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

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

Championship Section • Saturday 3, 22:37:14



Set Work: Hannes Buchegger, Guido Segers, Martin Winter
Own CHoice: Preben Norgaard Christensen, Jean-Claude Kolly, Stephen Roberts

Test piece: Muckle Flugga (Rory Boyle)
(Draw): Set Work/Own Choice = Total

1. Brass Band Burgermusik Luzern, Michael Bach (4/11) 96/97=193
REM-scapes (Thomas Doss)

2. Eikanger-Bjorsvik Musikklag, Professor David King (5/9) 95/96=191
Goldberg 2012 (Sven Henrik Giske)

3. Black Dyke, Dr Nicholas Childs (10/2) 93/98=191
The Triumph of Time (Professor Peter Graham)

4. Brass Band Willebroek, Frans Violet (8/4) 97/93=190
On the Shoulders of Giants (Professor Peter Graham)

5. Cory, Philip Harper (1/1) 90/95=185
The Divine Right (Philip Harper)

6.Brass Band Schoonhoven, Erik Janssen (7/7) 92/92=184
Metamorphosis for Brass Band (Jacob de Haan)

7. Paris Brass Band, Florent Didier (9/3) 94/89=183
From Ancient times (Jan Van der Roost)

8. Austrian Brass Band of the University of Music and Performing Arts Graz, Professor Uwe Kollar (2/10) 88/90=178
Music of the Spheres (Philip Sparke)

9. Whitburn, Ian Porthouse (6/5) 91/86=177
Canite Tuba (James MacMillan)

10. Concord Brass Band, Dennis Anderson (11/8) 86/91=177
Journey to the Centre of the Earth (Professor Peter Graham)

11.Tongwynlais Temperance Jeremy Wise (3/6) 87/87=174
On Alderley Edge (Professor Peter Graham)

Best Soloist: Katrina Marzella baritone (Black Dyke)

Championship Section • Saturday 3, 19:10:16

4BR talks to composer. Nigel Clarke about the music that was performed in the own choice section of the European contest this weekend in Perth.

Championship Section • Saturday 3, 18:25:44

Final Prediction:

Over the two days we have made our predictions and we have added the. Up and come up with our final result.

After doing the sums its Eikanger for us - by the narrowest of margins from Paris Brass Band and Cory in third.

Just behind is Black Dyke with Burgermusik Luzern and Schoonhoven making up he top six.

It's very close between them all though and it could could any one of three or even four ways across that two legs.

Chris Thomas's final prediction:

1. Eikanger Bjorsvik
2. Paris Brass Band
3. Cory
4. Black Dyke
5. Luzern
6. Schoonhoven

Championship Section • Saturday 3, 18:11:58

It's been fascinating own choice contest in Perth with a mesmerising array of world class performances that have embraced a huge range of music.

We don't envy the adjudicators task today but we are nailing our flag to the mast with Chris Thomas's top six for the own choice. Keep an eye out for our overall prediction which we'll be posting shortly before the gala concert which commences at 20.00

Chris Thomas's Own Choice Top Six

1. Eikanger Bjorsvik
2. Black Dyke
3. Paris Brass Band
4. Cory
5. Burgermuzik Luzerne
6. Schoonhoven

Don't forget to look out for our overall prediction a little later!

Championship Section • Saturday 3, 17:50:39

11. BrassBand Burgermuzik Luzerne (Michael Bach)

REM-scapes (Thomas Doss)

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The familiar strains of Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata emerge through the subterranean rumblings of the opening. The band is creating fabulous colours here. It's a twilit tapestry of shifting textures and so carefully nuanced by the MD.

When we hit a sudden wall of sound the impact is tremendous and the now familiar harmonic traits of Thomas Doss are clearly audible. It's music of cinematic colour and the band is following in the footsteps of its performance of Muckle Flugga with a reading of real stature tinged with those little hints of Spiriti and Sketches from Nowhere.

Solo entries from horn, cornet and euphonium are finely done and there's a bloom to the band's sound that positively glows.

Suddenly the music takes a jazzy turn and trombone blazes out a big band style solo with cornets raising their bells drawing us into a stunning ending to a hugely impressive performance.

Overall: Another high quality reading of an intriguing piece by Michael Bach and his team. These have bee two extremely consistent performances from Luzerne.

Nigel Clarke's thoughts

Michael Bach creates a sumptuous dreamy opening to ReM-scrapes. Full of finesse, delicacy and fine brush strokes. Then we had contrasts on an epic scale. So many bright stars in this competition, one of which is this band and MD.

Something old, something borrowed, something new - a world class reading.

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Championship Section • Saturday 3, 17:32:26

11. Brass Band Burgermusik Luzern (Michael Bach)
REM-scapes (Thomas Doss)

On stage now...

Championship Section • Saturday 3, 17:22:11

10. Austrian Brass Band (Uwe Koller)

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Music of the Spheres - Philip Sparke

This is such a difficult piece but the Austrians make an immediate impression with an opening of crushing power. It's arguably a touch too bold at times but the players are injecting penetrating dramatic intent into the music.

The delicacy of the playing in the quieter movements of the score just lacks an ounce of subtlety at times and there are niggling little slips along the way but we really like the momentum of this. There's a freedom about the playing that wasn't there on Muckle Flugga yesterday. It's as if the nerves have gone and the shackles have come off.

The bell notes are not clean but the Austrians have thrown everything at this in a performance of such energy. Bravo!!

Overall: So much to enjoy in this. A reading of vigour and excitement from the Austrians.

Nigel Clarke's thoughts

Austrian BBC produce a compact and dynamic rendition of PS's master work. Golden sounds and pastel colours. They are so at home with this piece.they give everything and are rewarded with a tremendous audience reaction. I enjoyed this uplifting performances

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Championship Section • Saturday 3, 16:42:29

9. Eikanger-Bjorsvik Musikklag (Professor David King)
Goldberg 2012 (Sven Henrik Giske)

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There is a limpid luminosity that casts an Immediate spell - and suddenly we are taken into a performance of remarkable texture and technical clarity.

The contortions and manipulations of the themes are given such life and vigour that nothing is over stated. its a model of control and pacing.

The front row cornets local so well and the variations pass by with a sense of shifting tableaux and beauty. There are such delicate nuances to the playing here - such subtle flecks os colour. It is simply magical. The soprano playing is of the rarest class.

This is irresistible playing even if the music can be an acquired taste. What a close.

Overall - incomparable playing from a band that has been on fire all weekend. This was very special indeed.

Nigel Clarke's thoughts

David King immerse The band in t,he unusual language, who in turned is immersed in J S Bach's Goldberg Variations and the genius Of Glen Gould. David is always ahead of everyone else in his music making and a gain he leaves us all with so many questions.

Stunning band and conductor and a thought provoking. Choice of piece, David has appealed to our different level of sophistication.

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Championship Section • Saturday 3, 16:37:04

8. Concord Brass Band (Dennis Anderson)
Journey to the Centre of the Earth (Professor Peter Graham)

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A fine opening atmosphere has such immediate presence about it. The pictures are are painted with vivid clarity and this is so much more impressive than yesterday from the Danes.

Solo entries are secure and the band continues the quieter dynamics so effectively. Jules Verne would surely approve!

We hear evocative, haunting atmospheres and sounds, and thre is a commitment and energy about this that leads to such a fine close.

Overall - so much more convincing than yesterday. This was a vivid realisation of the score. Bravo.

Nigel Clarke's thoughts

Evocative opening to PGs film less score- he really could have written for the movies.

The audience are enveloped in this heroic tale. Some very fine playing,such a range of emotions.

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Championship Section • Saturday 3, 16:18:06

7. Brass Band Schoonhoven (Erik Jannsen)
Metamorphosis for Brass Band (Jan de Haan)

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The opening has a hint of Harmony Music about it. It is always melodic as is the case here. And as the music builds there is a sense of purpose and energy. It is big and bold and also exciting as the MD explores the dynamics and the sound and technique of his band.

The metamorphosis of the title is reflected in an array of mood changes as the composer manipulates his material. The band responds with playing of cool confidence. Superb work form solo euph. The lyric lines are so well shaped and flow beautifully.

The radiant chorale like themes are heard as we reach the home straight. Magnificent sounds and the MD beams at his players as they drive to a final statement.

Overall: Playing of such pride and authority from the Dutch Champions The really brought the colour out of the music.

Nigel Clarke's comments

Erik Jannsen gives us a colourful reading of the composer's compelling composition - such energy!

We Brits have so much to learn from our continental neighbours. The approach to the music has so much to admire in the performance - so dignified this.

If only classical audiences could embrace the new with no such ease. The composer is full of musical ability. This was music with something to say - so sophisticated.

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Championship Section • Saturday 3, 16:13:28

Nigel Clarke's thoughts

Jeremy Wise transcends Alderley Edge in a wonderful performance. It has elemental atmosphere. Some wonderful mood painting - and I really love the piece.

Although I have not heard it since the 1990s its like meeting an old friend that has not aged at all. This is elegant and poetic. They may not win, but such beauty in the playing - real band.

How many composers have this sort of scope.

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Jeremy Wise makes a few final comments before taking the stage

Championship Section • Saturday 3, 16:08:45

6. Tongwynlais Temperance (Jeremy Wise)
On Alderley Edge (Peter Graham)

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There is a good atmosphere created at the opening but as the tempo increase the band rushes onwards and for a moment it rocks perilously.

Control is regained and the composure returns for the 'Golden Stone' with the solo cornet delivering a nicely intoned solo.

'Engine Vein Mine' is not without slips and tuning also causes an occasional issue.

The 'Holy Well' just needs to relax and flow a little bit more. There are warm sounds created but there are also some nerves on show in a couple of entries. Well played the solo euph - what a piece of elegant playing.

The ensemble has never quite settled and it is all a touch scrappy - but again we hear an emotional warmth to the final statement of lyricism as the final bars lead us to a triumphant final peroration.

Overall - A brave account. There was a real sense of emotional warmth about this from start to finish.

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Tongwynlais third generation Young Charlie with Dad and Grandad James on stage

Championship Section • Saturday 3, 15:49:25

5. Whitburn (Ian Porthouse )
Canite Tuba (James Macmillan)

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Ian Porthouse in preparation in the warm-up room

The opening doesn't quite stamp its authority on us.Its terrific that the band has chosen to play a work that is indelibly stamped with the mark of a native composer - and a fine one at that.

However - as a test piece it takes a pretty significant risk. That's not to say it isn't demanding though.

Tuning is so crucial and there are moments when the cornet line strains and it does need a touch more brutality for us. Flugel and soprano rise to their feet but there are one or two moments of hesitancy that just threaten to undermine the stark atmosphere.

Ten driving bass line in the final section is not always heard with clarity and the impact is compromised as this accuracy wavers.

The change of atmosphere is well handled as the opening material returns. The drive to close suddenly blazes with over and adrenaline.

Overall - A very brave choice of piece this. It didn't all come off, but the home team has done itself proud this weekend.

Nigel Clarke's thoughts

What an immense privilege to witness music by a major living composer being given such a committed performance.

Ian Porthouse leads a new generation of conductors - such intelligence and musicality. He really can do more with less.

I love the stark and sometimes elegant landscapes written by a Scottish gent. This is a different band to what I have heard so far. Very classy!

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Whitburn in the warm up area

Championship Section • Saturday 3, 14:50:21

Stats Corner

Canite Tuba was premiered by Black Dyke in 2012 at the British Bandsman 150th anniversary concert. The band's MD, Ian Porthouse is experiencing his 8th European this weekend.

Championship Section • Saturday 3, 14:48:39

Whitburn next with Canite Tuba

Championship Section • Saturday 3, 14:48:31

The Scots of Whitburn about to come on stage

Championship Section • Saturday 3, 14:46:05

Nigel Clarke's thoughts

Nigel has returned from his other media commitments, but he wasn't able to able to offer any comment on Willebroek.

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Brassband Willebroek with MD Frans Violet moments before their perfomance

Championship Section • Saturday 3, 14:41:47

4. Brassband Willebroek (Frans Violet)

On the Shoulders of Giants (Peter Graham)

The opening Brucknerian statement imposes its presence on us with granite like solidity aided by four trombones and five basses.

As the pace quickens we hear fine detail and Frans Violet communicates his intent to the band with a telling combination of gesture and eye contact. This is authoritative playing.

There is an easy elegance to the slow movement and the flugel is confident and secure if just a touch heavy dynamically for our taste. The music flows with such fluidity though.

As we enter the final movement its hard not to be impressed by the confidence and security of Willebroek. They have sounded like a band reborn this weekend although will their choice of test prove to be influential in the box?

It's a finely paced build to the final cataclysmic statement of Checkmate. Soprano just drops off the final note early but Willebroek is back and a force to reckoned with.

Overall: An excellent show from the Belgians directed with characteristic style by Frans Violet. It's difficult to see it a challenging for the podium today but there was so much to enjoy in their performance.

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Just pointing out a little extra one or two points?

Championship Section • Saturday 3, 14:31:35

If you think it was breathless in the auditorium, then a quick check out in the bar area and all you can hear is the chatter of people talking in amazement at what they have just heard from the first three bands of the day.

The heavyweights of Cory and Black Dyke delivered absolutely stonkers on their bespoke own choice selections, whilst the French of Paris Brass played with such elegant élan that it was simply stunning.

We really are being treated to playing of the rarest quality today - and the audience both in and out of the bar are appreciating it.

The Scots haven't been as amazed as this since Archie Gemmell put the footy team 3-1 against the Dutch at the 1978 World Cup Finals.

Championship Section • Saturday 3, 14:20:33

Stats Corner

On the Shoulders of Giants is another work that is being performed today that was commissioned for the Own Choice section, by Cory in 2009 at the Europeans. It has subsequently been used at The British Open Championship.

Championship Section • Saturday 3, 14:20:15

Willebroek up next who will be Standing on the Shoulders of Giants.....

Championship Section • Saturday 3, 14:18:34

Nigel Clarke's thoughts

Nigel is undertaking other media commitments with our colleagues at British Bandsman so wasn't next to 4br to offer comment. If he has anything to say having heard it, we will add them later on.

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Paris Brass Band with Florent Didierin the warm up room

Championship Section • Saturday 3, 14:16:35

3. Paris Brass Band (Florent Didier)

From Ancient Times (Jan Van der Roost)

Florent Didier is paying very close attention to the tubular bells as the textures gradually build. There's just a hint of hesitation once or twice but there is such elegance in the MD's fluid direction. It takes a little while to ignite but when it does the sounds are electrifying.

Suddenly it seems to move up another gear but so far this isn't quite grabbing us as Paris did yesterday.

The monolithic power of the chorale theme in all its glory is mightily impressive and the leanness of the band's sound allows us to hear through the textures with clarity. Once again there is masterful pacing at work here as a furious climactic statement leads us into the still heart of the piece.

The flugel and cornet solos are played with Gallic elegance and the duet between flugel and euphonium is so beautifully intertwined before a burning climax leads us into the final triumphant paragraphs.

And now we hear the band in all its glory. The build to the close is so impressive and its a magnificent ending.

Overall: Mightily impressive playing from the Parisians and Florent Didier once agin shows himself to be a very talented MD. This was masterfully paced but not quite on the same level as yesterday for us.

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Just polishing the duet before going on stage

Championship Section • Saturday 3, 13:54:51

Stat Corner

From Ancient Times was the set test in 2009 but it is making its 3rd appearance in the Own Choice at this event.

Championship Section • Saturday 3, 13:53:37

Paris Brass Band up next on From Ancient times.....

Championship Section • Saturday 3, 13:50:00

Nigel Clarke's thoughts

This is a different MD today - conducting from the heart in a stunning Peter Graham work playing to the broad strengths of Black Dyke's stunning soloists at will.

This has now become the Champions League of a contest - and is also Peter Graham at his best. He is the most generous composer working in this field.

Nicholas Childs has conducted the music with such passion and as such has been so much more at home today.

Is this Black Dyke's road back to the top? They are a such a fantastic band. They are always looking for the music and we have just heard it.

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The piece calls for this one!

Championship Section • Saturday 3, 13:46:18

2. Black Dyke (Dr. Nicholas Childs)

The Triumph of Time (Peter Graham)

A cacophony of recorded clocks (could they be Harrison's?!) to open out of which marimba leads us into a furious opening with cornets driving the music on with terrific unanimity. This is some opening.

Gary Curtin rises to his feet and despatches a a euphonium solo of quite ridiculous technique and Richard Marshall answers from the opposite side of the stage before the initial energy dissipates and Katrina Marzella weaves a mysterious baritone line through some beguiling beautiful sounds and colours. This really is beautiful stuff and quintessential Peter Graham.

And now its a switch to Graham in jazz mode with snare drums to either side of the stage that aren't totally in sync to begin with.

Again the sound world is so typical as the percussion reminds us of the opening clocks before a trombone chorale provides the back drop to solos for horn, Eb bass and a sudden change of mood to feature Zoe Hancock in tender tones. The sheer quietude of what follows casts a magical spell. There is a sincerity and honesty about this that shines through. Its heart on sleeve but so touching.

A brief return of the openiNg material and it's then a majestic romp to the final triumphant stanza. Time has triumphed over all.

Overall: Its difficult to convey the contrast between what Dyke have produced today in comparison to yesterday. This was a performance rich in emotion that wholeheartedly embraced a score with which the band and MD clearly empathises with. The hall rises to its feet. What a piece and what a contest.

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'Snap' Band Manager Mike Shenton organising the registry cards

Championship Section • Saturday 3, 13:34:53

Well there is still something of a breathless glow about the hall after Cory's performance.

As a billy bonkers blockbusters go this one took the biscuit - it had to have the wow factor as the MD told us after the band played.

It certainly had that and more - the off stage decibel counter peaked at 127!

Now comes Black Dyke and another eye popping vertebrae smashing leviathan in 'The Triumph of Time'.

The audience may need to peeled off their seats after these two...

Championship Section • Saturday 3, 13:23:52

Black Dyke up next with the world premiere Peter Graham's the Triumph of Time .....

Championship Section • Saturday 3, 13:23:27

Stat Corner

25 years after The Essence of Time was first performed in Falkirk, Peter Graham's latest work came about from a conversation with Nicholas Childs. The Triumph of Time uses the spirit of not just Essence of Time but other pieces by the composer.

Championship Section • Saturday 3, 13:21:44

Nigel Clarke's thoughts

What a glorious opening - the contest has just risen to a whole new level.

How unfair for us normal people, that the MD's talents run so deep. He really is the brass band world's Leonard Bernstein and what a golden egg for us all. The band shows total and utter commitment in this extraordinary piece.

This is one of those rare moments that happen in music making. Where does talent like this come from?

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Cory and MD Philip Harper in the warm up area before their performance

Championship Section • Saturday 3, 13:18:47

1. Cory (Philip Harper)

The Divine Right (Philip Harper)

There's a very cinematic feel to the opening of The Divine Right and Cory unleashes a tumultuous tirade of an opening that pins us back in our seats. As the opening textures clear the music is imbued with a touch of medieval modality as solo lines intertwine. There are one or two tiny slips but the flow of the music remains intact.

The Pesante that follows has a hellish fury about it. This is grimly powerful stuff and played with such furious power.

The 'bleak' central section is web of intricate solo lines that weave an austere web with all of the soloists being given an opportunity to shine. What fabulous sounds from Glenn van Looy. He really has shone for Cory over the two legs this weekend.

The marking in the score is 'with energy' as we go into overdrive and there is such drive and momentum about this. The final Molto Maestoso is a virtuosic tour de force......it could have been written for Cory!!!! Wow what an ending.

Overall: Well now. That was interesting. The audience loves it and Steve Stewart punches the air. Playing of quite remarkable power, energy and purpose from the defending champion.

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Cory set the stage prior to performing 'The Divine Right'

Championship Section • Saturday 3, 13:06:02

Just a little bit more information on Cory's own choice selection.

The composer says the piece is a description of the revolutionary passions that arose at the time of the Arab Spring uprisings that were taking place a few years ago in the Middle East region of the world, and the troubles that surrounded the overthrow of the tyrant King Charles I - and his insistence that he was anointed by God to rule - 'The Divine Right' of the title.

The effects of the uprising have yet to be fully played out, but the 'Divine Rule' of Charles ended on the scaffold outside Banqueting House in London in 1649.

A lesson for all who believe in the divine right to rule then......

Championship Section • Saturday 3, 12:58:32

Stats Corner

Cory came second in the Own Choice section a year ago. We understand the work takes its inspiration from the troubles in the Middle East and the events surrounding the execution of King Charles I and how they have made an impression on the composer

Championship Section • Saturday 3, 12:56:56

Cory about to take to the stage to perform 'The Divine Right' written by their Musical Director Philip Harper.

Championship Section • Saturday 3, 12:54:15

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Uni Aequus Virtute (Faithful Unto Virtue Alone)
The motto at Scone Palace, Perth site of the Championship Section draw. A nod to the music perhaps as we look forward to some exemplary performances in the Own Choice Contest.

Championship Section • Saturday 3, 12:37:23

Championship Section:

Own Choice
Perth Concert Hall
Draw: 8.00am
Commence: 1pm


Preben Norgaard Christensen, Jean-Claude Kolly, Stephen Roberts


1. Cory (Philip Harper)
2. Black Dyke (Dr Nicholas Childs)
3. Paris Brass Band (Florent Didier)
4. Brass Band Willebroek (Frans Violet)
5. Whitburn (Ian Porthouse)
6. Tongwynlais Temperance (Jeremy Wise)
7. Brass Band Schoonhoven (Erik Jansen)
8. Concord Brass Band (Dennis Anderson)
9. Eikanger-Bjorsvik Musikklag (Professor David King)
10. Austrian Brass Band of the University of Music and Performing Arts Graz (Professor Uwe Kollar)
11. Brass Band Burgermusik Luzern (Michael Bach)

Own Choice selections

Canite Tuba (James MacMillan)
The Divine Right (Philip Harper)
From Ancient times (Jan Van der Roost)
Goldberg 2012 (Sven Henrik Giske)
Journey to the Centre of the Earth (Professor Peter Graham)
Metamorphis for Brass Band (Jacob de Haan)
Music of the Spheres (Philip Sparke)
On Alderley Edge (Professor Peter Graham)
On the Shoulders of Giants (Professor Peter Graham)
REM-scapes (Thomas Doss)
The Triumph of Time (Professor Peter Graham))

Championship Section • Saturday 3, 12:33:26

Welcome back to our live coverage of the Championship Section of the 37th European Brass Band Championship.

There is already a real buzz of anticipation in the hall - especially as people realise what the draw is!

We will put it up as soon as the judges are placed safely in the box, but we can safely say it is a draw that will ensure the hall is packed full from the word go....

Championship Section • Friday 2, 22:47:05

That's it for tonight from Perth.

We are now going to get something to eat before we will do a quick round up of opinions from Chris Thomas who was writing the 4BR remarks today, and composer Nigel Clarke.

We have made opinions and it may come as a surprise to some, but you have to say it was a quite brilliantly fascinating day and a quite brilliantly fascinating test piece that made it so.

Championship Section • Friday 2, 22:08:32

Chris Thomas's summary

Well, what a fascinating evening it has been in Perth. Muckle Flugga has proved to be a superb test piece, packed with musical incident and calling for a such an array of colours and nuances of atmosphere that drew some very fine performance indeed from the bands. It's very much a conductor's piece but that takes nothing away from the stirling efforts of the players.

We've heard some magnificent solo playing today. Here's my top 6!

1. Paris Brass Band
2. Eikanger Bjosrvik
3. Cory
4. Burgermuzik Luzerne
5. Schoonhoven
6. Black Dyke

Championship Section • Friday 2, 21:59:39

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Dennis Anderson prepares Concord Brass Band

Nigel Clarke's thoughts

Even on the eleventh performance, I am still hearing new things on this piece. Concord BB are giving a committed performance that they can be proud of. I really hope this work goes beyond this content to be played again and again - it deserves to.

There is some thoughtful shaping of the music by the band - also also moments of sheer desolation.

Championship Section • Friday 2, 21:55:57

11. Concord Brass Band (Dennis Andersen)

A good opening and there's an edgy energy about this. It lacks a touch of rhythmic incisiveness at times and we don't always hear transparency in the counterpoint but the intent and sense of purpose is clear.

There's a touch of fragility about the opening of Laments and the solos don't quite settle. As a consequence the atmosphere is never entirely comfortable neither.

The Lighthouse needs more rhythmic cohesion which impacts on the momentum of the movement as a whole and its a scrappy affair as the demands of the score take an increasing toll.

Overall: Muckle Flugga proved a tough proposition for the Danes. They'll be hoping for a better outing of their own choice piece tomorrow.

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Concord Brass Band in the warm up room

Championship Section • Friday 2, 21:39:46

Stats Corner

The Danes are returning to the event for the first time since 2010

Championship Section • Friday 2, 21:39:10

Now time for the final band of the Danes of Concord

Championship Section • Friday 2, 21:37:57

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Black Dyke band manager Mike Shenton looks on from the wings as the Band perform

Nigel Clarke's thoughts

Nicholas Childs brings a much darker edge to this legend. More barbaric, more threatening and more restless. He has been brave enough to take this position on this piece and surely that is what music is all about.

This is a performance not for the faint hearted - pure Hitchcock. I like it - but I'm not the judge.

Championship Section • Friday 2, 21:34:45

10. Black Dyke (Dr. Nicholas Childs)

The opening sets a powerful scene although we miss subtle nuances in the colours in the quieter dynamics. There's certainly a presence about this though and the playing is punctuated with shattering interjections that scream anguish.

The transition into the Laments is beautifully done. Soprano is a touch heavy dynamically and the atmosphere takes time to settle. The solos are all secure but just a tad too loud for us. The atmosphere is fine but the colours don't beguile as some have today. It's all so technically assured though and what a fabulous flugel solo into The Lighthouse.

The cumulative menace and underlying power of the final panel is played out with a glowering mix of darkness and foreboding and the final unison chord blazes through.

Overall: A gritty, darkly hued account from Dyke but will it be enough?

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Black Dyke in the warm-up room

Championship Section • Friday 2, 21:12:57

Stats Corner

Black Dyke are looking for their 13th European crown this weekend. Dr Nicholas Childs is in search of his third title conducting the English challenger.

Championship Section • Friday 2, 21:12:08

Now we reach the English challenger, Black Dyke

Championship Section • Friday 2, 21:10:56

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Florent Didier prepares Paris Brass Band in the warm-up room

Nigel Clarke's thoughts

The Paris band is the most exciting ensemble to emerge in the last few years. The French halve always understood musical colour - just look at their composers of yesteryear!

This piece is a gift for this band and their conductor in this thrilling rendition. I predict sometime in near future, they will be European Champions. Could this be their year?

Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant!

Championship Section • Friday 2, 21:06:26

9. Paris Brass Band (Florent Didier)

The opening statement is earth shattering in its intensity. There is something almost primeval about this. It's terrifying stuff and the fury of the sea is portrayed with devastating, brutal impact.

The playing of the Parisians is really capturing our imagination. MD Florent Didier is stamping his own mark on the performance and his players are responding with such an array of shifting moods and colours.

Laments is deeply felt and the solo lines are sung with austere beauty.

The complexity of the counterpoint is projected with clarity at the opening of The Lighthouse which sets off with a real sense of purpose. It just lags a touch in the middle but the barbarity of the final paragraphs is played out with shattering power leading to a stunning final chord.

Overall: Florent Didier has really made his mark on this performance in magnificent fashion. We feel breathless. Pacing, power and individual lines of the highest quality.

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Paris Brass Band in the warm-up room

Championship Section • Friday 2, 20:51:13

The 4BR Editor has been out and about to try and gauge what the audience thinks about the piece and the bands so far today.

Lots of positives it has to be said on both counts - the piece has certainly won people over with its sense of drama and atmosphere, tension and evocative textures and colours.

As for a leader so far, the vast majority go for Eikanger with Cory and Luzern just behind. Everyone seems to have loved the way David King managed to reveal the transparency of the score in such well defined layers of texture and colour.

Could Eikanger already have one hand on the famous Milton Stevens Trophy?

There is still one heck of a long way by to go though....

Championship Section • Friday 2, 20:46:34

Stats Corner

The Parisian's return for the second successive year and will be looking to finish higher than 8th last year

Championship Section • Friday 2, 20:46:05

It is time for the French of Paris Brass Band

Championship Section • Friday 2, 20:43:32

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Brass Band Willebroek in the warm-up room

Nigel Clarke's thoughts

Frans Violet finds he can bring some moments of sheer delicacy to this tale, while still being able to release shards of violence. I would be proud to be the composer of this piece, his pedigree and talent really shows in the writing .

I can't wait to hear his second piece for brass band.

Championship Section • Friday 2, 20:40:40

8. Brassband Willebroek (Frans Violet)

Roger Webster is on third man down for Willebroek. Sometime the European Championship is like one of those foreign exchange visits you went on at school!

The opening really makes us sit up. There is such energy and drama and Frans Violet is really dragging everything out of his players. Its great to see a band that has been through a period of restructuring coming out the other side with playing as fine as this.

There is colour in abundance and the textures are so beguiling. The soloists perform well in Laments with just fleeting blemishes but they never damage the atmosphere.

The Lighthouse has such a sense of purpose and it drives onto the final blazing chord with a potent sense of momentum.

Overall: What a fine performance from Willebroek. This is like the Belgians of old. Frans Violet has really conjured something up here.

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Frans Violet preparing Brass Band Willebroek

Championship Section • Friday 2, 20:22:53

The contest has not lost an ounce of drama or atmosphere today thanks to the evocative nature of the test piece.

Audience numbers have fluctuated a bit, but given the austere nature of the music it has been a pretty remarkable show of stamina and understanding.

It's also interesting to be back stage watching the players go through their personal last minute preparation - from the odd stare at feet to a few crossing themselves in hope of a touch of divine intervention.

Championship Section • Friday 2, 20:19:50

Stats Corner

The Belgiums of Willebroek return for first time since 2008 but know how to win having taken the title in 2006 and 07

Championship Section • Friday 2, 20:18:47

Now time for the Belgiums of Willebroek

Championship Section • Friday 2, 20:16:27

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Erik Jansen preparing Brass Band Schoonhoven

Nigel Clarke's thoughts

Erik Jannsen and BBS offer a convincing and assured piece of story telling. This band goes from strength to strength! The slow middle section is certainly evocative, punctuated with moments of sheer magic.

Every performance today has brought something new and considering the rumours on the piece, it is rightfully going down well with both audience and bands alike.

This is a great day for European music making.

Championship Section • Friday 2, 20:12:24

7. Brass Band Schoonhoven (Erik Janssen)

The opening five against six semi quaver figure immediately gives a sense of rolling waves and we are hearing so much detail here. Vivid, exciting and terrifyingly brutal.

The eerie contrast with the entry of the basses is so marked and the pictures here are painted with wonderfully deft brush strokes. The dynamic contrasts are ear openingly wide ranging at times.

The Laments open with just the tiniest of blemishes in the soprano solo yet the atmosphere is affecting and there is a real sense of loss and deeply felt emotion. Tiny little slips in some of the solo lines are noted but they don't destroy the carefully created mood.

The Lighthouse is dramatic and imbued with a dark, menacing sense of foreboding. We don't quite hear the clarity we have heard from one or two other bands so far but this is playing of vivid clour and energy.

Overall: A darkly dramatic account from Schoonhoven. So well thought out and the atmospheres were created with an iridescent palette of colours.

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Schoonhoven in the warm-up area before taking the stage

Championship Section • Friday 2, 19:48:51

Stats Corner

Perth Concert Hall will be a sea of orange with the Dutch from Schoonhoven making their 4th consecutive European appearance.

Championship Section • Friday 2, 19:48:06

Now time for Schoonhoven

Championship Section • Friday 2, 19:46:59

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Ian Porthouse preparing Whitburn

Nigel Clarke's thoughts

Ian Porthouse gives an intelligent and mature interpretation full of menace and foreboding. Again a conductor who has put his stamp of authority on the performance. An atmospheric and cinematic approach pays off.

Whitburn should be proud of their achievement today

Championship Section • Friday 2, 19:44:08

6. Whitburn (Ian Porthouse)

Whitburn opt for an augmented band with six basses, five front row cornets and an extra man on the back row and they certainly go for the jugular with an opening of merciless barbarity. Ian Porthouse directs with his usual absence of histrionics although there is a sense that the band is throwing everything at this.

The pictures are thoughtfully created and the home team is really trying to shape the moods with atmospheric dynamics playing a vital part.

This sounds like a different Whitburn to the band we heard in Blackpool last week.

There are fleeting little blemishes that surface in the laments although again the atmosphere has a suitably haunted aura about it. The low register flugel solo is played by cornet into the stand in a rather obvious bit of bluff.

The Lighthouse picks up where the opening left off and is vivid dramatic stuff that really takes the music by its throat......this could be exactly what the composer intended though. What we are missing is the cumulative build up of energy but this is a very creditable account.

Overall: What a solid account from Whitburn that remained true to the score throughout.

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Whitburn in the warm-up area before taking the stage

Championship Section • Friday 2, 19:35:24

There is a different type of expectancy in the air as Whitburn take to the stage.

There was real warmth in the reception as the local band set up - a touch of national pride permeated through the auditorium.

They looked very confident as they waited for MD Ian Porthouse to bring down the baton too.

Championship Section • Friday 2, 19:17:00

Stats Corner

The Scots are making their 13th appearance at Europe's Elite contest today, having first graced the event in 1980

Championship Section • Friday 2, 19:16:15

It is now time for Whitburn

Championship Section • Friday 2, 19:15:00

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Professor David King preparing Eikanger-Bjorsvik Musikklag

Nigel Clarke's thoughts

David King again shows his extraordinary musical ability, understanding and vision. This for me so far has revealed a engrossing legend in a blaze of cinematic colour

This has now become a piece of music full of multi layered lines - true expression! A performance to die for. Who has better musical vision than David King today?

Championship Section • Friday 2, 19:10:31

5. Eikanger Bjorsvik (Professor David King)

The dynamics are used to such brilliant effect at the opening and the brutal energy of the music is captured in terrifyingly dramatic tones.

What fine basses at the beginning of Giants. We really sense the changing atmospheres and this is musical picture painting of the very highest quality.

Laments is imbued with a ghostly other-worldly character that sends shivers up and down the spine. This is so deeply emotional and the solo lines are magnificent. Bravo soprano! We just sit back and listen in rapt admiration. What a spell this performance is casting and David King is absolutely inside the music as the flugel gives us a superb account of the low register solo into The Lighthouse.

The Scottish lament is intoned against audible drones and there's a sense that David King is holding back and pacing this to perfection. Superb clarity in the cornet section as the storm gathers. Has it left it too late at the end? The audience don't think so!

Overall: Wow. Eikanger delivers a corker with the Laments leaving such a potent emotional impression.

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Eikanger-Bjorsvik Musikklag in the warm-up area before taking the stage

Championship Section • Friday 2, 19:00:02

There was a real frisson of electrical expectancy about the hall as Eikanger took to the stage - as if they subconsciously felt this was going to be the Norwegian's moment to grasp the European title by the throat.

You could hear a pin drop in the five or so seconds before David King dropped the baton.

It was one if those 'wow look out' moments for sure...

Championship Section • Friday 2, 18:51:38

Stats Corner

Amazingly, the Norwegians have not won this contest since 1989 when Howard Snell conducted them.

Championship Section • Friday 2, 18:50:37

Eikanger Bjorsvik take to the stage and the crowd goes wild.........

Championship Section • Friday 2, 18:46:44

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Michael Bach preparing Burgermusik Luzerne

Nigel Clarke's thoughts

Like Cory, Luzern make their mark from the off! As a piece of music drama, MB draws listener in. This work has already revealed the depth of the conductor's abilities to deliver a convincing reading.

There are several bars in this piece that expose the winning potential of each performance. Like Cory, the hall's acoustic is tested to near breaking point.

Championship Section • Friday 2, 18:43:08

4. Brass Band Burgermusik Luzerne (Michael Bach)

The opening really hits us between the eyes as the tempestuous seas are unleashed on the island. The imagery here is strong and Michael Bach is directing with admirable clarity and a rock steady beat. The dynamics are extreme as the score demands and the sound of the band in full stride is so impressive.

Contrasts of mood are achieved with skill and the basses at the opening of Giants are hauntingly atmospheric.

A fine transition into Laments and the solo playing is imbued with such a deep sense of loss. What fine euphonium playing. There is an aching austerity about this and the pictures are being painted with solo lines of eloquence along with accompaniment that seeks out the colours and textures to telling effect.

The Lighthouse drives forward although we sense that that there is fuel left in the tank yet. Michael Bach is reading this so well. And suddenly the full force of the band is unleashed with a conclusion of blazing power.

Overall: What a reading from Michael Bach and the band. So well paced and imbued with a deep sense of loss in Laments.

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Brass Band Burgermusik Luzerne in the warm-up area before taking the stage

Championship Section • Friday 2, 18:23:02

Stats Corner

Brass Band Burgermusik Luzern must like the Scottish air as they appeared at the contest the last time it was held in this country in 2004

Championship Section • Friday 2, 18:22:20

It's now time for the Swiss and Michael Bach

Championship Section • Friday 2, 18:21:19

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Jeremy Wise preparing Tongwynlais Temperance

Nigel Clarke's thoughts

A different mood and atmosphere from the MD. Every performance thus far has produced different brush strokes to paint this legend.

I would love to know what the composer thinks of this story telling, and has it been told truly as he has wished?

Championship Section • Friday 2, 18:17:17

3. Tongwynlais Temperance (Jeremy Wise)

The swirling winds and swelling seas of the opening don't quite take us with them at the opening but as we progress through the opening section we sense the band's confidence starting to increase.

Giants needs to haunt us a touch more but the basses put in some fine work and solo euphonium shines through in Laments. There are slips along the way and and we really want the tingle factor but if doesn't quite come. There's no shortage of commitment although Flugel doesn't quite speak in lowest register as we head into the Lighthouse.

The MD is metronomic as he tries to drive the music on. We hear the clashes of rhythm but capturing that sense of cumulative energy in this final movement is not easy and we miss the brutality as we head to the final bars.

Overall: Such a brave attempt from Tongwynlais but Muckle Flugga stretched the band to its limits today.

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Tongwynlais Temperance in the warm-up area before taking the stage

Championship Section • Friday 2, 18:08:41

Back stage its a hive of activity with the bands being moved on to the stage well within the five minute limit.

The look on faces in the audience is something to behold though at times - from puzzlement to sheer astonishment and all stops in between.

It's certainly a piece that is causing the eyebrows to be raised, but you can tell the audience is certainly appreciating the efforts and the skill involved in playing some pretty extreme solo and ensemble lines.

This test piece is growing on quite a few people.....

Championship Section • Friday 2, 18:05:36

Stats Corner

The South Walians are making their European debut today. We don't know if any of their players have played at the contest before with other bands, but we know they will shout up if they have

Championship Section • Friday 2, 18:05:19

Tongwynlais now on stage

Championship Section • Friday 2, 18:02:50

2. Austrian Brass Band (Uwe Koller)

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Professor Uwe Kollar preparing the Austrian Brass Band of the University of Music and Performing Arts Graz

We don't get the violence of Cory at the opening and the sheer energy and darkness of the music doesn't come through with the same level of power. Uwe Koller is giving us a very different approach here though and we can sense him pulling through different lines and textures.

Basses do well in Giants but we are not sensing the haunting atmosphere. Excellent solo work in Laments although accompaniment is a touch heavy at times.

The Lighthouse needs greater rhythmic clarity and the brutal approach to the final unison chord sounds tired rather than frightening.

Overall: A brave account from the Austrians with excellent solo work albeit lacking in elemental power and energy.

Championship Section • Friday 2, 18:01:15

Nigel Clarke's thoughts

A less dark performance but still plenty of creative imagination. Perhaps this is what R B intended? M F I has much to challenge both listener and bands alike. this are impressive young players.

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Austrian Brass Band in the warm-up area before taking the stage

Championship Section • Friday 2, 17:36:56

Stats Corner

The Austrian outfit makes it's debut in the Elite Division but know how to win at The European. Victorious in the B Section in 2010/2012

Championship Section • Friday 2, 17:35:16

Austrian Brass Band is up next.......

Championship Section • Friday 2, 17:32:23

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Philip Harper preparing the Cory Band

Nigel Clarke's thoughts

A master class in sound painting - how could any composer wish for a better first reading than this? Both band and me have complete understanding of taxing work. The performance already to beat.

Championship Section • Friday 2, 17:29:46

1. Cory (Philip Harper)

What an opening! There's a tael sense of tempestuous seas here, played out with a relentless sense of oceanic violence with cornets and soprano dreaming anguish at us.

Suddenly we are plummeted to the depths in Giants as subterranean basses take us into a world of mysterious, twilit textures. This eerie stuff but boy is it atmospheric.

There is a real sense of building tension with the music wailing and sighing. The clarity of the playing is startling at times and the transition into Laments for the Drowned is almost other worldly.

Just a couple of clips on soprano but Glenn van Looy is so secure. What playing! Eb bass is no less impressive. Just the odd little mis-pitches here and there but that's hardly surprising. The atmosphere is so haunting though and Both solo horn and flugel add to the atmosphere.

The rhythmic games of The Lighthouse are heard with clarity and now the power and cumulative impact really hit home.

Overall: A performance of immense stature despatched with breathtaking clarity. What an opener!!

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Cory in the warm-up area before taking the stage

Championship Section • Friday 2, 17:05:40

So here we go!!! Cory is on stage and Ulf Rosenberg is giving us his introduction....

Championship Section • Friday 2, 16:57:13

Stats Corner

Cory arrive in Perth in search of their sixth title, the first coming in 1980 whilst MD Philip Harper has conducted a winning band here before, Tongwynlais Band at the Scottish Open.

Championship Section • Friday 2, 16:56:45

There is a fair sized audience already waiting in the hall for Cory to take to the stage.

There is a fair old hum about the place too - the sense of expectancy about hearing a work that entry has been written about and a lot of comment has been made has given this first leg of the contest a bit of an extra edge.

All that and the world premiere of 'Muckle Flugga' will be given by the defending champion Cory under Philil Harper's baton.

Not long now...

Championship Section • Friday 2, 16:55:48

Five minutes and Cory will be on stage for the first performance of Rory Boyle's Muckle Flugga.......

Championship Section • Friday 2, 16:54:39

Six minutes to go and the excitement is building in the hall. Good to see the Dutch contingent are as colourful as ever!!

Championship Section • Friday 2, 16:47:02

Championship Section:

Test Piece: Muckle Flugga (Rory Boyle)
Perth Concert Hall
Draw: 12.30pm
Commence: 5pm


Hannes Buchegger, Guido Segers, Martin Winter


1. Cory (Philip Harper)
2. Austrian Brass Band of the University of Music and Performing Arts Graz (Professor Uwe Kollar)
3. Tongwynlais Temperance (Jeremy Wise)
4. Brass Band Burgermusik Luzern (Michael Bach)
5. Eikanger-Bjorsvik Musikklag (Professor David King)
6. Whitburn (Ian Porthouse)
7. Brass Band Schoonhoven (Erik Jansen)
8. Brass Band Willebroek (Frans Violet)
9. Paris Brass Band (Florent Didier)
10. Black Dyke (Dr Nicholas Childs)
11. Concord Brass Band (Dennis Anderson)

Championship Section • Friday 2, 16:28:58

4BR meets composer Rory Boyle just before the first performance of his test piece 'Muckle Flugga' at the European Championships in Perth

Championship Section • Friday 2, 16:00:48

Rory Boyle talked openly about his piece encouraging the audience, players to have an open mind.

Championship Section • Friday 2, 15:36:19

Paul Hindmarsh is now hosting a composer's talk with Rory Boyle on 'Muckle Flugga'. Rory has just admitted he has not heard the piece played yet

Championship Section • Friday 2, 15:23:00

4BR Editor Iwan Fox talks to Kenny Crookston of British Bandsman and Chris Thomas of Brass Band World magazine about the European set work 'Muckle Flugga' by Rory Boyle

Championship Section • Tuesday 29, 12:59:43

Friday 2nd May
17.00: Perth Concert Hall

Championship Section (Commissioned work)

Saturday 3rd May
13.00: Perth Concert Hall

Championship Section (Own choice test piece)

Reading Spring Gardens Brass Band - Reading Festival of Brass: Open Workshop Rehearsal

Saturday 27 April • St Laurence Church, Reading RG1 3EJ

London Central Fellowship Band - Hemel Hempstead Salvation Army

Saturday 27 April • Waterhouse St, Hemel Hempstead HP1 1ES

Haverhill Silver Band - Friends' Requests

Sunday 28 April • Haverhill Arts Centre, High Street, Haverhill, Suffolk CB9 8AR

Boarshurst Silver Band - Sunday Brass Concert - Stockport Silver Band

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

Contest: European Brass Band Championshiips

Friday 3 May • Palanga Konsortu, Vytauta st. 43, LT-00135, Palanga 43, LT-00135

Regent Brass

April 23 • 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 vacancies for;. . - Eb or Bb Bass. - Tenor Horn. - Percussion. . All other players are also very welcome.

Wotton-under-Edge Silver Band

April 22 • With an exciting 130th anniversary year ahead - Wotton Silver Band is currently looking for players to join our team on Solo Cornet, Solo Euphonium, Bb Bass and Percussion. We rehearse Tue & Thu near our home town, just a short distance from M5 Jcn14.

Brunel Brass Organisation

April 22 • BRUNEL BRASS are looking for 3 talented individuals to join our senior band: Back-row Cornet Player, Eb Bass . & Percussion.. We are a friendly and ambitious band located in Swindon. Weekly rehearsals on Thursday 19:45-21:45 at Pegasus Hall (SN3 4RH).

Phillip Littlemore

GGSM, AoBBA Member
Conductor, Band Trainer, Adjudicator, Arranger, Teacher and Publisher


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