2006 North American Brass Band Championships - Challenge Section


4BR looks at the challengers in the Challenge Section itself as they strive to claim their own version of the Second Section National title.

NABBAChallenge Section:

Venue: Robinson Theatre
Time: 8:30 am – 2:35 pm

Central IllinioisBrass Band of Central Illinois
Dr. Mike Forbes

Principal Players:
Soprano: Gabe Myers
Principal Cornet: Dennis Jones
Repiano: Josh Myers
Flugel Horn: Marty Abbott
Horn: Chris Render
Baritone: Matt Doherty
Trombone: Ron Augspurger
Euphonium: Dan Weil
EEb bass: Dakota Pawlicki
BBb bass: Dan Edie
Percussion:  Aaron Rigg

Mike ForbesRecent Form at NABBA Championships:
2005: 1st (Explorer)
2004: DNC
2003: DNC
2002: DNC
2001: DNC

After a good premiere contest in the Explorer Section, BBCI is prepared to take the Challenge Section by storm.  The band is once again eager to perform in front of a ‘brass band' audience and hear the other bands.  This will be one of the many new bands to the section that could make an impact.

Jerome AmendCommonwealth Brass Band
J. Jerome Amend, Director
Website: http://www.ius.edu/music/ensembles.htm

Principal Players:
Soprano: Jacqueline Amend
Principal Cornet: Shawn Roark
Repiano: Andrew Scott/Steven Palmquist
Flugel Horn: Paul Jackson
Horn: Susan Reigler
Baritone: Adam Cannello
Trombone: Mildred Kemp
Euphonium: Tony Wise
EEb bass: Adam Edwards
BBb bass: Steve Lasher
Percussion: Jim Battles

Recent Form at NABBA Championships:
2005: 4th (Challenge)
2004: DNC
2003: DNC
2002: 3rd (Challenge)
2001: 5th (Challenge)

The Commonwealth band must be quite pleased to have so many quality bands in their own backyard this year.  The return to contesting has pushed this band to pay more attention to details (like listening to each other) than they have in the past.  However, will this recent improvement be enough to earn them a result?

Derby CityDerby City Brass Band
John Hones

Principal Players:
Soprano: Reese Land
Flugel Horn: Gary Hicks

Recent Form at NABBA Championships:
2005: DNC
2004: DNC
2003: DNC
2002: DNC
2001: DNC

Based out of nearby Louisville, that band is aptly named since it will be competing against the other Louisville band, Commonwealth, in the same section.  However, because of their lack of contesting experience, Commonwealth is likely to have the edge. 

GeorgiaGeorgia Brass Band
Joe Johnson
Website: http://www.georgiabrass.com
Principal Players:
Soprano: Clayton Chastain
Principal Cornet: Paul Poovey
Repiano: Will Buck
Flugel Horn: William Southwood
Horn: Mark Williamson
Baritone: Betsy Jones
Trombone: Hollie Lawing
Euphonium: John Caputo
EEb bass: Bill Pritchard
BBb bass: Jerry McEver
Percussion:  Paige Huff
Joe JohnsonRecent Form at NABBA Championships:
2005: DNC
2004: DNC
2003: DNC
2002: DNC
2001: DNC

The Georgia Brass Band was formed back in 1999 because there was no brass band in the Atlanta metropolitan area.  Since then the band has kept a busy concert schedule.  Several members of the band had competed at NABBA in past years with other bands and now the band will make their NABBA debut to help push themselves even more and here many of the other fine North American Bands.  The band has some experienced players on the corners and could make a good impression.

MassanuttenMassanutten Brass Band
Kevin Stees
Website: http://www.massanuttenbrassband.org/

Principal Players:
Soprano: James Kluesner
Principal Cornet: Anne Kovarik
Repiano: Jaraun Ransome
Flugel Horn: Susan Allen
Horn: Candace Kluesner
Baritone: John Hollenbeck
Trombone: Andy Lankford
Euphonium: Jeff Carriker
EEb bass: Robert Harrold
BBb bass: P.J. Shaver
Percussion:  Mike Overman

SREESRecent Form at NABBA Championships:
2005: DNC
2004: DNC
2003: DNC
2002: DNC
2001: DNC

The Massanutten Brass Band was formed in 2001 partly due to the influence of the James Madison University BB in the area and partly due to the lack of a community based brass band in the area.  The band are being perhaps a bit cautious by making their debut in the Challenge Section, but only next weekend will tell where they belong for sure.  MD Kevin Stees assures us that whilst it has been a challenge preparing two bands for contest this year, the preparation has gone more smoothly then anticipated.

Natural SateNatural State Brass Band
Russell Morris
Website: http://www.nsbb.org/

Principal Players:
Soprano: Josh Jackson
Principal Cornet: Courtney Swindler
Repiano: Rick Wilson
Flugel Horn: Larry Crenshaw
Horn: Robert Herring
Baritone: Rick Belotti
Trombone: Larry Vaught
Euphonium: Tina Hall
EEb bass: Carl Webster
BBb bass: Kevin Sanders
Percussion:  J.B. Cross

MorrisRecent Form at NABBA Championships:
2005: 2nd (Challenge)
2004: 3rd (Challenge)
2003: DNC
2002: DNC
2001: DNC

The Natural State Brass Band is quickly becoming a regular fixture at the North American Brass Band Championships.  The band has continued to experience tremendous growth as a result of contesting.  A bit isolate from other bands in Little Rock, the will be sure to enjoy the musical and social splendors of the contest. 

Roman FestivalRoman Festival Brass
Jerry Pollard
Website: http://www.romanfestivalbrass.org/
Principal Players:

Soprano: Dr. Carl McCurdy
Principal Cornet: Dr. Tom Smith
Repiano: Don Robinson
Flugel Horn: Dr. Bill Robison
Horn: Kevin Manning
Baritone: Todd Corley
Trombone: Jim West
Euphonium: Jonathan Thomas
EEb bass: Billy Walker
BBb bass: Dr. Randy Phillips
Percussion: Ron Hernandez 
Jerry PollardRecent Form at NABBA Championships:
2005: DNC
2004: DNC
2003: DNC
2002: DNC
2001: DNC

Roman Festival Brass was born in 2000 from an area brass quintet.  The have steadily built a local audience and are enjoying the growth in musicianmanship the band has made preparing for the contest.  There are a few contest veterans who originally played with Jericho Brass as well as some music educators in the band to help them in their quest for the Challenge Section Title.

John SlezakSpires Brass Band
John Slezak
Website: http://www.spiresbrassband.com/

Principal Players:
Soprano: Randy VannEpps
Principal Cornet: David Conklin
Repiano: Keith Robertson
Flugel Horn: Randi Bulla
Horn: Lori Turner
Baritone: Sadie Gaines
Trombone: Jay Gibble
Euphonium: Laura Lineberger
EEb Tuba: Chris Clark
BBb Tuba: Jay Norris
Percussion: Richard Brown

Recent Form at NABBA Championships:
2005: 1st (Challenge)
2004: 2nd (Challenge)
2003: 1st (Challenge)
2002: 4th (Challenge)
2001: 1st (Challenge)

Having won this section 3 of the past 5 years, Spires has to be the favourite.  They've already had a well-received performance of the set piece at the MMEA Convention last month and should be on top form at the NABBC.  With one more good result they will most likely head up to the Honors Section for 2007.

4BR Predictions:

Many of these bands are somewhat geographically isolated and are reveling at the opportunity to list to the other bands at the competition as well as show their own stuff.  With 5 bands new to this section (4 making their contesting debut), this section is extremely difficult to pick.  To best gauge the new bands one really needs to look at the MDs and the players around the stands.  Georgia Brass Band has been around for a deceptively long time for a band making its debut and has some experienced players.  Massanutten should fair well under the baton of Kevin Stees.  However, Spires should still rise to the top of the section.

1.  Spires Brass Band
2.  Georgia Brass Band
3.  Natural State Brass Band

Dark Horse: Massanutten Brass Band


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