The 2002 4BarsRest awards:
Newcomer of the Year
A new award for 2002 – and something of an eclectic one at
that. We have seen quite a few newcomers arrive on the scene this
year, from new conductors, new up and coming players, new composing
talents and even some new prize winning bands and faces that have
caused a bit of a stir or two.
It is therefore difficult to choose who deserves the honour, but
we have tried to pick five who we think have made a fresh mark on
the banding world in 2002. Some may have been around for a while,
but during the year the have made their mark – possibly for
the first time in quite a while. See what you think and have your
own vote. New talent needs nurturing and encouragement.
Cwmaman Institute Silver (Tower Colliery)
It is a fair bet that not many people outside of Wales had even
heard of this band before 2002, but given their fine achievements
in winning the Grand Shield and then following this up by coming
5th at the British Open (and off the number 2 draw), you can bet
your bottom dollar people know who they are now.
John Hudson made his pilgrimage back to the UK for the Grand Shield
and where others just shot themselves in the foot, Cwmaman stepped
lightly through the carnage of “Checkmate” to win by
a short nose from Besses O’ th’ Barn and a host of so
called more “fancied” bands. And just when the chorus
of “one hit wonder” jibes were at their height they
go along and come 5th at the Open. Even though they have struggled
a little in other contests during the year, these two achievements
alone are more than worthy of a very strong and deserved nomination.
Hands up who ever heard of this bloke then prior to the Open? A
few hardy ex military bandsmen and the players of the Staines Band
for sure, but the rest of us?
From Major Who? to Major Talent in the space of two contests –
Ian McElligott has been the new conductor of 2002 who for us has
made the biggest impression. A beautiful military style of baton
work – technically correct, clear as my Grans front window
and with no afflictions of ego on stage. The Major was a delight
to observe and his charges a revelation to listen to as Brighouse
and Rastrick finally found a worthy successor to Allan Withington.
The performances in coming 4th at the Open and 6th at the Nationals
(where they gave a corker of a show off number 1) was very much
a product of a man who knew his business and demanded respect. Watch
out for the combination in 2003.
We first came across this very talented young man at the European
Brass Band Championships in Brussels in May, when we heard his composition
entitled “Four Britten Sketches” win the 2nd European
This was a superbly crafted piece and showed that here was a man
with an innate knowledge of the medium. Therefore we were delighted
to see (and hear) that his “Lydian Pictures” had been
chosen as the Fourth Section set work for the Regional Championships
on 2003. This too is a very special work – three movements
crafted with wit and pathos with plenty for the players and audiences
to enjoy. If only all test pieces were as good as this. If you are
at a loose end come the Regionals, take the chance to get up early
and listen to a lovely bit of writing, whilst we think it worth
a bet that by 2012 he may be the man writing the test piece for
the Championship National Finals themselves.
The new British Open Solo Champion and a young talent with a huge
future ahead of her. Natsumi won the title in Dukinfield with a
breathtaking performance of Peter Graham’s “Brilliante”
that had many wise old heads taking some very short intakes of breath.
In 2001 she had come close, being runner up to Andrew King, but
this year she displayed her full range of euphonium talents to beat
a very strong field. In addition she has played a central role in
the resurgence of Besses O’ th’ Barn with some lovely
solo and ensemble playing in each of the bands performances at top
level contests throughout the year. All this and she makes it sound
and appear so easy. Some player in the making and the Aussies better
watch out come the Ern Keller contest in February.
If anyone in the banding world made a bigger impression in 2002
we would like to meet them. Remember “Breathless” –
no, not the crap film with Richard Gere – but the brilliantly
inventive and quite beautiful sculpture that created so much of
a storm in the tea cups of the blue rinse, hang ‘em high,
Daily Mail brigade?
For those who have seen the sculpture, it remains a thing of beauty
and more importantly asks questions of our so-called proud “heritage”.
The ill informed conservative right had a bit of a field day, until
it was pointed out it was the very organisations who they felt were
losing out on the destruction of the instruments were in fact the
ones who had provided them for the work itself. Brilliant bonkers
stuff from the stuffed shirts – where would we be without
them. Go and see it and smile.
How to vote....
Make sure you read all the articles
for each category before going to the voting