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2019 Brass in Concert Championship
As it happened

All the action from the 2019 Brass in Concert Championship — as it happened.

  • Sunday 17, 19:12:46

    Goodnight from Gateshead

    Unstoppable Cory dominates again

    Well, we have reached the end of another enjoyable Brass in Concert weekend, and Cory have once again shown that they are an unstoppable force on the contest stage.

    They close the year as Brass in Concert, BrassPass.tv Band of the Year, British Open, European and National Champions.

    Those present here and watching online will have savoured Cory's victorious programme whilst rivals head for home wondering just how on earth can they be beaten...

    Talking of things to savour — the Youth Brass in Concert Championship was superb, as was David Childs in the Gala Concert with Brighouse & Rastrick, whilst the taster sessions and elementary education classes were brilliant as always.

    Our thanks go as always to the Brass in Concert team for their hospitality.

    Don't forget you can log on to www.worldofbrass.tv to relive the action for £12.95

    That's it — hope you enjoyed our coverage — we certainly did bringing it to you

  • Sunday 17, 18:43:37

    Results:

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    Adjudicators:

    Ian Bousfield & Dr Nick Grace (Music-Quality of Performance)
    Jeremy Wise (Programme Content)
    Chris Jeans & Mike Lovatt (Entertainment & Presentation)
    Les Neish (Soloist and Individual Awards)

    Music/Music/Content/Entertainment = Total
    Bousfield/Grace/Wise/Jeans/Lovatt = Total

    1. Cory (Philip Harper): 60/57/40/20/20 = 197
    2. Carlton Main Frickley Colliery (Dr David Thornton): 54/60/32/19/19 = 184
    3. Flowers (Paul Holland): 45/54/38/14/17 = 168
    4. Brighouse & Rastrick (Russell Gray): 57/51/28/18/13 = 167
    5. Tredegar (Ian Porthouse): 51/45/36/17/16 = 165
    6. Brass Band Schoonhoven (Robert Vos): 39/48/30/16/15 = 148*
    7. Friary (Chris King): 42/39/34/15/18 = 148*
    8. NASUWT Riverside (David Roberts): 48/33/20/13/12 = 126*
    9. City of Hull (Stig Maersk): 36/42/24/10/14 = 126*
    10. Hammonds (Morgan Griffiths): 33/36/22/12/10 = 113
    11. Reg Vardy (John Roberts): 33/30/26/11/11 = 108

    * denotes Quality of Performance points take precedence in order of tied placings (SEE BELOW)

    The Brass in Concert management team has stated that there was an error in the original announced placings of Friary Band and Brass Band Schoonhoven, and that their 6th and 7th placings respectively should be reversed.

    The results above have now been amended accordingly to the order above.

    Both bands scored 148 points, and while the combined Quality of Performance points should have been used to break the tie, in this case the placings of Judge A only (Ian Bousfield) were used in error.

    A spokesperson for the event commented: "This was a clerical error for which we accept full responsibility.

    Although the results are checked prior to posting, mistakes do unfortunately happen sometimes when working under the pressure of time."

    They added: "We apologise sincerely to the members and supporters of both Friary and Schoonhoven for the error and are currently putting into place a system that eliminates the possibility of any such mistakes in the future.

    Both bands gave excellent and well-received performances and we congratulate them and the other 16 competing bands over the weekend on their wonderful efforts in creating a very successful event."

    Individual Awards:

    Don Lusher Trombone Award: Isobel Daws (Friary)
    Harry Mortimer Best Principal Cornet Award: Tom Hutchinson (Cory)
    The Fesa Trophy for Best Flugel Award: Danny Winder (Tredegar)
    The Gateshead MBC Trophy for Best Soprano Award: Steve Stewart (Cory)
    The Louis and Colin Johnson Trophy for Best Percussion Section: Cory
    Best Euphonium: Chris Robertson (Brighouse & Rastrick)
    Best Baritone: Ben Stratford (Tredegar)
    Best Horn: Zoe Wright (Hammonds)
    John Fletcher Best Basses Award: Brighouse & Rastrick
    Best Entertainment and Presentation: Cory
    Audience Entertainment Prize: Friary
    Best Programme Content: Cory
    Quality of Performance: Cory
    Best Soloist: Kirsty Abbotts (cornet) Carlton Main
    New Composition/Arrangement Award : Philip Harper (La Surrey de los Tontes)
    Winning MD: Philip Harper
    Youngest Player: Harry Porthouse of Tredegar (aged 15)

  • Sunday 17, 18:17:53

    Round up and prediction...

    Interesting, intriguing and a very enjoyable day with plenty to debate.

    Cory's performance this morning was breathtaking, thought provoking and so musically clinical in its execution. Have they played better than that here we wonder?

    Behind them we go for Tredegar's high quality show which was underpinned by some seriously impressive playing that deserves not to be forgotten off Kelly's eye.

    The quartet of ensembles that offered contemporary programmes could well be split by very little, but any of them could dislodge Tredegar.

    Those four of Brighouse & Rastrick, Carlton Main Frickley, Flowers, Dutch champion Schoonhoven and Tredegar could finish in any order behind Cory.

    Friary's super entertaining set that could well fare well too — and could the real dark horse of the contest.

    4BR Prediction:

    1. Cory
    2. Tredegar
    3. Brass Band Schoonhoven
    4. Flowers
    5. Brighouse & Rastrick
    6. Carlton Main Frickley

    Dark Horse: Friary

  • Sunday 17, 17:17:54

    11. NASUWT Riverside (David Roberts)

    The Heritage of North East of England

    The Dawn of Christianity (Jacob Vilhelm Larsen)
    Pilgrims Lament (Jacob Vilhelm Larsen)
    Soloist: Phillip Tait
    The Real Northern Powerhouse (Jonathan Bates)
    Excerpts from Fraternity (Thierry Deleruyelle)
    Reflections of Tyne (Matthew Hall)

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    A homegrown, home inspired set from the north of England champion that had a firm narrative feel running through it like a seam of South Shields coal.

    The opening item looked back to the earliest days of Christian civilisation — echoes of Lindisfarne monks and illuminated manuscripts revealing the message of God to the heathen masses. It did too.

    If that set the tone, the lovely soprano cornet playing of Philip Tait was well worth any pilgrimage — a lament of touching lyrical beauty.

    Governments are all talking about the 'Northern Powerhouse' — but this was music inspired by the area's rich industrial heritage that is still in place awaiting to reawakened.

    The hammers on metal and sounds of labour permeated the score in a clever, well observed piece.

    The excerpts from 'Fraternity' seemed a little out of context given its French/test-piece hinterland — but it just about worked, helped by the narrative displayed on the multi-media screen. Mining communities have a linked affinity from whatever part of the world they hail.

    The final piece was a great dollop of panache and pizzazz — with the stamp of composer Matthew Hall's clever thinking all over it. Think of his prize winning 'Legends of Cyfarthfa' transported to the north of England.

    It made for a super finisher from a band that gave it their all and more.

    Overall:

    A nicely put together set that played on well known and understandable themes. Bravo.

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  • Sunday 17, 16:34:28

    10. Brighouse & Rastrick (Russell Gray)

    Spirit of the Gods

    Ragnar'k (Kjetil Djonne)
    Only in Sleep (Eriks E'envalds arr. Jinjun Lee)
    Soloist: Kyle Lawson (cornet)
    The 'sir (Vanir War) (Fredrick Schjelderup)
    Revelry (Tom Davoren)

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    Nordic myth and mysticism for the West Riding band — played as if they were inhabiting the icy fjords of Bergen let alone the bucolic hillsides around Brighouse.

    The storyline (projected onto the multi-media screen) of the battles between the likes of Thor, Loki, Odin and the rest of the gang was played out in red blooded fashion from the off — although it did take the audience a bit by surprise.

    Kyle Lawson brought a fine sense of peacefulness to the proceedings to follow — playing of beautiful tonal intensity under the spotlight on high.

    More mystical musicality followed — led by a haunting solo horn as the band entered the realms of the chief gods — the ones with power over mere mortals. It was a battle for the souls; pacy, dramatic (the lighting made it even spookier) and quirky, even in its mischief making and vicious mayhem. Music from a different worldly realm.

    Tom Davoren's finale sets pulses racing — medieval high energy playing to open, followed by more musical mysticism and a return to the brilliant triumphalism before a huge overpowering climax — the MD bringing his baton down like Thor smashing his hammer on his anvil.

    Overall:

    Entertainment cleaved right out of the rocks of Nordic myth this from Brighouse — different but engrossing in its obvious richly defined drama.

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  • Sunday 17, 16:21:53

    Meeting up with Clarence Adoo

  • Sunday 17, 15:53:24

    9. Brass Band Schoonhoven (Robbert Vos)

    The Flying Dutchman

    Overture to The Flying Dutchman (Wagner arr. Robbert Vos)
    Prelude for a Hero (Joop van Dijk)
    Or Safety Found in Sleeping Sound (Paul McGhee
    Soloist: Rommert Groenhof (bass trombone)
    Leviathan Against Kraken (Franco Cesarini arr. Christian)

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    An inventive mix of Dutch musical seafaring heritage and passion from their newly crowned National champion — one that opened with the Wagnerian sounds of the 'The Flying Dutchman'.

    Not all of it though — just a quick dash like Arjen Robben sprinting up the yardarm.

    The effective use of the sand sculptor added an extra dimension to the narrative throughout their set too — and by heck his images were good.

    Rembrandt eat you heart out as these Dutchmen and women took to the brass band waves — also helped along by the great narrator (who happened to be the conductor's wife).

    The antiphonal 'Prelude for a Hero' was a great segue effect to keep the story-line moving, before we headed into the melancholic world of an ungodly man cursing his luck and fate washed down with lashings of alcohol and poisonous thoughts.

    It was portrayed by the fantastic cavernous-throated tonality of the bass trombonist — staring into the abyss with his playing. Any lower and he would have unearthed the foundations of the Sage. Dark and dangerous depth-charge trom playing that.

    The battle against the Kraken (whose been a busy boy in the last two performances it seems) is won by sheer force of will and power from an ensemble in overdrive, before we end with a return to Wagner's eternal, cursed anti-hero.

    Overall:

    A fine idea played out with a real inventive feel for the evocative atmosphere of the story of a doomed soul set on an eternal sea of despair — helped greatly by the sculptor and narrator.

    The playing had a high class hallmark from start to finish in a programme with a serious intent. The entertainment factor was different from many other rivals today for certain — but it was just as persuasive.

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  • Sunday 17, 15:13:04

    8. Flowers (Paul Holland)

    Captain Nemo's Forgotten Journal

    Dawn of a Voyage (Dan Price)
    The Descent (Christopher Bond)
    Soloist: Jamie Smith (cornet)
    Monster Thrash (Paul Saggers)
    La Cathedrale Engloutie (Debussy arr. Dan Price)
    Escape the Kracken (Dan Price)

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    It's been music inspired by Jules Verne for Flowers — and the excitement that came from an unearthed forgotten journal of another journey 20,000 leagues under the sea with the saturnine Captain Nemo.

    All that was missing was him playing the nuclear steam powered organ — (as in the famous Disney film) although the band made up for that at times with the wattage of power they expelled.

    The opening Dan Price work set the scene — all bubbles and blasts of oxygenated air as the ensemble plumbed into the depths.

    It was followed by a lyrical interlude of clear water beauty from principal cornet Jamie Smith — a descent that rather incongruously got higher in timbre as it went along. Some player though — so secure and tonally assured.

    The 'Monster Thrash' was that and more — two huge leviathans of the deep grappling against each other for supremacy — all aided by some pretty spectacular solo interventions from the scuba divers on cornet and sop in particular.

    Debussy's sunken cathedral had a bold mystical quality — bubbling (literally) in evocative spirit as the Nautilus meandered amongst the sunken columns. Clever that.

    The final battle with the awesome Kracken is surprisingly light of touch, but then it got into a WWE wrestling match that knocked lumps out each other all the way to a great close.

    Overall:

    A bold story told in exciting fashion by Flowers with each page of the journal brought to life in musical technicolour. Lots of super high quality playing emerged from beneath the waves too.

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  • Sunday 17, 14:34:44

    7. Carlton Main Frickley Colliery (Dr David Thornton)

    Different Trains:

    Last Train Home (Pat Metheny arr. Robin Dewhurst)
    Night Train (Jimmy Forrest arr. Robin Dewhurst)
    Going Places (Robin Dewhurst)
    The Quiet Zone (Robin Dewhurst)
    Mind the Gap (Robin Dewhurst)
    The Railway Children (Johnny Douglas arr. Robin Dewhurst)
    Soloist: Kirsty Abbotts (cornet)
    Pacific 231 (Arthur Honneger arr. Robin Dewhurst)

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    Cool midnight jazz inflections and train track influences for David Thornton and Carlton Main — all arranged by Robin Dewhurst.

    It soon got up a head of steam with Pat Metheny's 'Last Train Home' — complete with steam-driven start and the pulsating, sinuous sound of the euphonium leading out of the station.

    It was followed by the intense sounds of 'Night Train' — a crepuscular musical journey into the suburbs with the wheels powered by a splendidly deep-throated trom section.

    The wickedly TGV pace of 'Going Places' — whizzing along at 125 miles an hour plus — caught the breath — as did the 'Mind the Gap' carriage tagged onto its end.

    The great memories of Dinah Sheridan, Bernard Cribbins, Jenny Aguter and a Victorian middle England of steam trains and intrigue was recalled with 'The Railway Children'. What's not to enjoy with music making like that — especially when it's played so tenderly by Kirsty Abbotts and the accompaniment.

    Oh we all cried when father came home, walking into the arms of his family out of the steam in the film — and how this very nearly brought a tear to the eye too. Perfect.

    There was something darkly disturbing about the dream-inspired finale — but all in the right way (the images of the forlorn looking teddy bear sent a shiver up the spine).

    No late running commuter train horrors from King's Cross with this thankfully — but a journey just as terrifying — although it ends in triumph. That worked so well in an oddly engaging way.

    Overall:

    A nice developed idea for a programme, well balanced and delivered by Carlton Main — taking in different aspects of the evocative age of steam.

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  • Sunday 17, 13:53:20

    6. City of Hull (Stig Maersk)

    Voyage of Discovery and Remembrance

    Erin Shore (Trad arr. Leigh Baker)
    The Whale (arr. Howard Lorriman)
    Anchor of the Soul (Andi Cook)
    featuring Neil Day (cornet) and Melanie Ornsby (euphonium)
    Sea Fever (Kenneth Downie)
    Excerpt from Voyage to World's Unknown (Peter Graham)

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    A set rooted in the salty waters that surround our island nation and the city of Hull in particular — one that pays homage to its proud past, present and future.

    The opening had an evocative feel and rich sense of atmosphere — led splendidly by principal cornet Neil Day. The music built with a heave and wash of the waves lapping on a windswept outcrop.

    A hint of Herman Melville with the bold leviathan Moby Dick of a march, 'The Whale'.

    'There she blows!' — great robust spouts of sound with some neat filigree work to ornament it. Captain Ahab would have loved it.

    More evocative sounds followed with the twin points of hymnal focus on the euphonium and cornet — aided by the multi-media presentation that reflected on lives lost to the cruel sea.

    Kenneth Downie's 'Sea Fever' — 'Bobby Shaftoe' on shore leave, is played with gusto and a fair bit of revelry — as if the deck hands had just hopped off ship at Gateshead quay and into the nearest pub. That was fun.

    The nautical theme is rounded off with a spectacular voyage across the waves to the USA — all grandeur and a sense of anticipation of a new future. Exciting playing with the boldest of finishes.

    Overall:

    A rather poignant programme this — but always engaging and entertaining in a different way. Good to hear this different type of approach — proud and passionate.

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  • Sunday 17, 13:01:21

    Halfway point opinion...

    It's been very entertaining stuff this morning — with a break now until the second half starts at around 2.00pm.

    Cory was simply remarkable — another literary concept programme that worked perfectly in every aspect of what is required at this event. Almost impossible to see it being beaten overall.

    Tredegar was also outstanding in terms of the quality of their playing — right on the heels of their counterparts in that aspect, whilst Friary wowed with their entertainment approach. These three stand out so far.

    More to come after the lunch break but Cory by an overall margin from an outstanding set from Tredegar and a hugely entertaining one from Friary.

    1. Cory
    2. Tredegar
    3. Friary

  • Sunday 17, 12:01:23

    5. Friary (Chris King)

    The Tale of Princess Isobel and Her Enchanted Trombone

    The World's All About Love (Bach, Burt Bacharach, Lennon and McCartney arr. Chris King)
    Autumn from the Four Seasons (Vivaldi arr. Chris King)
    Thoughts of Love (Arthur Prior, arr. Keith Wilkinson)
    Soloist: Isobel Daws (trombone)
    Your Song (Elton John and Bernie Taupin arr. Chris King)
    I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Merrill and Rubicam arr. Chris King)

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    A fairy tale from Friary that was partly brass band panto, part 'Carry-On Queenie' in concept — but all the better for it.

    It was a reprise of the successful set they used at Butlins — with a nod and wink approach so beloved of Sid James and the gang. The double-entendres came thick and fast — all that was missing was a Frankie Howerd 'Oh er missus!' or two.

    The playing though was very good — neat and precise, well balanced and textured. The MD kept an admirably straight faced leash on the musical proceedings and was rewarded by his players.

    None more so that Isobel Daws on trombone on the classic Arthur Pryor 'Thoughts of Love' — real wowee playing — stylish and delivered at a tempo that was never pointlessly frenetic. Top notch that.

    The clever approach to the Elton John 'Your Song' had a sniff of drama before the sugary pathos and the deliberately 'cheesy' waving of mobile phones, and the finale was played with such spirit to round off a cleverly realised, excellently delivered souffle of a set.

    Overall:

    A cracking idea played out for all it was worth — light, breezy and a little un-PC perhaps, but it certainly struck a chord with the audience.

    That was also due to the fact that there was some very good playing at its core — none more so than Isobel Daws on trombone. Highly enjoyable stuff that.

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  • Sunday 17, 11:22:12

    4. Reg Vardy (John Roberts)

    The Four Temperaments of Human Nature

    Temperamental (Jonathan Bates)
    Scherzo No. 1 (Jonathan Bates)
    Danse Macabre (Jonathan Bates)
    Soloist: Andrew Hedley (euphonium)
    Water Lilies (Jonathan Bates)
    Infernal Dance and Final Hymn from The Firebird (Stravinsky arr. Ray Farr)

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    The four temperaments of human nature formed the foundation elements of Reg Vardy's set — and it got off to a dark, imposingly exciting start with a malevolent 'Temperamental' opener and viscous scherzo from the pen of Jonathan Bates.

    The players substituted their usual red stage jackets for multi-coloured short sleeved shirts — each either in green, blue, red or yellow to reflect their own personalities.

    The MD was in black — although John Roberts is by no means a saturnine malcontent by any means — just a seriously good conductor who had the band right on the end of his baton.

    Andrew Hedley was the impressive solo lead in the Saint-Saens inspired 'Danse Macabre' — played with a devilishly good sense of style and technique. Short, pointed and crisp — a really nice contrast.

    There was more to follow with 'Water Lillies' — a surrealist portrait much like a musical Monet — dappled colours and textures illuminated by a smouldering, golden sunshine.

    The closing 'Firebird' flew a bit in different directions, and in context seemed a little tenuous with its temperament link — but it was well played and built to a warmly hued hymn of triumph. A phoenix let alone a Firebird from the flames that.

    Overall:

    A well thought out monogrammed based on an inventive concept played with confidence and understanding. There was something a little different about this that appealed with its different musical aspects.

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  • Sunday 17, 10:36:14

    3. Hammonds (Morgan Griffiths)

    Atmospheres

    Ariel (Andrew Baker)
    The Rowan Tree (Trad. arr. Sandy Smith)
    Soloist: Zoe Wright (tenor horn)
    Better (Liam Shortall arr. Daniel Hall)
    Apple (Liam Shortall arr. Daniel Hall)
    Galop (Shostakovich arr. Snell)
    Finale from Music of the Spheres (Philip Sparke)

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    Confidence and lots of cultured playing were weaved into this appealing programme from the Yorkshire contenders — from start to finish in fact in a set centred around the theme of 'Atmospheres'.

    The premiere of 'Ariel' was a very effective opener — neatly choreographed and played with zestful spirit and waspish edge — clear and cleanly delineated.

    It was followed by a lovely horn solo featuring the talented Zoe Wright — a tender lead with tastefully chamfered phrasing backed by intelligent accompaniment. Super.

    The two-linked works from the pen of young Cornish composer Daniel Hall were engaging in their differentials.
    'Better' was darkly swish, throbbing with a pulsating, deep-throated energy beat, whilst 'Apple' upped the tempo and feel — still opaque, but with the sense of being sucked into its vibe.

    The ending just caught people by surprise — but that was an inventive brace to be richly applauded.

    The familiarity of the 'Galop' was played at a brisk canter that allowed the clean edged vibrancy to he heard — whilst the final section from 'Music of the Spheres' was delivered with boldness.

    It may just lacked a touch of context and originality, but the playing was splendid — building to one heck of an atmospheric climax..

    Overall:

    A well presented, intelligently packaged set from Hammonds — one that played to its obvious strengths as a band and featured a super soloist.

    Great to hear the band explore new repertoire from Andrew Baker and Daniel Hall — different but not too way out. Good solid entertainment virtues.

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  • Sunday 17, 09:56:47

    2. Cory (Philip Harper)

    The Jungle Book

    Jungle Book Intro (Philip Harper)
    The Night of the Tiger (Petterik / Sullivan arr. Philip Harper)
    Elephant Patrol (Philip Harper)
    Trust in Me (Sherman / Sherman arr. Philip Harper)
    La Suerte de los Tontos (J.J. Richards arr. Philip Harper)
    Dies Irae (Verdi arr. Philp Harper)
    Iv'e Gotta Be Me (Walter Marks arr. Philp Harper)

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    The defending champion takes literary inspiration once again for their BiC programme (after Shakespeare and Roald Dahl) — this time from Rudyard Kiplin's 'Jungle Book' — written 125 years ago.

    This wasn't the Disney film version at all — more like the Alexander Korda film of the 1940's — much truer to the darker elements of the book itself.

    There was therefore a neat twist on the text and the music — touches of 'Eye of the Tiger' and Verdi which accompanied the evocative voice-over and the effective multi-media presentation.

    As always it was the quality of the playing — so polished, precise and formidably razor sharp that caught the eyes and ears with the witty 'Elephant Patrol' — a real pachyderm procession that comes into view, passes by in stately gracefulness and then disappears with a last swish of the tail.

    The narrative arc of the story was so well told (the book itself was written as a series of short metaphorical tales about loss and alienation, empire and identity) — touching on the lighter and darker moments found in the author's pages...

    Chris Thomas was a wonderfully sly, sinuous, eye-boggling Kaa snake lead — oily and hypnotic. 'Look into my eyes… …'not round my eyes'. Everyone was under the Welshman's spell there…..

    The monkey mayhem led by Steve Stewart swung like a funky gibbon through the branches — brazen, anarchic brilliance delivered with such zing and zonk. Stunning playing — complete with whoops and screeches.

    The return of the dramatic Verdi fire and brimstone was like an electric storm breaking overhead — wicked stuff — sending enemies (and potential rivals for their BiC title) fleeing in terror…

    The close was a tender coda chapter — fulfilling and appropriate — again featuring such cultured contributors from around the stands. Very 1960s (think of that old Honda car advert) that exploded to an updated, thumping climax.

    Overall:

    Another complete, self-contained programme that told a familiar tale with a twist or two from the defending champion.

    It was built on some amazing individual contributions and great ensemble based on such an inventive approach by their inspirational MD. Typically Cory — typically superb

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  • Sunday 17, 08:54:17

    1. Tredegar (Ian Porthouse)

    Easy like (an early) Sunday morning....

    Moon River (Henry Mancini arr. Daniel Hall)
    '...wider than a mile, I'm crossing you in style...
    Hora Martisorului (Grigoraz Dinicu arr. Ceri John)
    'An extra shot of espresso...'
    The Lord Bless You and Keep You (John Rutter arr. Andrew Austin)
    Soloist: Danny Winder (flugel horn)
    'Time for contemplation...'
    Don't Shoot the Banjo Player (Allan Botchinsky)
    '...cause we've done it already...'
    Stories from Burt (Burt Bacharach arr. Daniel Hall)
    'Some classic easy listening...'

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    What a clever, light touch, witty and inventive start to the contest from the Welsh Champion.

    The play on the old Commodores hit song and poetic introduction from Frank Renton was perfectly pitched for an easy (and early) Sunday morning concert set — right from the luscious sounds of the neatly choreographed opener; as stylish as Holly Golightly in her little black number peering into the window of Tiffany's.

    It was followed by a robust old shot of double strength 'Hora' espresso — as hardy as a Romanian shot-putter but as fast as an Ilie Nastasie ace down the tramlines. That hit you right between the eyes.

    The tender moment of Rutter inspired restful reflection to follow was played so tastefully by Danny Winder — haunting in its beauty and cultured phrasing: As pure as the driven snow that lad for sure — his choirboy features don't fool anyone though.

    The fun factor in the 'banjo' feature was backed by some seriously stylish playing and choreography.

    The lead trumpet line was top-drawer; lithe and sinuous with just the right hint of old jazz swagger. The ensemble followed — before the 'big reveal' that had a pair of dancing Tyrion Lanister puppets strutting their stuff. Light, polished, clever and funny that in equal measure.

    The set closed with the cool 'easy-listening' sophistication of a Burt Bacharach set — so well weaved together from some of his greatest hits.

    All that and the crafty, witty 'Good Morning' encore rounded off things on just the right note.

    Overall:

    A high bar marker from the Welsh champion — so well thought out and delivered — classy, light, easy listening repertoire, seriously played.

    It was pitched so well for the audience here and at home and you suspect, ticking quite a few of the boxes from the judges.

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  • Sunday 17, 08:43:50

    Draw:

    Adjudicators:

    Ian Bousfield & Dr Nick Grace (Music-Quality of Performance)
    Jeremy Wise (Programme Content)
    Chris Jeans & Mike Lovatt (Entertainment & Presentation)
    Les Neish (Soloist and Individual Awards)

    1. Tredegar (Ian Porthouse)
    2. Cory (Philip Harper)
    3. Hammonds (Morgan Griffiths)
    4. Reg Vardy (John Roberts)
    5. Friary (Chris King)
    6. City of Hull (Stig Maersk)
    7. Carlton Main Frickley Colliery (Dr David Thornton)
    8. Flowers (Paul Holland)
    9. Brass Band Schoonhoven (Robert Vos)
    10. Brighouse & Rastrick (Russell Gray)
    11. NASUWT Riverside (David Roberts)

  • Sunday 17, 08:30:50

    Good morning from Brass in Concert...

    Another day dawns on the River Tyne and brass band fans from all over the UK and far beyond are streaming into Sage Gateshead to enjoy a full day of entertainment.

    It all kicks off with Frank Renton and his introductions, before we kick off with the first of the 11 contenders.

    It promises to be a great day — so why not sit back, relax and enjoy it with us...

  • Saturday 16, 20:07:43

    Back tomorrow..

    It's been a hugely enjoyable day here at the Youth Brass in Concert Championships — and our congratulations go to all the bands that took part — they were all outstanding.

    Wardle Academy once again reign supreme — and what an incredible band they are — so disciplined, polished and professional in everything they do. They will enjoy their trip back home for sure.

    Tonight its been the turn of Brighouse & Rastrick and David Childs to provide the entertainment — and we are sure you are going to enjoy every bit of it if you are tuned...

    Until tomorrow then...

  • Saturday 16, 17:14:37

    The Champions:

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    2019 Youth Brass in Concert Champion: Wardle Academy

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  • Saturday 16, 16:56:39

    Youth Brass in Concert Championship:

    Result:

    Adjudicators:
    Roger Argente (quality of performance)
    Jayne Murrill (entertainment and presentation)
    Performance + Entertainment & Presentation = Total

    1. Wardle Academy Youth (Lee Rigg): 120 (1) + 80 (1) = 200
    2. Elland Silver Youth (Samantha Harrison): 111 (4) + 76 (3) = 187
    3. Youth Brass 2000 (Chris Jeans): 108 (5) + 78 (2) = 186
    4. Lions Youth Brass (Nigel Birch): 117 (2) + 68 (7) = 185
    5. Houghton Area Youth (Brian Adams): 114 (3) + 70 (6) = 184
    6. Macclesfield Youth Band (Louise Renshaw): 105 (6) + 74 (4) = 179
    7. Rochdale Borough Youth (Ben Dixon): 102 (7) + 72 (5) = 174

    Best Soloist: Adam Warburton (trombone) — Wardle Academy Youth

  • Saturday 16, 16:20:49

    Malcolm Wood's overall thoughts and prediction:

    The inaugural Youth Brass in Concert contest set a very high bar last year, but this year seven ensembles have topped it by a considerable margin. The quality of the playing, and at its core, the quality of the entertainment throughout had been nothing short of superb.

    This was without a doubt the finest Youth contest we've heard for a very long time. The days of just sitting down and playing are long gone, with choreographed programmes designed to entertain as well as ignite and inspire the performers to even great things.

    Congratulations to all involved and it should be noted that those who've put in hours of graft to make the costumes also deserve enormous credit.

    As it's a contest, we will give a prediction, with very little between Lions Youth, Elland Silver and Wardle Academy. Then you have got Youth Brass 2000 who'll surely have a say in proceedings.

    It's very small margins for us though but we will go for a top three of:

    4BR Prediction:

    1. Lions Youth
    2. Wardle Academy Youth
    3. Elland Silver Youth

    Dark Horse: Youth Brass 2000

  • Saturday 16, 15:39:03

    Youth Brass in Concert

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    7. Wardle Academy Youth (Lee Rigg)

    The Harmonious Variations (Moderato) (Handel arr. Langford)
    Light (F. Schjelderup)
    The Worth Valley Railway (Langford)
    Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines (Ron Goodwin)
    I Just Called to Say I Love You (Stevie Wonder arr. Sandy Smith)
    Flash Bang Wallop (David Heneker)
    Harmonious Variations — Variation X and Moderato Maestoso
    (Handel arr. Langford)

    The defending champion delivers a programme based on a homage to the great inventors.

    With a group of 12 players stood in tight formation at the front of the stage (and others in various other), the Lancastrians opened with the elegance of Handel and 'The Harmonious Variations' — and with playing that really drew the listener in right from the start.

    The MD was so relaxed as he cajoled his troops to different parts of the stage. With narration over the PA, 'Light' by F Schjelderup gave the players time to demonstrate their big musical sound all underpinned by controlled dynamics and tempos.

    Langford's 'The Worth Valley Railway' once more saw the performers move into marching formation and gave them a chance to stretch their legs. Once again, the playing was of such a high octane, high class variety.

    The audience joins in to clap along to 'Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines' with the band in the formation of (you've guessed it) an aeroplane.

    Now, it's a tribute to Alexander Graham Bell, the telephone and the modern world; the band in standard formation delivering, 'I Just Called to Say I Love You'. It fizzes along with musical precision.

    The homage to the camera comes from 'Flash, Bang, Wallop' complete with vocals from the narrator, Adam Wilkinson. This is pure entertainment from the first note until the last with the soloist moving around, a cameraman taking various pictures and plenty of 'bangs' on the bass drum. The audience loved it.

    The band closed in traditional formation as it returned to Handel's 'Harmonius Variations'. Once more there was some terrific playing heard before the band expanded as a group to the front of the stage for the final time.

    Overall:

    That was a magnificent title defence by Wardle that reinforced their reputation as UK and European Youth Champion. The theme worked but the playing was just sublime.

  • Saturday 16, 14:52:30

    Youth Brass in Concert

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    6. Houghton Area Youth (Brian Adams)

    Essence of Tyne (Trad. arr. Lee Morris)
    Blaydon Races (Trad. arr. Langford)
    Soloist: Lydia Mattison (euphonium)
    Hymn Tune: Gresford (Robert Saint arr. Sandy Smith)
    Whitley Bay from A Northumbrian Suite (Stuart Johnson)
    Going Home from Local Hero (Mark Knopfler arr. Alan Fernie)
    electric guitar soloist: Ankit Kumar

    The locals of Houghton Area Youth deliver a set inspired by North East heritage in their bid for glory.

    With the players stood and then kneeling, they are introduced by a native of the area, Donald Reece (who translates what he said so everyone understands him!).

    The band begin with 'The Essence of Tyne' which is full of uplifting vibrancy of spirit and excellent ensemble playing.

    The iconic 'Blaydon Races' is performed with real aplomb by Lydia Matison with the words of the chorus sung by the players. The audience love it. A real jaunt down the Scotswood Road that...

    In darkness, wearing miners hats, the players stand in traditional formation to play 'Gresford' — the 'Miners Hymn' complete with images on the multimedia screen.

    We have not heard too much quiet playing so far today, but this demonstrates that the players are more than capable of performing at the other end of the dynamic spectrum. Well done folks.

    With the players then expanding around the stage, 'Whitley Bay' from 'Northumbrian Suite' is given an excellent rendition courtesy of the tight ensemble playing.

    A slight change in formation to various parts of the stage is undertaken before the band concludes with 'Going Home', of which the words of the song are sung at St James's Park.

    The electric guitar brings an added fizz to the performance as the players bring to an en end their performance.

    Overall:

    A musical programme that was based around traditional repertoire from the North East and delivered (as you'd expect from these parts) with real heartfelt passion.

    It's familiarity played to the bands strengths with disciplined playing throughout.

  • Saturday 16, 14:20:01

    Youth Brass in Concert

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    5. Lions Youth (Nigel Birch)

    2001 — A Space Odyssey (Richard Strauss arr. John Glensk Mortimer)
    Battle of The Planets (Hoyt Crutin arr. Philip Harper)
    The Beauty of Blue (John Doyle)
    Soloist: Leanne Smith (flugel)
    Fly Me to the Moon (Bart Howard arr. Darrol Barry)
    Blue Moon (Rogers and Hart arr. Alan Fernie)
    Stars (Dan Price)

    The players of Lions Youth stand at various parts of the stage dressed in black with shiny stars on their jumpers as they rock the hall with '2001 — A Space Odyssey'.

    Philip Harper appears on the multimedia screen to reveal that he was a fan as a youngster of 'Battle of the Planets' — and it's giving a rousing (and dare we say it, Cory-esque) rendition as a result.

    Next up and still stood in their places, the screen hears Helen Williams introduce the dulcet tones of flugel player Leanne Smith for 'Beauty of the Blue'. She would have been proud of that performance herself.

    A slight change in standing formation before the next piece (John Barber from Foden's doing the introductions) and 'Fly me to the Moon'. It's driven by a great percussionist who isn't holding back, and the quality of the playing just spins you back in your seats.

    Black Dyke's Brett Baker introduces 'Blue Moon', showcasing trombones and tenor horn. The quality of playing is of a cracking standard and so well executed.

    To close, with the players remaining in the same formation, Dan Price introduces his own composition, 'Starsburst'. Blimey! This is full on, but so musical and grabs you by the throat. Wowwee...

    What a close, what a programme — and all played without an MD!

    Overall:

    It's fair to say, this was nothing short of draw-dropping in the way the programme was put together and delivered from start to finish. The quality of the playing was as good as anything we have heard today — and all the more remarkable with the absence of the conductor.

    With the introductions of each piece by well known banding personalities (and possibly heroes) of the band it brought an extra dimension to the presentation element that worked so well too.

    Seriously...you have to pinch yourself to remember this is a youth entertainment contest.

  • Saturday 16, 13:51:53

    Youth Brass in Concert

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    4. Macclesfield Youth (Louise Renshaw)

    Fight or Flight (Matt Shaw)
    Gabriel's Oboe (E. Morricone arr. David Bertie)
    The Clock With the Dresden Figures (Albert Ketelby arr. Howard Snell)
    featuring Percussion Section
    Movement 4: Repton Fantasy (Jonathan Bates)

    With the stage cleared of chairs and music stands, BiC debutantes Macclesfield Youth under MD, Louise Renshaw provide a programme all about change and the future.

    Its very relevant this ('Extinction Rebellion' for brass perhaps?) — with the players using mobile phones to play off instead of music on lyres. What a great idea.

    The opening, 'Fight or Flight' is a confident and composed. The ensemble is neat and tidy as they fill the hall with their vibrant sound.

    'Gabriel's Oboe' showcases the cornet, flugel and euphonium supported by a group of players that has a warm focused sound in balance.

    Now, the clock is ticking (according to the brilliant young vicar compere delivering his sermon) and time for change. It's a musical blast from the past and a return to the Granada contest where Howard Snell was the mastercraftsman of great arrangements.

    His take on 'The Clock With the Dresden Figures' is a percussion feature for xylophone and glockenspiel. It brings a real smile to the face too — delivered with neat musical humour and control.

    To close, the closing movement of Jonny Bates' 'Repton Fantasy' based upon the hymn tune 'Dear Lord and Father of Mankind'.

    The musical momentum builds with the aid of a super percussion section with the clarity of the playing really coming through from all sections.

    Overall:

    An excellent show from the Cheshire contender that was based on a theme very much of the here and now. It was a performance that was full of vibrancy, commitment and endeavour — with a message at its musical heart that would have made Greta Thunberg happy as well as the judges.

  • Saturday 16, 13:19:35

    Youth Brass in Concert

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    3. Youth Brass 2000 (Chris Jeans)

    Beyond the Tamar — Intrada (Philip Harper)
    Storm over Leningrad (Philip Harper)
    O Mio Babbino Caro (Puccini arr. Philip Harper)
    Mezzo Soprano: Mia Scott
    Indian Daybreak (Philip Harper)
    Soloist: Kei Luc Evans-Brown (flugel horn)
    Tongoyo (Philip Harper)
    Finale (Philip Harper)

    It's music to open inspired from the 17th century with Philip Harper's 'Beyond the Tamar' suite — and MD dressed as either Cpt Poldark or Cpt Pugwash — take your pick.

    Every player is dressed in super homemade costumes from the era as they come onto stage, and with the drummers leading from the front, the scene is set. This is so effective and tight in performance and presentation.

    With narrated links, the scene over Leningrad is depicted by six trombones and a vibrant ensemble. There's no holding back here from Chris Jeans' band. This is powerful, engaging playing that draws the listener right into its beating heart.

    Now to Italy, and the mezzo soprano singing of Mia Scott at the front of stage in 'O Mio Babbino Caro'. This is brilliant — and so mature. A performer who can really do this justice. Dame Kiri Te Kanawa eat your heart out. Classy, very classy.

    The players have moved again into various positions, with the flugel sat at the front of the ensemble as they perform 'Indian Daybreak'. This is really atmospheric as the sun rises like a smoulder of gold and a beautiful morning breaks somewhat over Bombay (or Bristol).

    The flugel sound draws you in and the playing is so well controlled.

    Now to Africa with all players standing front of stage in two rows with the MD leading the vocal chant in 'Tongoyo'. Different this, but works very well indeed.

    To close, the 'Finale' is a blaze of glory. Once more it's all delivered with such clarity and precision, aided by coherent tempos and a wide dynamic range that doesn't get too robust and ragged.

    It's a sterling close that rounds off a high quality show.

    Overall:

    A brilliantly choreographed, musically engaging programme — the type for which Youth Brass 2000 are renowned for. The quality of the ensemble was slick and precise with the golden moment coming from mezzo soprano, Mia Scott.

    Right bang in contention for us today that's for sure.

  • Saturday 16, 12:39:43

    Youth Brass in Concert

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    2. Rochdale Borough Youth (Ben Dixon)

    When Thunder Calls (Paul-Lovatt Cooper)
    Under the Boardwalk (Kenny Young and Arthur Resnick
    arr. Philip Harper
    Soloist: Hollie Lancaster (flugel horn)
    Drums of Thunder (Peter Graham)
    First Light (Ben Hollings)
    Soloist: Ellie Warren (cornet)
    Fire in the Blood (Paul-Lovatt Cooper)

    With the hall in darkness, the 23 players come on stage in sections to deliver Paul Lovatt-Cooper's vibrant 'When Thunder Calls'. Anyone taking forty winks either at home or here is awakened from their slumber for sure.

    With the players seated in formation, flugel soloist Hollie Lancaster is a confident and engaging lead in 'Under the Boardwalk'. This is so well styled from start to finish.

    The first Peter Graham contribution of the weekend is 'Drums of a Thunder'. This is bold, colourful stuff, playing that builds in intensity as the thunder breaks out — with percussion players not holding back. That was rumbling!

    In darkness, Ellie Warren is the cornet soloist as the mood changes to the atmospheric 'First Light' by Ben Hollings. It's lovely tender controlled playing, so well shaped — and well done to the ensemble for the understated accompaniment.

    Remaining seated it's back to repertoire from PLC to end with 'Fire in the Blood' written for the ISBs 120th anniversary celebrations. Full bloodied stuff this and certainly putting fire in the belly. So much control and very disciplined dynamics add to a great bit of playing.

    Overall:

    This was a tremendous example of what you can do even when you don't have a full compliment of players. With just 23 brass performers and two percussion, the music played to the band's strengths as they delivered in spades.

    The way Ben Dixon controlled everything from the middle ensuring the performance was well structured and balanced was a real joy. Look out for Ellie Warren in the future — a young cornet star of huge potential.

  • Saturday 16, 12:10:43

    Youth Brass in Concert

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    1. Elland Silver Youth (Samantha Harrison)

    El Torero (Jonathon Bates)
    El Vito (Trad. arr. Nick Brocklehurst)
    Variations on a Latin Theme (Alan Fernie)
    Soloist: Alex Barron (euphonium)
    Recuerdos de la Alhambra (Francis Tarrega arr. Sandy Smith)
    Finale from Three Spanish Impressions (Alan Fernie)

    Elland commences the contest with a Spanish themed, cleverly choreographed programme.

    Jonny Bates 'El Toreo' is full of Spanish flair and energy. The individual front of stage contributions from the players lack no shortage of confidence either. The playing is slick, polished and razor sharp. The narrated links are delivered with clarity too — although not in Spanish thankfully...

    Now the female contingent of the ensemble is centre stage singing 'El Vito' with sympathetic ensemble accompaniment — with great vocals to back the playing.

    The featured soloist is the talented Alex Barron — with the best sombrero this side of Guadalajara let alone Gateshead. A real star here on Alan Fernie's 'Variations on a Latin Theme'. Such confident playing, so secure and luscious.

    'Recuerdos de la Alhambra' showcases two quartet groups either side of stage delivering beautiful controlled quiet playing — this is high class playing. So together, disciplined and musical. Bravo!

    Finally, the concluding finale from Fernie's 'Three Spanish Impressions' is delivered with so much clarity, precision and warmth. It's a superb close. So confident and played with a huge dollop of panache.

    Overall:

    What a magnificent start to the competitive weekend. Elland under it's inspired leadership of Samantha Harrison really sets a high bar with a terrific choreographed programme.

    This was great youth band playing and more...

  • Saturday 16, 12:08:57

    Youth Brass in Concert

    Draw:

    Adjudicators:
    Roger Argente (Quality of Performance)
    Jayne Murrill (Entertainment & Presentation)

    1. Elland Silver Youth (Samantha Harrison)
    2. Rochdale Borough Youth (Ben Dixon)
    3. Youth Brass 2000 (Chris Jeans
    4. Macclesfield Youth (Louise Renshaw)
    5. Lions Youth (Nigel Birch)
    6. Houghton Area Youth (Brian Adams)
    7. Wardle Academy Youth (Lee Rigg)

  • Saturday 16, 11:41:34

    Learners showcase..

    Prior to the Youth contest starting at 12 noon, Hall One is now being treated to a concert from the Elementary Band under MD Laura Jackson. Fabulous stuff and great to see them get the full treatment of playing on stage, and Frank Renton doing the intros.

    Bass player Ross Knight is even inspiring them with his virtuosic playing.

    Bravo

  • Saturday 16, 11:33:15

    Getting inspired

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    Yamaha artist Ross Knight is helping to inspire the next generation of young players here today at Sage Gateshead.

    He is also giving a masterclass a little later on — and he has already got a fan club following!

  • Saturday 16, 10:37:07

    Plastic fantastic...

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    There are all sorts instruments being blown here this morning — and plenty of recyclable plastic trombones amongst them... Brass in Concert doing its bit to save the planet...

  • Saturday 16, 09:53:33

    All smiles and plenty of musical energy to burn...

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    The youngsters from the various local schools are getting ready for their first taster sessions of the day — and as you can imagine, they are full of excitement and bags of unspent energy...

    Each has got their own polo shirt to wear to make them feel part of the action — and they all told us that they can't wait to get blowing...

  • Saturday 16, 09:36:22

    Good morning from Gateshead...

    It's a bit like that old Paul Gascoigne song up here at the moment — the last remnants of fog rolling up the River Tyne as the early morning workers start preparing for a long weekend of brass band entertainment here at the 43rd Brass in Concert Championships.

    The competitive action doesn't start until 12 noon — but there will be plenty going on this morning with elementary workshops and taster sessions for around 150 children and a high school concert given by four middle and secondary schools from the Bedlington and Ashington areas.

    You can of course watch the action from seven great bands in the 2nd Youth Brass in Concert Championships for FREE — so make sure you go to www.worldofbrass.tv

  • Saturday 16, 01:32:19

    Preview and prediction

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James McLeod

BMus (hons)
Euphonium Soloist, Teacher and Conductor


               

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