Articles & features: 2009 / International
The ballot boxes have been emptied and the votes counted - and the winners for 2009 are....
There were a lot of brass band contests in 2009. 4BR provides the definitive list of the bands that took away the victors laurels all over the world.
Who are the players (and conductors) who we have chosen as the 2009 4BR Band of the Year? Some great performers from all around the world have made it into our line up, but do you agree with our choices?
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 2009.
Who do you think should be awarded the accolade as the 4BR Band of the Year for 2009. Plenty to choose from isn't there?
Who do you think should gain the accolade as the best stickman (or woman) for 2009. 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?
Which talent do you think made the biggest new impression on the banding scene during 2009? Lots to choose from as someone or something have created a real impression in the last 12 months.
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. All have been of fine quality, so its going to be a pretty difficult choice for you to make.
Who was the best Lower Section/Youth Band in 2009 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 2009 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 2009 - and we don't just mean one that took the winners prize either.
The 2008 4BR Special Award goes to Ian Williams - the recently retired principal cornet player of the Cory Band.
Are these the top 10 young conductors to look out for in 2010 and beyond? Have they got the X Factor to make it to the top?
4BR looks at some of the great last minute ideas for prezzies this Christmas...
4BR casts its eye on another talented young performer who is making a name for themselves in the banding world - Hayley Edmond of West Lothian Schools and Whitburn.
Composer Simon Dobson tells 4BR just who he would have around his dinner table for a good night out and chin wag...
Everyone seemed so upbeat as the new Millennium approached. But what actually happened to all those heartfelt wishes over the next ten years?
In the second part of his exploration of the musical brain, Chris Davies looks at some of the more complex issues which arise when things go wrong.
Composer Andy Scott gives his personal opinion on the tricky question of brass band entertainment.
Selection of postcard pictures from this year's Scottish Open Championships
Plenty to enjoy once more in Perth - from hanging out with some NOBBS to Cary Grant in the gents...
Dreams really do come true in Perth - especially for Fountain City.
The Scots are famous for invention and innovation, but it seems hubris may be added to that list too...
There may have been only six bands but there was plenty to enjoy as Coalburn stamped their class to take the Scottish Challenge Cup.
There was a change at the top of Scottish Youth banding - but what a battle it was to achieve it.
A varied quartet in the Senior Section but everyone deserved a mdeal - even a platinum one...
Things are developing nicely with Perthshire Youth as they won the 16 and under section with some fine playing.
What a great start to the Sunday after 12 brilliant little (and not so little) bands played their hearts out in the Novice Section.
The Scottish Open & Youth Championships round off an exhausting 2009 season this weekend. Perth isn't a bad place to call it a day for a while...
There will be plenty of variation on show at the Scottish Open - but which of the 17 bands will be able to impress the most and end the year on a high?
17 bands will line up to see if their own choice performances will catch the ears of judges Frank Renton and Philip Harper.
Lots to enjoy, even if the selection process to get to compete here is a little bit on the odd side to say the least...
Lots of great music and some well matched bands battle it out for the chance to take home the Scottish Challenge Cup.
If you want to enjoy a great day out of brass playing then make sure you don't miss the Scottish Youth Championships. And, you will be doing your bit to save the banding world too...
These are the men making the decisions this weekend.
Sandy Smith wonders if the banding movement is missing the chance to attract the best composers to the genre instead of relying on more and more 'lego' music.
It's all about having a good time in Newcastle's Bigg Market as well as The Sage at Gateshead's. And girls with little covering and Tricky Dicky are still the star attractions.
A year ending in an apogee of delight as Foden's get spaced out to take Brass in Concert title.
Chris Thomas looks at what was played at The Sage this year and wonders if there is a real desire for musical innovation at the contest.
There was plenty to smile about, curl your toes about and raise an eyebrow or two about at The Sage this year...
There was plenty to enjoy at the bigger and better US open last weekend - even the grub at the Buskers Preview was supersize!
Michael Boo was there for 4BR to report of Fountain City's hat trick victory at the US Open - and they are now heading to the UK...
The entertainers are in town and ready to give it their all - but who will come out on top in the brass band world's version of X Factor.
4BR looks at what will be and what hopefully won't be on offer at The Sage this weekend.
4BR takes a look at the cast list of entertainers lined up for our enjoyment this weekend. Which of these dozen will tickle the fancy then?
These are the men and one woman 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.
Steven Haynes tells 4BR just who he would have around his dinner table for a good night out and chin wag...
4BR puts the current US Open and US National Champion under the spotlight as they get ready to make their debut at Brass in Concert.
Selection of photos from this year's Australasian Open Championships.
4BR talks to one of the UK's leading composers - Judith Bingham. Prague seems a long while ago now, but did the reaction to the piece put her off composing for brass again? Chris Thomas finds out more...
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 - a North American contest with international flair.
The numbers may not be the same, but there was plenty to smile about at Dukinfield Town Hall - even for the man himself...
Belgium provides yet another winner of the top solo prize in the UK - and he deserved every accolade too...
Is quartet playing in danger of becoming extinct? Not if Hammonds Saltaire keep playing as well as this...
A cracking contest with a cracking winner - and a player we will be hearing more of in the future for sure...
It was all about potential in the Junior Slow Melody contest - and all nine performers showed that in full - especially the winner...
FABB's Australasian Open is a breath of fresh air for contesting downunder. But what does the future hold for the contest?
4barsrest looks back at the 2009 Australasian Entertainment Championship where the 7 bands battled it out over a 30 minute entertainment programme.
4barsrest looks back at the 2009 Australasian Open Chamionship where the 7 bands battled it out on Peter Graham's 'The Torchbearer'.
Are bands growing tired of Pontins. Hopefully not, but there is only so many times you can listen to the Bavarian Stompers.
Tongwynlais have enjoyed a few ups and downs over the years - and now they are certainly on the way back to the top.
There is a difference between First Section in name and Championship Section in performance - and Blackburn & Darwen showed it only to well in victory.
There is no stopping Oldham (Lees) Band as they picked up yet another Pontins title.
A stern and honest challenge - and a great contest won by a smashing performance from Uppermill and Alan Widdop.
Just the ten bands in the Fourth Section and a difficult test piece - but some great efforts, especially from the winners.
4BR looks forward to the weekend where 69 bands head for the North Wales coast to enjoy the October delights of Prestatyn.
There is one heck of a stiff test to overcome on Montage for the competing bands here this weekend. Whoever wins will have the bruises to prove it.
16 bands line up to try and become the 2009 Pontins champion by overcoming the very tough test that is Montage.
Who will be marching to the beat of a winning drum on Saturday. Someone who knows how to play a bit of forgotten Vinter perhaps?
There is a fine line up of well matched bands in the Second Section - all they have to do is get in touch with their 17th century musical roots if they are to win.
Only a small field but plenty to enjoy for two young judges on a great test piece for the bands.
Just the ten bands, but ten good ones, and a cracking test piece to get to grips with too from a talented young composer.
These are the men in the box this weekend in Prestatyn.
The world is getting a smaller place - from Queensland to Prestatyn in North Wales on the same weekend. Guess who got lucky...
4BR looks at the competing bands battling for glory on the weekend.
Dr Nicholas Childs and Black Dyke played a winning hand at the Albert Hall. You wouldn't want to play poker against them that's for sure.
Like Lot's wife, the Nationals can't afford to look back over it's shoulder too often...
There was plenty to keep the audience, conductors and players happy and tested on the weekend with Peter Graham's test piece.
After another year at the Albert Hall, Tim Mutum gives his personal views on what he sees as the problems associated with the National Championships.
Selection of photos from this year's National Championships of Great Britain from London's Royal Albert Hall.
4BR casts its eye on another talented young performer who is making a name for themselves in the banding world - Brendan Caddy of St Pinnock.
Mark Bousie tells 4BR just who he would have around his dinner table for a good night out and chin wag...
There are no givens at a brass band contest - not even for Cory as they head to Kensington to try and win the 2009 National title.
4BR looks at the records of the 20 bands that will take to the stage trying to win the title this weekend.
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 takes a look at Peter Graham's test piece 'The Torchbearer'.
There were plenty of winners and losers around the country this year as Gilbert Vinter's 'Salute to Youth' tested the bands to the full.
These are the three top class men in the box this year.
Tim Mutum delves into the history books to recall the short, but spectacular banding lives of Ferodo, Cammell Laird and Crossley Carpet Works Bands.
Selection of photos from this year's Lower Section National Finals.
There were plenty of surprises in store in Harrogate on the weekend - the place is starting to get exciting...
If you are going to win off number 1 then you had better do it in undoubted triumph - just like Tongwynlais Temperance.
It was squeaky bum syndrome for principal cornets on Triumphant Rhapsody, as Vinter's famous cadenza made for a very uncomfortable time for those on the end chair.
A contest full of good performances produced an early winner from Wales.
Just three years after their formation, Brunel Brass steamed to victory in a cracking Third Section contest.
There was an outstanding winner in the Fourth Section on a day when not too many MDs covered themselves in glory.
Selection of photos from this year's Lower Section National Finals, First Section.
Selection of photos from this year's Lower Section National Finals, Third Section.
Selection of photos from this year's Lower Section National Finals, Fourth Section.
Selection of photos from this year's Lower Section National Finals, Second Section.
John Ward recently enjoyed a fine time at Allan Withington's innovative Conductors Summer School.
If anyone thought they were in for a quiet time of it at Harrogate on the weekend, then think again...
Who will be leaving triumphant from Harrogate we wonder? It's all about seconds on this one, but not for the runner up for sure...
16 top class bands get ready for battle on Gilbert Vinter's classic test piece.
There will be something for everyone to enjoy in the Second Section, but only one band will be doing a highland fling of celebration.
17 well matched bands will try and come out on top with a touch of Scots Miscellany.
Which of 17 bands here will conquer the seven seas and return to their home port with the National Trophy to show for their Ocean travels?
Which of these 17 bands will be able to master the Ocean waves of Goff Richards and become National Champion?
Which of these 19 bands will be able to construct a musical skyscraper to take home the National title?
Plenty of well matched bands battle it out to see who will be able to enjoy the best view from above their rivals on Alta Vista.
These are the men who gave us the test pieces this year - and a little about the music they wrote too.
There are four very experienced adjudicators in the box this weekend in Harrogate.
Can anyone stop Cory taking over the world? At the Open, not even the six best English bands could deny them another major title...
Wiggle and tickle, RSI and even the usual results controversy causing a bit of debate - what more could you ask for at a British Open...
There were plenty of questions asked of soprano players on the weekend - so did the current crop come up to the Titan mark?
4BR asked a real American brass band lover to give us opinions on the British Open, and Bryan Appleby-Wineberg, DMA, was impressed...
Selection of photos from this year's British Open Championships from Symphony Hall, Birmingham.
4BR casts its eye on another talented young performer who is making a name for herself in the banding world - Zoe Hancock of St Dennis and the NYBBGB.
Conductors come and go at the British Open, but the return of David King with Brighouse has caused more than just passing interest from listeners, fans and rivals alike...
Hermann Pallhuber is the man behind the music on the weekend.
Chris Davies casts his eye over Hermann Pallhuber's 'Titan's Progress' and finds plenty of interesting things that have to be overcome...
4BR looks at the track records of the 18 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 18 runners and riders hoping to win the famous Gold Trophy.
There is a fine line up of bands in Birmingham this weekend, but which one can go home with the title?
There was a timely shot in the arm in Manchester on the weekend. Whisper it quietly, but is there a growing demand to listen to brass bands?
4BR's Chris Thomas talks to one of the great tuba players in the brass world - Oystein Baadsvik.
4BR puts the current British Open champion under the spotlight to see what the rest of the season may hold in store
4BR looks at some of the must have deals around for September...
Alan Wycherley tells 4BR just who he would have around his dinner table for a good night out and chin wag...
4BR looks back 30 years and Walter Hargreaves leading Fairey to a thrilling Open victory.
The second half of the contesting year kicks off in Manchester this weekend with the 2009 Great Northern Brass Arts Festival at Bridgewater Hall.
After the recent 4BR Editorial about brass band stereotyping, cartoonist Nezzy gives us a few of his own.
Professor David King in Canterbury 10-15 Aug - Masterclasses and Seminars Band: Woolston Brass Concert: Aurora Centre, Christchurch 15 August
4BR looks at some of the must have deals around for August...
Is there a future for the Nationals in Kensington? 4BR looks at the pros and cons of a few alternative venues...
4BR puts one of the form bands of 2009 under the spotlight to see what the rest of the season may hold in store
4BR casts its eye on another talented young performer who is making a name for himself in the banding world - Illiam Quane of Ramsay Town Band.
In the first of a new five part series, Chris Davies looks at the the musical brain...
Alan Morrison tells 4BR just who he would have around his dinner table for a good night out and chin wag...
What condition is real banding in? Richard Evans wonders if too many bands are forgetting the need for commitment, time and effort...
The banding movement turned out in force in Yorkshire to say goodbye to one of its legendary figures...
4BR looks at some of the must have deals around for July...
Dr Ronnie Kershaw remembers one of the great principal cornet players of his generation - the quiet brilliance of Norman Ashcroft.
David Daws tells 4BR just who he would have around his dinner table for a good night out and chin wag...
Ethnomusicologist Richard Jones looks at other banding traditions around the world to see if we can learn anything to help out own contesting future.
4BR looks back at the first part of the 2009 season. Lots to enjoy and lots to wonder about too...
Has the English National got a long term future? Malcolm Wood asked for the opinions on the weekend.
The English National was well run, compact and enjoyable - but is it still one contest too many?
Black Dyke had everything to lose in Preston at the weekend - but old habits die hard...
4BR's Chris Thomas talks to one of the most exciting compositional talents around - Cornishman Simon Dobson.
There are three men to be impressed in the box at Preston, if bands want to get to Austria next year.
You've seen the masterclass - now read all about PLC's whale inspired music.
All you need to know about the man behind the music at this weekend's contest.
14 top bands, but only one place up for grabs. 4BR looks at the contenders this year for the trip to Linz in 2010.
Has banding devolution got a future in England? We will find out this weekend at Preston as 14 bands battle it out for a passport to Austria.
Malcolm Wood has finally dried out to look back on a great day's entertainment - despite the monsoon weather...
4BR puts one of the real form bands of 2009 under the spotlight to see what the rest of the 2009 season holds in store
Ian Porthouse tells 4BR just who he would have around his dinner table for a good night out and chin wag...
4BR casts its eye on another talented young performer who is making a name for himself in the banding world - Jordan Hall of the Oldham (Lees) Band.
Selection of photos from the 2009 Black Dyke Brass Festival that took place from Friday 29th May – Sunday 31st May at Leeds Metropolitan University and Leeds Town Hall.
4BR looks at some of the must have deals around for June...
Tim Mutum relates the story of the Carlton Main Frickley Colliery Band which this year celebrates its 125th anniversary.
Malcolm Wood looks forward to the Whit Friday extravaganza. Lots of bands, prize money, booze and intrigue. There is even a bit of religion in there too...
Cambridge is a beacon of good taste and refinement - a pity nobody told the footballer's wives that at the Holiday Inn on Saturday night...
There was only one true Master of Space and Time at Cambridge - the 'Little Master' from Fodens - Garry Cutt.
The Masters has always been a contest that has an unique appeal - and a £4,000 top prize helps a lot too...
4BR looks at the 18 bands that are trying to leave Cambridge on Sunday night crowned as the Masters of all they survey - Time and Space included...
Paul Hindmarsh looks closely at this year's test piece - 'Masters of Space and Time' by Bruce Broughton.
The composer of the test piece this year is a man with plenty of honours to his name...
4BR Editor Iwan Fox pays tribute to the man who picks up the Masters Dedicated Service Award this year - the one and only Richard Evans.
4BR has updated all the records you need to know about the Masters contest since it first started in 1989.
4BR looks forward to the Black Dyke Brass Festival which takes place later this month, with its focus on 'Partnering the Past and Fostering the Future'.
Blackpool may be a dark place for some, but not for Rothwell who once again hit Golden Mile form to head back to the British Open.
The long trek to the British Open can either be taken in small steps or in giant leaps like Marsden...
There was a clear winner in the Senior Trophy as Milnrow brought a British classic back to techicolour life.
Lycra, Sunny D and Boots make up - have we have something to learn from the cheerleaders in Blackpool?
These are the six men that have to be impressed in the box this weekend - although we don't know in what section yet...
4BR looks at Spectrum - courtesy of Harry Mortimer's thoughts on the piece back at the British Open in 1969...
4BR looks at the 20 bands taking their first steps towardsthe British Open. No looking back now...
Potentially two steps away from Birmingham, but also just one away from oblivion too. The Senior Trophy has a keen edge of competition at both ends of the results table...
4BR looks at another great classic of the banding repertoire - Herbert Howells 'Pageantry'.
20 bands are just one step away from the Grand Shield and a couple of strides away from the British Open. 4BR looks at the runners & riders who hope to get through on the weekend.
20 budding Grand Shield aspirants line up to try and claim on of the four places up for grabs on Saturday. Pageantry awaits.
Contest Music is the Everest of banding repertoire, a true classic. It also takes some conquering...
20 bands line up to try and qualify from one of the hardest brass band contests in the world.
20 top class bands line up to try and win a place at Symphony Hall in September. The ultimate 'Contest Music' prize awaits then.
Blackpool can be a place of joyous celebration or one of mephitis and micturition. All the bands want though is to get a step closer to the British Open...
There was a superb B Section contest to whet the appetite on the Saturday morning - and a fine winner from Germany.
There was one group of players who thrilled everyone on the weekend - the amazing bunch of high wire soprano stars...
There was plenty to enjoy in Ostend on the weekend - from the fantastic playing of the bands to the beer and the waffles for the locals...
Saturday was all about showmanship - and none came better than Cory as they took the 2009 European title by a massive 8 point margin...
Cory's title was on the line in Ostend, but they took a leaf out of a certain boxer's book to deliver a two round knockout punch...
Selection of postcard pictures from this year's European Championships
Selection of from snapshots this year's European Championships in Ostend
Selection of pictures featuring MD's at the European Championships
Selection of images from this year's European Championships
4BR casts its eye on another talented young performer who is making a name for himself in the banding world - Philip Varley of Elland Youth Band.
The EBBA Conference this year highlighted the different approaches to music education in three European coutries. Malcolm Wood was there to find out more.
Selection of pictures from this year's European Championships Own Choice Section
Selection of postcard pictures from this year's B Section at the European Championships
Selection of postcard pictures from this year's European Championships Set Work
Selection of postcard pictures from this year's European Championships Composers Contest
4BR puts the biggest name in the North of England under the spotlight to find out a bit more about them, their aims and objectives for the rest of the 2009 season.
4BR looks at some of the must have deals around for May...
Simone Rebello tells 4BR just who she would have around her dinner table for a good night out and chin wag...
All you need to know from the names of the winners to the number of performances of Eric Ball's works to be used at the contest since 1978. Go on - bore your friends to death...
Belgium is ever so interesting...
Sometimes being brave isn't enough - Some of these choices really did put the necks on the line...
Three of the best - or worse, from the European Championships of 30 years ago...
Picking the right own choice selection plays a huge part in winning the European title. Some chocies have had little to do with true music making however...
The last time the European came to Belgium, it provided some memorable playing - for the right and wrong reasons...
4BR has a look at the six men in the box this year for both the Championship and B Section contests.
4BR has a look at the two men who have written the pieces for this year's championships: Jan Van der Roost and Bert Appermont
Now in its 16th year, the European B Section is the UEFA Cup of the European weekend - an enjoyable contest and worthy prize, but still a bit of an after thought...
4BR has a look at the selections made by the bands to showcase their abilities to try and become European Champions.
4BR looks at 'From Ancient Times' - Jan Van der Roost's intriguing take on the Flemish rennaisance...
4BR looks at the eleven bands and their records that will hope to leave Stavanger on the weekend crowned as the 32nd European Champions.
11 top class bands will take to the stage at the Kursaal on Friday and Saturday all hoping to become the 2009 Champion Band of Europe.
The European Brass Band Championships return to Belgium for the second time, with the promise of plenty of fun and games at the impressive Kursaal in Ostend.
Snapshots from the 2009 New Zealand Championships.
The Art Deco centre of New Zealand - Napier.
A general overview of the Australian National Championships and A Grade Brass events.
A collection of random shots from the 2009 Australian Band Championships
About the Chief Adjudicator - Professor David King
29 bands competing this year with the guarantee of trophies in all grades staying on home soil.
4BR will be there for the New Zealand Nationals this coming weekend.
4BR casts its eye on another talented young performer who is making a name for himself in the banding world - Eoin Tonner of Carnoustie Youth Band
If there is still such as thing as the Manchester Scene then its to be found at the RNCM and not in a football pub on a Saturday afternoon...
There was no stopping the amazing Camborne Youth Band - six times champions!
Forget the Happy Mondays, it was the Happy Sunday for Sellers International Youth.
It may have been a long contest, but time flew by with some great playing - especially by the eventual winners, Gloucestershire Youth Band.
A cracking contest with plenty of cracking playing - no wonder everyone went away happy.
There was a fantastic display of brass band talent in the entry level section on Sunday - with everyone having a great time.
Saturday 11 April, 2.00pm Junior A & B Test, Hymn and Own Choice Hall One, Seymour Centre Junior A Test: Shine as the Light (Peter Graham) Junior B Test: A Disney Fantasy (Goff Richards) Adjudicator: Professor David King
Friday 10 April, 8.30am Hall One, Seymour Centre Test & Hymn: Call of the Righteous (Lesley Condon) Sunday 12 April, 8.30am Own Choice & Stage March Adjudicator: Professor David King
Friday 10 April, circa 2.30pm Hall Two, Seymour Centre Test & Hymn: Symphony of Marches (Gilbert Vinter) Sunday 12 April, circa 2.30pm Own Choice & Stage March Adjudicator: James Curnow
Chief Adjudicators: Professor David King (Brass Bands) Mr James Curnow (Concert Bands)
Friday 10 April, 8.30am Hall Two, Seymour Centre Test & Hymn: Bandsmans Challenge, Bertrand Moren Sunday 12 April, 8.30am Own Choice & Stage March Adjudicator: James Curnow
If the BFBB represents the banding movement in the UK, then does it reflect one that is in good health or in need of a bit of North Korean democracy...
Friday 10 April, circa. 11.30am Hall One, Seymour Centre Test & Hymn: Dove Descending, Philip Wilby Own Choice & Stage March: Sunday 12 April, circa. 11.30am Adjudicator: Professor David King
9-13 April Seymour Centre University of Sydney Sydney, Australia
4BR puts the current Norwegian Champions under the spotlight to find out a bit more about them, their aims and objectives for the current 2009 season.
4BR looks at some of the must have deals around for April...
4BR's Pat Herak looks forward to the 2009 North American Brass Band Championships, which take place in Louisville, Kentucky this weekend.
Malcolm Wood looks forward to the battles for the five titles at the revamped National Youth Championships this weekend.
There are five titles up for grabs on the weekend at the Royal Northern College of Music.
Paul Lovatt-Cooper gives us the lowdown on his new test piece in the Advanced Section.
With the 2009 Regional Championships at an end 4BR looks at some of the questions the eight Area qualifiers raised, and tries to give some answers too.
Richard Evans tells 4BR just who he would have around his dinner table for a good night out and chin wag...
Paul Hindmarsh reflects on the life and work of the composer of Pageantry and Three Figures.
Tim Mutum looks back at the 66 year sponsorship of the Fairey Band - the last of its type in a banding world now gone...
4BR's Chris Thomas talks to one of the most influential and innovative compositional voices in brass banding - Torstein Aagaard-Nilsen.
A little bit of brass band history was made in all five sections at Stevenage on the weekend.
Can London be turning into a one horse race? If Redbridge continue to play like this it may be some time before anyone else will beat them...
There was a common denominator in the First Section - a ferocious test piece and some great efforts to overcome it to get to Harrogate.
There was plenty to enjoy in the Second Section - especially from the bands that won through to Harrogate via a trip to the USA.
Everything was in the right place at Stevenage in the Third Section - and the winners proved that to claim their victory.
It was a real old battle on 'The Talisman' for all 16 bands on the weekend - but the one with the right name managed to take the title.
So much to enjoy in Dundee this year as the state of the nation north of the border seems to be on the up...
Two into three doesn't go in Scotland - but you won't hear Scottish Co-op or Kirkintilloch complain about that this time around...
A fantastic advert for Scottish First Section banding was won by a fantastic performance from Kirkintilloch Kelvin.
Plenty to enjoy in the Second Section as Arbroath and Annan Town gained their own 'A' grade marks to head to Harrogate.
The Third Section set the whole standard for the championships on the weekend - and a good one it was too, especially from the bands heading to Harrogate.
Short on numbers and unfortunatley short on quality in the Fourth Section - but not on bravery, grit and determination.
From bungee jumps to impressions of Methodist ministers - Darlington has a great deal to offer on a visit...
Sometimes a bit of copying can come in very handy at a brass band contest - just ask EYMS, who won their first Area title for over a decade.
There may have been a great atmosphere outside the hall on Saturday, but inside it was much harder work as GT Group Peterlee gave it high fives to take the title on 'Pentacle'.
Short and sweet - and a class apart as Flookburgh took the Second Section title in considerable style on Sunday afternoon.
A musical coronation for South Milford, but still no sign of Brenda and her jug eared son on Sunday morning...
Despite the brave efforts, the evidence for urgent change in the Fourth Section was clearly on display - even with the winners.
As transitions go, the move to Bedworth is proving to have been close to something spiritual...
40 years after his death, Gilbert Vinter still got one over all 13 bands here in the top section - the winners included.
It was a demanding test of character, technique and musical skill on 'Pentacle', but it was Phoenix West Midlands who were giving it high fives after the result.
Everyone had a great time of it in the Second Section - from listeners, judges, players and MDs. None enjoyed it as much as the winners though we are sure...
It was a beautiful day in Bedworth and fantastic return to form for the winners Cubbington Silver.
21 bands will have been glad to have seen the back of 'The Talisman' - although the top three heading for Harrogate may just disagree...
It's always nice to be able to book in advance for a great weekend away - especially if its like this all the time in Torquay...
The curse continues for another year, but Camborne won't be worrying about that after their victory on Salute to Youth...
Some things didn't work well on the weekend here in the First Section, but for the winners Poole it certainly did.
There was a performance to savour in the Second Section, as Camborne B delivered an A+ victory on the weekend.
Fun and games and plenty of excellent playing in the Third Section as the West shows who is best once again...
A marathon contest in the Fourth Section, but some cracking qualifiers will head to Harrogate. The rest of the country has been warned!
There is always a welcome in the hillsides in Wales - although not always for their own brethren...
It was all about reaching the 8th step in Swansea on the weekend - and for David Read, only Cory managed to make it...
Never has a pack of Paracetemol been used to better effect here on the weekend - for celebrating bands with bad heads to helping with quintuplet rhythms...
From Cardiff to Harrogate via America - a good job some Welsh bands are good travellers then...
The Once and Future King - no, not Barry John, but there were a few cracking performances here the greatest of them all would have been proud to have called his own.
Forget the awards for the winners, they should have been handing out VCs for Valour in the Fourth Section...
They are still packing them in at Stevenage - 76 bands and counting this year. A great two days of battle is in store then for a region on the contesting up.
They tend to give a decent Salute in the capital to victors, so will the big guns do the business on a classic bit of Vinter to win through to the Albert Hall?
Do you know a 16 sided shape is called a hexadecagon? These 16 bands should have no trouble with a Pentacle then
Which of these 17 bands will strike up a special relationship with this piece of musical Americana?
Pearly Kings and Queens are more the London thing but lets see what these bands make of a bit of King Arthur
The Talisman has been causing all sorts of problems all over the country, so how will the 16 bands here fare with it?
Domestic pride or national success? Its a hard balancing act when Celtic pride is at stake in Scotland.
How will the bands north of the border tackle Gilbert Vinters masterful work?
Pentacle is all fives and threes a bit like one of those drunken Highland flings on Burns Night. Someone must be good at that here then
The Scots have made their mark in the New World over the years, so which band will be able to celebrate with a bottle of Bud come the weekend.
They know a thing or two about mystic Kings and all that up here, so no troubles with this bit of make believe then for the Scots
Just five bands make it to the starting blocks here and it cant be much fun with such a stern test piece to be played either.
There is always a great sense of spirit and banding adventure in the North East, and they are starting to get a bit of national contesting success to go with it too.
With Reg Vardy aiming for eight in a row, is there anyone who can stop them raising another victory Salute?
A closely matched group of bands will be trying to make musical sense of the fives of Pentacle to gain two qualifcation spots for Harrogate.
Just six bands looking to seek a trip to Harrogate courtesy of Dan Prices musical journey through the USA
Nine bands will seek Arthurian inspiration to get them to Harrogate on the weekend, Which two will pull the qualification swords out of the stone then?
Its a tough old test of musical character in the Fourth, but who will find their way thought the minefield that is The Talisman to get to Harrogate?
If you ever wondered just what it takes to try and conduct a top section band to glory at a high pressure regional contest...
Sometimes banding isn't enough. What you really need is to rub shoulders with true greats...
The perennial dark horse of Yorkshire banding took the title on Sunday night. No one will under estimate Rothwell now then...
There was a sense of Law and order about Wakefield Metropolitan's win in the First Section...
It was a happy return to Holme territory for Duncan Beckley on the weekend, as he led his band to another regional victory. He has plenty to his name now...
An enjoyable affair in the Third Section, where a young band from Garforth became once and possibly future champions...
A decade is a long time in banding - but well worth the wait for Maltby Miners Welfare.
The days of over crowding, bad backs and dodgy burger vans are now long gone in the Midlands
Which of the 13 well matched bands here will be giving a victory Salute come Sunday night?
16 bands hoping to gain two qualification places for Harrogate as long as they can master the fives of Pentacle.
A well matched field of bands in the Second Section all keen to see if they can find western inspiration to take them north up the M1 come September...
A big old field of bands ready to find out if they are made of the right stuff to get to Harrogate via a bit of Merlin and Co
Its like a return to the good old days a Fourth Section packed with bands!
As always there is always a warm and friendly atmosphere down in Torquay - now all it needs a bit more headline contesting success...
Can Mount Charles overcome the dreaded curse of the defending champion and become the first band in well over a decade to retain their West of England title?
A strong line up of 14 bands all aiming to make the most of a very difficult set work and gain a trip to Harrogate. High fives for someone on Pentacle then on Saturday?
Another 14 band field will set their musical sights westwards to find the musical inspiration to head north to Harrogate in September.
This should be a test piece right up the street of most of the bands down this neck of the woods Arthurian legend and all that. Cant ask for anything more can they now?
A strong field of bands here, all looking for a place at Harrogate courtesy of The Talisman and a favourable decision from Paul Norley and Simone Rebello.
There is an argument for quality over quantity, but Wales is getting short on numbers…
Can Tredegar hold onto its title or will normal Cory contesting service be resumed on Sunday?
Pentacle is all about fives and threes by all accounts in Wales thats a prop forward and a second row then.
West is best they say in certain parts of Wales, and by all accounts America is named after a bloke from the Principality too. The bands should feel at home then
The Welsh can lay claim to King Arthur being one of their own, so the bands shouldnt have a problem with separating fact from fiction on the weekend
Not even a scrum full of bands this year to tackle The Talisman. At least it will be all over in time for the rugby then
From Albert and the Lion to Hitler, via banding history and the Welsh diaspora. Blackpool has it all...
Fodens created their own bit of history on the weekend, but the contesting Gods didn't smile on everyone...
High fives for Wardle Anderson Brass as they work out the way to Harrogate via musical Pentacle route.
Cracking piece, cracking playing, but New World Sketches did catch a few out. Not Oldham (Lees) though who delivered a performance that Barack Obama would have been proud.
A contest that had something for everyone - from plenty of cracking playing to the odd crackpot bit of percussion work. No problems for Dobcross though as they took the title in fine style.
It may have been a piece of cake for Eccles and a few others on the Sunday morning, but The Talisman certainly didn't do the majority any favours as a piece to get them to Harrogate.
Yorkshire provides brass band contesting with its emotional heart beat, so is it still pumping away strongly or is it in need of a bit of pacemaker help?
A great contest in prospect as Black Dyke look to defend their title on Salute to Youth.
The bands that want to try and make it to Harrogate will have to overcome one heck of a tricky test from Graham Cole and his Pentacle. Who will be giving it high fives then?
Which of the 12 bands here will seek inspiration from the New World of Dan Price?
12 bands will look for a bit of Merlin inspired magic on the Arthurian legend on Staurday which could spell success or disaster?
Just the 9 bands take to the stage on Sunday morning looking to see if they can master The Talisman and book a ticket to Harrogate.
Malcolm Wood was at the RNCM in Manchester on the weekend where Stephen Sykes took a white knuckle ride to become the Radio 2 Young Brass Soloist of the Year.
A collection of photographs from the 2009 Ern Keller International Soloist and Band of the Year
4BR wonders what Gilbert Vinter would have thought if he had been asked to 'Salute' today's youth instead of that of the early 1960s...
4BR looks at the latest facts and figures as the brass band movement prepares for its annual health check around the country. Are we in good shape this year?
4BR lloks forward to the thrills and spills, controversy and classic music making over the next few weeks as the Regional championships kick off.
Paul Hindmarsh delves into the musical detail of the test pieces that will be performed during the Regional contests in March.
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 create even more history of their own at the Winter Gardens?
Will any of the bands here really get to grips with a fearsome test piece. Or will it be last man standing to get to Harrogate?
The North West has plenty of strength in depth at this level, so which one of these dozen will win through on Sunday?
Whoever gets through here could well be one of the favourites come Harrogate itself, but they first have to work out the winning formula from the King Arthur legend.
A great line up of bands on the Sunday all set for a battle royal on The Talisman. Whoever wins has a great record to uphold in Harrogate.
Selection of pictures from this year's Norwegian National Championships, Elite division own choice.
Selection of pictures from this year's Norwegian National Championships, Elite division set work.
Selection of postcard pictures from this year's Norwegian National Championships
4BR looks at the little and large must haves for February...
Richard Evans returns to the 2009 Queensland Brass Association Youth Brass Band Camp held in conjunction with the McGregor Summer School in Toowoomba January 7 - 17, 2009.
Malcolm Wood made it through the snow to Manchester on Sunday and was rewarded by an excellent night's brass competition at the BBC.
Its all about the generation game in Norway - and they haven't thought of getting Bruce Forsyth involved either...
It was still up for grabs on the Saturday in Bergen - but an Eikanger 'Make Over' settled things once again.
The foundation of Eikanger's 11th National victory came with a bit rococo Arthur Negus would have been proud of...
Tertnes have had more promotions recently than a local branch of MFI, but they won't worry about that after they recorded a stylish win.
There was a clear cut victory for Kleppe on the Friday - all done in time for a few celebratory drinks with MD Russell Gray.
No lack of ambition in the Third Division - great from the winners Tromso, but not so realistic for some others...
Plenty to enjoy, but plenty of questions to be asked too in a Fourth Division that was in fact two contests in one.
Who has won what and when since the Norwegian Nationals started in 1979.
The foundation base of Norwegian banding continues to grow - both new and old.
There is plenty to look forward to in the Third Division - especially as the bands usually have a taste for the classics of the banding repertoire.
Another promising contest in store in the Second Division with 13 well matched bands all hoping to do enough to gain another step up the Norwegian promotion ladder.
4BR casts its eye over the 12 bands hoping to make the step up and join the Elite bands in Norway this weekend.
Paul Hindmarsh recently talked to Edward Gregson prior to his work being used at the 2088 British Open Championships
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 2010 European Championships. Can Eikanger retain their title?
4BR will be in Bergen this weekend to bring you a flavour of one of the most exciting brass band championships in the world - the Norwegian Nationals.
4BR looks ahead to the 32nd Yeovil Entertainment Contest this weekend - with not a spare seat to be had for the first open contest in its history.
4BR puts the Butlins Mineworkers Champions under the spotlight to find out a bit more about them, their aims and objectives for the next twelve months.
Malcolm Wood looks back on a day of brilliant entertainment in Blackpool that is still need of a bit of marking research from the organisers.
4BR casts its eye on another talented young performer who is making a name for himself in the banding world - Andrew Ashworth of the Oldham (Lees) Band.
Tim Mutum looks back at the coverage given by The Daily Herald newspaper, one time owners of the Nationals, to the most famous of all brass band competitions. If only it was like this today...
Black Dyke's Brett Baker has been in conversation for 4BR with Ian Bousfield of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.
Two of the best players in the banding world tell us who they would like to share a curry with...
The 2009 RNCM Festival of Brass really was an inspirational three days of high class brass playing on the weekend - all topped off by a Canadian violinist dancing his way from Ilford to Norwich...
Allan Littlemore recalls the life and brass band times of Teddy Gray - the former principal cornet of the Fodens Band.
With the effects of Credit Crunch and the recession starting to tell, what position are our leading UK bands in to ride out the financial downturn? 4BR investigates.
Malcolm Wood looks forward to the Action Medical Research Youth Championship in Blackpool this Sunday, as the best young brass entertainers showcase all their talents.
4BR's Chris Thomas look forward to the RNCM Festival of Brass in Manchester this weekend.
Selection of photos from the Championship Section Set Work contest at this year's 2009 Butlins Championships.
Selection of photos from the Championship Section Entertainment contest at this year's 2009 Butlins Championships.
Butlins is growing in importance, but is still having to overcome a few teething problems in the process - from a cold hall to confusing results.
Harrison's Dream turned to a Harrison's nightmare for some bands on the Saturday, but the best bands took their chance to try and lay at least one hand on the famous Warwick Vase Trophy.
It was still all up for grabs on Sunday morning as it all came down to the entertainment stakes - and the chance of claiming the 7,000 top prize.
Innovation and inventiveness from the organisers, hard graft and a play off final for the top six bands in the First Section as Blackburn & Darwen finally took the 'hostile' honours.
21 bands battled it out in true Crusade fashion in the Second Section, but it was East London Brass that finally flew the victors standard come the announcement of the results.
It may have been cold enough to freeze the wotsits off a brass monkey but Shirebrook MW Unison produced a red hot performance to take the Third Section title again.
There were Four Noble Truths to overcome in the Fourth Section, but only one over the moon winner in Eccles Borough - and all for a second time in a row.
There was plenty to enjoy on the Sunday morning as the three youth bands produced some wonderful entertainment in the Butlins Youth Championship.
Jack Hornsby, as a member of the group from Toronto Brass, writes on Australia's inaugural 2009 Byron Brass Summer School.
There is a very experienced mix of musical knowledge in the box on the weekend from Frank Renton to Simone Rebello.
There are a quartet of fine works being used at Skegness on the weekend in the lower sections - from the Crusades to the noble Dukkha truth via Haydock and Hostile Skies...
4BR looks forward to the return of the Butlins Youth Championships - a contest coming full circle 35 years after it started at the Royal Albert Hall.
18 bands line up to see if they can master The Four Noble Truths of brass band contesting play the notes, in the right place, at the right time and in the right key? A nice fat cheque for the winners of 1,500 is up for grabs for the band that can.
We have a look at the 12 bands that will be trying to get to grips with a lovely reminder of a fine composer Stuart Pullins Haydock Variations.
Once more into the breach so to speak as 21 bands don their chain mail and head for a bit of Crusading glory at the Lakeside.
We cast our eye over the massive entry of 26 bands that will be trying to master the musical element of Richard Granthams Hostile Skies on the weekend. Who will be the sunshine boys then?
4BR Editor Iwan Fox has a look at 'Harrisons Dream a classic tale of someone looking for a time and place in the world of seafaring.
12 bands take to the stage on Saturday and Sunday hoping that their mix of seafaring time keeping and fair entertainment will gain them the £7,000 top prize.
Forget the credit crunch, Skegness will be full to the rafters this weekend as all the bands, players and supporters pile in to enjoy the test pieces and the entertainment once more.
4BR puts the scouting spotlight on 14 year old Sam Chapman - one of the star performers of 2008, and a player with an exciting future ahead of himself.
4BR looks at some credit crunch buster deals for those looking for something in the January Sales...
Soprano superstar Kevin Crockford tells us who he would like to invite to come to dinner...dead or alive.
4BR's Chris Thomas talks to the man who brought us one of the most iconic works for brass band and finds out that he is still busy composing, but not for brass - at the moment...
Frozen in time in 1969. What ever became of John Carr's 'Four Little Maids'?
40 years ago a seismic change occurred in the banding world - Spectrum had arrived by the man who changed all our thinking on test pieces for brass bands.
What will 2009 hold for the banding movement? 4BR asked the Welsh version of Mystic Meg to see if she could see how it will all pan out....
In a major new series of articles for 4BR, Paul Hindmarsh examines aspects of the brass band repertoire of the past 100 years.
Deepcar Brass Band
CORNETS - Front row/Repiano seat available at 4th section Deepcar Band. Fun sociable, atmosphere. Varied programme of music a...
South London Fellowship Band
Venue: The Salvation Army. Sheringham Corps. Cremer Street. Sheringham. Norfolk NR26 8DZ