Report & Result: 2018 Scottish Championships: First Section

Johnstone Silver and Dunaskin Doon qualify for Cheltenham in Section One.

Winners Johnstone Silver
  Johnstone Silver and Dunaskin Doon head for the final in Cheltenham in the autumn.

The last earthquake of any note in Scotland came near Oban in 1986, when a tremor of around 4.1 in magnitude was felt rumbling under the feet of unsuspecting locals.

Seismic activity

32 years later seismic activity of the same surprising strength seemingly had its epicentre under the stage at Perth Concert Hall, as the First Section contest was rounded off with something of a shock result as Johnstone Silver claimed the Archie Smith Memorial Trophy to head to Cheltenham alongside fellow qualifiers Dunaskin Doon.

James Curnow's 'Brass Metamorphosis' has certainly caused problems around the country — its effects have shaken the foundations of quite a few Championship Section aspirations over the last few weeks — and here it was no different as 10 bands found it a testing challenge of technique and musicality.

Shock waves

However, it was the sound of the shrieks of delight from the players of Johnstone Silver that were heard loudest after the shock waves of Michael Ball and Mark Wilkinson findings were revealed — ones that were in stark contrast to the overwhelming sense of surprise in the hall when it was revealed that Kingdom Brass had finished fourth.

Led by Ian Porthouse, the Fife band had seemingly delivered a performance that many believed had won the contest in some comfort, but it was not to be as the judge's musical seismographs found prize winning activity in the form of Johnstone, Dunaskin Doon and Newmilns & Galston instead.

However, they were very clear in their assessment of what they were looking for on the day, with Michael Ball giving a detailed pre-results analysis that spoke, with the use of a tailoring analogy, of the need for "accuracy", allied to "the musical qualities inside the score"to "caress every detail"to successfully "wear it like a suit."


The bespoke Saville Row tailoring for them therefore came from Johnstone's excitingly coloured account under Martyn Ramsay's carefully considered musical approach; one which will see them return to Cheltenham for the first time since 2013.

Not only did MD Martyn Ramsay become the first recipient of the Andy Smith Cup as winning conductor, but Laura Mullen took the 'Best Horn' accolade in a performance that carefully and intelligently kept its feet firmly on the shifting ground in each of the sections.

Little wonder Band Chairperson June Deans, was delighted when speaking to the local press. "We have worked hard on lots of different aspects of our playing and we did extra preparation this year by going to a contest down in Preston (Brass at the Guild), so it's nice that paid off. I couldn't believe it. The smile on my face when we won: I didn't realise how much I wanted it."

Dunaskin Doon

There was almost as much joyfulness of show with Dunaskin Doon led by Whitburn principal cornet player Chris Bradley (who certainly enjoyed a weekend to remember) as their considered approach saw them secure second place (and a second finals appearance in three years) thanks in no small part to the excellent personal contribution of solo euphonium player Fiona Waddington who claimed the SBBA Medal as 'Best Instrumentalist'

Behind them Newmilns & Galston rounded off the contest with a bold effort under Alan Cameron, although the main talking point even as the thrilled players of Johnstone started what was sure to be a long night of celebration, was the fourth place finish of Kingdom Brass.

Head scratching

They, along with many who heard their performance, were left to wonder just why it failed to resonate with the men in the box, whilst fans of Unison Kinneil (who played just before them) were also seen leaving Perth Concert Hall scratching their heads at their fifth place finish ahead of Granite City.

However, subjectively predicting the exact outcome of any brass band contest is a bit like trying to work out when the next earthquake may hit. Mind you, Johnstone certainly wouldn't mind if there was a rumbling to be felt beneath their feet at Cheltenham in September.

The bespoke Saville Row tailoring for them therefore came from Johnstone's excitingly coloured account under Martyn Ramsay's carefully considered musical approach; one which will see them return to Cheltenham for the first time since 20134BR


First Section:

Test Piece: Brass Metamorphosis (James Curnow)
Adjudicators: Michael Ball & Mark Wilkinson

1. Johnstone Silver (Martyn Ramsay) — 92*
2. Dunaskin Doon (Chris Bradley) — 91*
3. Newmilns & Galston (Alan Cameron) — 90
4. Kingdom Brass (Ian Porthouse) — 89
5. Unison Kinneil (Raymond Tennant) — 85
6. Granite City Brass (Bruce Wallace) — 86
7. Arbroath Instrumental (Michael Robertson) — 85
8. Dalkeith & Monktonhall (James Chamberlain) — 82
9. Lochgelly (Paul McKelvie OBE) — 80
10. Coalburn Silver (Gareth Bowman) — 78

*Qualify for National Final

Best Horn: Johnstone Band
Best Instrumentalist: Fiona Waddington (euphonium) — Dunaskin Doon

Become a supporter and help make our future secure.

4barsrest continues to be a proudly independent voice. There are no paywalls to overcome to be able to enjoy what we do to keep our journalism at the heart of the brass banding world. Support us with a one-off donation or subscribe from just £2.50 per month.

Support us    


On the 3rd Day of Christmas...

December 3 • Something to hold three muted gifts...

Denis Wick

4BR Quiz: Think of a number...

December 3 • Thanks to our friends at Band Supplies, answer the ten questions and 10 fantastic Denis Wick mutes could be heading to your band in time for Christmas — and for when we get back to playing again.


Bolsover advent entertainment: No.3 Derwent Brass

December 3 • There plenty to enjoy with Championship Section runner-up Derwent Brass under MD Jack Capstaff — with a touch of Latin brass...and not of the Amo Amas Amat variety either.

Cory online

Kapitol injection boosts Cory online competition

December 3 • Cory's 2021 online championships have gained headline support from Kapitol Promotions as entries come in from around the banding globe.

The Marple Band - Marple Band Family Christmas Concert

Friday 18 December • Marple Conservative Club, church Lane, Marple, SK6 6AY

Black Dyke Band - Brighouse & Rastrick, Huddersfield Town Hall

Saturday 27 March • Corporation St, Huddersfield HD1 2TA

Contest: 100thSpring Festival

Saturday 8 May • 97 Church St, Blackpool, FY1 1HL

Contest: Whit Friday March Contests

Friday 28 May • Saddleworth & Tameside OL3

Contest: 168th British Open

Saturday 11 September • Symphony Hall, Broad Street, Birmingham. B1 2EA

Foss Dyke Band

November 30 • Front Row Cornet vacancy still up for grabs! Come and join Foss and enjoy our newly refurbished band room with newly appointed MD David Dernley. Foss Dyke are a 1st Section Band with a moderate contest and concert schedule.

Chadderton Band

November 17 • Chadderton Band is a non-contesting band playing at various events throughout the year. We are a friendly band looking for players of all ages and abilities on all sections + EUPH and percussion. Most welcome to come along and have a blow give us a try.

Crewe Brass

November 12 • Crewe Brass require an Eb or Bb Bass to complete the "engine room" line up. We are also seeking a Tuned Percussionist to complete our section.

Dr. Stephen Arthur Allen

D. Phil. (Oxon) [Ph.D Oxford University], GBSM, LTCL, ABSM, ALCM, Cert. Ed.


 © 2020 4barsrest.com Ltd