2008 Brass in Concert Championship - Runners and Riders


4BR takes a look at the cast list of entertainers lined up for our enjoyment this weekend. Some interesting partnerships will be looking to be as successful in the entertainment game as Morecambe and Wise, not Brand and Ross.

HepworthHepworth (Cookson Homes)
Sandy Smith
4BR Ranking: 17

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Robert Westacott
Euphonium: James Fieldhouse
Soprano: Mark Smedley
Horn: Rebecca Landon
Flugel: Sian Linney
Trombone: Yvonne Embury
Baritone: Carole Crompton
Eb Tuba: Simon Mofatt
Bb Tuba: Andy Lincoln
Percussion: Tim Sidwell

Brass in Concert Record:

3rd time
Debut: 2005
Best Result: 10th (2005)
Worst Result: 12th (2007)

Last 10 Years:
2007: 12th (Mark Bentham) (4)
2006: DNC
2005: 10th (Mark Bentham) (10)

2007 Programme:
Fanfare-The Flower of Immortality from La Peri Ballet; Adagio for Brass; March -The Gladiator; Scarborough Fair; On the Seashore; River Run from Music for the Moving Image

Hepworth makes their third appearance at Brass in Concert this year, having stepped in at late notice to replace Sellers International 12 months ago. 

As yet they haven’t really found an entertainment formula that has made the most of their talents, and two rather dated performances (although last year can be excused somewhat) has resulted in them ending up towards the bottom end of the results table.

This time around they are led by Sandy Smith, a somewhat unknown quantity with the baton but one of the finest entertainment arrangers in the business. You don’t have to be a mind reader to work out what may well be on the cards.

It could well be Alexander the Great comes Sunday night then?

Player to listen out for: Rebecca Landon – a very classy tenor horn player that is rapidly making a name for herself. 

Garry Cutt
4BR Ranking: 1

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Mark Wilkinson
Euphonium: Glyn Williams
Soprano: Alan Wycherley
Trombone: John Barber
Horn: Lesley Howie
Flugel: Helen Williams
Baritone: Natsumi Inaba
Eb Tuba: Les Neish
Bb Tuba: Derek Jackson
Percussion: Mark Landon

Brass in Concert Record:

Appearances: 17th time
Debut: 1983
Best Result: Winners in 1987, 1988, 1990, 1998, 2000
Worst Result: 8th in 2006

Last 10 Years:

2007: 2nd (Garry Cutt) (6)
2006: 8th (Garry Cutt) (3)
2005: DNC
2004: DNC
2003: DNC
2002: 2nd (Russell Gray) (1)
2001: 2nd (Ray Farr) (6)
2000: Winners (Ray Farr) (12)
1999: 2nd (Nicholas Childs) (8)
1998: Winners (Nicholas Childs) (4)

CuttAlso: 1983 (4th) (James Scott); 1984 (4th) (Howard Snell); 1986 (8th) (Howard Snell)1987 (Winners) (Howard Snell); 1988 (Winners) (Howard Snell); 1990 (Winners) (Howard Snell); 1991 (3rd) (Howard Snell); 1996 (2nd) (Phillip McCann); 1997 (2nd) (Nicholas Childs)

2007 Programme:
Fest Musik der stadt Wein; Injection From Mission Impossible; Carnival for Bass - soloist Les Neish, Eb Bass; On the Quarter Deck; Lezghinka; Grandfather Clock – soloist, Glyn Williams; Finale from Checkmate

The number 1 ranked band in the world and their 2008 contesting record backs them up.

Fodens is one heck of a band at the moment, and if lady luck had been with them every step of the way this year they may well have been coming here looking for a Grand Slam of 2008 titles. Nothing ever works out quite like that though, although a first win here since 2000 could well be within their grasp.  

Twelve months ago they came with a programme that played to their undoubted strengths, but perhaps lacked a little innovation, so it will be interesting to see what they come up this time. 

The incentive is certainly there (both monetary and prestige wise), but can they just add that extra priceless sparkle to claim victory? 

Player to listen out for: Glyn Williams – the man of the moment, and perhaps the player of the year. 

Allan Withington
4BR Ranking: 18
Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Eva Bortne
Euphonium: Mats Urdahl - Aasen
Soprano: Nigel Fielding
Trombone: Neil Gallie
Horn: Astrid Tynning
Flugel: Elizabeth Aarrestad
Baritone: Anne Berit Hansen
Eb Tuba: Christian Reitan Jacobson
Bb Tuba: Tom Christiansen
Percussion: Anders Rydberg

Brass in Concert Record:

4th time
Debut: 1991
Best Result: 4th in 2000
Worst Result: 12th in 1991

Last 10 Years:
2007: DNC
2006: DNC
2005: DNC
2004: DNC
2003: DNC
2002: DNC
2001: DNC
2000: 4th (Frank Renton) (2)
1999: DNC
1998: DNC

WithingtonAlso: 1996 (6th) (Arvid Anthun); 1991 (12th) (Michael Antrobus)

Great to see Stavanger make the trip back across the North Sea to pay their fourth visit to these championships.

The last time was back in 2000, when Frank Renton was at the helm and they came a well deserved 4th. Now they are back with Allan Withington conducting and looking to become the first overseas band to claim the title.

Perhaps a year or two ago they may have been just the band to do it, but a number of recent personnel changes has meant a bit of rebuilding of late, although at the recent SIDDIS contest they still came 3rd with a typically inventive programme.

They will certainly put down a marker on the Saturday night, but can their brand of Norwegian entertainment tickle the taste buds? Eikanger found it hard work last year, so it may take something very special indeed.   
Player to listen out for: Nigel Fielding – the ex Grimey, Dyke and Brighouse soprano star is now plying his trade in Norway and enjoying himself. 

FaireyFairey Band
Conductor: Philip Chalk
4BR Ranking: 8

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Michael Eccles
Euphonium: Mark Bousie
Soprano: Mark Harrison
Trombone: Lisa Sarasini
Horn: Chris Pannell
Flugel: Lucy Murphy
Baritone: Mike Wells
Bb Tuba: Owen Garbutt
Eb Tuba: Richard Evans
Percussion: Ian Bowd

Brass in Concert Record:

8th time
Debut: 1977
Best Result: Winners in 1996
Worst Result: 6th in 1983

Last 10 Years:
2007: 4th (Philip Chalk) (9)
2006: 5th (Simon Stonehouse) (6)
2005: DNC
2004: DNC
2003: DNC
2002: DNC
2001: DNC
2000: DNC
1999: DNC
1998: DNC

ChalkAlso: 1977 (5th) (Richard Evans); 1980 (5th)  (Walter Hargreaves); 1983 (6th) Denzil Stephens; 1996 (Winners) (James Gourlay); 1997 (3rd) (James Gourlay).

2007 Programme:
Overture to Candide; Bess You Is My Woman; La Belle Americaine - soloist Steve Walsh; The President; It’s Not Unusual; Reunion & Finale - Gettysburg

Fairey is certainly heading back in the right direction as they showed in London, with what is becoming a settled and very competitive band. 

Twelve months ago they put a well rehearsed programme to finish fourth, and that work ethic may well pay dividends once more if they can add that extra touch of entertainment sparkle to proceedings. Rumours from the camp state they are preparing something to thrill.

The players are there around the stands and they do have a touch of ‘Acidity’ about them too, so who knows?

Player to watch out for: Mark Bousie – perhaps the most astute signing Fairey have made for some time. 

Steven Mead
4BR Ranking: 13 

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Chris Bradley
Euphonium: Evelyn Bradley
Soprano: Scott Forest
Trombone: Alex Phillip
Horn: Iain Fleming
Flugel: Jim Chamberlain
Baritone: Anne Crookston
Eb Bass: Graham Fraser
Bb Bass: Alan Gourlay
Percussion: Rhona Barr

Brass in Concert Record:

15th time
Debut: 1977
Best Result: 3rd in 2004
Worst Result: 12th in 2000, 1996, 1977

Last 10 Years:
2007: 11th (Allan Ramsey) (2)
2006: 10th (Andrew Duncan) (11)
2005: 6th (Andrew Duncan) (4)
2004: 3rd (Andrew Duncan) (10)
2003: DNC
2002: DNC
2001: DNC
2000: 12th (Phillip McCann) (6)
1999: 4th (Phillip McCann) (2)
1998: DNC

MeadAlso: 1977: 12th (Allan Street); 1980: 9th (Peter Parkes); 1981: 10th (Peter Parkes); 1982: 9th (Peter Parkes); 1985: 7th (Geoffrey Whitham); 1986: 10th (Denzil Stephens); 1987: 10th (Anthony Swainson); 1996: 12th (Richard Adams)

2007 Programme:
Valero; Autumn Leaves – soloist, Alex Philip; HRH The Duke of Cambridge; Furioso Polka; Hymn for Diana; Glorifico Aeternum

The past couple of years at Brass in Concert haven’t seen Whitburn at their best. 

Twelve months ago, Allan Ramsey led the band (at late notice) in what was a pretty non descript programme, and to coin a well known Scots song – they were sent back home to think again. 

By all accounts they have done just that, and with Steven Mead at the helm there are rumours of an ambitious and innovative programme ready to be unveiled. They are a band that can mix it here for sure, and they could well be an outside bet to make it into the top six if it all goes to plan.

Player to listen out for: Scott Forrest – another young tyro of the soprano and as solid a performer as a bit of Aberdeen granite. 

BrighouseBrighouse & Rastrick
Alan Morrison
4BR Ranking: 5

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Stephen Wilkinson
Euphonium: Michael Howley
Soprano: Martin Irwin
Trombone: Gary MacPhee
Horn: Daniel Powell
Flugel: John Lee
Baritone: Leigh Baker
Eb Tuba: David Hebb
Bb Tuba: Simon Gresswell
Percussion: Darren Rowe

Brass in Concert Record:

Appearances: 4th time
Best Result: Winners in 2006, 2007
Debut: 2005

Last 10 Years:
2007: Winners (Richard Evans) (11)
2006: Winners (Richard Evans) (4)
2005: 2nd (James Gourlay) (8)

Morrison2007 Programme:
All Night Long; I’d Rather have Jesus – soloist, Stephen Wilkinson; Blaze Away; Mr Sandman; Vitae Aeternam

The lads from West Riding will head to The Sage in search of the hat-trick – although this year it will be without entertainment talisman Richard Evans at the helm. 

No German trench coat or Scots kilt then (although you never know with Alan Morrison) but you can be sure there will be plenty of eye catching choreography and ear pleasing arrangements on offer. 

In house arranger extraordinaire Leigh Baker will surely have something up his sleeve once more, whilst Brighouse is a band that playing wise has been playing very well of late, and with quality performers around the stands, they will take some beating if all goes to their well laid plans.   

Player to listen out for: Michael Howley – as his recent CD showed, he is a player maturing into one of the best around. 

GrimethorpeGrimethorpe Colliery
Michael J Garasi
4BR Ranking:

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Roger Webster
Euphonium: Michael Dodd
Trombone: Richard Brown
Soprano: Kevin Crockford
Horn: Arfon Owen
Flugel: Andy Holmes
Baritone: Rob Richardson
Eb Tuba: Shaun Crowther
Bb Tuba: Gary Proctor
Percussion: John Watterson

Brass in Concert Record:

29th time
Debut: 1977
Best Result: Winners 13 times
Worst Result: 4th in 1996

Last 10 Years:
2007: 3rd (Phillip McCann) (3)
2006: 2nd (Steven Mead) (10)
2005: Winners (Richard Evans) (6)
2004: Winners (Richard Evans) (7)
2003: Winners (Garry Cutt) (6)
2002: Winners (Garry Cutt) (6)
2001: Winners (Garry Cutt) (9)
2000:  3rd (Garry Cutt) (4)
1999: Winners (Garry Cutt) (9)
1998:  DNC

GerasiAlso: 1977: Winners (Fred Partlett); 1978: 3rd (Frank Renton); 1979: Winners (Ray Farr); 1980: Winners (Ray Farr); 1981: Winners (Ray Farr); 1982: 2nd (Ray Farr); 1983: Winners (Ray Farr); 1985: 3rd (David James); 1986: Winners (David James); 1987: 3rd (David James); 1998: 2nd (Frank Renton); 1989: 2nd (Frank Renton); 1990: 3rd (Frank Renton); 1991: 2nd (Frank Renton); 1992: 2nd (Frank Renton); 1993: Winners (Garry Cutt); 1994: Winners (Garry Cutt); 1995: 2nd (Garry Cutt); 1996: 4th (Garry Cutt)

2007 Programme:
Green Hornet; Pirates of the Caribbean - The Curse of the Black Pearl; Michelangelo - soloist Michael Dodd; Bring Back that Leroy Brown; Falling in Love Again; Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Strange as it may seem, but Grimethorpe now come to this contest no longer the bookies favourite, after two years in which they were well beaten by a Brighouse band that has upped the entertainment ante that was once their preserve.

Last year was a case in point – somehow it just lacked that usual Grimey sparkle. This year though they can have no excuses as they have teamed up with the charismatic Michael J Garasi from Brass Band of Central Florida. Here’s man who knows what entertainment is with a capital E.

If the transatlantic partnership has clicked then lookout, but if something has been lost in translation Grimey could well miss out for a third year in a row. Whatever – it should be a performance not to miss.   

Player to listen out for:  Roger Webster – no real reason other than he’s still the best. 

Jason Katsikaris
4BR Ranking: 6

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Nick Walkley
Euphonium: Brenden Wheeler
Soprano: Matthew Balson
Trombone: Daniel Brookes
Horn: Kate Eggleshaw
Flugel: Nicky Longden
Baritone: Katrina Marzella
Eb Tuba: Chris Doran
Bb Tuba: N/K
Percussion: Pete Strawson 

Brass in Concert Record:

Appearances: 24th time
Debut: 1982
Best Result: Winners in 1989, 1991, 1992, 1997
Worst Result: 7th place 2007, 2006.

Last 10 years:
2007: 7th (Russell Gray) (12)
2006: 7th (Russell Gray) (9)
2005: DNC
2004: 5th (Garry Cutt) (1)
2003: 5th (Steve Sykes) (10)
2002: 6th (Chris Davies) (6)
2001: 4th (Richard Evans) (3)
2000: 2nd (Richard Evans) (11)
1999: 3rd (Richard Evans) (3)
1998: 2nd (Richard Evans) (3)

KatsikarisAlso: 1982: 3rd (Richard Evans); 1983: 3rd (Richard Evans); 1984: 2nd (Richard Evans); 1985: 4th (Richard Evans); 1986: 5th (Richard Evans); 1987: 4th (Richard Evans); 1988 3rd (Richard Evans); 1993: 2nd (Richard Evans); 1994: 3rd (Richard Evans); 1995: 4th (Richard Evans)

2007 Programme:
I’ve Got Rhythm; Bombasto; Donegal Bay - soloist Katrina Marzella; Cossack Fire Dance; Carnival Overture

Leyland was pretty average here last year – sounding under prepared and rather pedestrian. They did well to come 7th when the wheels of the entertainment cart very nearly fell off big time.

They know that they have to do better than that this time around, and with the live wire Jason Katsikaris at the helm we may see the very best of Leyland once again. They have the players, the desire and the talent – and perhaps one or two secret little extras that could propel them towards the top of the results table. 

The good times are back at Leyland and they may well be set to continue here this weekend too.

Player to listen out for: Nick Walkley – ever since returning to the banding scene he has shown just what we have been missing. A class act this year.  

Morgan Griffiths
4BR Ranking: 12 

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Iain Culross
Euphonium: Mike Kilroy
Soprano: Kevin Donaldson
Trombone: Chris Gommersall
Horn: Helen Varley
Flugel: Martin Troumans
Baritone: Dan Cox
Eb Tuba: Dave Long
Bb Tuba: Darren West
Percussion: Sarah Chapman

Brass in Concert Record:

Appearances: 19th time (as YBS since 1993)
Debut: 1977
Best Result: Winners in 1978 as Hammonds Sauce
Worst Result: 9th in 1993

Last 10 Years:
2007: 5th (Morgan Griffiths)
2006: DNC
2005: DNC
2004: DNC
2003: DNC
2002: DNC
2001: DNC
2000: DNC
1999: DNC
1998: DNC
Also: 1998 (5th) (David King); 1997 (4th) (David King); 1996 (3rd) (David King); 1995 (3rd) (David King); 1994 (2nd) (Nicholas Childs); 1993 (9th) (D. Broadbent); 1992 (5th) (G. Whitham); 1991 (7th) (G. Whitham); 1990 (4th) (G. Whitham); 1989 (7th) (G. Whitham); 1983 (7th) (G. Whitham); 1982 (5th) (G. Whitham); 1981 (4th) (G. Whitham);1980 (4th) (G. Whitham); 1979 (6th) (G. Whitham); 1978 (Winners) (G. Whitham); 1977 (2nd) (G. Whitham)

2007 Programme:
Amazonia from Windows of the World; Feeling Good – soloists Alex Kerwin; Sirba Floricaca; Silver Mountain; Gee Officer Krupke; Coronation Scene from Boris Godunov

YBS returned to Brass in Concert last year after a decade away and showed that they had lost none of their desire to win a title they last held as Hammonds Sauce way back in 1978.

In the last couple of years things have been a bit hit and miss on the contest stage, although last year’s programme here did have plenty of vibrant fun and games, even if the execution (and some American accents) were at times a little uneven.

There is a much more balanced and settled look to the personnel line up this time around though and with the ambition to much the hard work they could well force their way into the prizes once more. 

Player to listen out for: Iain Culross – a player who returned to the band in the summer as a much more mature performer – something he showed to fine effect at the recent British Open Solo Championships. 

Dr Robert Childs
4BR Ranking: 3

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Ian Williams
Euphonium: David Childs
Soprano: Bert van Theinen
Trombone: Chris Thomas
Horn: Owen Farr
Flugel: Joanne Childs
Baritone: Susan Thomas
Eb Tuba: Oliver Brown
Bb Tuba: Fraser Bish
Percussionist: Alun Horgan

Brass in Concert Record:

7th time
Debut: 1979
Best Result: 2nd: 1979
Worst Result: 12th: 2000, 1996, 1977

Last 10 Years:
2007: DNC
2006: DNC
2005: 3rd (Dr Robert Childs) (1)
2004: DNC
2003: DNC
2002: DNC
2001: DNC
2000: DNC
1999: DNC
1998: 4th (Jeremy Wise) (4)

Bob ChildsAlso: 1979: 2nd (Denzil Stephens); 1980: 3rd (Denzil Stephens); 1981: 5th (Denzil Stephens); 1997: 10th (Jeremy Wise) 

Cory make what is only their seventh appearance in the competition's history, and you can be certain they will be giving it their all to claim the one major title that they have never won. 

They last time they appeared in 2005 they seemed to be playing catch up in terms of presentation and programming, but for this appearance rumours suggest they have been putting in the hard graft and planning something more modern and appealing. No old Fogies are promised if you follow their latest press release.

If that’s the case then they certainly have the ammunition in personnel to run anyone close to claiming the top prize.

Player to listen out for: David Childs – why not? 

Reg VardyReg Vardy
Allan Ramsay
4BR Ranking: 21 

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Jim Hayes
Euphonium: Paul Robinson
Soprano: Tom Glendinning
Trombone: Chris Bentham
Horn: Steve Hardy
Flugel: Tina Mortimer
Baritone: Laura Boyle
Eb Tuba: Tony Taylor
Bb Tuba: Alistair Storey
Percussion: Jonathon Fenwick

Brass in Concert Record:

32nd time
Debut: 1977
Best Result: 3rd in 2003
Worst Result: 12th in 1992

Last 10 Years:
2007: 10th (Stephen Malcolm) (1)
2006: 6th (Ray Farr) (2)
2005: 4th (Ray Farr) (3)
2004: 4th (Ray Farr) (9)
2003: 3rd (Ray Farr) (6)
2002: 8th (Ray Farr) (4)
2001: 10th (Stephen Roberts) (5)
2000: 7th (Stephen Roberts) (9)
1999: 11th (Robert Childs) (4)
1998: 7th (Bryan Hurdley) (1)

RamseyAlso: 1977: 4th (Walter Hargreaves); 1978: 5th (Eric Banks) 1979: 9th (Trevor Walmsley); 1980: 8th (Trevor Walmsley); 1981: =7th (Arthur Kenney); 1982: 10th (Peter Parkes); 1983: 5th (Peter Parkes); 1984: 6th (Peter Parkes); 1985: 8th (Roger Payne); 1986: 7th (Roger Payne); 1987: 7th (Peter Parkes); 1988: 9th (Stuart Stirling); 1989: 9th (Roger Payne); 1990: 9th (Denzil Stephens); 1991: 9th (Stuart Stirling); 1992: 12th (Hugh Megarrell); 1993: 11th (John Roberts); 1994: 7th (Mark Bentham); 1995: 7th (Mark Bentham); 1996: 10th (John Roberts); 1997: 11th (Brian Grant)

2007 Programme:
The Devil’s Galop; Evergreen; Bombasto; Anyone can Whistle; Huapango; The Cup of Life

The ever presents of Reg Vardy had a difficult time of it last year, with the departure of Ray Farr meaning late replacement Steve Malcolm being giving little time to get a eye catching, or ear pleasing programme together. The result was a predictable 10th place.

Allan Ramsay takes over this time and one thing is sure – the band will be well prepared. 2008 has seen Reg Vardy regain significant lost contesting ground, and although they are still some way off the finished product they should be confident of taking a few scalps once again on their home patch.

Player to listen out for: Jim Hayes – as fine an exponent of the cornet around at the present time. 

Nigel Seaman
4BR Ranking: 10 

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: David Smith
Euphonium: Paul Walton
Soprano: Steve Bailey
Horn: Murray Borthwick
Flugel: Brian Winter
Trombone: Mark Horton
Baritone: Lloyd Shipp
Eb Tuba: Martin Easner
Bb Tuba: Phil Convey
Percussionist: Dan Hayward

Brass in Concert Record:

13th time
Debut: 1977
Best Result: Winners in 1982, 1984, 1985
Worst Result: 11th in 1978 

Last 10 Years:
2007: 8th (K. Steward) (5)

Last appeared 1987

SeamanAlso: 1987 (2nd) (Robert Watson) 1986 (2nd) (Howard.Snell) 1985 (Winners) (Howard Snell) 1984 (Winners) (Howard Snell) 1983 (2nd) (Howard Snell) 1982 (Winners) (Howard Snell) 1981 (3rd) (Howard Snell) 1980 (2nd) (Howard Snell) 1979 (3rd) (D.Blakeson) 1978 (11th) (Howard Snell) 1977 (10th) (Albert Chappell)

2007 Programme:
Postcard From Mexico; La Virgin de La Macerena - soloist David Smith; The Day thou Gavest; The Clock with Dresden Figures; Anyone Can Whistle; Finale from Daphnis and Chloe

Another band with a late replacement MD last year, Desford opted for a bit of time travel and set the musical clock back to the glory years of Howard Snell.

Time waits for no man however and despite some quality playing they just didn’t have enough innovative sheen about them to come any higher than a hard worked 8th place.

This time should promise much better and with the band fresh from their most recent trip to Asia they should be in fine fettle.

Player to listen out for: David Smith – the top man is a top man when it comes to the work of a principal cornet player.


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