2010 Scottish Brass Band Festival - Preview to Perth


4BR looks forward to an exciting weekend of brass band contesting in Perth from those ever innovative Scots...

PerthThe ever innovative Scots lead the contesting way again this weekend in Perth.

Two days of competition will see bands from both sides of Hadrian’s Wall compete for the big money payouts at the 8th Scottish Open Championship as well as a whole gaggle of the domestic clans in the Scottish Challenge Shield.

Dundee cake shop

And after the serious business as been concluded with a Gala Concert preview showing of Brighouse & Rastrick’s Brass in Concert programme, the compact concert hall will be jam packed to the rafters like a Dundee cake shop the following day with a unbelievable line up of talent in the Scottish Youth Championships.

In a very short space of time the Scottish Brass Band Festival has become a beacon of good organisation, good music and damn good youth inspired playing.

Open adjudication, top class judges, a commissioned set work by a young composer, pre draws, own choice programmes…. the list can go on and on. This is brass band contesting for the 21st century.

Youthful exhuberance and talent is the key to Scotland's future success

Domestic clash

It all starts on Saturday morning with the domestic clash of 12 bands in the revamped Scottish Challenge Shield.

The organisers have taken the sensible step of amalgamating the competing bands to produce a second tier contest that includes three competitors (who filled the podium places at the Scottish Championship) from each of the lower sections.

For all the progress made at grass roots level in recent years, contesting success in the senior sections has been scarce to say the least, with another disappointing return at Harrogate, where there was just one top six finish.

With the opportunity to showcase their talents on their own choice selections, a keen edged contest may well develop, giving a true indication of just where the lower section Scottish bands stand against each other, as well as in the greater scheme of things.  

DobsonCross border

Following that aperitif comes the cross border clash of 15 bands competing for the £3,000 top prize in the Scottish Open.

The competition has perhaps still to find its true niche as a top level contest, but the organisers will be hoping that this year’s event will produce the same level of quality as 12 months ago, when Fountain City came over from the USA and produced a quite stunning winning performance.

Much will depend on how the band’s tackle Simon Dobson’s (right) genuinely intriguing set work, ‘…and when the river told…’ and how their interpretations marry with the thoughts of the three separate, and open, adjudicators.

One thing is for certain. You will be hard pressed to disagree with the findings of three judges of the calibre of Hannes Buchegger, Howard Snell and the composer himself – although some we are sure will try.

Black arts

Those MDs wishing to indulge in the black arts of part swapping, mute abuse and score rewriting better watch out. These guys won’t miss a thing – regardless of them being in the open or not.

Saturday night comes to a close with the exciting prospect of seeing Richard Evans and the current National Champion Brighouse & Rastrick give a sneak preview of their Brass in Concert programme.

And with Dicky Evans surely dusting off his kilt to play to the crowd, it should be a treat.

BucheggaerYouth Championships

Bright eyed and bushy tailed, Sunday is a day for Scotland to show off the talents of its youth. And what a day it promises to be.

Right on the stroke of 9.30am, 20 novice ensembles (yes -  20!) will provide the adjudicators with their 10 minute programmes of music, followed by a further 6 ensembles in the Development Section (15 minutes) and 4 in the Senior Section (15 minutes), before the day is rounded off in splendid musical fashion with the two heavyweight outfits in the Premier Section (20 minutes).

High class

SBBA has ensured that the competitors will feel every bit as important as their senior counterparts the day before, as their efforts will be judged in the open by the same high class team of adjudicators – including Howard Snell and Hannes Buchegger (right).

Over the past few years, the success of the Scottish Youth Championships has been startling – so much so that this year the Scottish Minister of Culture and External Affairs will present the prizes, Fiona Hislop MSP.

And when you get the politicians clearing their diaries to come along and listen, you know you are doing something very right indeed, even if the Minister may well get a well placed flea in her ear about the proposed cut backs in music services in some areas of the country such as Aberdeen.

Iwan Fox


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