The 24th French Open Championships will take place this weekend in the beautiful Loire Valley town of Amboise.
The event has attracted 14 bands from various parts of Europe — including the UK and Norway for a variety of competitive disciplines, including a popular Whit Friday style march contest in front of the medieval Chateau d'Amboise and the main 20 minute own-choice programmes in the town's Theatre Municipal Beaumarchais.
There is a demanding series of set-works that must also be included. Paul Lovatt-Cooper's 'Equilibrium' will test the trio of elite contenders, with 'The Saga of Tyrfing' (Jacob Vilhelm Larsen), 'The Mansions of Glory' (Jonathan Bates), 'Dimensions' (Peter Graham) and Malcolm Arnold's 'Little Suite for Brass No.1' in the other sections.
The adjudicators this year are the new President of the Jury, Chris Jeans, Luc Vertommen and Norbert Pfammatter.
The Championship Section is sure to see a keen battle, with Carlton Main Frickley Colliery, Jersey Premier Brass and Krohnengen Brass looking to lift the title, which over the years has been won by the likes of Foden's, Brass Band Willebroek, Paris Brass Band, Flowers, and in 2017, Reg Vardy.
The First Section will see former champion, Brassage Brass from Belgium up against Carlton Brass Band (UK), Backum Brass (Netherlands), Brass Band Panta Rhei (Belgium) and ExoBrass (France).
Two bands, Brass Band De La Gorgue and Brass Berry, will compete in the Third Section, whilst the Fourth/Youth Section is sure to be an exciting cross channel battle between England and France, as Blackley Band, Regent Community, and North London Brass cross swords with Brass Band du Conservatoire de Tours.
The march competition on the Saturday morning in the town square in front of the chateau d' Amboise will be judged by Peter Collins, whilst the 20-minute outside entertainment programmes for the 'Best Public Performance' will be judged by Michel Dubois.
Weekend of entertainment
The entertainment starts on Friday evening (31st May) at 6.30pm with a welcoming ceremony at the splendid Chateau d'Amboise, before the contests start at 9.00am the following morning.
The march competition takes its first steps at 10.00am in the Michel Debre Place with the bands marching up to the Chateau. In the afternoon all bands will provide outdoor entertainment sets between 2.00pm and 7.30pm.
The day's events are rounded off with the Gala Concert and awards ceremony, which starts at 9.00pm and will be given by Carlton Main Frickley Colliery conducted by Ian Porthouse.
On Sunday (11.30am) there will be a festival of brass in front of the Chateau to round off a splendid weekend of music making in a stunning brass banding location.
The Championship Section is sure to see a keen battle, which over the years has been won by the likes of Foden's, Brass Band Willebroek, Paris Brass Band, Flowers and in 2017, Reg Vardy4BR
Carlton Main Frickley Colliery (Ian Porthouse) (UK)
Jersey Premier Brass (Tim Pritchard) (UK)
Krohnengen Brass (Allan Withington) (NOR)
Brassage Brass (Laurent Douvre) (F)
Carlton Brass (Gary Wyatt) (UK)
Backum Brass (Vincent Verhage) (NL)
Brass Band Panta Rhei (Tim de Maeseneer) (B)
ExoBrass (Renald Berton) (F)
Brass Band De La Gorgue (Remi Lecomte (F)
Brass Berry (Olivier Bourgain) (F)
Blackley Band (Adrian Smith (UK)
Regent Community Brass (Chris Bearman) (UK)
North London Brass (Andrew Brittin) (UK)
Brass Band du Conservatoire de Tours (David Hubert (F)