2005 US Open Brass Band Championships - Introduction and dodgy predictions


4BR will be heading across the 'Big Pond' later this week to sample the delights of Chicago Illinois and the US Open Brass Band Championships. It promises to be another great event.

US Open2005 U.S. Open Brass Band Championships
November 5th
John Hersey High School
Arlington Heights, Ilinios

The burgeoning brass band scene in the United States takes another important step forward in its development with the holding of the third US Open Brass Band Championships here in Arlington Heights, Illinois.

Last year 4BR was deeply impressed by the organisation and enthusiasm of all those involved, but the lasting impression was really set by the standard of the bands, and the winners, in particular. The Brass Band of Central Florida were clear victors 12 months ago, and they went on to show their class at the US National Championships and then just a few months ago at the British Open Championships themselves. They are without doubt the flag bearers for the movement in the United States at present and it will be fascinating to see and hear if their rivals have been inspired this year to challenge them even close than last year.

The format of the US Open is that of an entertainment concert programme, a format that suits the bands here, and their undoubted ability to bring their special brand of audience friendly music and choreography should result in a fine event.

The Americans are superb hosts, hungry for news and the latest developments in the UK banding scene, but also clever enough to ensure that they do not ape the mistakes and conservatism of the British movement. The American movement does have its problems – the size of the country and the need for finance being the two most obvious, but you sense that they believe those can be overcome. On the evidence we have seen and heard on put past visits we think that confidence is not misplaced.

The 2005 U.S. Open should be the best yet (which is saying something considered Foden's wowed the audience a few years back), and this year sees an expanded field of 7 bands.

Many of these bands have now become experienced at the entertainment format and will be preparing some spectacular shows.  The organisers also hope to make the event more special by installing their new review with the judges the day after the contest, whilst the popular ‘Busker's Event' which will run between the programmes of each of the bands promises something special indeed. Last year it was a delight with some excellent off the cuff performances and even Frank Renton dug deep into this pockets to fill up the hat which is used to get the audience to show their appreciation in cash terms to the winners.

There is always something to do here, and 4BR will be taking the opportunity to meet as many people as we can as well as taking in the sites and sounds of Chicago once more. We are particularly looking forward to the awards banquet with host Frank Renton who will once again bring his special brand of entertainment to the contest and the awards ceremony. He is an extremely popular man out here and has done much to help promote the image and the standard of the bands in general in the past few years.

As to a possible winner then?

Even with our limited knowledge of the banding scene here, we did hear enough last year to form an opinion and we have a US mole who has updated us on events and form to ensure we are not hopefully too far out.  While the main battle for first place is likely to be a two horsed race, the other 5 bands all bring a great deal to the table and anything could happen on the day of the contest.

That is why we have laid out necks on the line and gone for the following...

4BR Prediction:

1.  BB Central Florida
2.  Fountain City BB
3.  Eastern Iowa BB

Dark Horse: Prairie BB


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