Winner: Oldham Band (Lees)
2. Wardle Academy Youth
3. Italian Brass Band
The most closely fought of all the categories this year — with five different bands gaining first choice preferences from the panel.
In the end it was Oldham Band (Lees) that claimed the award for a second time after a memorable 2018 in which they raised the winner's trophy on no less than five different contest stage occasions.
Under their inspirational MD John Collins they celebrated First Section success at Brass at the Guild, the North West Area, the Senior Cup, National Championships of Great Britain and the Rochdale Contest — and picked up a victory at the Diggle Whit Friday event too.
They gained 3 first choice preferences to go with 3 podium votes to round off a great year with yet another success.
Just behind came the remarkable youngsters of Wardle Academy under MD, Lee Rigg, who won the National Youth Intermediate title, European Youth Development Section and the inaugural Youth Brass in Concert accolade.
They also gained 3 first choice preferences and 4 podium votes, but just lost out as Oldham had more second place preference votes.
The 2018 European Challenge champion, the Italian Brass Band from Rome came third, gaining 2 first choice preference votes and 2 podium votes for their splendid efforts as they look towards making their Championship Section debut at the Europeans in 2019.
In the end it was Oldham Band (Lees) that claimed the award for a second time after a memorable 2018 in which they raised the winner's trophy on no less than five different contest stage occasions4BR
2017: BD1 Brass
2016: Youth Brass 2000
2015: Ebbw Valley
2014: Manger Skulemusikklag
2013: National Children's Band of Great Britain
2012: National Youth Band of Great Britain
2011: Bjorsvik Brass
2010: Hazel Grove Band
2009: Oldham (Lees) Band
2008: Smithills Schools Senior Band
2007: Sellers International Youth Band
2006: Pennine Brass
2005: Marsden Riverhead Brewery Band
2004: Smithills School Senior Band
2003: Smithills School Senior Band
2002: St. Dennis Band
2001: Peter Hawke Garages Lindley Band
The Awards Panel consisted of : Iwan Fox (Editor 4BR); Malcolm Wood (Chief Contributor); Steven Mead (euphonium soloist); Gordon Simpson (statistician Brass Band World magazine); Chris Thomas (Chief Contributor Brass Band World magazine); Kenny Crookston (CEO, Brass Bands England); Frode Rydland (EBBA Music Commission/soprano cornet Bjorsvik Brass); Alexander Zwann (Chief contributor CU Brass); Tom Davoren (conductor/composer); Tim Mutum (writer/brass band recording and history specialist).