2012 National Championships of Great Britain — First Section Runners & Riders

List of the competing bands in the First Section at Cheltenham

The Centaur, Cheltenham
22-23 September

band logoBecontree Brass

Conductor: Adam Cooke

Becontree Brass Band was formed in 1981 with initial rehearsals held in an old park-keepers’ hut close to Becontree Station in Dagenham.

The band is now based at the headquarters of the charity Dr Barnardos, in Barkingside, Essex, for which the band has helped raise over £25,000..

In 2011 they claimed a podium finish at the Second Section Area contest which led to them being placed 9th at the National Finals and gaining promotion to the First Section.

The band appeared in St James’ park, London, to celebrate the Royal Wedding in 2011, playing to a crowd of thousands and appearing as guest stars on The Chris Evans Breakfast Show on the same day!

They have risen to the challenge of the First Section in 2012 – winning the Butlins title and the London Regional Championships title.

Principal players:
Principal Cornet: Mark Kennedy
Principal Euphonium: Alan Flower
Soprano: Ewan Parker
Solo Horn: Trevor Foster
Principal Trombone: David Murray
Flugel: Sam Lewis
Baritone: Jenny Meadows
Eb Bass: David Bowman
Bb Bass: Tom Elsom
Principal Percussionist: Helen Sheehan

Region: London & Southern Counties
Qualified: Winners (A. Cooke)

Originally from Belfast, Adam moved to England to study music at the University of Manchester. Whilst there he played trombone with many top bands, winning the Grand Shield with Leyland and competing at the National Finals, English Nationals and British Open.

Following his degree, Adam was offered a scholarship to study the Orchestral Training Masters Course at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. During this time, Adam had the opportunity to participate in access schemes with the London Symphony Orchestra and Philharmonia Orchestra.

Adam has worked with bands such as Leyland, Aveley & Newham and Virtuosi GUS, and was MD of the Hoover (Bolton) Band and University of Manchester Brass Ensemble. He is currently the MD of Becontree Brass, and 'Brass United' - the joint brass band of the University of Manchester and Royal Northern College of Music, which in 2011 won the inaugural title of National University Brass Band Champions.

Adam is principal conductor of the New Belfast Sinfonia - Belfast's leading young symphony orchestra.

As well as working as a freelance musician, Adam is a lead brass tutor for the London Borough of Newham & Wandsworth and was recently appointed tutor of brass at St. Paul's Girls' School.

Test Piece Views:
The band is enjoying working on the piece very much – it certainly has many challenges but at the same time is very enjoyable to play. It’s great to play a new work without prior performances to ‘get in the way’.

The haunting opening baritone solo is marked "distant" and we have given a lot of thought to how far away it should sound for best results….the basses have suggested The Isle of Wight……

band logoBurry Port Town

Conductor: Michael Thorne

The band was originally formed as the Elliott’s Smelting Works Band in the late 1890s. During the early part of the 20th century, they gained notable contest and concert successes, including performances at the Crystal Palace in London and a number of radio broadcasts.

The band ceased existence after the Second World War but reformed in 1972 and slowly rose through the ranks to achieve Championship section status in 2000.

Success has been forthcoming ever since with highlights including victories at the Senior Cup in 2005, the National Eisteddfod in 2002 and 2006, two Royal Albert Hall appearances in 2003 and 2006 and two Champion Band of Wales titles.

In addition to gaining the First Section Welsh Area title, the last 12 months has seen the band claim Championship Section victories at the three Welsh League contests at Burry Port, Blaenavon and Ebbw Vale, plus runners-up prizes at the Senior Trophy and National Eisteddfod.

The band will be hoping to celebrate the 40th anniversary of its reformation with further success at Cheltenham.

Principal players:
Principal Cornet: Chris Jenkins
Principal Euphonium: Chris Smith
Soprano: Jayne Thomas
Solo Horn: Keith Curtis
Principal Trombone: Geraint Thomas
Flugel: Jane Stredwick
Baritone: Ceri John
Eb Bass: Peter Greenwood
Bb Bass: Ceri Parry Morgan
Principal Percussionist: Emyr Rees

Region: Wales
Qualified: Winners (M. Thorne)

Michael joined Burry Port Junior Band in 1978 and after a few weeks progressed to the senior band.

At school he was taught by Haydn Phillips, who inspired Michael to become passionate about music and explore the various careers that it offered. After obtaining a music degree from Goldsmiths College in London, he decided to return to Wales and further his musical life through teaching, playing and conducting.

Michael become the MD of Burry Port Band in 1992 and has enjoyed the thrills and spills that his association has provided. He also played with Cory Band as principal horn and was for eight years their resident conductor.

Recently, Michael has retired from full-time playing and spends his time with his wife Kym, son Sam, his books, studying for a degree in Psychology and being engaged as the MD of Burry Port.

Test Piece Views:
The band is delighted to be playing a piece written by one of its former players Tom Davoren, who has crafted a test-piece that is a joy to listen to as it is to practise.

MD Mike Thorne believes the piece will provide a stern test for all conductors and players alike.

band logoChalford

Conductor: Steve Tubb

Although formed in 1885, Chalford Band is a modern, forward looking organisation and flourishing as never before with three thriving competitive ensembles.

The senior band started contesting many years ago in the Fourth Section and has progressed steadily through the ranks. From 2013 it will be competing in the Championship Section, after claiming a deserved runner-up placing at the 2012 Area Championship.

The band also won the Pontins First Section title in 2006 and has competed at the National Finals at different levels in 1970, 1977, 1979, 1982 and 1989.

Their all-age Academy Brass competes successfully in the Fourth Section coming 7th at the 2012 Area contest, whilst its brilliant Youth Band, has won several silver and gold awards at the National Youth Brass Championships – including the 2012 Junior title.

The band has superb facilities in which to rehearse, with a bandroom opned in 1988 that was designed and built by band members with the help of local craftsmen.

Principal players:
Principal Cornet: Chris Jones
Principal Euphonium: Les Pearse
Soprano: Hannah Godwin
Solo Horn: Marie Pearse
Principal Trombone: Dave Nairn
Flugel: Katie Godwin
Baritone: Naomi Moth
Eb Bass: Derrick Witts
Bb Bass: Alan Wear
Principal Percussionist: Jordan Grant

Region: West of England
Qualified: 2nd (S. Tubb)

Steve was born in London and began his banding career as a baritone player with the Redbridge Band under the batons of John Ridgeon and Ray Farr.

Steve and his family moved to Stroud, Gloucestershire when he was in his late teens, where he joined Chalford Band and played both first baritone and then principal euphonium. Steve took over as conductor in 1997 and has been a highly respected and successful MD ever since.

Test Piece Views:
We love the piece. The music is modern sounding but also based on tradition and is a challenge both technically and musically.

The percussion writing is exciting and fascinating so our percussion section love it! It is a great piece for the Diamond Jubilee year and we all love the English musical instructions as well - particularly 'fizzing'!

band logoClackmannan District

Conductor: Paul McKelvie OBE

Clackmannan District Brass Band was formed in October 1991 as a result of the amalgamation of the Alva Town and Alloa Burgh Bands.

Both were short of players and close to extinction until talks between their respective committees resulted in their merger.

During its short history the band has had a remarkable contesting success, representing Scotland at the National Championships on no fewer than four occasions and being crowned Scotland's Band of the Year 2002.

Latterley the band has won the Fife contest in 2011 and qualified yet again for the National Finals.

Principal players:
Principal Cornet: Paul Dornan
Principal Euphonium: George Cameron
Soprano: Owen Downs
Solo Horn: Graham Caldwell
Principal Trombone: Colin Ormiston
Flugel: Caren Bradley
Baritone: Brian Anderson
Eb Bass: Lindsay Holman
Bb Bass: Kenny Furmage
Principal Percussionist: Anne McInnes

Region: Scotland
Qualified: Winners (P. McKelvie OBE)

Paul has had a long association with the band and indeed was one of its founder players.

He started playing trombone and joined the Alva Band in 1974, moving onto the solo trombone seat within 6 months. He played continuously with the band until 2007, sharing in the success they enjoyed over this period.

Further success followed the amalgamation of the Alloa and Alva Bands in 1991 – which created the Clackmannan District Band.

Paul joined Lochgelly in 2008, and was part of that band’s growing contesting success. Paul’s musical experience is wide – and he has been involved brass bands, orchestras and big bands in recent years.

He has played under the baton of many high class conductors, including Major Peter Parkes, James Scott, Jim Davies and Norman Law, whist he says of his appointment at Clackmannan: “I am delighted and honoured to be given the opportunity to work with the band that has such a special place in my heart.”

Test Piece Views:
The band are liking the test piece more and more, however it is not as easy a piece as initially perceived, with all the intricate and isolated areas of the piece.

Some had work has been required around the seats to ensure all the detail and musicality will hopefully come through on the day.

band logoDalkeith & Monktonhall

Conductor: James Chamberlain

The band was formed as an amalgamation of the Dalkeith Burgh and Monktonhall Colliery Bands in 1984.

Prior to that, the Dalkeith was formed in the late 1800's and the Monktonhall Colliery Band started life as the Prestonlinks Colliery Silver Band in 1921.

This is the band's sixth appearance at the National Finals since 1984 and the third in 5 years under the baton of Jim Chamberlain.

Principal players:
Principal Cornet: Karen Chamberlain
Principal Euphonium: Naomi Pulfrey
Soprano: Larry Blair
Solo Horn: Bradley Doran
Principal Trombone: Robert Fraser
Flugel: David Plain
Baritone: Kirsty Fleming
Eb Bass: Graham Fraser
Bb Bass: John Rowlands

Region: Scotland
Qualified: 2nd (J. Chamberlain)

Originally from Wakefield in West Yorkshire, James started his trumpet lessons with Rita James and played with his local band, Sharlston Colliery.

He quickly became known as a fine trumpet/flugel player and gained an honours degree in Music from the University of Huddersfield where he studeid trumpet with Chris Bacon and Murray Greig, and also gained invaluable experience from Phillip McCann in the University Brass Band.

As a flugel player with Whitburn Band, James featured many times as a soloist on ‘Listen to the Band’ broadcasts, at the Brass in Concert Championships and also on CD recordings.

He has won several individual awards at the Scottish Solo Championships, Carnegie Invitation and Land O' Burns contests and was awarded the 4BR ‘Best Soloist’ award at the 2007 Scottish Open.

James is a brass instructor with Fife Council and conducts with the Scottish Schools Orchestra Trust.

He took up the baton with Dalkeith & Monktonhall in 2005 and he has guided them to victory at the Scottish Championships on two occasions - 2008 in the Third Section and 2010 in the Second Section. 2012 will be his fourth appearance as a conductor at the National Finals.

Test Piece Views:
The whole team is enjoying rehearsing the test piece.

Its technicalities present a challenge whilst it remains enjoyable to rehearse and play together.

band logoForesters Brass 2000

Conductor: Peter Collins

Foresters Brass 2000 is based in Leicester and draws players from around the East Midlands.

The band can trace its roots back to 1902, forming as the Bread Street Mission Band. Via several other guises they began an association with Foresters in 1957, which is thought to be the longest unbroken sponsorship of any brass band in the country.

The band is enormously proud to spread the sponsor’s name and is grateful to the Foresters Friendly Society for its ongoing support.

It has achieved many notable successes over the years including becoming French Open Champions. The band is past winners of the Wychavon and Bugle contests to name but a few.

The band promotes and encourages its younger players, and has close links with the award-winning Youth Brass 2000. Several of the band's younger players are also members of the National Children’s Brass Band of Great Britain.

Principal players:
Principal Cornet: Julie Bassett
Principal Euphonium: Lucas Wong
Soprano: Paul Short
Solo Horn: Tracey Colston
Principal Trombone: Steve March
Flugel: Tom Ashby
Baritone: Richard Simnor
Eb Bass: Neal Oliver
Bb Bass: Paul Oliver
Principal Percussionist: Chris Brice

Region: Midlands
Qualified: 3rd (P. Collins)

Peter started playing the cornet under the guidance of Don Blakeson, achieving Grade 8 distinction by the time he was 14.

He became principal cornet of the Band of the Ancient Order of Foresters at 15, and played solo cornet with the National Youth Band of Great Britain as well as occupying the top chair at Youth Brass 2000.

After reading Politics and Philosophy at university, Peter accepted a scholarship to study trumpet at the Royal College of Music. He has enjoyed a successful playing career with stints as principal cornet at Ransomes, Polysteel (now Flowers), Thoresby Colliery and Gresley Colliery.

As well as establishing brass tuition programmes at several schools, he set up a scheme to ensure every primary school pupil in Rutland has access to an instrument and at least a term of free brass tuition.

Peter has also become a respected MD, returning to Youth Brass 2000 and the Foresters as conductor, and helping steer both bands to notable successes.

He recently took the decision to change the direction of his career and completed a law conversion course. He is now a qualified barrister, and begins work in chambers shortly after the National Finals!

Test Piece Views:
The band is enjoying working on the piece – it is a real challenge for the whole band, not least percussion!

band logoLewis Merthyr

Conductor: Gareth Pritchard

Now in its 133rd year, Lewis Merthyr is the oldest brass band in the Rhondda Valley, still supporting the name of the former Lewis Merthyr Colliery that closed in 1983.

Originally known as the Cymmer (Porth) Colliery Band, they became the Lewis Merthyr Colliery Band in 1949. Since teaming up with conductor Gareth Pritchard in 2007, the band has continually improved and its 3rd place at the recent National Eisteddfod gave it their 14th podium prize in 14 competitions.

In March they qualified for the National Finals for a second successive year (after competing in the Second Section in 2011) and has gained previous National honours by winning both the Third and Second Sections 1950 and 1951.

The band has also represented Wales no less than eight times at Championship Section level at the Royal Albert Hall, and in 1985, represented Wales at the European Brass Band Championships in Denmark.

Principal players:
Principal Cornet: Neil Batten
Principal Euphonium: Darren Morris
Soprano: Carol Flanary-Davies
Solo Horn: Catherine Showell
Principal Trombone: Nils Everett Richards
Flugel: Rob Smith
Baritone: Ron Andrews
Eb Bass: Martin Davies
BBb Bass: John Griffith
Percussion: Jordan Pritchard

Region: Wales
Qualified: 2nd (G. Pritchard)

Gareth was born in Ynyshir in the Rhondda Valley. He began playing cornet and studied with David Thomas and Ieuan Morgan MBE, OBE.

He entered Trinity College of Music in 1974 to study Trumpet with Norman Burgess, Composition with Vera Ayton and Conducting with Bernard Keefe, attaining LTCL and being admitted as a Fellow of the College.

Gareth has played principal cornet for several leading bands and has come under the influence of many famous conductors. He was Cornet Solo Champion of Great Britain in 1977 and 1979 and has performed regularly as a soloist all over the world.

In 1991 Gareth moved to Norway and enjoyed considerable conducting success, winning National titles at three different levels (including Elite) with four bands and claiming the prestigious SIDDIS Brass title with Sandefjord Brass Symposium Band.

Since returning to the UK he has been Professional Conductor for Besses o’ th’ Barn, Bodmin Town and BTM Bands and also MD for EYMS Band. He is in demand as an adjudicator and is a member of the ABBA.

Test Piece Views:
The band is enjoying working on the piece even if it has been an administrative nightmare to find 3 tuned Percussionists not already registered with someone else.

band logoPhoenix West Midlands Brass

Conductor: Trevor Jones

Based in Gornal in the West Midlands, Phoenix West Midlands Band draws players from the local and surrounding areas.

The band was formed in September 2000 and has prided itself on having a friendly atmosphere in and out of the bandroom which is reflected in the popularity of the band in the local community.

Phoenix place a large emphasis on entertaining and each year play a substantial amount of park and church concerts.

The last few years have seen the band spread its wings to play to audiences in Solihull, Willenhall, Birmingham and Stratford-Upon-Avon.

Over the years the band has played at a wide range of events supporting Wyre Forrest schools, the Gentlemen Songsters Male Voice Choir, the Black Country Living Museum and has performed at a number of events with local singer songwriter Chris Eaton.

The band have established their annual concert which takes place every Spring at Netherton Arts Centre and provides the band with a chance to entertain their loyal band of supporters and friends.

Principal players:
Principal Cornet:
Principal Euphonium:
Solo Horn:
Principal Trombone:
Eb Bass:
Bb Bass:
Principal Percussionist:

Region: Midlands
Qualified: 2nd (T. Jones)

No details given

Test Piece Views:
None given

band logoRainford Silver

Conductor: Neil Samuel

The current Rainford Band was established from the former Rainford Boys Brigade Silver Band in 1976.

Some 36 years later they can look back on considerable successes after entering its first contest in 1979.

A number of well known conductors helped in the band’s development, including Colin Moore who led the band to its first contesting successes during a 21 year stint as the band’s MD, culminating in coming 3rd at the Lower Section National Finals in 1991.

Latterly, Lynda Nicholson led the band to notable contest successes and established a solid base for future development.

Under its present MD, Neil Samuel that success has been extended with more contesting glory. 2012 also saw the appointment of Gareth Brindle as the band’s Associate Conductor.

In 2012 Rainford won the North West Area contest and came 2nd at the Tameside contest where they competed in the Championship Section.

Principal players:
Principal Cornet: Mark Jones
Principal Euphonium: Steve Gordon
Soprano: Darren Humphries
Solo Horn: Kate Turner
Principal Trombone: Russell Marsh
Flugel: Lisa Thompson
Baritone: Adam Banks
Eb Bass: Gethin Rees
Bb Bass: Daniel Sinclair
Principal Percussionist: Jenny Moore

Region: North West
Qualified: Winners (N. Samuel)

Neil Samuel was born into a Salvation Army family was taught to play a brass instrument.

At 16, he was invited to study at Chethams School of Music where he was tutored by Chris Houlding and Rob Burtenshaw. Neil’s first taste of contest playing was with the BT Band, before he moved to play with Besses O’th Barn, and later Wingates, Leyland and Fairey (FP) Music Band.

From 2001 – 2005, Neil was the principal trombone with the Young Ambassadors Brass Band of Great Britain. As a conductor Neil has been seen in rehearsal, concert and contest performances with bands such as Deiniolen, Leyland, Hammonds and Middleton.

In early 2009 he was invited to make his adjudicating debut for the Lions International Trombone Finalist of the Year Contest at Birmingham Conservatoire and has since adjudicated a British Trombone Society solo competition held at Salford University.

Test Piece Views:
The band has enjoyed rehearsing the piece very much.

band logoRatby Co-operative

Conductor: Michael Fowles

The Ratby Band was formed in 1906, and although their exact origins remain indistinct, it is known it was most likely funded by public subscription from Ratby villagers.

In 1978 Ratby famously won the Grand Shield contest under the leadership of Betty Anderson, enabling them to compete at the British Open. At this time Betty had the distinction of being the first female conductor ever to take the stage at the event.

Latterly in their centenary year they launched the Ratby Beginner Band led by Geoff Newman, and now with around 140 musicians, Ratby has become one of the biggest brass band organisations in the UK.

In 2008 the band claimed its first championship victory at the Leicestershire Association contest and this year gained victory at the Midlands Area contest and 5th place at the Senior Cup.

Principal players:
Principal Cornet: Ian Dickman
Principal Euphonium: Rob Hunt
Soprano: Steve Alexander
Solo Horn: Matt Taylor
Principal Trombone: Becky Moss
Flugel: Guido Damore
Baritone: Kaye Root
Eb Bass: Laura White
Bb Bass: Stuart Venables
Principal Percussionist: Ellie Wingett

Region: Midlands
Qualified: Winners (M. Fowles)

Michael Fowles hails from North Staffordshire. In addition to being MD of Ratby Band he is also Musical Director of Foden’s Band.

An honours graduate and former member of staff of the RNCM in Manchester, he is Course Director of the Wessex Band Summer School and regularly directs educational workshops in both Staffordshire and Leicestershire.

His career began at the Point of Ayr Band, winning two Welsh Areas and claiming a podium finish at the European Championships. Further success followed at the BT, Leyland, Fairey and Tredegar Bands.

Michael has written for both Brass Band World and British Bandsman, given many premiere performances, conducted concerto appearances of eminent soloists, and directed many commercial CDs.

A highlight of his recording career is directing the British Bandsman CD of the Year 2010, ‘A World Within’ featuring the music of Andy Scott with Foden’s Band.

Recent contest successes include two LBBA titles and a Bolsover Inter-County Challenge win with Ratby, and an All England International Masters victory together with two Scottish Open wins with Co-operative Funeralcare Band.

Test Piece Views:
The band is enjoying practicing the piece and is looking forward to a return to the top section next year.

band logoShepherd Group

Conductor: Richard Wilton

The Shepherd Group Brass Band was originally formed in 1903 under the name of the Rowntree Cocoa Works Band.

The band was based at the famous Rowntree Cocoa Works in York, although over the years they have been through many name changes, ranging from the York Cocoa Works Band to the Rowntree Mackintosh and the Nestlé Rowntree Band.

In 2004, Nestlé Rowntree went through a number of changes and as a result the band lost its patronage. Luckily, the Shepherd Group stepped in with support and under their guidance and generosity the band has flourished, adding to their impressive total of five North of England Area title successes.

Principal players:
Principal Cornet: Mark Durham
Principal Euphonium: Mike Pratt
Soprano: Jack Capstaff
Solo Horn: Ann Jackson
Principal Trombone: Paul Wilkinson
Flugel: Sharon Durham
Baritone: Lee Durrant
Eb Bass: James Wylde
Bb Bass: Pete Scott
Principal Percussionist: John Armstrong

Region: North of England
Qualified: Winners (R. Wilton)

Richard started learning to play the tuba under the tutelage of Graham Walker, quickly progressing to the ranks of the Hambleton Band in 1983.

After 10 happy years, he moved to Carlton Main Frickley Colliery Band as principal tuba, enjoying many notable successes including becoming Yorkshire champions in 1999.

After a short spell with the Sellers International Band, Richard fulfilled his childhood ambition of joining the bass section of Grimethorpe Colliery Band, travelling extensively around Australasia, the United States and Europe.

Richard enjoyed many successes with the band, including back to back Area victories, an unprecedented five consecutive Brass in Concert championships and becoming National Champions in 2006.

Richard returned to his banding roots at South Milford Brass (formerly Hambleton Brass) in 2005, this time as MD. After a successful period, culminating in becoming North of England Champions in 2008 and 2009, Richard is now looking forward to a long and happy association with The Shepherd Building Group Band.

Test Piece Views:
The band are really relishing the challenge that Vivat! brings. The challenge is found in balance and tempos and especially percussion parts. It is definitely proving a hit within the band.

band logoWardle District Anderson Brass

Conductor: Steven Walsh

Wardle Anderson Band was originally formed in 1990 to allow players to progress from the Wardle School Band to adult banding.

Today three of the players of that original band are still playing members and when the band won at the North West Regional Championship in 2009, of the 28 players on stage, 25 had been pupils at Wardle High.

The band is keen to continue the close association with Wardle High School and the many talented children passing through it whilst enjoying considerable contesting success at local and national level.

In the last ten years the band has competed in at six National Finals.

During its 22 year history, the band has played in all sections from fourth to first, most recently conducted by Sean Conway. A change of MD this year has seen Steven Walsh take over the baton.

Principal players:
Principal Cornet: Dhani Miller
Principal Euphonium: Ben Wright
Soprano: Chris Clough
Solo Horn: Joanne Ward
Principal Trombone: Sarah Tucker
Flugel: Laura Quigley
Baritone: Angela Clough
Eb Bass: Matthew Beasley
Bb Bass: Kristian Howles
Principal Percussionist: Matthew Rigg

Region: North West
Qualified: 2nd (S. Conway)

Steven has held principal euphonium positions in some of England’s top brass bands. He regards his years with the YBS Band under Professor David King as his most successful however, recording numerous award winning CDs, winning the All England Masters, British Open and European Championships twice.

He also performed at Sydney Opera House as part of the YBS Australian tour in 2005 and in 2007 was awarded the ‘Best Euphonium’ and overall brass winner at the European Solo Competition in Birmingham.

In 2009 Steven joined the Brighouse & Rastrick on principal euphonium where he was awarded the ‘Best Soloist’ prize at the 2009 British Open Championship. He then went on to help the band win the Yorkshire Area in 2010 and 2011 where he was awarded with the ‘Best Instrumentalist’ prize.

The highlight of his tenure with the band was in helping them win the National Brass Band Championships in 2010 & 2011.

Steven has now played principal tuba with the band since September 2011, and is a Yamaha Performing Artist.

Test Piece Views:
Vivat is an enjoyable piece to play, musical but challenging for all sections of the band.

band logoWestoe Brass

Conductor: Jason Smith

Westoe Band started life in 1911 as the Harton Colliery Band, formed from the Tyne Dock Temperance Band adopted some years earlier by the colliery.

Records of a band date from 1873, although the current band seems to have been formed around 1911. The appointment in 1913 of George Hawkins as conductor instigated rapid progress, culminating in a famous British Open win in 1919 - the first colliery band to win the contest.

The band maintained a strong contesting presence over the next thirty years, although there was a period of doldrums until a 1960s revival, which was subsequently quashed by the Miner’s Strike of 1984/5.

In 1985 the band became known as Westoe Colliery Band, although following the pit closure in 1995 the band gained the support of South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust, the stability from which allowed the band to build back up to the strong outfit it is today.

The band has enjoyed recent success being placed runner-up at the North of England Area contest in 2011 and 2012. They will play in the Championship Section in 2013.

Principal players:
Principal Cornet: Tom Cooke
Principal Euphonium: Steve Kyle
Soprano: Callum Harrison
Solo Horn: Linda Robertson
Principal Trombone: Kieran Parnaby
Flugel: Jo Brown
Baritone: Claire Harding
Eb Bass: Colin Harding
Bb Bass: Eric Forster
Principal Percussionist: Matthew Hunt

Region: North of England
Qualified: 2nd (J. Smith)

Jason Smith began conducting in 1986 whilst a sixth former at Boldon Comprehensive School in South Tyneside.

He studied conducting at Bangor University where he also conducted the university brass ensemble for two years.

With his return to Tyneside following university he joined the Ovington Tynedale Band where he enjoyed nine years as their solo euphonium as well as serving as assistant conductor.

Jason was subsequently appointed as the conductor of Ovington Tynedale Band and Pittington Brass before being appointed as the MD of Westoe Band in 2001. He has since led them to abundant successes over his 11 years at the helm.

Test Piece Views:
We are currently enjoying playing Vivat and are striving to rise to the variety of rhythmic challenges, the plethora of stylistic variations and the multitude of scriptural intimations made by composer Tom Davoren.

band logoYorkshire Imperial Urquhart Travel

Conductor: David Nesbitt

The ‘Imps’ is undoubtedly one of the most famous brass bands in the world.

Originally formed in the 1930’s as the Yorkshire Copper Works Band near Leeds, an industrial merger in 1958 created Yorkshire Imperial – hence the famous nickname.

More recently the band has benefited from sponsorship from David Urquhart (Travel) Ltd and has represented Yorkshire 21 times at the National Finals and has been placed in the top six on no less than 16 occasions.

Their success at the Yorkshire Area Championship Section includes 24 podium places, including 9 wins. The band was National Champion in 1978 and has won the British Open on three occasions as well as the prestigious Brass in Concert title. In 2005 they won the First Section National title.

In the past year the band have been placed 2nd at the Yorkshire Area, 3rd at Butlins Mineworkers Championship and won the Morley March & Hymn contest.

Principal players:
Principal Cornet: Alan Fowler
Principal Euphonium: Adrian Nurney
Soprano: John Belton
Solo Horn: Jessica Martin
Principal Trombone: Richard Taylor
Flugel: Neal McNulty
Baritone: Darren Sunderland
Eb Bass: Barry Tufnell
Bb Bass: Neil Stott
Principal Percussionist: Sarah Chapman

Region: Yorkshire
Qualified: 2nd (D. Nesbitt)

David Nesbitt has a wealth of experience both as a player and conductor.

As a bass player with Black Dyke, Grimethorpe, YBS and CWS Glasgow, he has won every major title in the brass band world.

As a professional tuba player for nearly 20 years he has regularly played with orchestras such as the English National, Liverpool Philharmonic, Opera North, Northern Sinfonia and Scottish Ballet.

He has toured with stars such as Lesley Garrett, Pavarotti, Evelyn Glennie and Kerry Ellis and has increasingly enjoyed success as a conductor, including prizes in all sections.

He directed the Stocksbridge Band to the Yorkshire First Section title and Senior Cup whilst with Yorkshire Imperial (DUT) Band he has been closely involved with the rebuilding of the band.

This has been instrumental in their successful qualification for the finals at Cheltenham and their reappearance at the Grand Shield contest for 2012.

Test Piece Views:
The band is thoroughly enjoying the piece and finding the Jubilee theme to be shining through. There’s plenty of music to be brought out from the score which should not be underestimated.

It will certainly be very exciting to perform the piece in Cheltenham.

band logoBrunel Brass

Conductor: John Winterflood

Brunel Brass was formed in 2006 when tutors from the Great Western Youth Band and some of the older members wanted to form a contesting band.

After only 10 weeks they performed at the 2007 West of England Area contest and were placed 5th.

The following year the band became West of England Fourth Section Champions and was placed 4th at the National Finals. Promoted to the Third Section in 2009 they became West of England Champions again, going on to claim the National title in Harrogate.

After coming 5th on their Second Section debuts in 2010, the band consolidated to become Second Section champion the following year, once again qualifying for the National Finals.

In 2011 Brunel won the Second Section West of England Area contest and went on to be crowned Second Section National Champions.

Amazingly they won the First Section Area contest at their first attempt in 2012, leading to yet another Finals appearance and gaining promotion to the Championship Section for 2013 – a record unequalled by any other band in the West of England.

Principal players:
Principal Cornet: Matthew Walton
Principal Euphonium: Dave Tong
Soprano: Paul Richards
Solo Horn: Mike Caress
Principal Trombone: Richard Overton
Flugel: Millie Marriott Webb
Baritone: Liz Logan
Eb Bass: Kieran Bird
BBb Bass: Ieuan Walton
Principal Percussion: Alex Webb

Region: West of England
Qualified: Winners (J. Winterflood)

John started his musical career as a euphonium player with the Swindon British Rail Staff Association Band.

He enlisted into the Army as a musician winning awards at Kneller Hall. He was a member of the famous Kneller Hall Fanfare Team for Princess Anne’s wedding and the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Celebrations and many other State occasions.

At 25 he was appointed Bandmaster of the Royal Irish Rangers before becoming Bandmaster at the Army Junior School of Music (Bovington) and eventually Bandmaster at the Royal Military School of Music.

On his retirement John moved back to his hometown of Swindon where he became a brass peripatetic teacher.

He founded the Swindon School of Brass Youth Band and under his musical direction they were the West of England First Section Champions in 1995 and subsequently promoted to the Championship Section.

He was appointed Deputy Director of Swindon Music Services in 2005, responsible for instrumental/vocal music projects within the local schools.

John helped found Brunel Brass in 2006 and is also MD of the Great Western Youth Band. He has adjudicated at band competitions throughout England and in Wales (including the Welsh National Eisteddfod twice). He is an Associate of the Royal College of Music and Licentiate of the Guildhall School of Music.

Test Piece Views:
The band are enjoying rehearsing Vivat and find it very challenging with it’s complex rhythms and styles of music.

It is certainly a challenge worthy of a 1st section championship competition and the band are looking forward to performing the test piece at Cheltenham.

band logoMilton Keynes Brass

Conductor: Craig Patterson

Milton Keynes Brass (MK Brass) is acknowledged as one of the southern region’s premier bands. The band maintains a busy contest and engagement schedule which includes regular bandstand performances in London’s Royal Parks as well as regional and local venues.

MK Brass was originally known as Broseley Brass and was formed with just eight players in 1984. The band has appeared at the National Finals on a number of previous occasions, the most recent being in the First Section in 2007.

The band has undertaken an overseas tour to Switzerland and recorded its first CD. MK Brass also has a thriving Development Band for learners and improvers of all ages.

This has a membership over thirty players and is supported by a number of the senior players who give up their time to ensure that brass playing will continue to flourish in Milton Keynes for some years to come.

Principal players:
Principal Cornet: Matthew Ball
Principal Euphonium: David Scott
Soprano: Eilidh Snell
Solo Horn: Kathryn Cockerill
Principal Trombone: Martyn Potts
Flugel: Sarah Potts
Baritone: Chris Blunt
Eb Bass: Jayne Scott
Bb Bass: Andy Hobbs
Principal Percussion: Kit Bancroft

Region: London & Southern Counties
Qualified: 2nd (C. Patterson)

No details given

Test Piece Views:
None given

band logoUnite the Union (City of Sheffield)

Conductor: Derek Renshaw

The Unite the Union Band began life as Sheffield Recreation Band in 1900, but over the years has been known as Quaker Sutherland, City of Sheffield, Andrews Heat for Hire and Stocksbridge Engineering Steels.

Contest successes include two Grand Shield wins, two Pontins championships, the National First Section title in 2001 and qualification for the Albert Hall finals on three occasions.

Highlights include a tour of Australia in 1995, appearances on the National Lottery show (it was the first band to successfully apply for a National Lottery grant) and high profile associations with artists such as Evelyn Glennie.

Famously they appeared in the film ‘The Full Monty’. For the past 10 years the band has been running its own concert season, the popular ‘City of Sheffield Band Club’ featuring bands from the South Yorkshire area.

After an unsettled period in temporary rehearsal rooms, the band now has a permanent bandroom in the heart of Sheffield city centre - close to where it began back in 1900 and a secure financial backing from Britain’s biggest union – Unite.

Principal players:
Principal Cornet: Mathew Knowles
Principal Euphonium: Daniel Jackson
Soprano: Steve Scarff
Solo Horn: Adrian Green
Principal Trombone: Claire Taylor
Flugel: John Lee
Baritone: Steve Machin
Eb Bass: John Pullin
Bb Bass: Mike Hart
Principal Percussionist: Dominic Ridler

Region: Yorkshire
Qualified: Winners (D. Renshaw)

Derek began life as a player in the City of Sheffield Youth Band before becoming principal cornet of Sheffield Recreation Band (which in later years became Stocksbridge, City of Sheffield and currently Unite the Union Brass Band).

Derek also played with Grimethorpe, Yorkshire Imperials and Black Dyke Mills and in 1998 he was asked to return to Stocksbridge, but this time as its conductor.

Over the next couple of years Derek took the band to two Yorkshire Area First Section victories, and finally helped the band to lift the First Section National Finals Trophy on its return to the Championship Section.

Derek made a welcome return to the band in 2011 helping them gain another Area title in 2012 and a return to the Championship Section in 2013.

Test Piece Views:
From the outset, it was quite clear that Vivat was indeed a very musical composition. The three movements all offering quite different challenges.

Very complex at times and bands will have to be at their best to make the detail heard. Congratulations to Tom Davoren on his VIVAT. I hope we do it justice!

Boarshurst Silver Band - Sunday Brass Concert - Phoenix Brass

Sunday 28 July • Boarshurst Band Club, Greenbridge Lane OL3 7EW

Dobcross Silver Band - Milnrow Band

Sunday 28 July • Dobcross Band Club. Platt Lane. Dobcross. Saddleworth. Oldham OL3 8AD

Regent Brass - 'Brass on the Grass' at Westminster Abbey

Wednesday 14 August • Great Peter House, Abbey Gardens, 2 Great College St, London SW1P 3SE


Sunday 1 September • Boarshurst Band Club, Greenbridge Lane OL3 7EW

Contest: 170th British Open

Saturday 7 September • Broad Street, Birmingham. B1 2EA

Regent Brass

July 24 • Looking for an exciting new musical challenge? Regent Brass (MD Alan Duguid) are a friendly and progressive 1st Section band based in central London with current vacancies on Tenor Horn, Eb/Bb Bass and Percussion. All other players are also welcome!

Haverhill Silver Band

July 24 • HSB has a vacancy for a first-class trombone player from mid-September due to relocation for university. With a busy concert programme and upcoming contests including Wychavon and the Senior Cup, this is a great opportunity for the right player!

Ratby Cooperative

July 23 • . To complete our line-up, Ratby Senior Band are looking to fill our 2nd Euphonium chair. This is a rare opportunity to join our Championship Band. . . Under the Direction of Musical Director Chris Jeans. Rehearsals Weds 8-10pm & Sun 7:15 - 9:15pm

Gordon Eddison

B Ed (Hons). Member AoBBA.
Conductor and Adjudicator.


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