2015 National Youth Championships — Contest Preview

4BR looks forward to the battle for national power at the RNCM in Manchester this weekend — where the musical manifestos will be full of promises that will be delivered on...

All smiles and energy
Vote for us! Ysgol Bontnewydd topped the polls last year

If you want to enjoy a real battle between rivals for national leadership this weekend, then forget the empty platitudes and phoney persuasions of the Westminster politicians and instead head to the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester on Sunday.

No less than 37 candidates will be standing on the podiums here - all hoping to gain the all important votes of the adjudication electorate on musical manifestos packed with promises that are invariably delivered on.

Feel the buzz?

That said, this hasn’t exactly been an event been played out in the full glare of the media spotlight - with Brass Bands England somewhat confused current operational state giving rise to a pretty non-descript PR campaign: Even their own website hasn’t contained much information about these Championships to attract the floating voters.

The rather ambitious claim of ‘can you feel the buzz’ has had a bit of a low voltage ring to it this time around.
Hitting the right notes
All the right musical colours beating in time...

The BBE campaign gurus and corporate leadership really do need to up their game for this crucially important event - especially now that they are getting a fair old splash of government dosh for their efforts: These championships deserved much better promotion.  

Hugely enjoyable

Hopefully, that will be a temporary state of affairs, as there will be plenty of commitment by the BBE foot soldiers doing the hard work on the weekend organising the running of a hugely enjoyable day. 

Gary Walczak, Arnold Tattersfield and the BBE team have been the stalwarts of this event for years and they do everything they can to make sure it runs as smoothly as possible - especially now that the contest is back on familiar ground at the revamped RNCM.

Musical treats

Their work is also matched by the commitment and loyalty of the competing bands (especially as it does fall at a potentially difficult time in the educational calendar), and there are sure to be musical treats on show in each of the four sections - from the brilliant Beginners through to the teenage excellence of the Blue Riband Championship Section.

Both Fred Longworth High School and Ysgol Bontnewydd Primary will be going for a hat-trick of wins in the Junior and Beginners Sections respectively, whilst Youth Brass 2000 return to defend their Championship title, two weeks before heading to Freiburg and their European Championship appearance.

Youth Brass 2000
Can Youth Brass 2000 defend their title?

Dwarves and dragons

The Championship and Intermediate Section contenders will once again perform a set work in their 20 minute programmes, with the six top flight rivals facing the prospect of the Nordic excitement of Jacob Wilhelm Larsen’s ‘The Saga of Tyrfing’ - inspired by a cracking tale of malevolent sword making dwarves and power hungry siblings: It’s ‘Game of Thrones’ meets ‘The Hobbit’ in full surround sound. 

Vote Labour

Meanwhile, there is also a work of myth and legend in the Intermediate Section with Andrew Stevenson’s ‘Plus Ultra’ - which takes its colourful inspiration from one of the ‘Twelve Labours of Hercules’. 

The tenth labour saw Hercules split a mountain connecting the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea, forming the Straits of Gibraltar. 

One part of the mountain is now Gibraltar and the other, Monte Hacho in Morocco - with the ‘Plus Ultra’ referring to the Latin for ‘further beyond’ - as it was believed the straits were the gates to the unknown, unexplored world over the horizon. 

Saturday evening exploits

From what 4BR has picked up, both tests have proved very popular, so credit to the music panel that includes Philip Harper, Mark Bousie and Ian Porthouse: They must all be fans of the dragons of Daenerys Targaryen and the Saturday evening exploits of Jason and the Argonauts.

Gaining a majority decision in these sections will also see the highest placed English band receive an invitation to compete at the European Youth Brass Band Championships in Lille in 2016 - so plenty to play for then.

Fred Longworth
Right said Fred - Fred Longworth hope for another title

In contrast, the emphasis in the Beginner and Junior Sections is all about the joy of performing - so there is sure to be a ready supply of Kleenex tissues on hand to dab the tearful eyes of proud families and supporters as their young charges take to the stage to deliver their 15 minute programmes. 

Progressive approach

As has been the case in recent times, Brass Bands England has continued with its progressive approach to open adjudication, with a panel of judges the competitors both know and respect. 

Simone Rebello and Derek Southcott will surely enjoy every minute of the Beginners Section, as will Sheona White and Mark Harrison in the Juniors.

John Doyle and Ewan Easton will take on the Intermediate challenge, whilst Simone and Derek will also decide the destination of the Championship title.

Kick off

It all starts at 9.00am with the Beginners Section in the RNCM Theatre, which will be followed by the Intermediate Section. Everything there should be completed by around 8.00pm. 

Meanwhile, the Junior Section in the RNCM Concert Hall commences at 9.30am, followed by the Championship Section which starts around 3.00pm and should be concluded around 6.15pm.

Tickets can be purchased on the day, and bands and supporters using the motorway network around Manchester (especially M6/M56) are advised to give themselves plenty of travelling time as traffic is expected to be heavy due to the Greater Manchester marathon and Manchester City playing West Ham at 1.30pm.

Iwan Fox & Malcolm Wood

Championship Section:
RNCM Concert Hall

The Saga of Tyrfing (Jacob Wilhelm Larsen) and Own Choice Programme in 20 minutes playing time.

Adjudicators: Simone Rebello & Derek Southcott

All players must be 20 years of age or under on the 31st August 2015

Commence: 3.00pm
Results Ceremony: 6.45pm

Greater Gwent Youth Brass Band (Gareth Ritter) 
Lions Youth Brass (Nigel Birch) 
Oldham Music Centre Youth Brass Band (Jonathan Leedale) 
Northamptonshire Youth Brass Band (Brad Turnbull) 
Stockport Schools Senior (Tim Dines) 
Youth Brass 2000 (Chris Jeans)

Intermediate Section:
RNCM Theatre

Plus Ultra (Andrew Stevenson) and Own Choice programme in 20 minutes playing time

Adjudicators: John Doyle & Ewan Easton

All players must be 18 years of age or under on the 31st August 2015

Commence: 12.45pm
Results Ceremony: 8.15pm

Aberystwyth Youth (Alan Philips) 
Cardiff County & Vale of Glamorgan Youth Brass Band (Charles Maynard)
Elland Silver Youth Band (Samantha Harrison) 
Enderby Youth Band (Trevor Hounsome) 
Gwynedd & Mon (Gwyn Evans) 
Hope Bank Youth (Simon Wood) 
Macclesfield Youth (Louise Renshaw)
Milton Keynes Youth Brass (David Rose)
Rochdale Borough Youth (Steve Walsh)
Rotherham Schools (Jeremy Wade)
Tewit Youth (Malcolm Dibb)
Wardle Academy Youth (Lee Rigg)

Junior Section:
RNCM Concert Hall

Own Choice programme that must include one piece of music composed for brass band and two verses of a hymn tune in 15 minutes playing time 

Adjudicators: Sheona White & Mark Harrison

All players must be 16 years of age or under on the 31st August 2015

Commence: 9.30am 
Results Ceremony: 2.45pm 

Beaumaris Junior Band (Bethan Lowri Evans)
Bolton Junior Brass Band (Anna Hughes-Williams)
Chalford Youth (Steve Tubb)
Denbighshire Area Band (John S Powell)
Fred Longworth High School (Helen Robinson)
Gawthorpe Youth (Adam Bell) 
Hope Bank Junior (Max Lawrence)
Lions Junior Brass (Tom Hancock)
Macclesfield Youth Junior Band (Tim Grindey)
Stockport Schools Intermediate Brass Band (Owen Garbutt) 
Tewit Youth Intermediate Band (Steve Heningham)

Beginners Section:
RNCM Theatre

Own Choice Programme 
15 minutes playing time

Adjudicators: Simone Rebello & Derek Southcott

All players must be 11 years of age or under on the 31st August 2015

Commence: 9.00am
Results Ceremony: 12.35pm

Elland Silver Starter Band (David Armitage)
Great Western ‘Rising Stars’ Band (John Winterflood)
Lions Beginner Brass (Christopher Thompson) 
Macclesfield Youth Training (Liz Hudson)
Stockport Schools Junior (Marrianne Garbutt/ Steve Cavanagh)
Wardle Junior Blast (Lee Rigg)
Ysgol Bontnewydd Primary (Dylan Williams)

Grimethorpe Colliery Band - Octagon Theatre Yeovil

Saturday 1 October • The Octagon Theatre. Hendford. Yeovil. Somerset BA20 1UX

Grimethorpe Colliery Band - Albany Theatre Coventry

Sunday 2 October • Albany Road, Coventry CV5 6JQ

Contest: Bolsover Festival of Brass

Sunday 2 October • Heritage High School, Clowne, Chesterfield S43 4QG

Boarshurst Silver Band - Phoenix Brass

Sunday 2 October • Boarshurst Band Club. Greenbridge Lane. Greenfield. Saddleworth OL3 7EW

Regent Hall Concerts - The Countess of Wessex's String Orchestra

Friday 7 October • Regent Hall (The Salvation Army). 275 Oxford Street. London WC1 2 DJ

Chinnor Silver

September 30 • As we work through the excellent candidates looking to be our next MD we are looking for. Eb/Bb BASS AND PERCUSSION PLAYERS to join us at this exciting time .. Rehearsals on a Wednesday in our own bandroom with concerts and contests planned.

Chiltern Hills Brass

September 29 • Chiltern Hills Brass would like to fill euphonium, cornet, Bb bass and percussion (kit specialist) vacancies. We're a contesting, first section band who rehearse twice a week in High Wycombe, Bucks, and play at regular events through the year.

East London Brass

September 28 • East London Brass is looking for a new principal cornet. We're a friendly and ambitious band and would love to welcome a great player who knows how to lead, inspire and enjoy themselves!

Darren R. Hawken

PGdip, BMus(hons) PGCE, dipABRSM, LRSM
Conductor, Arranger, Teacher, Adjudicator, Band Trainer


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