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Report & Results: 2014 New Zealand National Championship

Wellington Brass successfully defends the National title on an exciting contesting weekend in Invercargill.

Dave Bremner


Wellington Brass has won the 2014 New Zealand National Championship, successfully retaining the title they won last year.


And in what turned out to be almost a reprise of the 2013 event in New Plymouth, David Bremner led his band to victory at the Civic Theatre in Invercargill (above) by a single point margin over rivals Dalewool Auckland Brass directed by Nigel Weeks.

Wellington laid the foundation stones to their second successive success by topping the sacred item and set work disciplines on Friday off the number 1 draw, although Dalewool almost prised their grip off the famous Championship Gold Cup by topping the own choice section the following day.

No fairytale end

With the consistent North Shore Brass conducted by Colin Clark securing third place, there was to be no fairytale finish to Graham Hickman’s highly successful eight year conducting tenure at Woolston Brass, as the former champion could only finish fourth.

It proved to be yet another remarkable weekend of achievement for the Bremner family, with David’s celebrated cornet virtuoso father Trevor claiming the coveted ‘Champion of Champions’ solo title — accompanied by his wife Betty.


Chief adjudicator Dr Stephen Cobb, confessed to finding his task over the two days of Grade A competition to be ‘a very subjective process’, although he did point out that although ‘slightly surprised’ by the lack of ‘newer repertoire’ on show in the sacred item selections, two bands did stand out for him in terms of quality.

That was further emphasised on the set work, ‘On Alderley Edge’, which he felt was a ‘good test’ and ‘deceptively difficult to play’, and although all ten competitors he felt ‘acquitted themselves well’, a brace of ‘very musically led’ performances that also had ‘attention to technical detail’ stood out once more.

Wellington’s star soprano player Mark Carter was awarded the Elgar Clayton Memorial Trophy as the ‘Outstanding Soloist’, with the tuba team of Woolston Brass taking the ‘Best Section’ award.

Ambitious own choices

It was little surprise that on the announcement of the results those two bands were revealed to be the eventual winner and runner-up.

Dr Cobb’s general assessment of the ‘ambitious’ own choice selections was also greeted with general unanimity by the audience — especially as he felt the overall standard had been high and the bands had provided a ‘terrific evening of playing’.

As the last band to perform, Wellington produced a fine rendition of ‘Music of the Spheres’ to crucially remain within a 1 point touching distance of Dalewool’s vibrant ‘A Tale As Yet Untold’, which featured the ‘Best Principal Cornet’ playing of John Lewis.

North Shore’s finely worked ‘Tale’ also impressed in claiming their second podium finish at the Nationals since 2012, and push Woolston into fourth with only yet another Street March title to celebrate.

B Grade

In the B Grade contest there was a comprehensive victory for New Zealand’s oldest band, as The Devon Hotel New Plymouth Brass conducted by Leigh Martin claimed the Championship Challenge Shield by a six point margin over runner-up Auckland City Brass with Addington Brass in third.

Despite its age, Herbert Howells’ ‘Pageantry’ proved to be an immensely difficult set work to overcome for the five contenders in a contest that fluctuated in overall quality despite some well chosen own choice and sacred item selections.

C Grade

Te Awamutu Brass put the disappointment of just missing out on the C Grade title in 2013 as they produced a brace of fine performances on the set work, ‘My Strength, My Tower’ by Dean Goffin and their own choice selection of ‘Kaliedoscope’ by Philip Sparke to take the title and NZBBA Challenge Cup in bold fashion under the direction of Te Reo Hughes.

Second place went to Westport Municipal Brass, who took the Ron Fenton Memorial Cup for gaining the highest points in the sacred item, whilst the final podium spot went to Nelson City Brass.

D Grade

There was a comprehensive clean sweep for Rangiora Brass in the D Grade, where under the baton of Kenneth Love they impressively secured the EW Rose Memorial Challenge Shield.

The band from North Canterbury topped all three disciplines of the contest featuring a well worked performance of their own choice selection ‘Music for a Festival’ to top the podium from Roxburgh Pioneer Generation Brass and New Brighton Silver Band.

Youth and Street March

Unfortunately this year there was only one entrant in the Youth category, although Nelson City Brass certainly showed off their talents to the full especially with an exciting rendition of Paul Lovatt-Copper’s ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ to take the Besson Silver Challenge Cup.

Invercargill proved to be a welcoming host city for the oldest National Brass Band Championship in the world, with the traditional street march contest a highlight as crowds paced the streets to enjoy the sight of the bands in full flow. The overall title went to Woolston Brass.

Dr Cobb’s general assessment of the ‘ambitious’ own choice selections was also greeted with general unanimity by the audience — especially as he felt the overall standard had been high4BR


Grade A:

Adjudicator: Stephen Cobb
Sacred Item/Set Work/Own Choice = Total

1. Wellington Brass (David Bremner): 95/145/145 = 385
2. Dalewool Auckland Brass (Nigel Weeks): 94/144/146 = 384
3. North Shore Brass (Colin Clark): 92/142/144 = 378
4. Woolston Brass (Graham Hickman): 93/141/140 = 374
5. Leopard Coachlines Canterbury Brass (Tyme Marsters): 91/137/142 = 370
6. Ascot Park Hotel Brass (Dwayne Bloomfield): 87/138/143 = 368
7. Waitakere Auckland Brass (Russell Gray): 86/140/141 = 367
8. Marlborough District Brass (Kevin Moseley): 90/136/139 = 365
9. Brass Wanganui (Bruce Jellyman): 89/135/138 = 362
10. St Kilda Brass (Peter Adams): 85/139/137 = 361

B Grade:

Adjudicator: Dr Stephen Cobb
Sacred Item/Set Work/Own Choice = Total

1. The Devon Hotel New Plymouth Brass (Leigh Martin): 85/139/141 = 365
2. Auckland City Brass (John Gluyas): 81/136/142 = 359
3. Addington Brass (David Fiu): 83/133/139 = 355
4. Kaikorai Metropolitan Brass (Norman Thorn Jr): 82/134/137 = 353
5. Alpine Energy Timaru Brass (Garth Poland): 80/130/138 = 348

C Grade:

Adjudicator: Brent Large
Sacred Item/Set Work/Own Choice = Total

1. Te Awamutu Brass (Te Reo Hughes): 81/132/133 = 346
2. Westport Municipal Brass (Graham Mason): 82/124/132 = 338
3. Nelson City Brass (Mick Dowrick): 79/130/128 = 337
4. Ascot Park Hotel Auxiliary (Kathleen Herman): 80/126/127 = 333
5. Woolston Concert Brass (Nick Johnson): 77/125/130 = 332
6. Mosgiel Brass (Philip Craigie): 76/120/126 = 322

D Grade:

Adjudicator: Brent Large
Sacred Item/Own Choice/Stage March = Total

1. Rangiora Brass (Kenneth Love): 75/128/126 = 329
2. Roxburgh Pioneer Generation Brass (Steven Wonders): 72/124/120 = 316
3. New Brighton Silver Band (Craig Williamson): 65/119/123 = 307
4. Sumner Silver Band (Shane Foster): 62/121/117 = 300

Youth Grade:

Adjudicator: Brent Large
Sacred Item/Own Choice/Stage March = Total

1. Nelson City Brass Academy (Mick Dowrick): 60/118/120 = 298

Street March:

1. Woolston Brass
2. Brass Wanganui
3. Leopard Coachlines Canterbury Brass

Band Supplies

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October 18 • Players and beginners of any standard are always warmly welcomed, especially some more solo cornets, Eb horns and a spare percussionists to help out existing players. Feel free to drop in even if you just fancy a blow or want to try another instrument

Bedford Town Band

October 18 • Bedford Town Band (London and SC) has vacancies for a front row cornet and a soprano cornet. We are a friendly, ambitious and sociable band with a good balance of concerts and contests planned throughout the year.

Christopher Houlding

Conductor, Performer, Educator