Report & Results: 2022 North American Championships

Fountain City maintain their dominance at the NABBA Championship, as new names appear on section titles.

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  Fountain City led the prize winners yet again at the NABBA Championships

With Birmingham the focus of European banding competition, the North American brass banding community recently headed to Hunstville, Alabama for the return of their National Championships (NABBA)

And anything Cory Band could do in retaining their title under Philip Harper at Symphony Hall, Fountain City Brass Band and Prof David King emulated at the Mark C. Smith Concert Hall, part of the impressive multi-purpose Von Braun Centre.

The Australian led the Kansas based band to their fifth North American National title success in six competitive years, and their third together, thanks to a brace of outstanding performances of the set-work, 'And from the Darkness' by Paul Lovatt-Cooper, and their own-choice selection of 'Fraternity' by Thierry Deleruyelle.

Narrow margin

It saw them claim a narrow margin of victory over James Madison University Brass Band led by the experienced Kevin Stees. They claimed the runner-up spot for the second successive competitive year thanks to an evocative account of 'Destination Moon' as their own-choice selection.

Third place went to 2017 champion Atlantic Brass Band conducted by Salvatore Scarpa who opted for 'Heroes' as their own-choice selection.

Any challenges to Fountain City's dominance were quickly overcome (the MD tailoring the conductor's stand to his specific needs) on the set-work which was a vivid combination of PLC excitement, lyricism and visual stimulus.

Six bands took part, with the remaining places going to Georgia Brass Band, Chicago Brass Band and Colorado Brass who performed 'Extreme Makeover', 'Where Angles Fly' and 'The Torchbearer' receptively.


Asked about PLC's 'And from the Darkness' and the performance, Prof King first said that he had "loved performing in the hall"which he felt was the closest to the Grieghallen in Bergen. "It's a wonderful acoustic."

He also thanked Joe Parisi for the "hard graft"prior to his arrival to lead the band.

He added that "he couldn't wait"to work on the score, and that it was in his opinion, "so pictorial of the situation that it evoked"in reference to the autobiographical inspiration about the work and the composer's narrative reflecting to his return to full health following serious illness.

The following day the band's solo euphonium Lee Harrelson revealed that they made the pragmatic choice of 'Fraternity' as both something of a metaphor for coming out of Covid-19 and the lesser constraints it placed on rehearsal time from what would have been their original first choice.

He added that the soloists were "magnificent", with "an amazing"percussion team.
Following the victory, the band posted on their Facebook page: "We had a wonderful time competing in the North American Brass Band Association Championships and we are thrilled to take home the championship title."

First Section

With Fountain City notching up a hat-trick victory and their ninth NABBA success, a new name exploded under a familiar name in the First Section, where Dallas Brass Band marked their NABBA debut with a commanding victory under David Childs.

They sealed their success with a brace of excellent performances of the set-work, 'Facets of the Heart' by Tom Davoren and their own-choice selection of Stan Nieuwenhuis' 'A King's Lie' to end ahead of former champions, Five Lakes Silver and third placed, Oakland University Brass Band.

Speaking to BrassPass.tv after their performances David Childs said: "There are only three players who have played in a contest before"before adding that the unfamiliar increased rehearsal schedule had ensured "everything came together"and that "it couldn't have gone any better".

Second Section:

Motor City Brass Band also secured their first NABBA Championship title as they claimed the Second Section honours under the direction of Gordon Ward.

Formed in 1996 in Detroit, their performances of 'Hope' by Dorothy Gates and 'Lions of Legends' by Thierry Deleruyelle gave them victory from Cincinnati Brass Band.

Local favourites Brass Band of Huntsville was third, after performing a new work entitled, 'The Von Braun Suite' by Stephen Bulla in honour of the man who pioneered man's journey to the moon and who the contest venue is named after.

Third Section:

Triangle Brass claimed their second Third Section title in three competitive years under Tony Granados with performances of 'Epainos' by Joel Collier their plus own-choice 'The Raid'. Second place went to Fountain City Youth Band with Natural State Brass Band in third.

Elsewhere, Motor City Academy Brass, Watson Brass Band, Triangle Youth Brass Band and Triangle Youth Academy Brass Band secured the Open Section, Youth Championship Section, Youth First Section and Youth Open Section respectively.

Speaking about the success of the event which was live-streamed by BrassPass.tv, NABBA President Tony Granados said that the Championships "went really well"and that the music making was "very good".

The players he said were, "…busting at the seams to get on stage"(there was an excellent turn out in the solo and ensemble events) and that he hoped the event would grow further on its return to the venue in 2023.

Asked about PLC's 'And from the Darkness' and the performance, Prof King first said that he had "loved performing in the hall" which he felt was the closest to the Grieghallen in Bergen4BR

Championship Section:

Set work: And from the Darkness (Paul Lovatt-Cooper) plus own-choice
Set-work: Paul Lovatt-Cooper, Jack Stamp, John Phillips
Own Choice: Allan Ramsay, Jack Stamp, John Phillips

1. Fountain City Brass Band (Prof David King): 95.167
2. James Madison University Brass Band (Prof Kevin Stees): 93.950
3. Atlantic Brass Band (Salvatore Scarpa): 92.717
4. Georgia Brass Band (Casey Thomas): 90.917
5. Chicago Brass Band (Mark A Taylor): 89.733
6. Colorado Brass (Zach Cheever): 86.767

First Section:

Set-work: Facets of the Heart (Tom Davoren) plus own-choice
Adjudicators: Allan Ramsay, Jack Stamp, John Phillips

1. Dallas Brass Band (Prof David Childs): 96.800
2. Five Lakes Silver Band (Christopher Ward): 93.067
3. Oakland University Brass Band (Kenneth Kroesche): 91.583
4. UGA British Brass Band (Philip Smith): 90.767
5. Dublin Silver Band (Tim Jameson): 88.333
6. Arkansas Musicworks Brass Band (Brandon R. Hults): 87.233
7. Illinois Brass Band (Stephen Squires): 84.633

Second Section:

Set-work: Hope (Dorothy Gates) plus own-choice
Adjudicators: Dr T. Andre Feagin, Paul Lovatt-Cooper, Jessica Sneeringer

1. Motor City Brass Band (Gordon Ward): 91.467
2. Cincinnati Brass Band (Dr Benjamin A Chamberlain): 89.267
3. Brass Band of Huntsville (Dr W. David Spencer): 87.167
4. St. Louis Brass Band (Dr John Bell): 85.500
5. San Francisco Brass Band (Dr Craig McKenzie): 83.133
6. Tampa Brass Band (Tina Dimeglio): 78.433

Third Section:

Set-work: Epainos (Joel Collier) plus own-choice
Adjudicators: Paul Lovatt-Cooper, Jessica Sneeringer, Dr T Andre Feagin

1. Triangle Brass Band (Tony Granados): 94.917
2. Fountain City Youth (Dr Lee Harrelson): 88.900
3. Natural State Brass Band (Nevada Mills): 84.833
4. Jacksonville State University Brass Band (Dr Casey Thomas): 84.583
5. Old Crown Brass Band (T.J. Faur): 84.200
6. ECU Brass Band (Dr Jace Vickers): 76.283
7. Dublin Metro Brass (Prof William L Ballenger): 75.400

Open Section:

Adjudicators: Paul Lovatt-Cooper, Jessica Sneeringer, Dr T Andre Feagin

1. Motor City Academy Brass Band (Bona Opatich): 78.500

Youth Championship Section:

Adjudicators: Allan Ramsay, Jack Stamp, John Phillips

1. Watson Brass Band (Jesse Rackley): 91.400

Youth First Section:

Adjudicators: Allan Ramsay, Jack Stamp, John Phillips

1. Triangle Youth Brass Band (Matt Edwards): 82.400

Youth Open Section:

Adjudicators: Allan Ramsay, Jack Stamp, John Phillips

1. Triangle Youth Academy Brass Band (Robin Gorham): 74.833

2023 Championship set-works:

Championship Section: Titan's Progress (Hermann Paulhuber)
First Section: The Year of the Dragon (Philip Sparke)
Second Section: Purcell Variations (Kenneth Downie)
Third Section: Sinfonietta no 4 (Etienne Crausaz)
Youth Championship Section: The Saga of Tyrfing (Jacob Vilhelm Larsen)
Youth First Section: The Seasons (Philip Wilby)

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