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 2003 European Championships

 26 April-4 May 2003

The Competing Bands and their Conductors

4BR starts its coverage with a close look at the 11 bands and their Musical Directors that will be trying to win the 26th European Championship and hold aloft the trophy designed by Christopher Milton Stevens and first used in 1981.

Lots of things have changed since then (including the number of countries now in the European Union) but the spirit of European banding remains strong and Bergen will host the contest for the third time with pride - and a very professional organisation.

There are some very fine bands here this year, but only YBS and Willebroek return from Brussels in 2002. The first part of the contest - the set work will be undertaken on Friday 2 May with the own choice selections being played the next day. It should be a cracker.

Brass Band Willebroek - Belgium
Conductor: Frans Violet

Principal Cornet: Raf Van Looveren
Principal Euph: Stef Pillaert
Principal Trombone: Walter Hoeckx
Soprano: Bert Van Thienen

4BR Ranking: 26

European Appearances: 12 (1986, 1987, 1988, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 2000, 2002, 2003)

European Record: (set work/own choice)

1986: 8th overall – 5th/ 10th
1987: 5th overall – 2nd/ 9th
1988: 7th overall – 8th/ 7th
1990: 10th overall - 10th/ 8th
1991: 4th overall - 6th/ 1st
1992: 4th overall – 4th/ 5th
1993: 1st overall – 5th/ 2nd
1994: 6th overall – 2nd/ 9th
1995: 3rd overall – 2nd/ 5th
2000: 7th overall – 7th/ 7th
2002: 2nd overall – 2nd/ 3rd

All performances have been directed by Frans Violet.

Own Choice works used:
Fantasy for Brass Band – 1986
Pageantry – 1987
Year of the Dragon – 1988
Frontier – 1990
Variations on an Enigma – 1991
Partita – 1992
Variations on an Enigma - 1993
Harmony Music – 1994
Sea Pictures – 1995
Between the Moon and Mexico – 2000
Dove Descending - 2002

Best Performance: Winners 1993
Last Year: Runners - Up

2003 sees the 1993 winners make their 12th appearance at these Championships, and overall they have a record to exceptionally proud of. In addition to that victory in Plymouth they can boast finishes in every position of the top six since they made their debut in Cardiff in 1986. On each occasion they have been conducted by the gifted Frans Violet, who has the driving force behind the band since it was formed in 1979. The band receives financial support from the Flemish Government and as well as being “Cultural Ambassadors of Flanders Abroad” it also receives financial help from the city of Willebroek itself.

In 1980 the band won the C Division of the Belgium National Championships, and then the B Division the following year. In 1985 it won the first of its Premier titles and since then they have won their National Championships in 1986, 1987, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1999, 2001 and 2002. The latter victory was gained on the set work “A Kensington Concerto” by Eric Ball.

The band has also been very successful abroad and in addition to their European success they have won the World Music Contest in Kerkrade and Swiss Open in 2001 as well as winning brass festivals in England and Holland.

In 2002 they were runners up to Yorkshire Building Society, whilst a breakdown of their record shows why they feature so well at the contest – They have won the own choice section of the contest once, as well as coming 2nd and 3rd, whilst on the set work they have come 2nd on four occasions – three times in their past four appearances.

Conductors details:

Frans Violet has been the driving force behind the emergence of Brass Band Willebroek as one of the leading bands in Europe since he helped found the band in 1979. His father was a musician of note and started Frans on the trumpet at the age of eight. One year later he enrolled in the music academy in the evening to take further tuition and played in a fanfare band with saxophones, flugel horns, trombones and basses.

At the age of 15 he attended a Conservatoire where he graduated within two years receiving 100% pass rate in the main musical exam. Upon leaving he joined BRT – Belgium Radio and Television orchestra where he stayed for five years. He then started to teach in Willebroek and starting with just four players he increased it to a full band compliment and BB Willebroek was born. Sine then he has directed the band in all of its successes, including the 1993 European success as well as their 12 National titles.

He is also a familiar face to those band lovers in the UK and took CWS Glasgow to 3rd place at the 1993 British Open and 10th place in 1995. He also directed SWT Woodfalls at the 2002 National Championships of Great Britain where they came 18th.

Yorkshire Building Society – England (Reigning Champions)
Conductor: David King

Principal Cornet: Stuart Lingard
Principal Euph: Michael Howley
Principal Trombone: Simon Cowen
Soprano: Peter Roberts

4BR Ranking: 5

European Appearances: 8 (1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003)

European Record: (set work/own choice)

1996: 1st overall – 1st / 2nd
1997: 1st overall – 2nd/ 3rd
1998: 4th overall – 1st/ 8th
1999: 1st overall – 4th/ 1st
2000: 1st overall – 1st/ 2nd
2001: 1st overall – 3rd/ 1st
2002: 1st overall – 1st/ 1st

All performances have been directed by David King

Own choice works used:
Revelations – 1996
Pageantry – 1997
Blitz – 1998
Harmony Music – 1999
Dove Descending – 2000
Montage – 2001
Concerto Grosso – 2002

Best Performance: Winners in 1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002
Last Year: Winners

The Yorkshire Building Society Band have been the most successful band at the European Championships since they made their debut at the contest in Bergen in 1996. Since that time they have gone on to win the overall title on six occasions and to win either the own choice or set work section of the contest on no less than 7 times.

The band was formed from the ending of the Hammonds Sauce Works Band in 1994 and were initially invited to play in Bergen in 1996 on the strength of their runners up place at the 1995 National Championships, whilst the same thing happened again in 1999 after they were runners up again in London in 1998.

David King has been the catalyst behind their successes which have also included three British Open victories, two All England Masters titles, twice Yorkshire Area Champions and Grand Shield winners. In addition they were the 2001 4BR “Band of the Year” and remain unbeaten at the European contest since 1998 when they came 4th. Victory this year would make them the first band in the history of the contest to win five years in a row.

Conductors details:

Australian by birth, David King is regarded as one of the most dynamic figures in the world of brass today. With an enviable record of musical accomplishments and successes both as an instrumentalist and conductor he is at the forefront of music education and is Head of Performance Studies at the University of Salford, the largest music department in the British university sector.

David King studied Trumpet and Cornet at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and music education at Avondale College, NSW, where he studied choral conducting with Alan Thrift, graduating in 1978. In 1982 as Australian cornet champion he was awarded a scholarship to study band musicianship at Salford College, Manchester, where he graduated with distinction in Performance in 1985.

In Britain David King pursued a distinguished career as a cornet soloist and was 'North of England Solo Champion' on three occasions (1983/84/85). He represented the United Kingdom as 'British Open Solo Champion' and won the prestigious title 'International Brass Musician of the Year' in Auckland, New Zealand in 1992.

In December, 2000 David King graduated from the Institute for Social Research, University of Salford, with a Doctor of Musical Arts degree majoring in Performance.

As a conductor Dr David King holds a prominent position in Europe and is revered as one of the most successful conductors on the concert and contest platform in the last decade. He has represented England in the European Brass Band Championships on eight occasions as a conductor and has won the title seven times, twice with Black Dyke Mills Band (1990 & 91) and six times with the Yorkshire Building Society Band (1996/1997/1999/2000/2001 and 2002)

Brass Band Lyngby Taarbaek – Denmark
Conductor: Jesper Juul Soerensen

Principal Cornet: Connie Trolle
Principal Euph: Bo Bollmann
Principal Trombone: Mette Kruger
Soprano: Lars Haedersdal

4BR Ranking: 91

European Appearances: 3 (1997, 1998, 2003)

European Record:

1997: 9th overall - 8th/ 10th
1998: 11th overall – 11th/ 10th

All performances have been directed by Jesper Juul Sorensen

Own Choice works used:
1997 – An Epic Symphony
1998 – Fantasy for Brass Band

Best Performance: 9th place in 1997
Last Year: Did not qualify

The Lynby – Taarbaek Band was formed in 1989 and is attached to the Municipal Music School of the same name. In its short existence it has established itself as one of the leading brass bands in Denmark and won its first National title in 1993.

That victory was under the direction of Henrik Vagn Christensen where they played “2nd Sinfonietta for Brass” and their own choice selection of “Dances and Arias”. They followed that by winning the title for a second time in 1996 under their current conductor Jesper Juul Sorensen when they played “Un Vie de Matelot” and “Year of the Dragon”. That led to them taking part in the 1997 European Championships in London where they came 9th in the field of 12 bands and were 8th on the set work “Salamander”.

They competed again in 1998 in Kerkrade, although not as Danish Champions where they came 11th overall in the 12 band field.

They won the National title for a third time in 2002 playing “Festival Music” and their own choice of “Montage” to qualify them for the Championships once more, whilst in both 2000 and 2002 they have won the Danish Silkeblaes Entertainment contest.

Conductors details:

From the details we have been able to translate from the website of the band, Jesper Juul Sorensen is the trombone soloist for the Denmark Radio Orchestra, a position he has held since 1997.

He was awarded his Diploma from the Det Kongelige Danske Musikkonservatorium in 1997 and went onto study in Chicago under Arnold Jacobs and also in Paris under both Benny Sluchin and Jacques Mauger. He has been the Musical Director of the band since 1995.

Brighouse and Rastrick - England
Conductor: Ian McElligott

Principal Cornet: Alan Morrison
Principal Euph: Steven Miles
Principal Trombone: James Stockdale
Soprano: Alan Hobbins

4BR Ranking: 6

European Appearances: 4 (1981, 1998, 1999, 2003)

European Record:

1981: 1st overall (N/K)
1998: 1st overall – 2nd/ 1st
1999: 4th overall – 1st/ 8th

James Scott directed the band in 1981. Allan Withington directed the band in 1998 and 1999.

Own Choice works used:
1981 – Fantasy for Brass Band
1998 – Contest Music
1999 – Variations on an Enigma

Best Performance: Winners in 1981 and 1998
Last Year: Did not qualify

One of the most famous names in brass band history has amazingly only competed at the European Championships on three occasions before this year. In 1981 the band represented England as National Champions and won the title under the baton of James Scott. This victory coincided with the bands centenary.

The band however decided not to defend its title the following year and so it was not until 1998 when the band once more won the National title that they appeared again. Once more they kept up their 100% record of success by winning the title in Kerkrade under Allan Withington, whilst the following year they came 4th overall.

The band has won all the major contests in the banding world and has been Open Champions on 6 occasions, National Champions on 7 occasions, All England Masters three times, Yorkshire Area winners, Granada Band of the Year and BBC Band of the Year in addition to its two wins at the European.

Conductors details:

Ian McElligott was born in Yorkshire into a musical family; his mother, a concert pianist and father, a percussionist. At the age of seven, Ian commenced studying the trumpet before undertaking professional tuition with Jack Mackintosh, Denis Wedgewood and the legendary John Wilbraham.

In 1974, Ian joined the Army as a professional trumpet player. Later, he successfully completed a three-year course in advanced music studies at the Royal Military School of Music, Kneller Hall. Upon graduation, he won awards for arranging and compositional skills, choral works, conducting, and academic achievement. Additionally, he became an Associate of the Royal College of Music, London and Licentiate of the Royal Academy of Music, London.
By 2000, Ian had risen to the rank of Major, and upon completion of a particularly successful and rewarding career as a Service musician, he relinquished his final appointment as the Director of Music to the Band of Her Majesty's Coldstream Guards.

As a professional musician, Ian continues to receive commissions for compositions and arrangements, which include writing for the BBC. He conducts the Staines Band following its recent promotion to the championship section of the brass band movement, and receives invitations to conduct other ensembles.

In July 2002, Ian was delighted to accept the appointment of Professional Conductor to the Brighouse & Rastrick Band. He immediately enjoyed success - leading them to 4th at the 2002 British Open and 5th place in the National Championships a month later.

Brass Band Normandie - France
Conductor: Phillippe Gervais

Principal Cornet: N/K
Principal Euph: N/K
Principal Trombone: N/K
Soprano: N/K

4BR Ranking: No Ranking

European Appearances: 5 (1996, 1997, 1999, 2000 – 1st Section, 2003 – Championship)

European Record:

1996: Winners 1st Section – 1st/1st
1997: 4th 1st Section – 4th/4th
1999: 2nd 1st Section – (no split placings)
2000: Winners 1st Section – 1st/1st

All performances directed by Philippe Gervais

Own Choice works used:
1996 – The Plantagenets
1997 – Salute to Youth
1999 – Essay
2000 – English Heritage

Best Performance: Winners 1st Section 1996 and 2000
Last Year: Did not qualify

Brass Band Normandie were formed in 1994 after their conductor, Philippe Gervais came to London for the National Finals and found that he was a convert to the British brass band. As Director of a Music School in Deville he formed the band and they took off immediately with success.

In 1996 they entered the 1st Section of the European Brass Band Championships in Bergen and won in style with two performances including the set work “Ocassion” by Edward Gregson that saw them victorious by a point from Toolo Brass from Finland. In 1997 they came to London where they came 4th overall before returning once more in 1999 in Munich were they came runners up to BB Frosch Hall.

In 2000 they won the 1st Section for the second time, on this occasion by a ten point margin from Toolo and so they richly deserve the opportunity to make their debut in the Premier Section this year.

Conductors details:

Philippe Gervais received a rich and diversified musical education – firstly from his father an organ buider and then as a student of Georges Bleu at the Conservatoire National de Region of Rouen under Pierre Pollin and Marcel Lagorce and finally under Pierre Thibault at the Conservatoire of Paris.

He became a full time musician with the Ensemble Orchestral de Normandie and took part in recitals with Maurice Andre and Jean Pierre Berlingen. He is currently teaching at the Conservatoire of Lillebonne Notre Dame de Gravenchon and is the Director of Orchestras of the Music School of Deville, where he formed BB Normandie in 1994.

Brass Band Groeningen - Holland
Conductor: Siemen Hoekstra

Principal Cornet: Johan Van der Laan
Principal Euph: Frans Aeart Burghgraef
Principal Trombone: Martin Veenstra
Soprano: Theo Halmingh

4BR Ranking: 66

European Appearances: Debut
European Record: Debut

Own Choice works used:
Best Performance:
Last Year:
Did not qualify

The Provinciale Brass Band Groeningen was formed in 1980 by founder players with an interest in traditional style brass banding who wanted to play at the highest level and give talented players a chance to improve their musical skills. 23 years later this remains their founding principle for the band that comes from the small village of Zuidwolde near the city of Groeningen.

The band has competed in the Netherlands Brass Band Championships almost from the first year of its existence and first tasted success in 1986 when they became Division 2 Champions playing “This Happy Isle” by Gareth Wood. Since then they have moved up two sections to compete at the highest level and capped their record of achievement in 2002 when for the first time in their history they became National Champions playing “Lac Leman” by Derek Bourgeois conducted by Siemen Hoekstra.

In addition in 1988, 1990 and 1991 the band won the KNF contest and at the Bicentennial Australian World Championships the band came 4th, following that with a concert tour of New Zealand. For this occasion they released a CD.

Conductors details:

In August 1998 Siemen Hoekstra started conducting the Provinciale Brassband Groningen. Siemen was born in 1966 in the small frisian village Akkerwoude, nowadays a part of Damwoude.

After his highschool period Siemen studied trumpet and conducting at the M.P.A in Leeuwarden, followed with a study at the Sweelinck Conservatorium in Amsterdam. Siemen's trumpet teacher at the Sweelinck Conservatorium was Peter Masseurs. Siemen studied conducting with the teachers Jan de Haan, Dirk Annema and Gerrit Fokkema.

In 1991 Siemen started playing with Joop van den Ende, a well know man in the Netherlands. Since then he cooperated with the musicals Les Miserables, Cats, Phantom of the Opera and Miss Saigon

Krohnengen Band - Norway
Conductor: Ray Farr

Principal Cornet: Unni Renate Moe
Principal Euph: Eldfrid Nerland
Principal Trombone: Ashild Kalvoy
Soprano: Monica F. Nilsen

4BR Ranking: 76

European Appearances: 2 (1990, 2003)

European Record: (set work/own choice)

1990: 6th overall – 3rd /10th

Own Choice works used:
1990 - Journey Into Freedom

1990 performance directed by Helge Haukas

Best Performance: 6th in 1990
Last Year: Did not qualify

Krohnengen make their second appearance at the European Championships this year after accepting the invitation to compete following the withdrawal of the Swedish representatives. Krohnengen were founded in 1969 and they won their first National title in the Norwegian 2nd Division in 1986 under the baton of Allan Withington. Four years later they won they only Elite National title when conducted by Karl Ole Mitbo they took won playing “Blitz” and went on to represent their country in Falkirk.

They came 6th overall – coming 3rd on the set work “The Essence of Time” but it is only in 2003 that they return to challenge once more, this time under the direction of Ray Farr. At the Norwegian National Championships in 2002 they were runners up to Manger whilst at this years contest they came 6th.

Conductors details:

Ray Farr (b. 1948) was educated at the Birmingham School of Music and at the Royal Academy of Music. After 10 years as a professional musician with the BBC Radio Orchestra he started his career as a conductor. Ray has appeared in hundreds of concerts around the world and in some of the finest concert halls including the Royal Albert Hall and the Sydney Opera House and has gained a reputation as a stylish conductor and a planner of interesting concert programmes ranging from light music to "avant-garde". He is equally adept in Classical and modern music and has conducted opera, ballet and oratorio.

In 1988 Ray won a special Arts Council Award to study contemporary music with Edward Gregson and Jorma Panula, Professor of Orchestral Conducting at Helsinki’s Sibelius Academy.

He has conducted at Leeds Music Festival, Harrogate Contemporary Music Festival, Aldeburgh Festival, Adelaide Festival and the Bergen Festival and has made several L.P.'s, C.D.s and T.V. appearances. Ray has appeared with BBC Radio Orchestra, Norwegian Radio Orchestra (on five occasions), the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra (on a World Wide TV program), Sandnes Symphony Orchestra (as Principal Conductor) and Kristiansand Symphony Orchestra in an exciting concert of French music.

Today, Ray is a busy, freelance conductor, based in Bergen, working with amateur and professional bands and orchestras around the world.

Manger Musikklag - Norway
Conductor: Allan Withington

Principal Cornet: Gyda Matland
Principal Euph: Thor Arne Pedersen
Principal Trombone: Irene Graven
Soprano: Kjetil Morken

4BR Ranking: 64

European Appearances: 10 (1978, 1980, 1981, 1983, 1989, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2003)

European Record: (set piece/own choice)

1978: N/K (outside top 6)
1980: 5th overall – 4th/ 6th
1981: 2nd overall
1983: 7th overall – 5th/ 9th
1989: 8th overall – 8th/ 6th
1995: 4th overall – 3rd/ 4th
1996: 3rd overall – 6th/ 3rd
1997: 7th overall – 6th/ 6th
1998: 10th overall – 10th/ 9th

Own Choice works used:
1978 – Norwegian Fantasy
1980 – Pageantry
1981 – Connotations
1983 – Spectrum
1989 – Salute to Youth
1995 – Montage
1996 – Harmony Music
1997 – Freedom
1998 – Journey Into Freedom

Tom Brevik directed the performances of 1978 and 1989. Michael Antrobus directed the performances of 1980, 1981 and 1983. David King directed the performance of 1995. Bjorn Sagstad directed in 1996. Ray Farr directed in 1997. James Gourlay directed in 1998.

Best Performance: Runners up 1981
Last Year: Did not qualify

Manger Musikklag make their 10th appearance at the European Championships this year and are the only band here this year who appeared at the very first contest back in 1978. The band was originally founded as a wind band in 1922 but became a brass band in the 1950’s.

Domestically they have proved to be one of the most successful bands in Norway, winning the National title on no less than seven occasions in 1980, 1983, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997 and 2002. They have also won the SIDDIS Entertainment contest as well.

The band has a fine record at this contest as well, with a runner up place in 1981 under Michael Antrobus (just a point behind the winners Brighouse and Rastrick) as well as 3rd place in 1996. They were directed at the 1995 contest by David King who led the band to their four consecutive National wins between 1994 and 1997.

They make their appearance here after their 2002 title win under Allan Withington, whilst at the 2003 Norwegian Nationals they came 4th.

Conductors details:

Allan Withington is one of the nicest conductors in the banding world as well as being one of the most successful. His playing career saw him play Principal Cornet at many of the top bands in the country including Wingates and Fodens, whilst he currently is the Principal Trumpet of the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra. He studied at Salford College under the tuition of Roy Newsome and played for the London Symphony Orchestra.

His conducting career really blossomed when he took over the role of Musical Director of the Brighouse and Rastrick Band and in his long association with them he led them to two National titles, three All England Masters titles, a European success and two Yorkshire titles. He was appointed Musical Director of the Williams Fairey band in 2002 and led them to the National title later that year.

He has lived in Norway for many years and has been one of the most successful conductors in their banding scene leading firstly winning three National 2nd Division titles in a row with Tertnes twice and Krohnengen once between 1984 and 1986 before winning the Elite title in 2002 with Manger.

Kirkintilloch - Scotland
Conductor: Frank Renton

Principal Cornet: David Prentice
Principal Euph: Andy Mclean
Principal Trombone: Marion Brackpool
Soprano: Stephen Stuart

4BR Ranking: 13

European Appearances: 5 (1985, 1986, 1991, 1995, 2003)

European Record: (set work/own choice)

1985: 11th overall – 14th/ 3rd
1986: 6th overall – 8th/7th
1991: 9th overall – 11th/10th
1995: 9th overall – 10th/8th

Walter Hargreaves directed the performance in 1985. Richard Evans directed in 1986. Frank Renton directed in 1991 and Charles Keenan directed in 1995

Own Choice works used since:
1985 – Dances and Arias
1986 – Pageantry
1991 – Blitz
1995 - Blitz

Best Performance: 6th place in 1986
Last Year: Did not qualify

Kirkintilloch will be making their 5th appearance as Scottish representatives after making their debut at the contest in 1985 under the baton of the great Walter Hargreaves. That followed their victory at the Scottish Championships the previous year and they went on to come 11th overall after two performances that saw them come last on the set work and 3rd on their own choice.

The following year the band returned under the direction of Richard Evans to come 6th before they came 9th in 1991 and 9th again on their last appearance in 1995 when they represented their country after other Scottish bands declined to travel to Luxembourg.

Domestically they have won the Scottish title on four occasions in 1984, 1985, 1990 and the last in 2002 which led to them representing Scotland this year. The band was formed in 1910 and in the last ten years or so has become one of the most successful bands North of the Border, winning the 2001 Grand Shield and being strong contenders at Spennymoor Brass in Concert as well as the British Open and National Finals. At the 2003 Regional Championships the band were runners up.

Conductors details:

Born in 1939, Frank was brought up in Yorkshire. He began to study the piano at age seven, and had his first trumpet lesson on his tenth birthday.

Frank first earned a living as a professional trumpet-player, gaining conducting experience where possible. In 1967 he won a Competition for Young Conductors at the Edinburgh Festival. Appointments followed in Germany and in Singapore, where he conducted the first performances of the country's fledgling symphony orchestra. He also worked throughout the Far East.

After his return to England in the mid-70s, Frank variously ran a music school in York, played with Versatile Brass, and eventually began working with the BBC Concert and Radio Orchestras. He also worked with the famed Grimethorpe Colliery Band.

In 1985 Frank returned to London to become Principal Conductor of the Royal Artillery Orchestra, London's oldest professional orchestra. For three years Frank and the Orchestra toured the country giving concerts in venues large and small, and to all kinds of audiences.

In 1988 he was appointed Principal Conductor of the British Concert Orchestra after critically acclaimed recordings with the American soprano Carol Vaness. He also began to broadcast regularly on BBC Radio, writing and presenting his own musical programmes. In 1992 he made the decision to concentrate entirely on conducting and broadcasting.

He is a member of the Worshipful Company of Musicians, and in 1989 became a Freeman of the City of London.

Brass Band Fribourg - Switzerland
Conductor: Arsene Duc

Principal Cornet: Joel Defferrard
Principal Euph: David Welsh
Principal Trombone: Frederic Prelaz
Soprano: Dominique Morel

4BR Ranking: 75

European Appearances: Debut
European Record: Debut

Own Choice works used: Debut
Best Performance: Debut
Last Year: Did not qualify

Brass Band Fribourg were formed in 1970 by Louis Graz and since that time has grown through the involvement of such musicians as Jean Balissat, Marcel Zumbrunnen, Jean – Pierre Chevailler and Jacques Aeby.

Jean Claude Kooly directed the band from 1988 to 1995 before Pascal Eicher took over until 2001. Philippe Bach became Director in 2001 before Arsene Duc took over in 2002. The band has competed at the highest level in Switzerland since 2000 and in 2002 became National Champions for the first time when conducted by Arsene Duc they took the title playing “Lac Leman” by Derek Bourgeois. That victory meant they would travel to Norway as their countries representatives for this years contest.

They have in the past worked with a number of British conductors such as Robert Childs, but in preparation for this years contest Howard Snell has worked with the band for three days in April.

Conductors details:

Arsene Duc took over as Musical Director in 2002, following in the footsteps of Philippe Bach. He was born in 1965 and comes from a family of musicians. He was an Ephonium player from the age of 11 and studied at the Universitaire School of Hautes Etudes Commerciales de Lausanne as well as studying under Jean Balissat at the Conservatoire de Geneve.


Buy As You View Cory - Wales
Conductor: Robert Childs

Principal Cornet: Ian Williams
Principal Euph: David Childs
Principal Trombone: Christopher Thomas
Soprano: Steven Barnsley

4BR Ranking: 2

European Appearances: 14 (1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1989, 1993, 1999, 2001, 2003)

European Record: (set work/ own choice)

1979: 2nd overall – 3rd/ 3rd
1980: 1st overall – 1st/ 2nd
1981: 6th overall
1982: 2nd overall – 3rd/ 2nd
1983: 3rd overall – 7th/ 2nd
1984: 2nd overall – 3rd/ 2nd
1985: 2nd overall – 4th/ 1st
1986: 3rd overall – 3rd/ 4th
1987: 8th overall – 8th/ 7th
1989: 3rd overall – 1st/ 4th
1993: 3rd overall – 3rd/ 4th
1999: 5th overall – 5th/ 4th
2001: 2nd overall – 1st/ 3rd

Own Choice works used:
1979 – Judges of the Secret Court
1980 – Triumphant Rhapsody
1981 – Connotations
1982 – Fireworks
1983 – Variations on a Ninth
1984 – Contest Music
1985 – Dances and Arias
1986 – Ballet for Band
1987 – Dances and Arias
1989 – Diversions on a Bass Theme
1993 – Harmony Music
1999 – Of Men and Mountains
2001 – Harrison’s Dream

Denzil Stephens directed the performances of 1979, 1980 and 1981. Arthur Kenney directed the performances of 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986 and 1987. Brian Howard directed in 1989. Michael Antrobus directed in 1993, whilst Jeremy Wise directed in 1999. Robert Childs directed the performance in 2001.

Best Performance: Winners 1980
Last Year: Did not qualify

The Buy As You View Cory Band have one of the most illustrious and successful histories of contesting success in the brass band movement. Formed in 1882 in the village of Ton Pentre they have been National Champions of Great Britain on five occasions in 1974, 1982, 183 and 1984 and once more in 2000. They have been British Open Champions twice in 2000 and 2002, European Champions in 1980 as well as Granada Band of the Year, Mineworkers Champions and Champion Band of Wales on numerous occasions. They were crowned Welsh Regional Champions for the 22nd time in 2002.

The band will be making its 14th appearance at the European Championships this year – third in the all time list behind Black Dyke and De Waldsang and their record is exceptionally impressive. Apart from their win under Denzil Stephens in 1980 they can boast five runners up and four third places as well and on their last appearance in 2001 lost out only by one point from YBS.

They have also won the set work section three times and the own choice section once and have already qualified for next years contest in Scotland by virtue of that recent Welsh Regional win.

Conductors Details:

Dr. Robert Childs is an associate of the Royal College of Music, a Fellow of the London College of Music and gained a distinction in a Masters Degree from the University of Leeds. He also holds a Post Graduate Certificate in Education from the Open University.

Robert's status as a professional musician encompasses many fields of music making. He is Director of Brass Band Studies at the Welsh College of Music & Drama, Professor of Euphonium at the Royal Northern College of Music and the University of Leeds, where he also conducts the Brass Band. Robert is a tutor and council member to the National Youth Brass Bands of Wales and Great Britain and is also a council member of the National Youth Wind Orchestra of Great Britain. He has recently been appointed Conductor of the National Youth Brass band of Belgium. He is also an experienced record producer and director of Doyen Recordings.

Robert conducted and performed with the Yorkshire-based Black Dyke Band for almost ten years and conducted them on several important occasions, including performances with Susanna Walton, Lesley Garret, Philip Smith and The Beautiful South. He has also performed with many of the UK's leading orchestras. As a clinician for Boosey & Hawkes Musical Instruments, he regularly gives solo recitals in prestigious halls at home and abroad. He has performed in Carnegie Hall, The Royal Albert Hall,The Grieg Hall, The Royal Festival Hall and the Sydney Opera House. He frequently delivers masterclasses at Universities at home and abroad.

In May 2000, Robert was delighted to accept an invitation to become the Professional Musical Director of the Buy As You View Cory Band from the Rhondda in South Wales, thus re-uniting him with Wales and associating him with the band he has held in such high esteem since he was a boy. In a short space of time he revitalised brass banding in Wales by steering his new band to win the British Open Championship, the National Championship and runner-up at the European Championship in a single season. In July, 2002, Robert became Musical Director to the National Youth Brass Band of Wales, following distinguished names such as Edward Gregson, James Gourlay, Bramwell Tovey, Howard Snell and James Watson.

In December, 2002, Robert was awarded the title 'Doctor of Musical Arts' from the University of Leeds.
Robert is part of a very musical family, both his children and wife play brass instruments. His son, David recently appeared on television as the Brass Finalist in the Young Musician of the Year competition and his brother Nicholas is also an accomplished conductor.

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