2014 European Brass Band Championship — Challenge Section: As it happened

All the action from the 2014 European Brass Band Championship — Challenge Section — as it happened.

Challenge Section • Saturday 3, 22:37:14


Hannes Buchegger, Guido Segers, Martin Winter

Test Piece: Pilgrims (Josiah Walters) and Own Choice Programme

1. Brass Band Wipptal (2) =94
Martin Gruber

2. 1st Old Boys Association Silver Band (4) = 93
Stephen Cairns

3. Tullis Russell Mills (3) = 89
Paul Drury

4. Drogheda Brass Band (3) =88
Michael Maher

Best Instrumentalist: Markus Luhn. euphonium (Brass Band Wipptal)

Challenge Section • Saturday 3, 11:11:55

Challenge Section summary:

What a very enjoyable couple of hours its been this morning and great to have the return of the B Section re-branded as the Challenge Section. Josiah Walters’ ‘The Pilgrim’ has proved to be a short but enjoyable work that tests the basics and more of the ensembles—none more so than the triple ppp closing bars.

We’ve heard some good ensembles this morning and in terms of where our Scottish five pound note is going for the winners tonight will see some Irish eyes smiling.

The Northern Irish have nipped it for us from the Italians with the Scots in third and Drogheda in 4th.

4BR Prediction:

1. 1st Old Boys Association
2. Brass Band Wipptal
3. Tullis Russell Mills
4. Drogheda

Challenge Section • Saturday 3, 11:08:54

4. 1st Old Boys Association Silver Band (Stephen Cairns)

The Pilgrim (Josiah Walters)
Time Machine (Thomas Doss)

The test piece opens up with a sense of confidence and control—some lovely stuff is coming out and the soloists shine. There is a lovely descriptive feel coming through and it closes so well.

Doss’s journey through time is evocative stuff. Darkly coloured at times with lots of exposed passages, it’s music that the band copes well with the various technical and musical challenges that are thrown up within it and they just about have enough stamina in the tank to tackle the dramatic close.


What a great programme from the Irish, so well polished and delivered.

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1st Old Boys Association Silver Band final touches before taking the stage under MD Stephen Cairns

Challenge Section • Saturday 3, 10:40:43

Stats Corner

The 1st Old Boys are one of the few bands that have taken part in both sections at the Europeans throughout its tenure.

Challenge Section • Saturday 3, 10:39:21

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The Irish 1st Old Boys in warm up before they close the contest.

Challenge Section • Saturday 3, 10:35:08

3. Tullis Russell Mills (Paul Drury)

They Shall Come from the East (arr Kevin Larsson)
The Pilgrim (Josiah Walters)
Trittico (James Curnow)

A nice opening in the Larsson work leads into good vocals and neat ensemble and percussion work. This is maintained throughout with the percussion driving the rhythms to a fine end.

What a lovely descriptive opening to the test piece, so calm, but the music unfolds with good understanding from the MD and the ensemble work is good and complemented by effective percussion work.

There is a lovely sense of poise with a final cornet voice and a real warmth to the ensemble. The testing close is handled well

Curnow’s Trittico receives a fine performance. Paul Drury brings an awful lot out of the music and there is a real sense of control throughout with nothing being overdone or stretched. Credit goes to the MD for the way he has brought the music to the fore here with so much colour, contrasts and vitality. Great close


What an excellent contrasting programme from the Scots. Had a bit of everything within it but very well played.

Challenge Section • Saturday 3, 10:04:42

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A traditional outfit for Tullis Russell Mills Musical Director Paul Drury

Stats Corner

The local outfit will be looking to boost their bank balance today ahead of the National Final in Cheltenham in September where they will play Traversada which will be heard today.

Challenge Section • Saturday 3, 10:03:56

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All smiles from the locals of Tullis Russell just before taking the stage

Challenge Section • Saturday 3, 09:59:36

2. Drogheda Brass Band (Michael Maher)

Citrus, Altius, Fortius (Alan Fernie)
The Pilgrim (Josiah Walters)
Traversada (Oliver Waespi)

Alan Fernie’s work really does have that feel of, ‘Faster, Higher, Stronger’ about it. Short and sweet, but controlled and energetic

The set test starts so calmly and effectively—such engaging musical images are being depicted. The MD has an understanding of what the composer has written and is bringing out the various colours and images—the control in the dynamic ranges is good and there are some fine solo contributions.

What such an atmospheric close

The Waespi work starts off well with soloists standing in front of the band. There is a real sense of control from the MD with the band responding well to his command—the dynamic contrasts work well.

There are some lovely effects and excellent solo contributions performed by players at front of stage—well done all. The energy and atmospheric pictures that have been built up remain until the end which closes with confidence.


A very enjoyable programme from the Irish contender with some excellent playing at times.

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Drogheda Brass Band get their last minute instructions from MD Michael Maher

Challenge Section • Saturday 3, 09:59:18

Stats Corner

Drogeda returns to the contest for the first time since 2009.

Challenge Section • Saturday 3, 09:31:57

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'Taking me, taking you' - Drogheda shortly before they take the stage

Challenge Section • Saturday 3, 09:29:27

1. Brass Band Wiptal (Martin Gruber)

The Pilgrim (Josiah Walters)
Vipitenum Scenes (Thomas Doss)

There’s a lovely controlled feeling to the piece with Martin Gruber painting lots of descriptive colours. The ensemble links well together and the MD has a clear idea of how he wants the work to be performed. The tricky ppp closing bars is well handed.

The Thomas Doss work is full of warmth, vibrancy and energy. The ensemble work is slick and the ensemble moves through the dynamic gears with confidence. The mood changes dramatically and we now here depictions of yodelling which are sung.

Further mood changes to upbeat, percussion rhythms are dealt with musical vigour and energy and it’s a fine close.


What a great start to the day and this contest. Both pieces were played with real passion and musical understanding.

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Brass Band Wiptal get somelast minute instructions from MD Martin Gruber

Challenge Section • Saturday 3, 09:02:31

Stats Corner

The Italians appeared in the B Section in Rotterdam in 2012 when the B Section (now renamed Challenge was last held) finishing third. They will be looking to improve on that result this year.

Challenge Section • Saturday 3, 08:58:02

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The Italians from Wiptal, seen here in warm-up, will soon be taking to the stage to commence this morning's contest.

Challenge Section • Saturday 3, 08:44:52

Challenge Section:

Perth Concert Hall
Draw: Friday 2nd May
Commence: 9.00am

Test Piece: Pilgrims (Josiah Walters) and Own Choice Programme

Hannes Buchegger, Guido Segers, Martin Winter


1. Brass Band Wipptal (Martin Gruber)
2. Drogheda Brass Band (Michael Maher)
3. Tullis Russell Mills (Paul Drury)
4. 1st Old Boys Association Silver Band (Stephen Cairns)

Challenge Section own-choice pieces

Citrus, Altius, Fortius (Alan Fernie), Traversada (Oliver Waespi)
The Time Machine (Thomas Doss)
Trittico (James Curnow) and They Shall Come from the East (arr Kevin Larsson)
Vipitenum Scenes (Thomas Doss)

Challenge Section • Friday 2, 16:03:03

Composer Josiah Walters is now talking to Paul Hindmarsh about his banding background and his piece for Saturday morning, 'The Pilgrim' and that ends very quietly.

Challenge Section • Tuesday 29, 12:59:51

Saturday 3rd May
09.00: Perth Concert Hall

Challenge Section Championships (Own choice/Commissioned test piece)

Black Dyke Band - Swiss Nationals Gala Concert

Saturday 19 September • KKL, Europaplatz 1, 6005 Luzern, Switzerland 6000

The Marple Band - Marple Band Autumn Concert

Friday 16 October • Marple Methodist Church, Church Lane, Marple SK6 6AY

The Marple Band - Marple and Hawk Green Bands Concert Compstall

Saturday 7 November • St Pauls Church, Compstall Rd, Compstall, Stockport, Cheshire SK6 5HU

Contest: Swiss National Championships

Saturday 28 November • Stravinski Hall, Montreaux. Claude-Nobs 5, 1820 Montreaux, Switzerland 1820

Contest: Swiss National Championships

Sunday 29 November • Stravinski Hall, Montreaux. Claude-Nobs 5, 1820 Montreaux, Switzerland 1820

Amesbury Town Band

August 5 • Players and beginners of any standard are always warmly welcomed especially some more solo cornets and a spare percussionists to help out existing players. Feel free to drop in even if you just fancy a blow or want to try another instrument. After Covid!

Crewe Brass

July 26 • Due to relocation Crewe Brass require a top quality Bass player to complete our line up, Position negotiable withe the MD, Matt Pithers on 07921 062732. Enquires for other positions are welcome to apply in strict confidence.. .

The Marple Band

July 20 • The Marple Band were promoted to 1st Section at the start of 2020. We are looking for Basses Eb and Bb, front row cornets and second row cornet to join our friendly band. If fancy a change of scene and think you have what it takes to play, see below.

Alan Fernie

Arranger, composer, adjudicator, conductor


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