2019 New Zealand Championships underway

The oldest National Championships in the world are currently underway in Hamilton, with the solo and ensemble events taking place before the band championships. Watch it live too...

  The Championships are taking place in the North Island city of Hamilton for the first time since 1979.

31 competing bands will make their way to the wonderful North Island city of Hamilton for the 139th New Zealand Championships.

Largest number

It will signal the largest number of bands to attend the oldest National Championships in the world since 2008, with no less than 11 rivals taking to the stage of the Claudelands Event Centre to see if they can claim the famous Championship Gold Cup, currently held by defending champion Wellington Brass.

As always there will be stiff competition from local rivals as well as from the USA, with Chicago Brass making the long trip to take part (the event has welcomed overseas competitors in the past). The set-work is Gilbert Vinter's classic 'Variations on a Ninth'.

Bands from far and wide

The B Grade event (held alongside the D and Youth events at the Southwell School Performing Arts Centre) is also an international event, with ten bands competing including Boroondara Brass from Victoria. The defending champion is Brass Whanganui. The set-work is Gilbert Vinter's 'Triumphant Rhapsody'.

Meanwhile, the C Grade competition looks like being a keenly contested local affair with the majority of the five bands coming from Waikato and Auckland. Hoping to unsettle the locals though is Feilding Brass travelling from the Manawatu to its first national contest since 2013. The set-work is Simon Dobson's 'Penlee'.

Four bands from Waikato and Auckland will compete in the D Grade, with the welcome news of the debut National appearance North Shore Brass Academy, whose Takapuna Youth Brass will also take part in the Youth Grade. The D Grade set-work is 'Meditation on St Clement' by David Chaulk.

Already underway

The contest week has already got underway with the hard fought Junior Solos and Open Ensembles on Wednesday 12th July at the Claudelands Event Centre, the highlight of which was the Junior Champion of Champions competition.

There is also sure to be keen interest in the prestigious Invitation Slow Melody – won over the years by some of the finest players in New Zealand banding.

This year's competitors are Steven Booth, Lachlan Spence, Luke Christensen, Mason Elliot, Phil Johnston and Byron Newton, as well as the 2018 winner Jaime Rolfe from Brisbane XLCR, Chris Lawrence and Murray Borthwick. The final place goes to the winner of the Open Slow Melody event held earlier in the day.

The Open Solo and Junior ensemble events will get underway on Thursday and conclude in the evening with the Open Champion of Champions event.

Tests and own choice

Friday sees the Sacred/Reflective Item and Test Selection events. The foyer of Claudelands Event Centre will be given over to trade stands so there will be plenty of shiny new instruments and accessories to keep everyone interested between bands.

As well as giving their best on stage, on the Friday bands will also be putting their best foot forward in the Parade of Bands along the streets of central Hamilton.

The competition events culminate on Saturday with bands from all grades performing their Own-Choice selections, whilst the weekend is rounded off on Sunday 14th July with a concert event Brass In Concert from 1.00pm featuring Chicago Brass Band, Hamilton City Brass and guest soloists.

Live broadcast

You can check out the action as it happens too from our friends at www.brassbanned.com hosted by the inimitable Tim Kelly.

It will signal the largest number of bands to attend the oldest National Championships in the world since 2008, with no less than 11 rivals taking to the stage to see if they can claim the famous Championship Gold Cup4BR

Competing bands:

A Grade:

Adjudicator: Luc Vertommen
Set Work: Variations on a Ninth (Gilbert Vinter) plus Own Choice and Sacred Item

Ascot Park Hotel Brass of Invercargill (Matthew Dick)
Chicago Brass Band (Colin Holman)
Eastern Bay of Plenty Brass (Alan Spence)
Hamilton City Brass (Glenn Richards)
Leopard Coachlines Canterbury Brass (Nathaniel Griffiths)
Marlborough District Brass (Kevin Moseley)
North Shore Brass (Colin Clark)
St Kilda Brass (Peter Adams)
Waitakere Auckland Brass (Howard Taylor)
Wellington Brass (David Bremner)
Woolston Brass (Tyme Marsters)

B Grade:

Adjudicator: Graham Hickman
Set Work: Triumphant Rhapsody (Gilbert Vinter) plus Own Choice and Sacred Item

Auckland City Brass (Tak Chun Lai)
Boroondara Brass (Daniel Van Bergan)
Brass Whanganui (Bruce Jellyman)
Deco Bay Brass (David Mass)
Hutt City Brass (Matt Stein)
Kaikorai Metropolitan Brass (Michael Grant)
Nelson City Brass (Nigel Weeks)
Papakura City Brass (Adrian Raven)
The Devon Hotel New Plymouth Brass (Christopher Luke)
Trust Porirua City Brass (Clynton Payne)

C Grade:

Adjudicator: Luc Vertommen
Set Work: Penlee (Simpon Dobson) plus Own-Choice and Sacred Item

Cambridge Brass (Rob Hocking)
Feilding Brass (Carissa Davies)
Howick Brass (Brendan Agnew)
Tauranga City Brass (Steven Thompson)
Te Awamutu Brass (Sarah Carroll)

D Grade:

Adjudicator: Graham Hickman
Set Work: Meditation on St Clement (David Chaulk) and Own Choice

Hamilton Auxiliary Brass (TeReo Hughes)
Matamata Brass (Barry Cullen)
North Shore Brass Academy (Steve Foster)
Rotorua Brass (Jim McGregor)

Youth Grade:

Adjudicator: Graham Hickman
Own Choice

Takapuna Youth Brass (Mark Close)

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