Report & Results: 2020 Brass Band League online solo contest

There was a fantastic response from entrants in taking part in the Brass Band League Northern Ireland online solo competition — and plenty of fantastic playing on show too.

  The under 12 winner was trombonist Oliver Quinn

Although there have been cancellations to some Brass Band League of Northern Ireland (BBL) events this year, with member bands also having to face a stop to rehearsal activity, a recent online solo competition has proved to be a great success.

After consultation with bands to see what the organisation could do the BBL decided to hold the online event.


With an inclusive, informal ethos, the main aim was to encourage people to get their instruments out and get playing.

A four-minute time limit was set for performances but competitors could play any piece they wanted, accompanied or unaccompanied.

Entries were split into four classes: 12 and under, 13-15, 16-18 and 19 and over, with the competition open to all brass performers, regardless of whether they were a member of a band or not.

Impressed judges

The adjudicators, Gael Haslett and Robin Clinton for the 12 and unders, Laura Salt and Martin Wall (13-15), Bob Quick and Rachel Bingham (16-18) and James MacCafferty and Brendan Breslin (19 and over group) were certainly impressed by the performances, whilst the organisers were delighted to receive a total of 52 entries.

Entries were broadcast on the Brass Band League Facebook page from 19th to 27th November with the results revealed a day later. All competitors received a certificate alongside adjudicators remarks in electronic format.

12 and Under:

Adjudicators Gael Haslett and Robin Clinton had plenty to be impressed by with 14 entries to review. A splendid rendition of Jock McKenzie's 'Tarantella' saw Oliver Quinn take first place with Kenan Kaya coming runner-up with a lovely rendition of 'Londonderry Air'. Hollie Hamilton and Rebekah Sharpe tied for third playing 'Rule Britannia' and 'The Well is Deep' respectively.

13-15 Class:

Kenan's big brother Zeki took the honours with a mature performance of John Hartmann's classic 'Wiederkehr'. Owen Brannigan was runner-up with a fine rendition of the second movement from Jacques Casterede's 'Sonatine', with Sophie Hueston in third with a lyrical take of 'On My Own'.

16-18 Class:

Louise Bell claimed the title with a beautiful rendition of William Himes' 'All That I Am'. Andrew Milligan's super performance of 'Rondo' by Capuzzi/Catelinet saw him come runner-up with Peter Alcorn's multi-track take on Weather Report's 'Birdland' securing third.

19 and Over Class:

There were no less than 25 high quality entries for adjudicators James MacCafferty and Brendan Breslin to separate in the premier class.

However, it was Kelly Kaya's classy performance of William Rimmer's 'Carnival of Venice' that saw her take the title to add to her recent success sin the Foden's online solo event.

Tom Black's emotive rendition of Cadillo's 'Core 'Ngrato' saw him take the runner-up spot with Hannah Calderwood's classy performance of Larsson's 'Love Cannot Fail' gaining third.

Worthy of mention by the adjudicators was Paul Wilson's 'chocolatey' performance of Dave Brubeck's 'Stereogram No 3' and Kevin Teer's 'Forgotten Oath' by Lucy Pankhurst.

Wonderful support

BBL spokesperson Amber MacLennan told 4BR: "As organisers it has been wonderful to see the support given by the competitors and in particular from the younger players, which was amazing.

We hope that the event has helped to inspire everyone to get their instruments out and get playing again. Everyone was fantastic and should all be very proud of themselves."

Amber added: "The BBL would like to say a massive thank the adjudicators for giving up their time and energy, Bob Quick for giving us the idea to run the event and Kevin Teers and the IABCB for all of the help and support."

All solo videos will be available to view on the Brass Band League Facebook page until 6th December at: Brass Band League NI | Facebook

As organisers it has been wonderful to see the support given by the competitors and in particular from the younger players, which was amazingBBL spokesperson Amber MacLennan


12 and under:

Adjudicators: Gael Haslett & Robin Clinton
1. Oliver Quinn
2. Kenan Kaya
3= Hollie Hamilton
3= Rebekah Sharpe


Adjudicators: Laura Salt & Martin Wall
1. Zeki Kaya
2. OwenBranningan
3. Sophie Hueston


Adjudicators: Bob Quick & Rachel Bingham
1. Louise Bell
2. Andrew Milligan
3. Peter Alcorn

19 and over:

Adjudicators: Brendan Breslin & James MacCafferty
1. Kelly Kaya
2. Tom Black
3. Hannah Calderwood
4. Paul Wilson
5. Kevin Teers

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