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Report & Results: 2015 New Zealand National Championship

Wellington Brass claims hat-trick of New Zealand National Championship titles in Rotorua



Wellington Brass directed by David Bremner continued their domination of southern hemisphere banding by claiming a hat-trick of New Zealand National titles in Rotorua on the weekend.

Outstanding performances of their sacred item, 'Flow Gently, Sweet Afton', the set-work, 'Vitae Aeterna Variations' and their own-choice of 'Extreme Makeover', gave them a two point victory over rivals Woolston Brass, with Dalewool Auckland Brass three points further back in third.

The band's flugel horn player Brad Mancer claimed the prestigious Elgar Clayton Memorial Trophy as the 'Best Soloist' on the set work.

Fifth National title

It was the band's fifth National victory in their 110 year history, enabling them to also retain the unofficial title as the undisputed leading ANZAC band following their historic Australian National title success in Sydney earlier this year.


No wonder their inspirational conductor David Bremner was thrilled about the achievement when he spoke to 4BR yesterday, still clutching the KGL Smith Memorial Trophy as the winning conductor in his hand.

"The band was outstanding all weekend and I'm incredibly proud of them all and the performances they produced," he said.

"We knew the pressure was on us, but to receive a standing ovation after 'Extreme Makeover' was a moment we will all remember for many years. It was a thrilling performance in every way imaginable."

He added: "For the band to win a hat-trick of championships is very special, and it was great to celebrate with so many of our supporters and our band family on the Saturday night — and well into and Sunday morning!"

British Open next?

With the twin National trophies — the New Zealand Championship Gold Cup and the Australian Fireman's Helmet — now safely in their grasp, the band is hoping that they can now compete against the very best bands in the world at the British Open.

"That would be amazing and a real honour," David added. "We are keen to undertake a tour to the UK in 2016, and hopefully that could include an invitation to compete at what we see as the greatest brass band contest in the world.

We will be making a polite request — and we hope the organisers would like to see the best band in the southern hemisphere tackle the best in the northern hemisphere once again."

Mouth watering

It would certainly be a mouth watering prospect at Symphony Hall given the quality of Wellington's victory — one set up by them topping the scared item and coming a point behind rivals Woolston on Ed de Boer's lyrical set work on the Friday.

However, the following day the roles were reversed in what proved to be a straight head-to-head on Johan de Meij's exciting work between the two bands that have now won the last seven National titles between them.

Meanwhile, there was a keen battle for the podium places with North Shore Brass eventually coming fourth thanks in part to the 'Best Principal Cornet' work on their own choice of 'On Alderley Edge' by Belgian star Harmen Vanhoorne.

Straight Makeover battle

Earlier, Dalewool had set a demanding marker with their rendition of 'On the Shoulders of Giants' under Nigel Weeks. Woolston then topped it with an excellent performance under Tyme Marsters, although was not enough as Wellington stormed to 'Tchaikovsky' inspired victory.

B Grade

The B Grade bands certainly had their work cut out tackling the set work, 'Festival Music' by Eric Ball to go with their sacred item and own-choice selections.

In the end it was the returning Eastern Bay of Plenty Brass directed by Alan Spence that claimed the title and Championship Challenge Shield for the second time four years ahead of defending champion, The Devon Hotel New Plymouth Brass and 2013 champion winner, Hamilton City Brass in third.

Eastern Bay of Plenty's fine renditions of 'The Old Rugged Cross', the set-work, and their Amazonian rainforest inspired own-choice of 'A Lenda Do Curupira' by Stephan Hodel saw them claim a clean sweep of all the disciplines (including 'Best Soloist' and 'Best Principal Cornet') to finish well clear of their rivals.

C Grade

There was a long awaited National victory for Palmerston North in the CD Grade, as under the baton of David Mass they took the title on what was their first appearance back at the contest since 2008.

Their performances of the sacred item, 'Colne', and table topping renditions of the set work, 'Majesty' by Kenneth Downie' and their own-choice of 'Olympus' saw them secure the NZBBA Challenge Cup ahead of local favourites Rotorua Brass with defending champion Te Awamutu Brass in third.

D Grade

A delighted Kumeu Brass returned to the National Championship for the first time since 2011 to take the D Grade title and E.W. Rose Memorial Challenge Shield under MD Mark Close.

Their performances of their sacred item, own-choice selection of 'The Once and Future King' and the street march, 'The Cossack' gave them victory over rivals Masterton Brass and 2013 winner Matamata Brass, with defending champion Rangiora Brass in fourth.


Despite the single entrant of Takapuna Grammer School taking the Youth Grade title under Ted Dawson with performances of 'Benedictus', The Great Gate of Kiev' and the classic New Zealand march, 'Invercargill', there was still a great deal of keen competition to enjoy in Rotorua.

The wonderful precision of Woolston Brass saw them once again claim the 'Street March' honours, with section awards going to The Devon Hotel New Plymouth Brass, Palmerston North and Rangiora Brass.

In the traditional contesting solo and ensembles classes that provide such a great musical prelude to the main weekend contests, the remarkable tuba virtuoso Phillip Johnston claimed yet another 'Champion of Champions' solo title and the Errol Mason Memorial Trophy ahead of fellow Woolston contender (and MD) Tyme Marsters on flugel with Rachel Thomas of Leopard Coachlines Canterbury Brass in third.

We are keen to undertake a tour to the UK in 2016, and hopefully that could include an invitation to compete at what we see as the greatest brass band contest in the worldMD David Bremner


A Grade:

Adjudicator: David Gallaher
Sacred item/Test Piece/Own Choice = Total

1. Wellington Brass (David Bremner): 46/94/96 = 236
2. Woolston Brass (Tyme Marsters): 45/95/94 = 234
3. Dalewool Auckland Brass (Nigel Weeks): 45/93/93 = 231
4. North Shore Brass (Colin Clarke): 44/92/91 = 227
5. Leopard Coachlines Canterbury Brass (Dwayne Bloomfield): 45.5/90/90 = 225.5
6. Ascot Park Hotel Brass (Matthew Dick): 45/91/88 = 224
7. Waitakere Auckland Brass (Russell Gray): 44/89/89 = 222
8. Kew Band (Melbourne) (Andrew Snell): 44.5/88/86 = 218.5
9. Marlborough District Brass (Kevin Moseley): 44/87/87 = 218

Best Soloist in Set Work: Brad Mancer (flugel) — Wellington Brass
Best Section in Set Work: Woolston Brass (Tubas)
Best Principal Cornet in Own Choice: Harmen Vanhoorne (North Shore Brass)

B Grade:

Adjudicator: David Gallaher
Sacred item/Test Piece/Own Choice = Total

1. Eastern Bay of Plenty Brass (Alan Spence): 44/89/86 = 219
2. The Devon Hotel New Plymouth Brass (Leigh Martin): 43.5/88/83 = 214.5
3. Hamilton City Brass (Glenn Richards): 43/87/84 = 214
4. Trust Porirua City Brass (Kerry Garrett): 42.5/86/83 = 211.5
5. Hutt City Brass (Mark Carter/David Bremner): 42.5/84/85 = 211.5
6. Deco Bay Brass (Robbie Cargill): 41.5/82/82 = 205.5
7. Papakura City Brass (Adrian Raven): 40.5/81/79 = 200.5

Best Soloist in Set Work: (euphonium) — Eastern Bay of Plenty Brass
Best Principal Cornet in Own Choice: Eastern Bay of Plenty Brass

C Grade:

Adjudicator: David Chaulk
Sacred item/Test Piece/Own Choice = Total

1. Palmerston North Brass (David Maas): 39.5/81/83 = 203.5
2. Rotorua Brass (Jim McGregor/Steve Thompson): 39/78/82 = 199
3. Howick Brass (Luke Christiansen): 40/80/78 = 198
4. Upper Hutt Brass Band (Clynton Payne): 38.5/76/79 = 193.5
5. Te Awamutu Brass (Greg Moverley): 37.5/73/80 = 190.5
6. Levin & Districts Brass (Colin Honey): 38/75/76 = 189

D Grade:

Adjudicator: David Chaulk
Sacred item/Test Piece/Street March = Total

1. Kumeu Brass (Mark Close): 80/79/78 = 237
2. Masterton Brass (Robert Priday): 77/79/80 = 236
3. Matamata Brass (Memorie Brooky): 79/77/77 = 233
4. Rangiora Brass (Keenth Love): 78/75/76 = 229

Youth Grade:

Adjudicator: David Chaulk
Sacred item/Test Piece/Own Choice = Total

1. Takapuna Grammer School Brass (Ted Dawson): 76/79/78 = 233

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