2019 Butlins Mineworkers Championship
As it happened

All the action from the 2019 Butlins Mineworkers Championship — As it happened.

Sunday 13, 22:57:37


Unregistered Section:

Adjudicator: Mark Walters
1. Shirland Training (Dave Hill)
2. Gresley Colliery Youth (Duncan Jackson)
3. Wigston Enterprise Band (Matthew Davies)

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3BA Academy take the Youth title

Youth Section:

Adjudicator: Mark Walters

1. 3BA Academy Brass (Birgit Trinkl)
2. Shirland Youth (Dave Hill)
3. Enderby Youth (Trevor Hounsome)
4. City of Cambridge Academy (Martyn Grisdale)
5. Gresley Colliery Youth (Duncan Jackson)

Best Soloist: Luke Newborough (Shirland Youth)

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Ed Culpin was the winner of the British Open Intermediate Slow Melody title

British Open: Intermediate Slow Melody

Adjudicators: Richard Marshall & Peter Roberts

Winner: Ed Culpin (Leicestershire Co-operative) — Baritone

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Jeff Vermeiren of Brass Band Heist won the senior title

British Open: Senior

Adjudicators: Richard Marshall & Peter Roberts

Winner: Jeff Vermeiren (Brass Band Heist) — cornet

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Femmes of Frickley won the quartet title

British Open: Senior Quartet

Adjudicators: Richard Marshall & Peter Roberts

Winner: Femmes of Frickley

Sunday 13, 21:25:10

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Desford are the champions

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The winners celebrate

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A happy runner-up and most entertaining band: Friary Guildford

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Best Soloist: Isobel Daws


Championship Section:

Alan Fernie & Brian Rostron (Test Piece)
Alan Fernie & Brian Rostron (Entertainment Music)
Mike Kilroy & Alan Morrison (Entertainment)

(Test Piece + Entertainment (music) + Entertainment*) = Total
*takes precedence

1. Desford Colliery (LMTF) (Michael Fowles): 1/1/2 = 4
2. Friary Brass (Chris King): 6/3/1* = 10
3. Woodfalls (Dr Robert Childs): 2/4/4* = 10
4. Flowers (Paul Holland): 7/2/3 = 12
5. Virtuosi GUS (Chris Jeans): 5/5/5 = 15
6. Redbridge Brass (Richard Ward): 4/6/6 = 16
7. Haverhill Silver (Paul Filby): 3/7/7 = 17

Highest Placed Mining Band: Desford Colliery (LMTF)
Most Entertaining Band: Friary Brass
Geoff Dove Soloist Award: Isobel Daws (trombone) — Friary Brass
Test Piece Solo Award: Gary Wyatt (cornet) — Desford Colliery (LMTF)

Sunday 13, 16:25:07

Championship Section: Chris Thomas' entertainment round up:

Plenty to keep everyone happy today — and it could be a tricky decision on the placings from the two sets of judges.

Desford showed plenty of quality, as did another fine show from Woodfalls, whilst Friary proving the perfect Butlins entertainment.

Behind them it's a slightly out of sorts Flowers, a solid GUS and Redbridge and Haverhill behind.

4BR Entertainment Prediction:
1. Desford
2. Woodfalls
3. Friary
4. Flowers
5. GUS
6. Redbridge
7. Haverhill

Overall Prediction:

Looking back to yesterday and today it may be Desford to take the title just ahead of Woodfalls, with Flowers and Friary making up the top four just ahead of GUS

1. Desford
2. Woodfalls
3. Flowers
4. Friary
5. GUS
6. Redbridge
7. Haverhill

Sunday 13, 15:36:32

Championship Section:

7. Friary Brass (Chris King)

All You Need is Love (Lennon & McCartney)
For the love of a Princess (James Horner)
Thoughts of Love (Arthur Prior)
Soloist: Isobel Daws
Your Song (Elton John)
Soloist: Ross Graham
I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Merrill & Robinson)

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Friary's programme is a fairy tale of Princess Isobel, with the trombonist in question suitably clad in sparkling shoes and tiara. Frank Renton's story telling abilities are utilised to maximum effect as the programme opens with Chris King's effective treatment of All You Need is Love. It's a neat opening number and as the story unfolds we move onto James Horner's For the Love of a Princess, given a sensitive account wrapped in subtly glowing colours. This is so nicely done.

The princess herself takes to the stage to give us a fabulous account of Arthur Prior's Thoughts of Love in Keith Wilkinson's sparkling arrangement. The audience sits in hushed admiration as the Princess demonstrates her skills on the trombone in stylish fashion. My goodness this is slick playing indeed.

Next her tuba playing suitor serenades her in attempt to elevate himself from his lowly life stays as a bass player in Elton John's Your Song, with piano accompaniment from the Princess herself. And the audience are loving it as they wave their phone torches above their heads. This is proving to be a fine demonstration of pure entertainment and how to win over an audience, yet is so intelligently done at the same time.

The finale of Whitney Houston's I Wanna Dance with Somebody is given the Chris King treatment as he gets the audience clapping and the princess and her suitor are finally matched. It's pure pantomime but then it's the panto season….and we have to admire the sheer enterprise and thought that has gone into it.

Christopher Thomas

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4BR Editor's take...

What a refreshing entertainment set this was from Friary — inventive and fun from the word go. The pantomime theme of luuuurve was so cleverly presented — helped by Frank Renton in best Frankie Howerd double-entendre mode.

Some fine playing backed up the frothy comedy take too — so there was a large slice of substance to things also. Clever stuff that deserves reward today for certain — and perhaps an outside chance of a podium finish.

Iwan Fox

Sunday 13, 14:58:40

Championship Section:

6. Flowers (Paul Holland)

Red Hills of Georgia (Jonathan Bates)
Let Freedom Ring (Jonathan Bates)
Soloist: Paul Richards
The War Dance of the Red Cossacks (Jonathan Bates)
I Wish I Knew How it would feel to be Free (Nina Simone arr. Jonathan Bates)
That Promised Land (Jonathan Bates)

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With the voice of Martin Luther King forming a precursor, Flowers' freedom themed programme opens with Jonathan Bates The Red Hills of Georgia, a powerfully driving, rhythmically fuelled number that underlines the determination and passion behind Luther King's message.

Jonathan Bates is again showcased alongside soprano player Paul Richards in Let Freedom Ring, with the soloist gently enunciating its lyrical melodic line against a visual backdrop of flickering candles. It's not without a couple of slips but is the perfect vehicle for the soloist's gifts as a slow melodist.

War Dance of the Red Cossacks is another Jonathan Bates number, a whirling, energetic dance of rhythmic fire and energy, followed by I Wish I Knew How it Feels to be Free, a song made famous by Nina Simone but more familiar as the theme to Barry Norman's legendary film review show on BBC.

Opening with a close harmony quintet the mood soon changes to one of big band swing. On an entertainment level this is good stuff but we can sense the band trying to up its level from its beneath par show yesterday.

That Promised Land, Jonathan Bates uplifting affirmation of equality concludes a programme that has been as much a showcase for Jonathan Bates as it has been for the band itself. It sounds a note of positive optimism to close but leaves the lingering impression that we have not heard the best of Flowers this weekend.

Christopher Thomas

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4BR Editor's take...

You suspected Flowers had a a lot of ground to make up from yesterday, and although they started so well here, you feel that they haven't done enough.

There was polish and substance to a great deal of the playing, but also inconsistencies and camouflage that was noticeable too.

The sentiments in inspiration were admirable, but you are ultimately left just a bit underwhelmed from their usual super standards at Skengess.

Iwan Fox

Sunday 13, 14:14:36

Championship Section:

5. Virtuosi GUS (Chris Jeans)

Anything you can do... (Berlin arr. Snell)
Starburst (Dan Price)
Adagio from Rachmaninov's Concerto No 2
Soloist: James Fountain
Big Band Tribute (Dan Price & Barry Fogie)
Under the Boardwalk (Drifters arr. Harper)
Soloist: Della Pearce
Malaquena (Lecuona arr. Freeh)

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Chris Jeans looks back over his shoulder to his days at Desford to open with Howard Snell's arrangement of Anything you can Do, substituting Steven Mead's sole entry to the stage on euphonium with Eb bass. It might not be quite as slick as Desford but it makes an engaging opening number, segueing neatly into Dan Price's Starburst which is despatched with impressive vigour and rhythmic energy.

James Fountain is the cornet soloist in the Adagio from Rachmaninov's Second Symphony, giving an eloquently dreamy, silkily smooth account of Ray Farr's sensitive arrangement. What an asset he is to a band that remains well and truly in his blood despite the success of his career on the London orchestral scene. This has been a sublime reflective interlude.

With cornets arched around the back of the band, the big band tribute that follows is possibly a touch old hat in its concept although as a vehicle for pure entertainment, GUS's performance of Dan Price's arrangement certainly gets the audience on its side.

Della Pearce's account of Under the Boardwalk is imbued with a nicely laid back feel leading into a finale of Mark Freeh's arrangement of Malaguena. A strange choice as a finisher maybe, but one that again wins over the audience to the brand of entertainment that Chris Jeans has honed during his years as both a player and conductor at Youth Brass 2000.

Christopher Thomas

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4BR Editor's take...

A well chosen programme from a band that is obviously in the process of rebuilding under a thoughtful MD.

The highlight was a truly wonderful solo performance from James Fountain although the rest of the set was solidly played standard repertoire with a youthful hint of original inspiration.

It perhaps won't see them claiming the very top prizes today but it will have kept them in the hunt for a podium slot.

Iwan Fox

Sunday 13, 13:31:29

Championship Section:

4. Woodfalls (Dr Robert Childs)

Harlequin (Bruce Broughton)
Battleground (Paul Sharman)
Soloists: Fabian Bloch & Jan Boler
Little Prayer (Evelyn Glennie)
Cops & Robbers (W Hogarth Lear)
Triumph (Jonathan Bates)

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Woodfalls opens its 'Inspiration' themed programme with a striking blast of Shostakovich in the style of Leonard Bernstein, cleverly drawn together by Bruce Broughton in his Harlequin. What a great opener, played with real verve and giving us a welcome reprise of a piece that figured in many concert programmes when it was written in the 1980's.

Battleground by Paul Sharman proves to be an excellent melodic vehicle for the talents of Fabian Bloch on euphonium and Jan Boler on cornet who despatch their respective solo parts with a deft touch and an infectious sense of fun. This has been a great start to Woodfalls programme following an impressive account of the set test yesterday.

Robert Childs' arrangement of Evelyn Glennie's touching 'A Little Prayer' opens atmospherically on marimba with the band safely negotiating a passage of close harmony singing. It's a lovely few minutes of sublime stillness at the heart of the programme before the band heads off in a completely different direction with Cops and Robbers, a nod to Robert Childs' own days at Grimethorpe under the inimitable W Hogarth Lear.

The finale of Triumph by Jonathan Bates showcases the composers that have been an inspiration to him along with countless brass fans the world over, with its shades of McCabe, Gregson, Graham and Curnow amongst others being painted in bold, and appropriately triumphant fashion by Robert Childs and the band, capping a fine weekend's work by the West of England team.

Christopher Thomas

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4BR Editor's take...

As typical a Bob Childs inspired programme as you can wish to here and enjoy.

Simple, easily understandable themes, solid familiar music choices — all polished and delivered without recourse to anything too left field or dangerously esoteric.

Lots to enjoy with the playing — and even the 'comedy' item covered its age well.

That has put the band right in the mix for the overall title here.

Iwan Fox

Sunday 13, 12:49:03

Championship Section:

3. Haverhill Silver (Paul Filby)

Chaos (Craig Saunders)
Forever and Ever (Demis Roussos)
Soloist: Tim Vinall
Ether (Craig Saunders)
Soloists: Anthony Saunders & Andrew Cooper
Zorba the Greek (arr. Tim Pannell)
Elysium (Craig Saunders)

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Haverhill Silver's Greek god themed programme open with echoes of Paul Lovatt -Cooper from a distant galaxy as the band commences in rousing fashion with Craig Saunders' Chaos'. There's a touch of the formulaic about this but the band give its all.

The contrast with the kaftan sporting flugel player that gives us Demis Roussos's Forever and Ever could hardly be greater, although it's perhaps a little too 'out there' for some, whilst the sound of the soloist is sometimes masked by the band.

Craig Saunder's 'Ether' forms a beautiful three minutes of stillness at the heart of Haverhill's programme. This is the highlight of the band's programme so far, a touching, glowingly coloured miniature played with heartfelt sensitivity.

The inclusion of Zorba's Dance is perhaps predictable given the theme of the programme, but this could have been so much more successful had it relied purely on the music rather than the mis-guided attempt at plate-smashing humour that undermines rather than enhances the entertainment experience.

The band's finale of Elysium, transports us to the fields of eternal life in the safekeeping of the Gods. It brings Haverhill's entertainment set to a stirring conclusion although overall, this has been a strange programmatic concoction of hit an miss humour, underpinned by the beauty of the undoubted highlight of Craig Saunder's 'Ether'.

Christopher Thomas

4BR Editor's take...

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You have sympathy with the band that they could not utilise the multi-media accompaniment here, but you still question how it would have improved the impact of the two 'comedy' items.

Why the need to dress up as Demis Roussos was beyond me — a fine flugel could have played it straight and it would have worked so well. Instead is was terrible. Zorba was strained too.

Again — what a pity as the other items were so well written, played and had invention and substance.

The Greek myths and icons idea seemed good, but this was a curious way of showcasing it — with or without the extra images.

Iwan Fox

Sunday 13, 12:05:19

Championship Section:

2. Redbridge (Richard Ward)

Scherzo (Shostakovich)
East Meets West (Philip Harper)
All is Well (Michael W Smith)
Salt of the Earth (Andy Scott)
Soloist: Chris Bearman
Fly me to the Moon (Bart Howard)
Finale from Earthrise (Nigel Clarke)

Redbridge's programme takes as its starting point the Soviet/US space race and opens with iron fisted urgency with the scherzo from Shostakovich's Tenth Symphony, set against a visual backdrop of rockets, Soviet propaganda artwork and an image of 'Commander Frank Renton' in a space suit!

From space exploration to flower power and a dose of 60's free love in the form of Ravi Shankar's East Meets West. The visual imagery switches to a hallucinatory amalgam of The Beatles, music festivals and contemporary artwork although the music takes its time to find its quasi Indian groove.

Back to the space race and Neil Armstrong's first tentative steps on the moon are gently articulated in tranquil fashion with All is Well, Michael W. Smith's Christian song that although played with touching sensitivity, seems a touch at odds with the imagery of rockets blasting off.

It seems that Neil Armstrong was a tuba player, a fact celebrated by Eb bass player Chris Beerman with Andy Scott's Salt of the Earth, accompanied by 'doctored' pictures of the young space explorer himself, clad in his space suit and sporting an Eb bass. Fine playing from Redbridge's solo bass player but the programme just seems to have lost it mid-way momentum a little here.

A fleeting swing interlude of Fly Me To Moon doesn't quite fully capture the necessary big band style before the closing section of Nigel Clarke's Earthrise brings Redbridge's programme to a driving conclusion.

Christopher Thomas

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4BR Editor's take...

A bit of a curious celebration of the 50th anniversary of the first man on the moon this.

Parts of it worked and worked well, but overall the message was somewhat lost with the rather garbled imagery that accompanied things. The Timothy Leary Woodstock interlude was a hazy Ganga of all things drop in and drop out.

A nearly one this — a super idea but some items of music that seemed shoehorned into the mix to try and match the theme.

Iwan Fox

Sunday 13, 10:56:28

Championship Section

1. Desford Colliery (LCITWF) (Michael Fowles)

Malaquena (arr. Sandy Smith)
Ballet of the Starfish (Martin Winter)
Soloist: Nick Hudson
Karma Naan (Martin Winter)
Not to be Fotgotten (Pat Metheny arr. Jacob Vilhelm Larson)
Thy Tribute Bring (John Barber)

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'Malaguena' gets the Stan Kenton and Michael Fowles treatment in a high octane big band appetiser from Desford with a dose of screaming sop from Kevin Crockford to close. What a great opener!

Nick Hudson is such a slick soloist in Martin Winter's Manger inspired underwater musical world. Gorgeously lyrical and oh so smooth with a legato style to die for and an easy going jazz style that the audience laps up. Trombone playing of the highest quality.

From Martin Winter's underwater world to a taste of the east and no doubt a few of the composer's favourite Norwegian curry houses as the band conjures up a unique sound world coloured with mutes, hand clapping and a smattering of 'alternative' instruments. Desford goes for musical diversity and this is proving to be an engaging programme.

A total contrast as the mood switches to the gloriously hued, subtly coloured tones of Pat Metheny in a moving and beautifully calm presentation of 'Not to be Forgotten'. Beautiful stuff played with innate feeling and sensitivity.

The band turns to Foden's John Barber for its finale in the form of his treatment of 'Praise my Soul the King of Heaven'. With its hints of Peter Graham it's a finale that packs a good deal into its relative brevity with a tranquil cornet solo at its heart played with deeply felt sincerity by Gary Wyatt.

Christopher Thomas

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4BR Editor's take...

What a classy, well thought out and delivered set that was from Desford.

Malaquena was a touch old hat perhaps, but the rest was sparkling and inventive — showing that Mr Fowles knows how to borrow from the best.

Really enjoyable — and a substantial marker that may have put them in pole position to claim the overall title.

Iwan Fox

Sunday 13, 10:53:35

A little bit of mining history...

Ever since the Butlins organisation revived and rejuvenated the Mineworkers Championship around 15 years ago, they have always kept a close connection to the mining industry with the award of prizes for the highest placed mining band in each section.

There is an extra reason to celebrate this year as 2019 sees the 100th anniversary of the Sankey Commission which considered the nationalisation of the coal industry in 1919 due to the terrible economic aftereffects of the slump in coal prices following the First World War.

It didn't quite go as far as that at the time — that came in 1947 — but they did recommend the setting up of what became the CISWO organisation — and miners welfare halls and schemes to support mining families in their communities.

The 1 penny levy on every dram of coal paved the way for the setting up of libraries, welfare halls, playing fields and the like — and led to many miners getting an extensive education.

CISWO still survives today doing great work, but we have Lord Sankey and his commission to thank for that initial help that led to the creation of what became known as 'Palaces of Culture' in every mining community.

Sunday 13, 10:23:18

Kick off at 11.00am...

Such has been the demand for seats here at Centre Stage that they opened the doors early to allow people in and bag their seats.

We have been told the action will start with the first band at 11.00am — with Redbridge taking to the stage.

Sunday 13, 09:25:53

Good morning from Skegness...

It's all about entertainment and more entertainment today in the Centre Stage venue as the seven Championship Section bands provide their programmes for the adjudication of Alan Fernie and Brian Rostron (music) and Alan Morrison and Mike Kilroy (entertainment).

The adjudication system sees placings given in each element today added to the placing given yesterday, with the band with the lowest aggregate score taking the title.

Therefore, if a band tops the test piece discipline yesterday they are given 1 point. If Alan and Brian place them second today for music quality they will get 2 points, and if Alan and Mike place them third they get another 3 points — making a grand total of 1+2+3 = 6.

In the event of a tie it is the placing of Alan and Mike for entertainment that takes precedence.


Saturday 12, 23:09:40

Overtures prove their worth...

It's been an interesting and enjoyable day at Skegness — with Stan Lippeatt's excellent choices of test pieces proving that great old brass band overtures can still test bands to the limit at every level.

None more so than in the Championship Section, where 'Carnival' and especially 'Benvenuto Cellini' bared their teeth (not one of the seven contenders opted for the Wagner) and surely took meaty chunks out of potential title winning hopes of bands.

It was the same in the First Section, where 'Force of Destiny' and 'The Corsair' showed that they are still works that take some taming. Not many did.

In contrast there a number well thought out and directed performances to enjoy in both the Second and Third Sections — with 'Academic Festival' and 'Egmont' in particular giving solid bands plenty of opportunity to showcase their ensemble quality.

The Fourth Section was a delight — and it was so good to hear bands approach two diverse pieces so well.

Overtures — who would have thought eh?

Saturday 12, 22:28:45


Championship Section: Entertainment

Adjudicators: Brian Rostron & Alan Fernie (Test Piece & Entertainment)

Sunday 13th January (Entertainment)
Draw: Saturday Evening
Venue: Centre Stage
Commences: 11.00am

First: £10,000
Second: £5,000
Third: £2,500
Fourth: £1,000
Test Piece winner: £1,000
Most Entertaining Band: £1,000

1. Desford Colliery (LMTF) (Michael Fowles)
2. Redbridge Brass (Richard Ward)
3. Haverhill Silver (Paul Filby)
4. Woodfalls (Dr Robert Childs)
5. GUS (Chris Jeans)
6. Flowers (Paul Holland)
7. Friary Guildford (Chris King)

Saturday 12, 22:16:51

A future star...

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13 year old Ed Culpin was crowned the British Open Intermediate Solo Champion on Friday evening.

His outstanding unaccompanied rendition of 'Nocturne' by Franz Strauss took the prestigious title and £300 first prize — a performance called 'simply superb' by adjudicator Richard Marshall, who was joined by the legendary Peter Roberts in choosing a new champion.

Ed plays baritone for Leicestershire Co-operative Band as well as Youth Brass 2000 and the National Childrens Band of Great Britain.

A wonderful young man he told 4BR: "I really enjoyed the experience and loved playing the solo. I've been working hard with my teacher Katrina Marzella so this has been a reward for all that hard work. I'll have to think what I spend the money on though."

Saturday 12, 20:26:37

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First Section:

Test Piece:
Own Choice: La Forza del Destino (Berlioz arr. Frank Wright) or Le Corsair (Berlioz arr. Geoffrey Brand)
Adjudicators: Dave Lea and Alan Morrison

1. Boarshurst Silver (James Garlick)
2. Sandhurst Silver (David Johnson)
3. Milton Keynes Brass (Jonathan Mott)
4. Haydock Band (Mark Quinn)
5. Jackfield (David Maplestone)
6. Stannington (Derek Renshaw)
7. Fulham Brass (John Ward)
8. Hucknall & Linby (Paul Whyley)
9. Enderby (Ryan Richards)
10. Soham Comrades (Mark Ager)
11. Yorkshire Imperial Urquhart Travel (Simon Gresswell)
12. Ware Brass (Craig Patterson)
13. Eccles Borough (Mareika Gray)
14. Harborough (Brad Turnbull)
15. City of Cambridge (Philip Fisher)
16. Knottinglley Silver (Kevin Belcher)

Highest Placed Mining Band: Haydock

Saturday 12, 20:25:47

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Second Section:

Test Piece:
Own Choice: Academic Festival Overture (Brahms arr. Denis Wright) or The Frogs of Aristophanes (Bantock arr. Frank Wright)
Adjudicators: Kevin Wadsworth and Sheona White

1. Shirland Welfare (Lynden Cooper)
2. Colchester Band (Victoria Steinitz)
3. Ibstock Brick Brass (Simon Willis)
4. Gresley Colliery (Craig Stevens)
5. Hade Edge (Jonathon Beatty)
6. City of Coventry Brass (Stephen Cooper)
7. Waterbeach Brass (Andrew Kershaw)
8. NASUWT Concert (Andrew Hall)
9. Besses Boys (James Holt)
10. Horsham Borough (Mark McLaughlin)
11. Dunstan Silver (Aiden Hodgson)
12. Hatherleigh Silver (Matt Green)
13. Bedford Town (Martin Hurrell)
14. Dronfield Genquip CMW (Damien Wileman)

Highest Placed Mining Band: Shirland Welfare

Saturday 12, 20:24:49

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Third Section:

Test Piece:
Own Choice: Egmont Overture (Beethoven arr. Eric Ball) or Rule Britannia (William Rimmer)
Adjudicators: David Ashworth and Mike Kilroy

1. Raunds Temperance (Jonathan Pippen)
2. Hoover (Bolton) (Craig Mann)
3. Epping Forest (Keith Schroeter)
4. Whitworth Vale & Healey (Christopher Binns)
5. Pleasley Colliery Welfare (Geof Benson)
6. Ellington Colliery (Clare Winter)
7. East Coast Brass (Paul Speed)
8. Littleborough (Adrian Woodhead)
9. Crystal Palace (Michael Gray)
10. Brighton & Hove City (Matthew Hackett)
11. Cubbington Silver (Mark Phillips)
12. Amington (Alan Gifford)
13. Stamford Brass (Julian Bright)

Highest Placed Mining Band: Pleasley Colliery Welfare

Saturday 12, 20:23:47

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Fourth Section:

Test Piece:
Own Choice: Overture to Youth (Eric Hughes) or A Saddleworth Festival (Goff Richards)
Adjudicators: John Doyle and Mark Wilkinson

1. Tewit Silver (Martin Hall)
2. Maltby Miners Welfare (Terry Clifford)
3. Dodworth Colliery MW (Eliot Darwin)
4. Cottenham Brass (P.B Mackley)
5. Banovallum Brass (Horncastle) (Steve Ingham)
6. Great Yarmouth Brass (Colin Swaep)
7. Sale Brass (John Anderson)
8. Whitwell Brass (Ryan Stacey)
9. Norfolk Wherry Brass (Eddie Baker)
10. Royston Town (Steve Earley)
11. Thurcroft Welfare (Matthew Wright)
12. Sherwood Forest Brass (Christine Lippeatt)

Highest Placed Mining Band: Maltby Miners Welfare

Saturday 12, 15:15:07

Championship Section: Chris Thomas' set-test prediction:

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It could be said that the old cliche of the 'yellow' test piece being the toughest has come home to roost this afternoon.

Richard Wagner's 'Rienzi' didn't get a look in all afternoon as the audience was given five accounts of Dvorak's sparking 'Carnival' overture and two of Berlioz's Benvenuto Cellini is a set test leg that felt like it was over as soon as it had begun.

No band escaped unscathed with one or two of the pre-contest favourites displaying surprising fragility at times. With the shackles off however, it should all make for a fascinating entertainment leg in Centre Stage on Sunday morning.

Christopher Thomas goes for a top four of:

1. Desford Colliery (LMTF)
2. Woodfalls
3. Flowers
4. Virtuosi GUS

Saturday 12, 15:07:30

Championship Section:

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7. Flowers (Paul Holland)

Benvenuto Cellini (Hector Berlioz arr. Frank Wright)

The opening is painted in bold, orchestral like colours, but a couple of noticeable slips unsettle the picture. And those slips seem to accumulate as one or two significant moments of inaccuracy continue to cause problems and add to the error count.

The style continues to impress but it's proving impossible to ignore the slips that unsettled those early passages, with the occasional ragged entry still causing issues well into the performance.

The approach to the conclusion is better but this has been a strangely out of sorts performance from the defending champion.

Overall: A curious account of Benvenuto Cellini from Flowers. So much to commend in terms of style and interpretative substance but with mistakes that will surely count in the final analysis.

Christopher Thomas

Saturday 12, 15:02:38

First Section: Has the force been with anyone to win?

It has benn an interesting contest without a doubt, but you have to say that both 'La Forza de Destino' and 'Le Corsaire' remained unbowed and unbeaten by it close despite some sterling efforts.

The last four all opted for the Verdi, with Hucknall suffering too many moments of uncertainty, Stannington giving a well controlled account, Enderby suffering just a few too many slips and Jackfield giving a very engaging account that just needed a touch more consistency.

Has any one of them done enough to claim the title? It's anyone's guess here today as no single band stood out.

4BR Prediction:

A hard one to call, but Boarshurst's 'Force of Destiny' was classy even if it did have the occasional moment of unease, whilst Imps had a such a flowing confidence. Eccles and Fulham may push them closest and then it could be one of quite a few.

1. Boarshurst
2. Yorkshire Imperial
3. Eccles
4. Fulham

Saturday 12, 14:46:22

Championship Section:

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6. Desford Colliery (LMTF) (Michael Fowles)

Overture: Carnival (Antonin Dvorak arr. Geoffrey Brand)

What a fine opening. This just oozes the thrills and excitement of the carnival with playing of energy, accuracy and rhythmic cohesion. Great stuff and with fabulous dynamics contrasts too.

The transition into the Andantino is so well done and the Andantino itself opens beautifully before a couple of noticeable slips on flugelhorn unsettle the picture despite playing of brilliance from Kevin Crockford on soprano. It recovers though and the initial drive is recaptured in the music that follows leading into a sparkling reach of the opening and an ending of unbridled excitement. Great stuff.

Overall: What could have been a clear leader so far just lost its way in the central Andantino but this remained a reading of quality and authentic atmosphere from Michael Fowles and Desford.

Christopher Thomas

Saturday 12, 14:31:37

Championship Section:

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5. Woodfalls (Robert Childs)

Overture: Carnival (Antonin Dvorak arr. Geoffrey Brand)

What a fine opening from Woodfalls with so many subtle changes of dynamic and an atmosphere of joyous excitement and exhilaration. This is bright and bold in its colours but has so much energy and spirit about it.

The Andantino permeates a gentle, dreamy beauty and provides a perfect contrast to the cumulative energy and rhythmic excitement of the outer sections. As with every performance so far there have been minor slips but one has to admire the sheer vibrancy of the playing here.

The recap of the opening bristles with the fun of carnival day and the gradual build up to the end carries us along, with a concluding flourish that radiates energy and excitement.

Overall: Commitment, spirit and energy in spades from Woodfalls. This has really captured the imagination.

Christopher Thomas

Saturday 12, 14:17:35

Championship Section:

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4. Virtuosi GUS (Chris Jeans)

Overture: Carnival (Antonin Dvorak arr. Geoffrey Brand)

Chris Jeans takes to the stage in his first contest performance leading GUS and the opening is impressively measured and paced with the dynamics kept on a firm leash. It's neat and tidy but also seemingly verging on the cautious at times.

The Andantino is marked by lovely solo cornet sounds and this is so much closer to the atmosphere of still dreaminess that we have been looking for.

The recap of the opening drives on with impressive rhythmic energy as the excitement builds to a spirited concluding flourish.

Overall: A thoughtfully constructed account from GUS on Chris Jeans contest conducting debut with the band. Not without slips but exciting and stylistically informed.

Christopher Thomas

Saturday 12, 14:02:17

Championship Section:

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3. Haverhill (Paul Filby)

Overture: Carnival (Antonin Dvorak arr. Geoffrey Brand)

Good style to open although detail is not always entirely precise, notably in the cornets.

The central Andantino is so difficult to capture in terms of its dreamy atmosphere and again, this doesn't quite settle as little slips, although small, serve to unsettle the musical picture.

As we hit the recap of the opening it gets a tad aggressive as the cornets again struggle to retain composure amidst the flying figurations leading to a somewhat third sounding conclusion.

Overall: A well considered approach from Haverhill although the many traps of Geoffrey Brand's immensely tricky arrangement took their toll.

Saturday 12, 13:44:55

Championship Section:

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2. Friary Guildford (Chris King)

Benvenuto Cellini (Berlioz arr. Frank Wright)

A fine opening bristles with drama and bold, orchestral like brass sonority. Excellent work from the basses in the quiet bars that follow and good filigree work in the cornet section.

The ensuing Allegro drives on with purpose and energy but not without the appearance of a few cracks and uncomfortable moments in the cornets. This is now losing a degree of concentration and accuracy.

It regains its momentum through and the approach to the close recaptures the operatic drama of the opening passages to finish in impressive style.

Overall: A superb opening from Friary Guildford but that opening flourish proved difficult to sustain through a piece that despite brevity, saps the energy from the start.

Christopher Thomas

Saturday 12, 13:26:00

Championship Section:

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1. Redbridge Brass (Richard Ward)

Carnival (Antonin Dvorak arr. Geoffrey Brand)

Solid opening although one that immediately reveals some of the many challenges of this piece in those tricky cornet figures. There's spirit in abundance here though and the dynamics are admirable controlled by Richard Ward, an MD with the experience to know this piece from its orchestral mechanics.

The floating, dreamy central interlude just lacks a little magic and stillness of atmosphere and cornets don't dovetail as neatly as they could. Tiny little slips heard but the transition into the recap of the opening is so well done.

Just needs a little more drive and heady excitement of carnival day as it progresses towards the final bars and ensemble a tad untidy at times.

Overall: A fine interpretation of Dvorak's effervescent Carnival Overture from Richard Ward and Redbridge Brass but one that also lacked a touch of gloss and gloss and sparkle.

Christopher Thomas

Saturday 12, 13:15:17

First Section: The Force is with you...

Four more bands, and four performances that offered a great deal but maybe left the door open to be beaten.

Boarshurst had a stamp of quality from the start on their 'Destiny' — and maintained a great deal of detail throughout in a persuasive account, whilst Milton Keynes opted for a more measured tempo on their Verdi with a super euph a feature. Solid stuff.

Soham's 'Corsaire' was a swashbuckler — and it was a pity that the intonation issues just robbed a well laid out picture, whilst Fulham gave us a real banger — fizzing with intent and colour (esp bass trom), but the inconsistencies just grated on what was a super reading.

Wilson Taylor

Saturday 12, 12:50:52


Championship Section:

Venue: Centre Stage
Saturday 12th January
Draw: 11.30am (commences after the 4th Section)

Rienzi (Wagner arr. Haydn Johns)
Benvenuto Cellini (Berlioz arr. Frank Wright)
Carnival (Dvorak arr. Geoffrey Brand)

Adjudicators: Brian Rostron & Alan Fernie (Test Piece & Entertainment)

First: £10,000
Second: £5,000
Third: £2,500
Fourth: £1,000
Test Piece winner: £1,000
Most Entertaining Band: £1,000

1. Redbridge Brass (Richard Ward)
2. Friary Guildford (Chris King)
3. Haverhill Silver (Paul Filby)
4. GUS (Chris Jeans)
5. Woodfalls (Dr Robert Childs)
6. Desford Colliery (LMTF) (Michael Fowles)
7. Flowers (Paul Holland)

Saturday 12, 12:49:55

Fourth Section: Prediction

It's all over in the Fourth Section and what an engaging, enjoyable contest it has been.

We have really admired the enterprise and ambition of the bands that chose to play Eric Hughes' all too rarely heard 'Overture to Youth'.

Every performance here has brought something to the event, with a high overall standard and a number of toe tapping accounts of Goff Richards' Saddleworth Festival Overture'vying for a place amongst the prize winners.

And with a £2000 first prize up for grabs, it has certainly been worth the band's collective efforts.

There's a clear winner for us but behind that it's a close battle for the remaining podium places.

Christopher Thomas goes for a top four of:

1. Tewit Silver
2. Dodworth Colliery MW
3. Banovallum Brass
4. Norfolk Wherry

Saturday 12, 12:39:33

First Section: A contest up for grabs...

It's been an interesting if somewhat variable contest in the First Section, with Stan Lippeatt's demanding choices proving just that and more.

There have been plenty of bold efforts, but none has emerged unscathed and we have yet to hear the performance earmarked by control that really stands out from the field. Perhaps it will come...

Knottingley, Harborough and Haydock all gave spirited accounts of 'Le Coraire', but question marks arose over initial tempo choices. When each of them settled into a vibrant, comfortable tempo they sounded much more consistent and measured. All decent, but all beatable.

Ware gave a bold account of the Verdi after an uncomfortable start and a fine sop shone, but again, it lacked for overall consistency.

We wait for one band to grab this contest by the scruff of the neck....

Wilson Taylor

Saturday 12, 12:30:53

Second Section: Academic test of character being passed...

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A little sojourn to hear the bands in the Second Section has been a delight (as shown above!)

The Royal Arthur Suite may be a bit utilitarian as a contest venue, but it offers a compact acoustic for the bands to perform in — and it has also been packed by an enthusiastic and knowledgable audience.

It's been a quick old contest too — starting at 10.30am and having its halfway break just a few moments ago.

Six of the first seven bands opted for the Brahms and it has proved a well considered choice according to those we spoke too and those we heard — with Hade Edge and Hatherleigh in particular giving performances of 'Academic Festival' that had style, balance and ensemble warmth.

Gresley were the only band to opt for 'The Frogs of Aristophanes' and did a fine job. Could be an interesting one this — but it has brought out the best in some well led bands so far.

Iwan Fox

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Saturday 12, 11:39:01

Fourth Section: More quality to enjoy...

As with the first four bands, the second group of four has produced three performances of Saddleworth festival and just one of Eric Hughes' underrated Overture to Youth from Sherwood Concert Brass.

One performance here has really grabbed our attention however. Despite sporting just one second and one third cornet, Tewit Silver's fine account of Goff Richards' Saddleworth Festival sparkled from start to finish with playing of such joyous musicality, rhythmic energy and spirit of enjoyment.

It's going to be a tough one to beat we suspect although the overall standard on Centre Stage remains impressively high across the board. With four bands left to play, Mark Wilkinson and John Doyle will surely be impressed with what they have heard in the Fourth Section this morning.

Saturday 12, 11:26:08

First Section: Destiny in their hands..or feet...

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We have had four performances so far in the First Section with just the one Berlioz up against a trio of Verdi accounts.

The one 'Le Corsaire' came from a confident Sandhurst Silver — and it was very neatly played and had that touch of flamboyance that we have come to expect from David Johnson — as bright as his socks...

The best of the 'Force of Destiny' accounts has certainly come from Yorkshire Imps under Simon Gresswell — with a touch of the old Black Dyke under Roy Newsome circa 1972 about. The little clips may cost, but it was tasty.

So too Eccles — played at a rapid Italian tempo — all drama if a little skittish in places under Mareika Gray (aided by a fine solo cornet too), whilst there was a brave and enthusiastic account from City of Cambridge that was bold and bravura.

Plenty more to come — but already we have heard just how hard these two popular pieces are

Wilson Taylor

Saturday 12, 10:43:58

Fourth Section: An enjoyable start

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We have heard four bands in the Fourth Section so far with only one, Sale Brass under John Anderson, choosing to play Eric Hughes' 'Overture to Youth' in what proved to be a convincing and impressively cohesive account of the score.

With the Hughes being by far the more musically challenging of the two test piece choices, we suspect that the large majority of bands will opt for the melodious smorgasbord that is Goff Richards' 'Saddleworth Festival Overture'c

And the three performances of the Richards to this point have been of an impressive standard indeed, with Banovallum Brass (above) setting the scene with a confident, bracing account from the number one draw, followed by enjoyable, spirited performances from Thurcroft Welfare and Maltby Miners Welfare.

This promises to be a keenly fought Fourth Section contest!

Christopher Thomas

Saturday 12, 10:31:41


Third Section:

Venue: Crazy Horse
Saturday 12th January
Draw: 8.30am
Commences: 11.00am

Test Pieces:
Egmont Overture (Beethoven arr. Eric Ball)
Rule Britannia (William Rimmer)

Adjudicators: David Ashworth & Mike Kilroy

First: £2,000
Second: £1,000
Third: £700
Fourth: £500

1. Amington (Alan Gifford)
2. Epping Forest (Keith Schroeter)
3. Hoover (Bolton) (Craig Mann)
4. East Coast Brass (Paul Speed)
5. Raunds Temperance (Jonathan Pippen)
6. Ellington Colliery (Clare Winter)
7. Brighton & Hove City (Matthew Hackett)
8. Pleasley Colliery Welfare (Geof Benson)
9. Whitworth Vale & Healey (Christopher Binns)
10. Littleborough (Adrian Woodhead)
11. Stamford Brass (Julian Bright)
12. Cubbington Silver (Mark Phillips)
13. Crystal Palace (Michael Gray)

Saturday 12, 09:58:04


Second Section:

Venue: Royal Arthur Suite
Saturday 12th January
Draw: 8.30am
Commences: 10.30am

Test Pieces:
Academic Festival Overture (Brahms arr. Denis Wright)
The Frogs of Aristophanes (Bantock arr. Frank Wright)

Adjudicators: Kevin Wadsworth & Sheona White

First: £2,000
Second: £1,000
Third: £700
Fourth: £500

1. Hade Edge (Jonathon Beatty)
2. Hatherleigh Silver (Matt Green)
3. Gresley Colliery (Craig Stevens)
4. Waterbeach Brass (Andrew Kershaw)
5. Bedford Town (Martin Hurrell)
6. Colchester Band (Victoria Steinitz)
7. Dronfield Genquip CMW (Damien Wileman)
8. City of Coventry Brass (Stephen Cooper)
9. Shirland Welfare (Lynden Cooper)
10. Horsham Borough (Mark McLaughlin)
11. Ibstock Brick Brass (Simon Willis)
12. NASUWT Concert (Andrew Hall)
13. Besses Boys (James Holt)
14. Dunstan Silver (Aiden Hodgson)

Saturday 12, 09:37:35


First Section:

Venue: Reds
Saturday 12th January
Draw: 8.30am
Commences: 10.00am

Test Pieces:
La Forza del Destino (Berlioz arr. Frank Wright)
Le Corsair (Berlioz arr. Geoffrey Brand)

Adjudicators: Alan Morrison & Dave Lea

First: £2,000
Second: £1,000
Third: £700
Fourth: £500

1. Sandhurst Silver (David Johnson)
2. Yorkshire Imperial Urquhart Travel (Simon Gresswell)
3. City of Cambridge (Philip Fisher)
4. Eccles Borough (Mareika Gray)
5. Knottingley Silver (Kevin Belcher)
6. Ware Brass (Craig Patterson)
7. Harborough (Brad Turnbull)
8. Haydock Band (Mark Quinn)
9. Boarshurst Silver (James Garlick)
10. Milton Keynes Brass (Jonathan Mott)
11. Soham Comrades (Mark Ager)
12. Fulham Brass (John Ward)
13. Hucknall & Linby (Paul Whyley)
14. Stannington (Derek Renshaw)
15. Enderby (Ryan Richards)
16. Jackfield (David Maplestone)

Saturday 12, 09:32:28

Nearly ready for action...

We start in Centre Stage with the Fourth Section — with the twelve bands having the choice of either 'A Saddleworth Festival Overture' by Goff Richards and 'Overture to Youth' by Eric Hughes.

Two contrasting pieces that offer the competitors plenty to get their teeth into — from the sounds of Whit Friday and Australia to the more academic strains of Hughes' celebration of 1970 youth.

Off we go then....

Saturday 12, 09:18:11


Fourth Section:

Venue: Centre Stage
Saturday 12th January
Draw: 8.30am
Commences: 9.30am

Test Pieces:
Overture to Youth (Eric Hughes)
A Saddleworth Festival (Goff Richards)

Adjudicators: Mark Wilkinson & John Doyle

First: £2,000
Second: £1,000
Third: £700
Fourth: £500

1. Banovallum Brass (Horncastle) (Steve Ingham)
2. Thurcroft Welfare (Matthew Wright)
3. Sale Brass (John Anderson)
4. Maltby Miners Welfare (Terry Clifford)
5. Tewit Silver (Martin Hall)
6. Norfolk Wherry Brass (Eddie Baker)
7. Great Yarmouth Brass (Colin Swaep)
8. Sherwood Forest Brass (Christine Lippeatt)
9. Royston Town (Steve Earley)
10. Whitwell Brass (Ryan Stacey)
11. Cottenham Brass (P.B Mackley)
12. Dodworth Colliery MW (Eliot Darwin)

Saturday 12, 09:15:06

Welcome to Skegness...

The action kicks off here in Skegness at 9.30am with the bands in the Fourth Section — followed at staggered times throughout the morning by Third, Second and First. The text piece discipline of the Championship Section follows the Fourth Section.

Lots to enjoy — and we will be around and about reporting from the action in the different sections this year in a slightly different way — so keeps your eyes peeled on the site.

The Fourth Section draw will go up as soon as the judges are in the box...

Saturday 12, 03:54:20

Contest preview & predictions

Saturday 12, 03:51:15

Butlins ready to entertain the entertainers

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