaining a reputation of brass with class...
What did the girls think about it all then? 4BR asked some experts in the field to give their opinion on the dress sense and Whowr! factor of the men at the helm on the weekend.
4BR gives the lowdown on what worked a treat and what worked like Newcastle United's back four on the weekend at The Sage...
Once more there was plenty to laugh at on the contest day at The Sage. So who were the top funny guys, and who took inspiration from Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand...
Malcolm Wood was given the task to track the YBS Band as they prepared for Brass in Concert. This is what he found out about preparing for the world's most prestigious brass band entertainment contest.
Remember those buzz words of innovation and invention? It seems someone has been listening at last...
Like number 21 buses in the Rhondda, major titles sometimes take ages to arrive - only for another one to appear right behind...
Lots to play for at The Sage this weekend, but will the motivation be the loads of lovely dosh on offer, or the prestige of becoming unofficial entertainment Kings of Europe?
4BR takes a look at the cast list of entertainers lined up for our enjoyment this weekend. Some interesting partnerships will be looking to be as successful in the entertainment game as Morecambe and Wise, not Brand and Ross.
These are the men the bands and soloists have to impress this year.
Who's won what and when. Winners and conductors, best soloists, march prize and all the awards from the UK's premier entertainment competition.
Malcolm Wood and Dave Tinker look back on a day rich in quality if a little low on quantity at Dukinfield Town Hall.
4BR looks back over the past 125 years to see how advertisers have tried to flog us their goods - from busty Besson women to Slack & Cox beer...
Paul Lovatt Cooper tells us who he would like to invite to come to dinner...dead or alive.
From the latest high wonder products to the simplest little bits and bobs and a few that are truly weird and wonderful. 4BR has been out shopping and testing out what's on offer this November.
4BR takes a look at the cast list of entertainers lined up for our enjoyment this weekend at the Dellora Norris Cultural Arts Center in St. Charles, Illinois.
4BR will once again be in Illinois for the US Open Brass Band Championships, for a North American contest with international flair.
Selection of pictures from the 2008 Pontins National Championships from Prestatyn, North Wales.
Plenty to enjoy in the Fourth Section as a great pastiche piece brought out the Elgar in just about everyone - espeically the winners.
Elegance and forensic endevour won the day in a highly enjoyable Third Section as Oldham Band (Lees) took the title with something to spare.
A well chosen test piece and conductors and bands with a bit of common sense made for a pick me up Prozac contest on Sunday morning.
The harsh realities of First Section playing hit home again on Saturday as Eric Ball's Wayfarer proved to be too hard a test for many poorly led bands.
23 years may have passed since his most memorable ascent of the summit, but Major Peter Parkes still knows how to climb thge musical fells in style.
Pontins may be showing its age, but there was still plenty to enjoy on the weekend - even the sight of a severed hand in the gents toilets...
A selection of photographs from the 2008 Australasian Open.
To quote Charles Dickens - "it was the best of times, it was the worst of times"....
Tim Mutum looks at the music of William Walton available to brass bands and reveals how close the great British composer came to writing a major original work for the medium.
"Music for Battle Creek" by Philip Sparke is the chosen one.
A team of three lead the decision making this weekend...
There is an impressive line up of judges this weekend to cast their ears over the performances.
There is always a great deal to enjoy in the Fourth Section and that includes a fine new portrait piece too.
Joseph Horvotiz's lovely Sinfonietta is set to test 12 well matched bands on Saturday afternoon.
Who is able to go the extra Mile and win the Second Section title on Sunday morning?
Which 'way' will the judges 'fare' go on Saturday morning as Eric Ball's subtle work is set to test the bands to the full.
18 bands line up to try and become the 2008 Pontins champion by overcoming the classic test of Cloudcatcher Fells.
Can Powerfuel Hatfield repel the challengers on Sunday, or will there be a new name engraved on the Pontins Trophy this year after a trip through the beautiful Cloudcatcher Fells?
It's a happy 35th birthday to Pontins this year, but the approach to middle age wont stop the partygoers from having a great time we are sure
Seven bands line-up for the inaugural Australasian Open...
The Federation of Australasian Brass Bands (FABB) will hold the inaugural Australasian Open amidst the beautiful backdrop of the Tweed River and Kirra Beach.
4BR puts the YBS Band under the spotlight to find out a bit more about them and their aims and objectives for the next twelve months.
National Australia Brass presented an outstanding debut performance at the 2008 Melbourne International Festival of Brass. Merv Collins reports...
From the latest high wonder products to the simplest little bits and bobs and a few that are truly weird and wonderful. 4BR has been out shopping and testing out what's on offer this October.
Dr Roy Newsome tells us who he would like to invite to come to dinner...dead or alive.
The defining moment can come at any time in a major test piece. But the final chord of a second movement? It certainly caught out nearly all the top soprano players on the day.
Black Dyke in terminal decline then? The obituary writers will have to set their sights on someone else after this weekend.
Misplaced optimism or the first signs of longer term decline at the Royal Albert Hall this year? Some things were not quite right that's for sure.
Selection of postcard photos from the 2008 National Championships of Great Britain from the Royal Albert Hall, London
Selection of photos of the conductors from the 2008 National Championships of Great Britain from the Royal Albert Hall, London
Selection of photos from the 2008 National Championships of Great Britain from the Royal Albert Hall, London
Photos from this years Melbourne International Festival of Brass featuring National Australia Brass as Ensemble in Residence under the direction of Professor David King.
This years West Coast Brass Band Camp was a big success with over 80 brass players taking part from areas such as Westport, Hokitika, Nelson, Picton, Blenheim, Motueka, Riwaka, and Takaka.
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!)
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.
Chris Thomas catches up with the composer of the London test piece to find out more the man and his music.
These are the three top class men in the box this year.
History repeating itself? 4BR looks at the bands who have tried, but failed to make it a hat trick at the Nationals since 1900.
Paul Hindmarsh takes a close look at the latest testing work from the pen of Kenneth Downie.
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.
20 of the biggest performers in the UK line up at the Royal Albert Hall to see if they can bag the biggest pot of the banding year.
Testing times for the Fourth Section bands at Harrogate where a poor choice of set work meant too mnay had to search for the musical life boats.
Easy listening music, well played. It was a bit of a rare thing on the weekend as the Third Section bands did themselves proud.
Picking a winner is one thing, picking a test piece that was totally inappropriate was another in the Second Section...
There were two options to ponder over after the First Section on Sunday - one good, one bad, and not forgetting the ugly too...
It seems Harrogate is now moving slowly to becoming the contest it needs to be - its a pity then that the standard of playing in some sections is moving in the opposite direction.
A selection of photographs from the 2008 Great Northern Brass Arts Festival.
Selection of postcard photos from the 2008 Lower Section National Finals from International Conference Centre, Harrogate.
Selection of photos from the 2008 Lower Section National Finals from International Conference Centre, Harrogate - Section 2
Selection of photos from the 2008 Lower Section National Finals from International Conference Centre, Harrogate - Section 1
Selection of photos from the 2008 Lower Section National Finals from International Conference Centre, Harrogate - Section 3
Selection of photos from the 2008 Lower Section National Finals from International Conference Centre, Harrogate - Section 4
Selection of photos from the 2008 British Open Championships from Symphony Hall, Birmingham.
These are the eight men - all good and true, who will be making the all important decisions this weekend.
Paul Hindmarsh takes a closer look at Sandy Smith's skilful adaptation of a John Rutter suite of style and texture.
19 of the best bands in the land all hoping to carry off the National title with a performance as 'suite' as a brass nut.
Malcolm Wood casts his eye over the 19 bands trying to win a National title by adding a new string or two to their brass bows.
Paul Hindmarsh examines one of the great old classics of the brass band repertoire - Peter Yorke's 'The Shipbuilders'.
20 of the very best Fourth Section bands and a classic old test piece - a winning combination for someone come Staurday afternoon...
Malcolm Wood looks at the Fourth Section contenders and wonders which one will find their sea legs and take the title and which ones may find it a titanic struggle...
Paul Hindmarsh looks more closely at Dean Goffin's masterful work and wonders if the added extra touches will make it even better?
16 of the best bands from around the UK - and all trying to claim the Second Section National title.
Malcolm Wood wonders which of the 16 contenders will be able to wax rhapsodic on Sunday to claim the National title on Dean Goffin's stern test of musical character.
Paul Hindmarsh takes a close look at Philip Sparke's musical portrait of a Nordic King with a strange old name...
17 of the best bands from all around the UK - all looking to head home from Harrogate crowned as First Section National Champion.
Malcolm Wood looks at an impressive line up of contenders hoping to do a bit of Viking marauding to take the First Section National title.
Malcolm Wood looks forward to a weekend of fun and games at Harrogate as the organisers look to add value to the Lower Section Nationals.
The Scots have yet to take the famous Open trophy back over Hadrian's Wall, and they will have to wait another 12 months to go back and try again.
Plenty to enjoy in Brum on the weekend, but it was two small men with huge musical statures who left the happiest.
Different sounds highlighted the day at Symphony - with Fodens producing liquid gold to take the title back to Sandbach under Garry Cutt.
Photos taken by Don Callaghan and courtesy of the Band Association of New South Wales
4BR talks to the man behind some of the most popular and entertaining music being played in the banding world at the moment.
From the latest high wonder products to the simplest little bits and bobs and a few that are truly weird and wonderful. 4BR has been out shopping and testing out what's on offer this September.
4BR has updated its records to find out how the bands from the Grand Shield have fared over the years. Some have come and eventually conquered whilst others haven't been so lucky and have even disappeared from the face of the banding earth.
4BR has updated its stats on the draw once more - and guess what? The stats dont lie draw early and you can just about give up hope of a win
If children in the Manchester years ago had been given one wish they surely would have asked for a day at Belle Vue. A magic kingdom long before Disney got hold of the title. Tim Mutum recalls that it was home to brass bands as well as lions and tigers...
Edward Gregson is the man who brings us his Rococo Variations this year.
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 this weekend. It's a sure fire recipe to lose any fiends you may have...
Paul Hindmarsh has been talking to Edward Gregson about his new work for the Open Championship the background to its composition and the musical detail.
4BR looks at the track records of the 17 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 17 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?
4BR puts the British Open contender under the spotlight to find out more about them and whether or not we think they can be successful in Birmingham and for the rest of the contesting season.
Brighouse & Rastrick win the British Open after a gap of 42 years
Jim Shepherd tells us who he would like to invite to come to dinner...dead or alive.
A taste of what is to come this weekend in Adelaide.
Someone has always had an opinion on adjudication and the best way to do it. Back in 1946 this is what the great Frank Wright had to say...
Bob Thompson updates what has been going on with the Brass Band Aid project in Adet, Ethiopia.
4BR goes back 40 years to find out what was happening in the banding world during the Summer months of 1968...
In the third part of his informative series, Dave Danford looks at the timpani and the options available to players.
From the latest high wonder products to the simplest little bits and bobs and a few that are truly weird and wonderful. 4BR has been out shopping and testing out what's on offer this August.
Frank Renton tells us who he would like to invite to come to dinner...dead or alive.
With the pre season training just about coming to an end, what does the second half of the 2008 contesting season hold for the top premiership bands in the UK?
25 years ago tragedy struck a trip to Germany by the Gwent Youth Band.
In the sixth of our series, 4BR puts a band under the spotlight to find out more about them and whether or not we think they can be successful in 2008 and beyond. This time it's BTM who have come a very long way in their short history.
Selection of photos from the 2008 New Zealand Championships, Parade of Bands. Photos by Giselle Clarkson and Amanda Casagrande.
Kiwi contest convert from Oz comments on the highly contested B Grade section...
Brisbane Excelsior were annointed as the best competing band in the Southern Hemisphere...
Selection of photos from the 2008 New Zealand Championships. Photos by Giselle Clarkson.
Selection of photos from the Band of the year contest from this year's New Zealand Championships.
Selection of photos from the B, C and D grades from this year's New Zealand Championships. Photos by Giselle Clarkson.
Selection of photos from the A Grade at the 2008 New Zealand Championships. Photos by Giselle Clarkson.
From the latest high wonder products to the simplest little bits and bobs and a few that are truly weird and wonderful. 4BR has been out shopping and testing out what's on offer this July.
4BR's Chris Thomas made up the numbers to witness an intriguing contest to find the best young brass band conductor of 2008.
Pat Herak was in Ohio to enjoy the 2008 OBAF - with plenty of highlights on offer too.
Lots of first time appearances for many in this section...
Lower grades are well represented this year...
The B Grade contest is alive and well with nine bands entered...
Seven New Zealand bands plus three from across the Tasman Sea make for a tightly contested event.
Who they are and what they will be adjudicating.
This weekend see the 128th New Zealand Brass Band Championships take place in Christchurch.
Peter Roberts tells us who he would like to invite to come to dinner...dead or alive.
The Corinthians of Grimethorpe retained their title at Preston thanks to a belief in their own abilities as players and a quite inspirational MD...
An air of quiet satisfaction in Preston - so was it the 'Hot Pot' or the success of the Championships this year...
This weekend sees the third running of the English National Championships. Thankfully England is not at the Euro football and there are plenty of top class bands to keep people in the hall
15 of the best bands in England line up to see which one of them can be crowned the National Champion of their country and win a trip to Ostend in 2009.
4BR has a look at Robert Redheads set work Infinity' and wonders whether or not it will be ...and beyond any of the conductors and their bands on the weekend.
There will be three wise men in the box at Preston at the weekend all with infinite patience and wisdom...
In the fifth of our series, 4BR puts a band under the spotlight to find out more about them and whether or not we think they can be successful in 2008. This time it's Virtuosi GUS a band with a proud past and it seems, an encouraging future.
Can the BFBB speak with 'One Voice' for us all, or are we still talking with different accents on different agendas? 4BR found out more at the latest BFBB seminar in Birmingham.
4BR looks back through time to see how bands coped with keeping themselves busy during the non contesting Summer time.
In a follow up to his series on classic LPs, Tim Mutum picks his selection of some of the classic CD releases since 1985.
The great girls of Boobs & Brass recently made the long trip north of the border to Alyth in Scotland - and had a fantastic time according to Maggie Betts.
Dave Danford continues his series of how to build a percussion section of instruments that will do just the right job.
In the first of a new series, Dave Danford looks at how to build a percussion section that will do just the right job for you.
Alan Morrison poses one of the most pertinent current questions in banding.
From the latest high wonder products to the simplest little bits and bobs and a few that are truly weird and wonderful. 4BR has been out shopping and testing out what's on offer this June.
Philip Harper tells us who he would like to invite to come to dinner...dead or alive.
Two European contests on one weekend and both with the same old complaints about the result. What would Terry Wogan make of it all at Cambridge we wonder?
It was more a question of style and substance rather than form and function that won Desford the Masters title on the weekend.
4BR's Malcolm Wood was there all day soaking up the Whit Friday atmosphere - as well as the odd bit of rain and spilt beer...
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.
4BR looks at the 21 bands that are trying to leave Cambridge on Sunday night crowned as the Masters of all they survey.
Martin Ellerby is the man behind the test pice this year.
4BR looks at Martin Ellerby's test piece - a warm and affectionate musical homage, but one full of illusion too.
Sir Malcolm Arnold had a rich and varied musical life - as The Guardian remembered on his death in 2006.
4BR talks to a true gentleman of the brass band world, Trevor Groom, who is being honoured this weekend.
4BR has updated all the records you need to know about the Masters contest since it first started in 1989.
4BR has been out and about assessing the brightest and the best young brass players around to find out who are likely to be the superstar players of the future. We've been to Wales, Yorkshire, North West and West of England - now it's three of the bes
From the latest high wonder products to the simplest little bits and bobs and a few that are truly weird and wonderful. 4BR has been out shopping and testing out what's on offer this May.
4BR's Chris Thomas talks to the total musician that is Christian Lindberg.
In the sixth of our series, Derek Broadbent tells us who he would like to invite to come to dinner...dead or alive.
The greatest free brass band show on earth in here again - let's hope it stays fine though.
Blackpool is full of many things - from Tinkerbell to conspiracy theorists in chip shops...
It may be the hardest contest of them all to win, but when you do its well worth the wait - just ask Leyland and BTM...
Elgar Variations proved to be a stern test for the British bands, but it was a Belgian mastercraftsman who once again showed his class...
The Senior Trophy had just about all the rigt ingredients this year - from a great old test piece to a slightly controversial result.
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 who will say 'Goodnight Vienna' and leave the desperation of Blackpool behind...
We cast our eye over the 20 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.
4BR takes a much closer look at Philip Wilby's masterful treatment of Mozart.
Which of the 19 bands here will be taking a step closer to the British Open by mastering a very English variation on an Elgar theme.
19 quality bands line up here to tackle a very English inspired set work, to try to gain one of the four gilt edged promotion places to the Grand Shield.
4BR looks a little closer at Martin Ellerby's 'Elgar Variations' to find out what the secret theme is to potential success...
Potentially two steps away from Birmingham, but also just one step away from oblivion too. The Senior Trophy has a keen edge of competition to it at both ends of the results table...
18 bands line up to see if they can take the first step up the ladder that leads to the British Open.
4BR looks closer at one of the true classics of the brass band repertoire - Percy Fletcher's 'Epic Symphony'.
Here are the six men who will decide the banding fates on the weekend in Blackpool.
After a successful championships in Norway, what does the future hold for the Europeans?
Stavanger maybe a city rich on oil - but it still rolled out the barrel for the brass bands on the weekend...
The foundation for the first Welsh win in 28 years was laid on the Friday night as Cory very nearly touched perfection...
The title was still up for grabs come Saturday afternoon - and a truely memorable climax to the 31st Championships unfolded...
The Italians of Pfeffersberg - with a little help from the Welsh, English and Australians held onto their title in fine style - as Malcolm Wood found out...
Iwan Fox looks back at the Conductors Competition and a night when great prospective talents locked horns with something very weird...
Malcolm Wood reports on the EBBA Conference which saw a number of exciting ideas starting to bear fruit.
Not only are the eyes and ears tuned into the Championship Section battle, but there is plenty of other exciting events going on too this year in Stavanger...
On the eve of the European Championships in Stavanger, 4BR talks to Allan Withington - the man with the contesting Midas touch
All you really need to know about the European Contest to impress your friends. If you have any that is if you know this lot...
All you need to know from the names of the winners to the number of performances of Eric Balls works to be used at the contest since 1978. Go on - bore your friends to death...
4BR has a look at the two men who have written the pieces for this year's championships Hkon Berge and Craig Farr.
4BR has a look at the six men in the box this year for both the Championship and B Section contests.
4BR looks at Hakon Berges Brass Blot - a piece of intrigue and intellect.
4BR has a look at the selections made by the bands to showcase their abilities and try and win valuable points to become European Champions.
4BR looks at the eleven bands and their records that will hope to leave Stavanger on the weekend crowned as the 31st European Champions.
Each of the 11 bands will be hoping that they have all the right ingredients in place in their team to take the title back home with them come Saturday night. Or do they? 4BR looks at their potential strengths and weaknesses...
4BR looks forward to the Championship Section contest. Can Brass Band Willebroek make it a hat-trick or will the famous trophy head for a new home come Saturday night?
4BR looks forward to the 31st European Brass Band Championships and the delights of the open port of Stavanger.
With so much to enjoy it may seem things don't need to change here at these championships - but they do...
There was a major disappointment in the Premier Section, but it wasn't the fine effort from West Lothian in taking the title.
There was great deal of expectation before this contest - and it all lived up to the hype with plenty of fantastic playing.
An enjoyable County battle saw Hampshire retain their title in Gold standard style.
The long contest day started off with a renewel of rivalry between two very good Schools bands.
The Junior Section was a delight, but one played out on a slightly lopsided playing field.
Tim Mutum casts his expert eye over two iconic releases from the 1980s - the last decade before the age of the CD release changed things forever...
Tim Mutum casts his expert eye over two iconic releases from the 1970s.
In the first of a new series, Tim Mutum looks closely at two iconic recordings from the 1960s.
Malcolm Wood was on hand to enjoy a weekend of music making and internet filming at Leeds Metropolitan Universaity.
4BR looks at the state of the brass band nation - in stark unforgiving numbers. Are we in good health around the country or in the first stages of terminal decline...the stats speak for themselves.
The cream of youth banding in the UK will do battle at the RNCM this weekend. The numbers may be down but hopefully the quality remains just as high.
4BR looks forward to the bands playing at the RNCM this weekend - and tries to predict who will come out on top...
4BR looks back at regional championships - the good, the bad and the ever so slightly controversial...
Lots of questions before hand but after a great weekend NABBA has much to be pleased about.
Fountain City are now the band to beat - and maybe on both sides of the Atlantic in future.
There was a great deal to enjoy in the Honors Section with a number of classy performances battling it out for thetop 'honor' itself.
There was a great atmosphere at the Tameside Hippodrome as the bands did battle in the first post Regional contest of the year.
From the latest high wonder products to the simplest little bits and bobs and a few that are truly weird and wonderful. 4BR has been out shopping and testing out what's on offer this April.
Darlington and the North of England contest is a friendly place to visit - even the coppers are nice to you too...
Reg Vardy came to the contest facing contesting hell - they left though in seventh heaven.
Interesting wasn't the word for it in the First Section - No. 'Absolutley superb' were the two that mattered...
Dick's Barton were the special agents in the Second Section as they booked themselves a place at Harrogate once again.
When are 8 here better than 8 there? When Peter Robert says so - we think...
One of the best performances of the entire 2008 regional championships was the highlight of a cracking contest
Snapshots and comments from our roving reporters, Deb Geayley and Allan Wardrope.
Those expecting an historic, closely fought battle were not disappointed.
In the fourth of our series, 4BR puts a band under the spotlight to find out more about them and whether or not we think they can be successful in 2008. This time it's Mount Charles - the newly crowned West of England Regional champion.
This month we delve into the history books to find out about the brass band recording scene of 1949, and the entrepreneurial skills of a certain William Gaskell of Jamco Records.
In the fifth of our series David Read tells us who he would like to invite to come to dinner...dead or alive.
4BR looks at the 2008 North American Brass Band Championships, which take place in New Albany, Indiana this weekend.
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 North America.
4BR looks at the bands taking part in the Honors Section at the Championships, which equates to the First Section on the east side of the pond.
4BR looks at the challengers in the Challenge Section itself as they strive to claim their own version of the Second Section National title.
4BR takes a look at the bands in the Explorer Section of the NABBA Contest.
We take a look at the Open and youth bands that will be competing at the 2007 North American Brass Band Championships.
Parade of Bands Saturday 24 March Brisbane
Some new faces boost the Fourth Section this year up to an encouraging 13 bands, and it should prove to be a cracking contest on a cracking piece.
Eight bands will see if they can produce something from the dark side to book their place at Harrogate by impressing Peter Roberts.
10 well matched bands will try to be their inventive best to overcome the stylistic difficulties of Kenneth Downie's delicate work in what could be the best contest of the weekend.
A closely matched group of bands get set to tackle Gilbert Vinters test piece, but which of them will come to grips with a work that is proving to be a very stern test indeed around the country.
With Reg Vardy aiming to be in seventh heaven, the question is, can anyone stop them?
There is always a warm welcome here in Darlington, and through hard work the numbers are on the increase too.
4BR has been out and about assessing the brightest and the best young brass players around to find out who are likely to be the superstar players of the future. We've been to Wales, Yorkshire and the North West - now it's three of the best in the West
This month we delve into the history books to find out who have been the top dog conductors at the regionals since 1945.
The posh people may call it Saint Evenage, but it still has a sports centre with knobs on - and a pretty good place to hold a brass band contest it is too.
Are Redbridge and Avely & Newham becoming the brass band version of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs? If they carry on winning here they may get sponsored by Microsoft...
Not often the Goths get in on the act at a brass band contest, but they did here, although they didn't come from Jersey.
Lots of speculation, but it was pretty clear who were the best bands here on the weekend.
Damp and cold outside, but in the main hall it was Littleport on red hot form to take the Third Section title.
The largest field of contenders it may have been, but for Hemel Hempstead the big prize of victory was accompnaied by a tiny reward...
Who they are and what will they be adjudicating...
Brisbane City Hall Adjudicator: Stephen Roberts Test Music: Dances and Alleluias, Philip Sparke Hymn and Test Selection Saturday 22 March 3.15pm Own Choice Selection and Stage March Sunday 23 March 2.45pm
Brisbane City Hall Adjudicator: Peter Adams Test Music: Main Street, Eric Ball Hymn and Test Selection Saturday 22 March 2.00pm Own Choice Selection and Stage March Sunday 23 March 2.00pm
One of the great names in North West banding continues to make history for itself as Fodens make it a hat trick of titles on Festival Music.
It was a question of experience in the First Section as Colin Cranson used 30 years or more to get Roberts Bakery to the finals as champion.
An enjoyable contest and a fine winner here as the bands just about got to grips with Downie's very tricky test piece.
It was a question of keeping the best till last here as Oldham (Lees) took the title in what was a cracking contest for everyone to enjoy.
A huge field for Geoffrey Whitham to enjoy and ponder over - and according to him, he seemed to enjoy the lot!
Brisbane City Hall Adjudicator: John Thomas Test Music: The Shipbuilders, Peter Yorke Hymn and Test Selection Saturday 22 March 12.15pm Own Choice Selection and Stage March Sunday 23 March 2.00pm
Brisbane City Hall Adjudicator: Dr Peter Morris Test Music: Anglian Dances, Alan Fernie Hymn and Test Selection Saturday 22 March 10.00am Own Choice Selection and Stage March Sunday 23 March 9.00am
A disappointing number of bands in the Junior sections this year, with only five bands in total making up the three grades - three bands from New South Wales, one from Victoria, and one from Queensland.
20-24 March Brisbane City Hall
23 bands provided the adjudicators with a marathon test of stamina on the weekend, but it turned out to be a highly enjoyable one with some great performances on show.
Things are looking up in the Midlands - great new venues and great new performances. Just bear a thought for the bloke who used to run the burger van at Burton...
A fantastic new venue, fantastic bands, fantastic audience and a fatastic test piece. Old time banding was back in the Third Section and made for a great contest.
An attention grabber right at the end saw victory head for Coventry in the Second Section on a piece many took too lightly...
A huge field but still the same problems - not many found their sea legs in Bedworth - apart from the qualifiers of course...
After the problems of Burton, Bedworth was a new era in the Midlands, with a old winner nonetheless.
There were plenty of things that went right in Glenrothes on the weekend - including a Scottish rugby win and a long overdue victory for a certain band...
Nine years is a very long time to get a monkey off your back - but Whitburn finally did it on the weekend with the help of a little bit of Russell Gray magic.
James Cook once again tested the bands to the full and beyond, but the two qualifiers certainly found their sealegs and will be confident travellers on the shorter trip to Harrogate.
The bands in the Second Section never quite enjoyed the Downie 'Invention' on the weekend, but the top two qualifiers did more than enough to win through in style.
The space race came to Glenrothes on the weekend, and the Scots certainly had two bands who went into orbit.
Eight good performances of Rodney Newton's work just left the one question. Why no Glasgow or Aberdeen movement?
4BR had a great time in Torquay at the weekend and perhaps we’re a good omen too?
The dreaded curse did strike again, but that wasn't the only talking point in the Championship Section on the weekend.
The storm clouds gathered both outside and inside at Torquay on the weekend, but it was Helston that made the most of their musical journey on the high seas.
Plenty of foundations laid here - from the great winners to the plain speaking of the judges. Something to keep everyone interested then...
The Dark Side of the Moon really tested the large field on the weekend, but lots of the competitors found the journey into space much to their liking - especially the winners.
A huge field for the judges to contemplate over, but when it came to it, the quality rose to the very top...
This is what the four youngsters thought about each of the performances in the Third Section in Bradford on Paul Lovatt-Cooper's 'The Side of the Moon'.
4BR teamed up with Peggy Tomlinson and the Regional committeee at Bradford a couple of weeks ago to put on the first ever Childrens Adjudication Panel in the Third Section.
After the thrills and spills of 'Super Sunday' the spotlight falls on the 82 bands that take to the stage in Stevenage.
The top bands south of the Watford Gap line up to get to grips with Eric Balls excellent work and to see which of them will tickle David Horsfields fancy.
James Cook has been a severe test all around the country, so can the best bands here steer themselves through potential choppy seas.
Kenneth Downies work should be an enjoyable contest in the Gordon Craig Theatre for Steve Pritchard Jones to judge.
Whose going to be looking on the bright side of the moon never mind the 'Dark Side' as Paul Lovatt Coopers work gets the London contest underway on Saturday morning?
A huge field of bands for Steve Pritchard-Jones to listen and ponder over, but who will be looking forward to the Autumnal season the most and a trip to Harrogate?
Success at rugby and now football? Welsh banding had a lot to compete with on the weekend, but may see the benefits in 2009 as a result.
All things must come to an end - from Fidel Castro to Cory's dominance at Swansea as Tredegar topple the Welsh dictators.
It may have ended up the same old result but only Newbridge (Celynen) really enjoyed their trip on the high seas on the weekend.
They may be back slighlty greyer and with fuller waistlines, But Point of Ayr still know how to win a brass band contest.
Sometimes its handy if you live in a place that sometimes resembles the dark side of the moon - because Blaenavon certainly made the most of it in winning here.
There may have been less numbers here than the Welsh pack of forwards at Croke Park, but Cross Keys still stamped their class in retaining their title.
From the latest high wonder products to the simplest little bits and bobs and a few that are truly weird and wonderful. 4BR has been out shopping and testing out what's on offer this March.
In the third of a new feature, 4BR puts a band under the spotlight to find out more about them and whether or not we think they can be successful in 2008. This times its Carlton Main Frickley one of the most famous names in banding history.
Chris Thomas catches up with Rodney Newton, composer of Four Cities Symphony, and much, much more...
In the fourth of a new feature Alan Jenkins tells us who he would like to invite to come to dinner...dead or alive.
This year Yorkshire had a bit of everything - from great performances to great grub and even a 41 year old youngest player...
Brass banding in its most elemental form - the Championship Section just about had it all...
Nostalgia isn't what it used to be - but it was good enough for Skelmanthorpe on the weekend.
The bands that adhered to Plato came out on top here on the weekend. Read on...
Everyone had a great time in the Third Section - the bands, the players, the conductors and especially, the winners...
10 bands providing a fine morning's entertainment - the Fourth Section contest had plenty to enjoy.
The Midlands can offer no less than 82 bands across the sections - all competing for that ultimate goal of National glory. As always, the region will be closely fought so expect thrills, spills and surprises galore.
The usual huge field for the judges to ponder over, but which of the bands can make the most of their musical travels around Rodney Newton's score to head for Harrogate?
A big old field of well matched bands and a great test piece could give Malcolm Brownbill and David Lancaster a most enjoyable headache...
Twelve bands line up to see who can produce the best home made inventions to tickle the fancy of John Roberts and David Lancaster.
A large old field of 18 bands will have to battle against a very difficult set work if they are to eventually set sail for Harrogate in September.
Which of the twelve well matched bands here will be keeping their eyes on the Ball to gain a trip to the RAH?
As always there is always a warm and friendly atmosphere down in Torquay, and it appears that some sort of contesting osmosis has taken place too…
Can PolySteel become the first band in well over a decade to retain their West of England title or will the reigning champions curse strike once again?
A good strong line up of bands will take to the stage here with just the one aim in mind - a voyage to Harrogate.
A full line up of bands for the judges to enjoy and ponder over. But which ones will be able to re-invent themselves for a trip to Harrogate.
They have a few dark going ons to do with the moon in this neck of the woods, so which of these bands can eclipse Paul Lovatt-Coopers work and head to Harrogate.
A huge field of bands for Peter Roberts and Rob Wiffin to enjoy and place in order some job, but made the better with a great choice of test piece.
Domestic pride or national success – it’s a hard balancing act when Celtic pride is at stake in Scotland.
How will the best bands in Scotland get to grips with Eric Balls Festival Music? It promises to be a real battle of the clans this year with the added bonus of a ticket to Ostend in 2009 too.
The First Section in Scotland promises to be the closest at this years Scottish regional. But who will make that step up into Scotlands premier banding league?
The Scots are well known as inventors of some note, but whose notes on invention will take them to Harrogate?
They do tend to see the moon a lot more up here (British Summer Time was invented to help the Scots farmers out) so these should be expert performances then?
Eight bands this year up from six from last time out, and all wanting a trip to Harrogate. Lets see what their musical tour guides make of Rodney Newtons test piece first though
The one thing bands in these parts enjoy doing is competing against each other – so Sunday should be a great day of domestic battles then…
Can Fodens retain their title and become the most successful regional winning band in North West history - or can someone stop them?
Will any of the bands here will get to grips with Gilbert Vinters great work and get Chris Wormald to send them on an epic journey to Harrogate and possible further glory?
Which of the bands here will be able to invent something spectacular to catch the ear of John Maines and planning their arrangements for Harrogate?
Whoever gets through here could well be one of the favourites come Harrogate itself, but they first have to work out their way to the dark side of the moon and back.
A great line up of bands on the Sunday to do battle on Rodney Newtons Four City Symphony.
They may be back to winning at the rugby, but Wales needs to ensure that it doesn’t lose any more of its bands.
Can anyone stop Cory from yet again taking the title this year it could be seven in a row if someone cant.
Not quite James Hook outside half, but James Cook Circumnavigator for the bands to tackle here to claim a place at Harrogate.
Should be a well matched contest this as the bands get to grips with Kenneth Downies fine set work.
According to Max Boyce a Welshman called Morgan the Moon also landed on the old lump of rock, so who will be able to blast off to Harrogate from Swansea on the weekend?
Slightly down on numbers this year but still a whole host of bands ready to show plenty of hwyl to get to Harrogate?
Four of the most talented young brass players in the country locked horns in Cardiff to see if they could get through to the Concerto Grand Final in May.
Yorkshire provides brass band contesting in its most elemental form so what a cracking way to start this years Regional Championships by coming to Bradford.
A fantastic contest is in prospect here as the 12 bands tackle Festival Music. With two already booked into their hotels for October there should be a tremendous scrap to see who joins them.
The bands that want to try and make it to Harrogate will have to overcome a classic piece from the pen of Gilbert Vinter.
Which of the 11 bands here will be the most inventive on Kenneth Downies fine set work?
10 bands will reach for the stars on the weekend to see if they can be inspired by the dark side
10 well matched bands should provide some excellent early spring time contesting on the Saturday morning, but which ones have been doing their homework on the four cities in question?
From the latest high wonder products to the simplest little bits and bobs and a few that are truly weird and wonderful. 4BR has been out shopping and testing out what's on offer this February.
Some snaps from the big day....
It would seem that each year the Ern Keller Memorial keeps getting better - in more ways than one.
There was a feast of entertainment for everyone to enjoy at Blackpool last weekend - with Rochdale once more coming out as champions.
There was a fantastic diet of diverse brass pieces played at the contest - and this is what each band played.
900 years of culture, commerce and high beer prices - Bergen and its brass bands have come a long way - honest.
Odin proved to be a great choice for the best bands to get to grips with this year - and get to grips with it they did, in fine style.
It was all guns blazing on the Staurday, but it was Eikanger who blasted their rivals away in quite brilliant style to take the 2008 title.
A First Division contest that did exactly what it set out to do - and benefitted from some great performances as a result. British banding, are you listening?
The first contest of the championships provided an excellent aperitif for the main courses to come - and a fine winning performance too.
Despite having to take place at the same time as the Elite bands, there was plenty to enjoy inthe Third Division, especially if you liked classics from brass band history.
Who said getting fat was bad for you? Not here in the Fourth Division where aan ever expanding field is a true sign of a healthy banding movement.
4BR looks ahead to the jamboree that takes place in Blackpool this Sunday as the best young brass entertainers take part in the Action Medical Research Youth Entertainment Championships of Great Britain.
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 2009 European Championships. Can Stavanger retain their title or can someone else stop them?
'Odin Revisited' - Arthur Butterworth in conversation with 4BR's Christopher Thomas.
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.
4BR looks at the test piece Arthur Butterworths colourful Odin' - a piece that fully deserves to be heard more at the highest level.
4BR casts its eye over the 12 bands hoping to make the step up and join the Elite bands in Norway this weekend.
4BR casts its eye over the 13 bands hoping to fight their way out of the Second Division at Bergen.
A big old field of 15 bands will be performing their own choice selections to open adjudicators in the Third Section and they have chosen some pretty ambitious works too. Could be interesting then.
19 bands are set to take part in the Fourth Section as the growing stature of banding in the country bears fruit. The standard is improving and so are the ambitious choices of repertoire.
Who has won what and when since the Norwegian Nationals started in 1979.
There was a lot of music to be played on the weekend, and this what the bands thought would tickle the fancy of the man in the box.
Wales may have won at Twickenham for the first time in 20 years on the weekend, but the Yeovil Entertainment title remained firmly in the grasp of a very impressive English band.
This month we delve into the history books to find out what was happening in the brass band world at various times in February from 1965 - 1998.
4BR has been out and about assessing the brightest and the best young brass players around to find out who are likely to be the superstar players of the future. We've been to Wales and Yorkshire - now it's three of the best in the North West.
In the second of a new feature, 4BR puts a band under the spotlight to find out more about them and whether or not we think they can be successful in 2008. This times its Unison Kinneil celebrating its 150th birthday this year.
In the third part of a new feature Peter Meechan tells us who he would like to invite to come to dinner...dead or alive.
With bands still getting a raw deal from the BBC, Paul Hindmarsh masterminded a fantastic weekend of brass playing at the RNCM.
Yeovil celebrates its 31st anniversary this year. Does it opt for comfortable middle age spread or try and regain the exciting vigour of its youth - all based on comments made by two of the movements most experienced adjudicators.
14 bands will line up to do battle at the Octagon Yeovil this weekend to see who will claim the 31st title and the 2000 first prize.
David Hirst is this year's man in the box.
Chris Helme reports from the NABBC Convention, which was held in Bolton on the weekend.
Bruce Myers took some time out on his recent trip to Wales to talk with Jeff Hutcherson, Bedwas Trethomas and Machen’s (BTM’s) bumper up and band manager. Bruce reports:
The man behind the success of the RNCM Festival of Brass talks to Chris Thomas about what's in store this year and possibly beyond...
Chris Thomas looks forward to the treats in store at the RNCM this weekend - which all starts tonight with Black Dyke.
Skeggy has it all - except the Lower Section National Finals. How about it then?
It was life, but not as we knew it at times on the Saturday, as the 10 contenders battled with the idiosyncrasies of Cyril Jenkins old pot boiler...
Innovation and quality playing were the keys to success on the Sunday - and Desford just had enough of both to retain their Butlins title and pocket the 6,000 top prize once more.
A mammoth 24 band battle finally saw Skelmanthorpe once again prove that they are nigh on unbeatable with their backs to the sea and some Gregson on the stands.
It was a battle between the Red and White Rose for the top honours in the Second Section where Haslingden & Helmshore eventually took the honours is fine style.
In what was overall a disappointing contest it was Shirebrook MW who made the most of Ewald's 'Symphony for Brass'.
Eccles put the cherry on top of their musical cake with a commanding winning performance of Simon Dobson's difficult, but enjoyable 'Ldian Pictures'.
Richard Evans has given the thumbs up to the Queensland Brass Association Youth Brass Band Camp held in conjunction with the McGregor Summer School in Toowoomba January 9 - 19, 2008.
10 bands take to the stage on Saturday and Sunday hoping that their mix of Life Divine and divine entertainment inspiration will pick them up the six grand first prize.
Skegness will be full to the rafters once more this weekend as all the bands, players and supporters pile in to enjoy the test pieces and the entertainment once more.
4BR Editor Iwan Fox has a look at 'Life Divine' - classic piece of brass band music or nothing more than a intriguing curiosity with a second hand title.
We cast our eye over the massive entry of 24 bands that will be trying to make musical sense of the history books of Kings and Queens and take home with them the cracking first prize.
We cast our beady little eyes over what should be a keenly contested contest as 15 bands get to grips with the wilds of Alberta posed by Derek Broadbent's test piece.
We have a look at the 11 bands that will be trying to get to grips with Michael Hopkinson's descriptive arrangement of Ewald's Symphony for Brass.
19 bands line up to see if they can master Simon Dobson's Lydian Pictures. A nice fat cheque for the winners of £1,500 is up for grabs for the band that can.
These are the works being used in the First to Fourth Sections on the weekend.
There is a very experienced mix of musical knowledge in the box on the weekend - oh... and Frank Renton.
In the first of a new feature, 4BR puts a band under the spotlight to find out more about them and whether or not we think they can be successful in 2008. First up is Wingates.
In the second of our new feature Chris Wormald tells us who he would like to invite to come to dinner...dead or alive.
Alun F Wiliams, Head of Brass for Gwent Music Support Services wonders if any progress has been made in sorting out youth contesting since the last time he asked two years ago.
From the latest high wonder products to the simplest little bits and bobs and a few that are truly weird and wonderful. 4BR has been out shopping and testing out what's on offer at Woodwind & Brass this January
This month we delve into the history books to find out what the brass band media hoped to see come true with their New Year resolutions over the past 45 years
4BR was in Cleakheaton to see the men in the box for 2008 put three of the regional test pieces under the microscope.
4BR has been out and about assessing the brightest and the best young brass players around to find out who are likely to be the superstar players of the future. We've been to Wales - now it's three of the best in Yorkshire.
PRINCIPLE CORNET PLAYER wanted for DUNCHURCH BAND. We are a friendly Concert Band in the Midlands. We also have a vacancy for...
Lofthouse Brass Band James Shepherd Versatile Brass
Venue: Outwood WMC, Ledger Lane, Outwood, Wakefield, WF1 2NS WF1 2NS
FTCL, LTCL, DipMusEd, G.Mus, LDBBA, QTS
Conductor, adjudicator and teacher