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2018 European Brass Band Championship
Introduction and Schedule of events

The Netherlands hosts the European Championships for a sixth time — with a wonderful welcome assured in Utrecht, the beating heart of the country.

Windmill
A warm welcome awaits...

The European Championships return to The Netherlands for a sixth time, as Utrecht joins Kerkrade (1983 & 1998), Rotterdam (1991 & 2012) and Groningen (2005) as the welcoming host city.

It’s no coincidence that after the founding nation the Dutch have hosted the event the most times.

Connections

The historical connections to the UK are long and proud, the renowned openness and liberalism of its people is matched by their linguistic skills, whilst the organisation of major events, this time led by the team from ZIMIHC, is highly respected.

Utrecht, which describes itself as ‘The beating heart of the Netherlands’, is an engaging, vibrant city full of interesting places to visit, eat, be informed (the event coincides with the emotional Liberation Festival) and entertained - including the TivoliVredenberg contemporary music complex which is the main venue for all the major Championship attractions.

Utrecht
Refurbished and distinctive

Opened after extensive rebuilding in 2014, it’s a modern, multi-auditorium music complex (it has five halls) with the distinctive, octagonal-shaped Grote Zaal designed in the 1970s by the celebrated architect Herman Hertzberger, and capable of holding 1717 people.

It reminds you in a strange way of the King’s Hall at Belle Vue in Manchester - although designed on an ‘Etch a Sketch’ toy you used to get for Christmas but could never work out how to draw circles on.

It reminds you in a strange way of the King’s Hall at Belle Vue in Manchester - although designed on an ‘Etch a Sketch’ toy you used to get for Christmas but could never work out how to draw circles on.

The band sits almost in its centre, surrounded by various levels of high banked seats laid out like an MC Escher puzzle.  

Pick the wrong door to enter the hall and you find yourself miles from where you are supposed to be sitting. You may need a bag of breadcrumbs to find your way home.

Welcome acoustic

It does though have a rather unique, and for a brass band contest, a very welcome acoustic - almost chamber-like in its immediacy. 

The flat wooden surfaces and acute angles don’t lend themselves to mindless volume; and with the adjudicator’s box likely to around 40 feet from the stage (around 12 meters), bands who think they need to make a high volume impact should heed the lyrical advice of Paul Newman in the film ‘Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid’: “Don’t ever hit your mother in the head with a shovel – its leaves an awfully dull impression on her mind.” 

bands who think they need to make a high volume impact should heed the lyrical advice of Paul Newman in the film ‘Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid’: “Don’t ever hit your mother in the head with a shovel – its leaves an awfully dull impression on her mind.” 

Time then for the MDs to try something a little more delicate in the cerebral dynamic department, otherwise there may be a need for the local shops to get in extra supplies of maxi-strength headache tablets. 

Utrecht
Don't pick a wrong door...

It seems conductors have already done their homework given the list of own-choice selections that have been made. 

Time for Outrage!

There is just the one ‘world premiere’ to be heard this year, whilst despite its title, the Championship Section test-piece, ‘Time for Outrage!’ is not inspired by heavy metal angst, but a deeply personal expression of aversion by composer Marco Putz against what he sees as ‘current crises and injustice of any kind in the world’.  

Adapted for the event by composer Paul McGhee from its wind band original, it’s a subtle, sardonic work in three linked movements – much of it, especially its opening, quietly subversive.

There is much to look forward to then - and not just with what promises to be an epic battle for the Champion Band of Europe title.

Adapted for the event by composer Paul McGhee from its wind band original, it’s a subtle, sardonic work in three linked movements – much of it, especially its opening, quietly subversive.

Brass Weekend

The European ‘Festival’ has started with a special ‘Brass Weekend’ and conference organised by ZIMIHC, whilst with the talented members of the European Youth Band have already been hard at work under the baton of the Ivan Meylemans. 

They will once again provide a central role in the musical celebrations – giving concert performances throughout the week.

Meanwhile, the 8th European Soloist Competition has attracted a high quality field of 20 contenders, with the final taking place on Thursday evening (May 3rd) in the Hertz Hall in the TivoliVredenberg, when the three chosen by the judging panel will perform alongside Brass Band Schoonhoven to try and claim the €2,500 or more, first prize package. 

Italy
2017 Champions Italian Brass Band return again

Challenge Section

Saturday (May 5th) also sees bands battling for the Challenge Section honours.

Representatives from the emerging brass banding nations of Italy, Germany and Lithuania will be up against those from more established hinterlands of Sweden and Northern Ireland in what promises to be an enjoyable aperitif to the elite own-choices in the afternoon.
 
Hendrik de Boer’s ‘Mystic Echoes’ looks to be an enticing set-work, whilst there is no lack of ambition with the own-choice selections as some of the nations look to progress towards ‘promotion’ to elite level in the next few years.  

Gala Concert

The Gala Concert on Saturday evening (May 5th) will see the presentations of the main awards, plus a chance to hear some high class entertainment from the likes of the early wind music ensemble, Capella de la Torre, Eikanger Bjorsvik Musikklag, K.O. Brass! and the European Youth Band.

The theme of the concert is inspired by the art works of the ‘Dutch Golden Age’ – among them the Utrecht painters Dirck van Baburen, Hendrick ter Brugghen and Gerard van Honthorst.  

Elland
Can Elland Silver Youth Band claim another European title?

Youth Championships

And if that hasn’t satisfied your musical appetite, there is the brilliant sorbet dessert of the European Youth Championship the following day.

Five bands from Austria (Catch Bassin Brass Band), Wales (Seindorf Beaumaris Youth), Switzerland (Brass Band Berner Oberland Junior), England (Youth Brass 2000) and Denmark (Danish Youth Band) take part in the Premier Section, where they will perform the set-work, ‘Chaucer’s Tunes’ by Michael Ball alongside their own-choice selections.

Four bands take part in the Development Section. Here, two bands from England (Elland Sliver Youth and Wardle Academy Youth), Lithuania (Brass Band Aukstyn) and Norway (Tasta Skolekorps) will tackle Philip Sparke’s ‘Valerius Variations’ as well as present their own-choice repertoire.

If you could bottle the sheer enthusiasm and energy on show (rounded off with a short concert by the European Youth Band) then EBBA could power itself for the next 12 months until the event starts all over again in Montruex in 2019.

4BR will be there from Thursday to bring you a great taste of the action and entertainment as it all unfolds. We will be giving our opinions and viewpoints, bringing you interviews with the competitors and some additional treats to bring you an extra taste of what Utrecht and the Championships have to offer.


Schedule: 

2018 European Brass Band Championships: 

Saturday 28th April:
Assembly of the European Youth Brass Band
Outdoor concerts: Utrecht city centre
Utrecht Brass Conference  
Concert with BB de Waldsang and Brass Band Amersfoort  

Sunday 29th April:
Lunch with Russell  Gray
Concert with Brass Band Willebroek and Brass Band Schoonhoven

Tuesday 1st May:
10.00am - 4.30pm: 1st Round European Soloist Competition
ZIMIHC Theater Zuilen

Wednesday 2nd May:
10.00am - 4.30pm: 2nd Round European Soloist Competition  
ZIMIHC Theater Zuilen

8.00pm: European Youth Brass Band Concert
Akoesticum, Ede

Thursday 3rd May:
8.00pm – 10.00pm: European Soloist Competition  Final and Awards Ceremony
Hertz Hall - TivoliVredenbrug
Featuring: Brass Band Schoonhoven and European Youth Brass Band

Friday 4th May:
9.30am - 10:00: EBBA Press Conference
De Punt, TivoliVredenburg

12.30am – 2.00pm: Opening Ceremony (by invitation only)
Old Town Hall

EBBC Championship Section: Test-piece draw
EBBC Challenge Section: Draw

3.15pm - 3.45pm: EBBC Composer talk
TivoliVredenburg  

4.00pm -10.00pm: EBBC Championship Section test-piece
TivoliVredenburg

8.00pm: Commemoration Ceremony

Saturday 5th May:
8.00am – 8.15am: EBBC Championship Section: Own-choice draw
TivoliVredenburg

9.00am – 12.00am: EBBC Challenge Section  
TivoliVredenburg

Noon - 12.30pm: Concert - European Youth Brass Band
Bevrijdings festival

Noon - 6.00pm: EBBC Championship Section: Own-choice
TivoliVredenburg

8.30pm - 10.30pm: Gala Concert & Awards Ceremony
featuring: Eikanger-Bjorsvik Musiklag, EYBB, Capella de la Torre, K.O. Brass!
TivoliVredenburg

Awards Ceremony

10.30pm: Brass Party
TivoliVredenburg

Sunday 6th May
8:00am - 9.15am: EBBA General Meeting
TivoliVredenburg

9.30am - 11.30am 
European Youth Brass Band Contest: Development Section
TivoliVreden

12.30am - 3.30pm:
European Youth Brass Band Contest: Premier Section
TivoliVredenburg

3.30pm – 4.30pm:
Farewell Concert by European Youth Brass Band and Awards Ceremony
TivoliVredenburg

4.30pm: Official end of 2018 European Festival



Enderby Band - Enderby Band Christmas Concert

Monday 17 December • Enderby Church. Corner of Leicester Lane/Blaby Road. Enderby. Leicestershire LE19 4AR


Foden's Band - Little Lever High School

Tuesday 18 December • Little Lever High School ,Church Street, Little Lever, Bolton, BL3 1BT


The Wigston Band - The Wigston Band Christmas Concert

Thursday 20 December • St Thomas Church, South Wigston LE18 4TA


Regent Hall Concerts - Royal Greenwich Brass Band

Thursday 20 December • St Alfege Church. 3 Greenwich Church Street SE10 9BJ


The Wigston Band -

Thursday 20 December • St Thomas Church, South Wigston LE18 4TA


Haslingden & Helmshore Brass Band

December 18 • Haslingden & Helmshore, North West 1st Section Brass Band. . MD Mr. Simon Cowen (Principal Trombone with RLPO) . Require 2 front row Cornet players & Percussionist to complete the band. . A very sensible mix of engagements with rehearsals every Tuesday 8pm


Meltham and Meltham Mills Brass Band

December 18 • We have a vacancy for a Soprano and BBb Bass to complete the line up for the areas. Nice Schilke Sop sat waiting for the right person! The band currently competes in the 2nd Section and has a full program of concerts and contests.


The Corsham Band

December 18 • The band are currently looking for an experienced Back Row Cornet Player to join our friendly and enthusiastic team. Second or Third Cornet position available.


Christopher Houlding

MMus, GGSM, LRAM
Conductor, Performer, Educator