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National Youth Championships gain an extra Sparke

Brass Bands England announce Philip Sparke's 'Saint-Saens Variations' will test the Championship Section bands at the 2020 National Youth Championships of Great Britain.

  The 2020 Youth Championships retains the successful format pioneered in 2019

Brass Bands England (BBE) has announced the set-work for the Championship Section of the 2020 National Youth Brass Band Championships.

The competing bands will perform 'Saint-Saens Variations' by Philip Sparke on Saturday 28 March at the Magna Science Adventure Centre in Sheffield, with the overall competition format remaining unchanged following its successful introduction at Warwick School this year.


BBE Chief Executive Officer Kenny Crookston told 4BR: "Originally composed for the Fourth Section of the 2010 Regional Championships, 'Saint-Saens Variations' has remained a popular concert and contesting choice for youth and lower section bands, and we are confident that it will provide an enjoyable and musically rewarding challenge for the bands.

We are grateful to our selection panel of Mark Bousie, Philip Harper, Lucy Pankhurst and Ian Porthouse for their valuable input in selecting the test-piece and look forward to receiving further guidance from them in the years ahead."

New work for 2021

He added: "We also hope to soon announce a new work by a young composer for the 2021 Youth Championships, so the next few events promise to be very rewarding for participants in the Championship Section.

We've been delighted with the reaction to the widespread changes made for the 2019 event and following an in-depth review we can confirm that the same format will be used in 2020."

We've been delighted with the reaction to the widespread changes made for the 2019 event and following an in-depth review we can confirm that the same format will be used in 2020BBE CEO Kenny Crookston

Competing categories

Debut Section:

12 years and under.

Bands will perform for 10 minutes with no set-work and can choose to play whatever they like.

As this section is about being inclusive, trumpets, French horns, plastic instruments and some adult help is allowed.

Bands will gain adjudicators' feedback only and each player will receive a memento of the occasion.

Elementary Section:

14 years and under.

Bands will perform a programme not exceeding 15 minutes, which must include one original piece of music for brass band and two verses of a hymn from the '120 Hymn Tunes for Brass Bands'.

Bands may have assistance from up to two adult helpers in their performance and non-standard instruments from the brass or percussion family are allowed.

Intermediate Section:

Bands will perform a 20-minute programme, which must include an original brass band work of at least 7 minutes duration. Non-standard instruments from the brass or percussion family are allowed.

Championship Section:

Bands will each perform a 20-minute programme which must include the test-piece 'Saint-Saens Variations' by Philip Sparke. Non-standard instruments from the brass or percussion family are allowed.

Further details

Full details of how to enter the 2020 Youth Champs will be available from September and further announcements will be made on the BBE website at www.bbe.org.uk

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Jack Capstaff

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Conductor | Composer