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Report & Results: 2015 ANZAC Centenary: Australian National Championship

Wellington Brass claims southern hemisphere National double in Sydney under David Bremner.

Firemans Helmet


The iconic Fireman’s Helmet ‘A Grade’ Trophy will take up residence across the Tasman Sea for the first time since 2003, following the victory of Wellington Brass at the Australian National Championships in Sydney on the weekend.

It is the first time Wellington has claimed the award (first presented in 1971) — giving them the rare distinction of becoming holders of both southern hemisphere National titles following their second successive victory at the New Zealand National Championship in 2014.

Finely crafted

Under the direction of David Bremner, a finely crafted own choice rendition of Philip Wilby’s immense ‘Revelation’ sealed their success, after earlier topping the sacred item discipline, performing ‘Just As I Am’, coming joint first with their march selection of ‘The President’, and second on the set work, ‘Gallipoli’ by Barry McKimm.

It gave the band a clear five point margin of victory over the hat-trick seeking Brisbane Excelsior, with 2012 winner Gunnedah Shire in third.

Remarkable rise

Formed in 1905, victory also confirms the New Zealanders remarkable rise to prominence from B Grade obscurity in 2008 under their young MD, with further ambitions to build on their latest success.

“It was a huge thrill, and the hangover is almost gone!” David told 4BR after his band took the opportunity to have their picture taken overlooking Sydney Harbour Bridge (above).

“To come and win against such wonderful bands as Brisbane and Gunnedah who are led by conductors in Howard Taylor and Jason Katsikaris who I admire greatly, made this very special.”

Deft humour

Earlier, he accepted the trophy at the official results ceremony with a deft touch of humour—‘on behalf of New Zealand cricket’ following his nation’s recent defeat in the World Cup to their greatest rivals, before paying tribute to his players.

“I didn’t want to miss that little chance to get one back,” he laughed.

“The band was simply fantastic all weekend, and I couldn't have asked for more.

We played for our good friend Kevin Jarrett who is unwell in New Zealand, and I know he will take great pride in the band’s success.”


With adjudicator Allan Withington praising Wellington for the overall ‘outstanding’ quality of their performances over the two days at the Seymour Centre at Sydney University, it meant that there was to be no eighth win since 2005 for Brisbane Excelsior, despite the reigning champion under Howard Taylor delivering a fine rendition of their own choice selection of ‘Red Priest’.

They eventually ended behind their rivals in three of the four disciplines, only gaining parity with their own choice march of ‘Simoraine’.

Gunnedhah Shire Band eventually claimed third place, with their selection of ‘Fragile Oasis’ by Peter Meechan highlighting the wide variety of own choice works performed by the 16 A Grade bands.

Many of these were boosted by the appearances of players from the northern hemisphere, such Cory’s Tom Hutchinson and Steve Stewart, Desford’s Martin Britt, Martin Winter from Norway and Belgian euphonium star Glenn van Looy.


Consistent performances from St Mary’s District Band saw them end fourth overall, with Darebin City failing to be able to build on their table topping performance of the set work, to eventually end fifth, ahead of Central Coast Brass.

With the contest paying musical homage to the centenary of the sacrifice given by ANZAC Forces in the First World War (the ‘Ode’, ‘Last Post’ and ‘Reveille’ was played during each competition) there was a great deal of interest in the Championship set test, ‘Gallipoli’.

Barry McKimm’s evocative work, with distant fanfares, motifs of well known songs and a desolate ending of quiet reflection, was inspired by a poem by Jordie Albiston — the words of which underpinned the thematic material, which in turn echoed the arrival, fighting and aftermath of the horrific Gallipoli campaign.

Cairns victory

In what was an exciting B Grade event, there was a victory Cairns Brass No.1 conducted by John Christodoulides.

Their performances of the three-movement set work, ‘Honaris Causa’ (For the Sake of Honour) by Michael Forsyth, their own choice selection of ‘Brass Triumphant’, march and sacred item selections saw them pip Gunnedah Shire Band No.2 to the title, with Brisbane Brass No.2 in third.

Darebin defend title

There was no doubting the destination of the C Grade title, as Darebin City Brass under Jamie Lawson claimed victory with a clean sweep of all four disciplines against their rivals to retain the title they won last year in Brisbane.

A quartet of fine renditions including the set work, ‘The Valiant’ by William Broughton, which drew inspiration from the human experience of going to, fighting in and returning home from war, and their own choice selection of ‘The Kingdom of Dragons’ by Philip Harper, gave them a clear victory over second placed Latrobe Federal with Bankstown City Brass in third.

Warriparinga photo finish

In contrast there was the closest of finishes possible in the D Grade event, where Warriparinga Brass finally took the National title after four years of near misses.

Under the baton of Veronica Boulton, the band from south Adelaide claimed victory after finishing on equal points with South West Sydney Brass. However, the extra point they gained on the set work, ‘ANZAC Variations’ by Philip Rutherford over their rivals took precedent. Third place went to St George Brass.

South West Sydney very nearly pipped them in the photo finish after their performance of ‘Dimensions’ by Peter Graham, gave them the nod over Warriparinga’s, ‘Olympus’ in the own choice discipline.

The band was simply fantastic all weekend, and I couldn't have asked for more. We played for our good friend Kevin Jarrett who is unwell in New Zealand, and I know he will take great pride in the band’s successDavid Bremner


A Grade:
Set Work: Gallipoli (Barry McKimm)

Adjudicator: Allan Withington
Sacred Item/Test Piece/Stage March/Own Choice = Total

1. Wellington Brass Band (David Bremner): 46/195/46/198 = 485
2. Brisbane Excelsior (Howard Taylor): 44/194/46/196 = 480
3. Gunnedah Shire Band No.1 (Jason Katsikaris): 44/193/44/191 = 472
4. St. Mary's District Band (Ben Crocker): 41/190/44/195 = 470
5. Darebin City Brass — Preston Band (Tom Paulin): 42/196/42/180 = 460
6. Central Coast Brass (Conrad Curry): 43/192/39/185 = 459
7. South Brisbane Federal (Louisa Lawless): 36/184/43/193 = 456
8. Box Hill City Band (Matthew van Emmerick): 37/185/43/188 = 453
9. Brisbane Brass No.1 (Bill Barker): 40/190/42/180 = 452
10. Glenorchy City Concert Brass (Simon Cawthorn): 37/186/40/186 = 449
11. Warringah Concert Brass (John Saunders): 33/182/40/191 = 446
12. Willoughby City Band (Mark Strykowski): 34/187/38/181 = 440
13. Footscray-Yarraville City (Phillipa Edwards): 32/183/41/184 = 440
14. Boroondara Brass (Danny van Bergen): 30/181/40/185 = 436
15. City of Holroyd Band (Andy Yule): 38/188/35/171 = 432
16. Hawthorn Band (Laurie Hicks): 35/182/37/170 = 424

B Grade:

Set Work: ‘Honaris Causa’ (For the Sake of Honour) (Michael Forsyth)

Adjudicator: Prof Gary McPherson
Sacred Item/Test Piece/Stage March/Own Choice = Total

1. Cairns Brass No.1 (John Christodoulides): 42/181/45/187 = 455
2. Gunnedah Shire Band No.2 (Anthony Rowe): 41/184/44/185 = 454
3. Brisbane Brass No.2 (Joshua McKechie): 37/181/43/188 = 449
4. Sunnybank & District Brass No.1 (John Kennedy): 40/179/44/186 = 449
5. City of Greater Dandenong (Michael Mathers): 38/180/43/185 = 446
6. Toronto Brass (Tim O’Hearn): 39/179/42/184 = 444
7. Marion City Band (Veronica Boulton): 38/178/43/183 = 442
8. Canberra Brass (Viv Martin): 39/178/42/182 = 441
9. Parramatta City Band (Jonathan Gatt): 37/176/43/184 = 440
10. Warringah Community Brass (John Saunders): 37/178/42/182 = 439

C Grade:

Set Work: The Valiant (William Broughton)

Adjudicator: Allan Withington
Sacred Item/Test Piece/Stage March/Own Choice = Total

1. Darebin City Brass-Northern Brass (Jamie Lawson): 45/192/42/190 = 469
2. Latrobe Federal Band (N/K): 41/188/41/187 = 457
3. Bankstown City Brass Band (John Tweed): 42/189/39/186 = 456
4. Maitland City Brass Band (N/K): 39/185/40/184 = 448
5. Newcastle PCYC Band (Teena Wallace): 39/186/39/183 = 447

D Grade:
Set Work: ANZAC Variations (Philip Rutherford)

Adjudicator: Prof Gary McPherson
Sacred Item/Test Piece/Stage March/Own Choice = Total

1. Warriparinga Brass (Veronica Boulton): 43/180/41/179 = 443
2. South West Sydney Brass (Eddie Claxton): 42/179/42/180 = 443
3. St. George Brass (Lauren Moule): 39/178/40/178 = 435
4. Gosford Community Brass Band (Ossie Jellyman): 38/177/40/178 = 433
5. Hyde Street Youth Band (N/K): 37/175/40/178 = 430

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