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Report & Results: 2022 British Open Solo & Ensemble Championships

There were some great solo and ensemble winners at Butlin's in Skegness on the weekend — claiming prestigious British Open titles for themselves

Shirland
  Shirland Youth Band was one of the British Open Solo & Ensemble winners

Sunday morning at the Butlin's Open Festival of Brass has traditionally been a showcase youthful talent.

However, with just a single entrant in the Youth Championship contest, the performance of Youth Brass 2000 was moved to the Centre Stage venue where under the baton of Gary Fountain they produced a wonderfully uplifting aperitif to the Championship Section entertainment fayre that followed.

That gave ample time for the supportive audience in Reds to enjoy some equally outstanding solo and ensemble playing for the various British Open Solo & Ensemble titles on offer, with generous prize money up for grabs for the eventual winners.

Unfortunately there were a number of late withdrawals, but like the band contests themselves the quality was by no means diminished, with adjudicator John Doyle emphasising just how much he had been impressed by what he had heard.

Junior Solo:

The Junior Solo title went to the brilliant Skye Stokes. The 12-year-old baritone player is a member of Elland Silver Youth Band as well as the Foden's Youth Band and the National Childrens Band of Great Britain.

Her characterful rendition of the famous operatic aria 'Largo al Factotum' from Rossini's 'Barber of Seville' saw her claim the £200 first prize and British Open Junior Trophy.

In what was a great battle for the prizes, it was 13-year-old Millie Davenport who eventually came runner -up with her fine performance of 'Blue John' on trombone, with her 12-year-old brother Robert in third with his tender rendition of 'The Holy Well' on euphonium.

There were also excellent performances to enjoy from Skye's brother Rhys on cornet with 'Wiederkehr', Rowena Findlay Ashfield's upbeat cornet solo 'Funk' and 9-year-old Vivien Findlay Ashfield on 'Hedwig's Theme', played with remarkable confidence.

Youth Solo:

The Youth Solo event was something of a Youth Brass 2000 battle, with the podium places going to talented trio of winner, Jordan Ashman, Edward Culpin and Jake Humphrey.

Jordan's virtuosic performance of 'Strawberry Therapy' on xylophone took the £300 first prize and British Open Youth Trophy to pip Edward's super baritone 'Slavische Fantasy' and Jake's 'Whirlwind' cornet solo.

It was also great to hear 14-year-old tuba player Leonie Tissie playing the classic 'Iceberg' solo with a wonderfully warm sound and 11-year-old Rowena Findlay Ashfield's reprise of her cornet solo 'Funk'.

Open Solo:

At the other end of the experience scale was 43-year-old Open Solo winner Stephen Lomas, a veteran of numerous solo events as well as the highly respected bass trombonist of Brighouse & Rastrick Band.

His hugely accomplished rendition of 'Sonata Breve' by Hartley was fully deserving of the British Open title accolade and the £500 first prize.

Jordan Ashman pushed him all the way as the 17-year-old reprised 'Strawberry Therapy' to end runner-up with a sparkling rendition of 'Zelda' by 16-year-old Jake Humphrey was third.

There were also fine performances to enjoy from Edward Culpin on 'Grandfather's Clock' and Andy Harris on 'The Debutante'.

Ensemble Sections:



There were just two competitors in each of the Ensemble Section, with a keen, but friendly battle between the players of Shirland Youth and Shirland Training Band in the Youth event.

In the end it was Shirland Youth — made up of Evelyn Trow, Leonie Tissie, Millie Davenport and Robert Davenport, which piped their Training rivals of Izzy Owen, Jocelyn Trow, Emily Toyne, Jack Toyne and Evelyn Hill thanks to their cultured rendition of 'Excerpts from Richard' to claim the £300 first prize and trophy.

It was the overture to 'The Barber of Seville' that provided the quartet of Colin Davenport, Dave Hill, Luke Newbrough and Jack Newbrough of Shirland Band with victory and the £500 first prize in the senior Open Ensemble competition.

However there was also a great family performance to enjoy from the Witney Town Band Ensemble of Sarah Ashfield, Rowena Findlay Ashfield, Vivien Findlay Ashfield, Luther Findlay Ashfield and Stuart Findlay who performed 'Medallion Calls'.

Results:


Adjudicator: John Doyle

Junior Solo:


1. Skye Stokes
2. Millie Davenport
3. Robert Davenport
4. Rhys Stokes
5. Rowena Findlay Ashfield
6. Vivien Findlay Ashfield


Youth Solo:


1. Jordan Ashman
2. Edward Culpin
3. Jake Humphrey
4. Leonie Tissie
5. Rowena Findlay Ashfield


Open Solo:


1. Stephen Lomas
2. Jordan Ashman
3. Jake Humphrey
4. Edward Culpin
5. Andy Harris


Youth Ensemble:


1. Shirland Youth Band
(Evelyn Trow; Leonie Tissie; Millie Davenport; Robert Davenport)
2. Shirland Training Band
(Izzy Owen; Jocelyn Trow; Emily Toyne; Jack Toyne; Evelyn Hill)


Open Ensemble:


1. Shirland Band
(Colin Davenport; Dave Hill; Luke Newbrough; Jack Newbrough)
2. Witney Town Band Ensemble
(Sarah Ashfield; Rowena Findlay Ashfield; Vivien Findlay Ashfield; Luther Findlay Ashfield; Stuart Findlay)

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