The 14th US Open Brass Band Championship, sponsored by Yamaha USA took place on the weekend in St Charles, Illinois, where Fountain City made it a 2016 National/Open 'double' by claiming a clear cut victory under the direction of MD Joe Parisi.
It was the Kansas City band's eighth win at the event as they regained the title they last won in 2015 with an inventive programme entitled 'Voxtur' arranged by their principal euphonium Lee Harrelson and inspired by the Icelandic term representing growth and development — values that have also underpinned their emergence as a hub of brass banding excellence in the USA.
"We are delighted to have regained the US Open title,"MD Joseph Parisi told 4BR. "The band is continuing to develop and grow at all levels, including the release of a brand new CD entitled 'Celtic Impressions'.
The future holds a number of exciting possibilities, but the weekend was the culmination of a great deal of hard work on a wonderfully inspired programme put together by Lee Harrelson."
He added: "The credit for the victory goes to the players who have also grown and developed into wonderful musicians."
Radiohead to Lex Luthor
'Voxtur' opened with the Radiohead hit 'Creep' — a tale of unrequited love, before moving to the memorised 'Enterprising Young Men', the heroic new Star Trek theme from the pen of Michael Giacchino.
It was followed by Vienna Teng's 'Hymn of Acxiom', a work of engaging melodies and fluid transitions that attempts to empathise with surveillance and data collection companies, such as Acxiom, and which featured a quartet of Matthew Vangjel, Helen Harrelson, David Dimmit and Lee Harrelson.
Sting's 'She's Too Good For Me!' followed in a jazz fusion setting of improvised trumpet solos by MD Joe Parisi and Steve Molloy, before a further innovative detour in genre and style came with Bjork's, darkly complex 'New World'.
The band closed with Michael Daugherty's 'Lex', inspired by the 'diabolical' arch Superman villain Lex Luthor, which the composer originally used in his 'Metropolis Symphony'.
Fountain City also won the award as the 'Most Entertaining Band' as they comprehensively repelled the challenge of defending champion Dublin Silver with Chicago Brass Band in third. They will now be invited to compete at the 2017 Brass in Concert Championship.
Dublin Gateshead bound
Runner-up Dublin Silver now head to Gateshead for this year's event under Tim Jameson hoping to make a mark with their programme that explored the four seasons. The MD's son Joshua Tyler Jameson took the 'Best New Arrangement/Composition' award for his work, 'August'.
Meanwhile, third placed Chicago Brass Band, conducted by Colin Holman, presented a programme celebrating the music of Howard Snell, with their cornet player Beth Cooper claiming the 'Best Soloist' accolade as well as the Roy Newsome memorial award for the 'Best Performance of a March'.
Hosts Prairie Brass Band, led by Mary Gingrich, presented a programme of new arrangements and compositions exploring the motion of music through the genres of dance and march. Their percussion team took the 'Best Percussion' prize.
The gala concert, featuring Fountain City and soloist Bill Denton, principal trumpet of Chicago's Lyric Opera, thrilled the audience with a programme that included, 'The President', 'Hymn of the Highlands' and the Haydn 'Trumpet Concerto'.
To enjoy Celtic Impressions go to — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GAQ5j61EF7k
The band closed with Michael Daugherty's 'Lex', inspired by the 'diabolical' arch Superman villain Lex Luthor4BR
Adjudicators: Ray Tizzard & Tom Palmatier
Music + Entertainment = Total
1. Fountain City (Joe Parisi): 193 + 48 = 241
2. Dublin Silver (Tim Jameson): 189 + 46 = 235
3. Chicago Brass Band (Colin Holman): 180 + 47 = 227
4. Prairie Brass Band (Mary Gingrich): 176 + 34 = 210
Most Entertaining Band: Fountain City
Best Performance of a March: Chicago Brass Band
Best New Arrangement/Composition: Joshua Tyler Jameson (Dublin Silver)
Best Percussion: Prairie Brass Band
Best Soloist: Beth Cooper (cornet) — Chicago Brass Band
Busker Prize: Dublin Silver