Take 5
A quintet of 2022 highlights

The 4BR Editor picks his five brass band highlights in calendar order from the past 12 months...

1. RNCM Brass Band Festival
Manchester: 29th & 30th January 2022

Whatever apprehension people may have had in the lead up to this event due to the lingering effects of Covid-19 were quickly dispelled with a series of outstanding concerts and stunning solo contributions. 

The highlights were many and varied – from pianist Justine Morley (above) with the RNCM Brass Band and the superlative Peter Moore with Tredegar (he was equally memorable throughout the year), to Black Dyke’s Saturn rocket powered ‘Heroes’  and the anniversary themed contributions of Grimethorpe and WFEL Fairey.  

A brilliant Brighouse & Rastrick under the long-awaited return of Prof King to the event rounded things off with a ‘Paganini Variations’  that bubbled the adrenaline in your veins.

2. European Championships
Birmingham: April/May 2022

Organisers Brass Bands England brought a rejuvenated sense of purpose, inclusion and invention to the European Championships in Birmingham. 

Placing the Youth Championship as an integral part of the contesting weekend was a huge success, as were the outdoor festival and ‘side events’ that alongside the fizzing Gala Concert embraced an ambition to reach out to audiences far from Symphony Hall.

The competing bands played their part in full too with performances on great test-pieces that thrilled with their virtuosity and musical verve.

3. National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain
70th Anniversary Concert
Royal College of Music, London: 6th August 2022

A concert that fully embraced the renewed sense of purpose and identity of an organisation reborn in the last couple of years.

Held at the Royal College of Music and beautifully directed by Martyn Brabbins and Anna Beresford (with a stunning soloist in singer Nardus Williams), it was a 70th birthday celebration to be proud of; full of youthful verve and musical maturity, creativity and respect, inclusion and diversity.

Putting it on a stone’s through away from the Royal Albert Hall in the middle of the Proms season was also a show of renewed ambition from an organisation that has come such a long way under its new artistic and management leadership. 

4. Tredegar Band at the BBC Proms
Royal Albert Hall: 8th & 9th August 2022

The critical acclaim generated by Tredegar’s performances at the world’s foremost music festival was remarkable; from live national media interviews to five-star reviews by hard bitten classical music critics. 

It not only came with the stunning world premiere of Gavin Higgins’ mammoth ‘Concerto for Brass Band and Orchestra’  with the National Orchestra of Wales under Ryan Bancroft, but also by their own ‘Late Night Prom’ led by Ian Porthouse,  where they produced a stunning display of musical diversity encapsulating music from Vaughan Williams to Slipknot.

Such was the response from a fevered audience that the late night news on Radio 3 was delayed to allow them to perform a second encore.

5. Brighouse & Rastrick
British Open Championship: Symphony Hall    

44 years of near misses and hard luck stories were consigned to the history books as the West Riding band finally got their hands on the British Open Gold Shield.

It was achieved with a performance hallmarked with the musical identity of their inspirational conductor Prof David King – and delivered upon by a band and MD with a point to prove in more ways than one.

Their ’World Rejoicing’  had it all; a ‘towering performance’ according to the judges, respectful in its musical intentions, resplendent in its joyfulness.  

On a weekend when the brass band movement showcased all that was good about itself, it was a performance that will live long in the memory banks. 

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Regent Hall Concerts - The January Band

Friday 3 February • Regent Hall (The Salvation Army). 275 Oxford Street. London W1C2DJ

WFEL Fairey Band -

Sunday 5 February • Glossop Old Bandroom . Derby St.. SK138LP SK138LP

Regent Hall Concerts - Junior Guildhall Brass Band

Friday 10 February • Regent Hall (The Salvation Army). 275 Oxford Street. London W1C2DJ

Contest: Norwegian National Brass Band Championships

Friday 10 February • Grieghallen, Bergen, N-5015 N-5015

Contest: Norwegian National Brass Band Championships

Saturday 11 February • Grieghallen, Bergen, N-5015 N-5015

Chadderton Band

January 31 • Chadderton Band is a non-contesting band playing at various events throughout the year. We are a friendly band and welcome all players of any age and ability on all sections of the band. Please come along and meet the band you will be very welcomed.

Leicestershire Co-op Band

January 30 • Leicestershire Co-op Band are looking for a PERCUSSIONIST for the 2023 Midlands Regional Championships (and beyond). Do you fancy the challenge of The Pilgrim's Progress under the artistic direction of Keith Leonard?

Newstead Brass

January 30 • Our Red Priest is still looking for an EEb Bass as we prepare for the midland championships with Martin Heartfield. Great chance to work with a great MD on this challenging but fun piece to rehearse.

Paul Andrews

Conductor, Band trainer, Adjudicator, Instrument Repairer - Brasstoff


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