Issue 5970

Egon Virtuosi Brass - An inside story

The Owen Farr Seminar - the first in a monthly series of brass masterclasses by the tenor horn virtuoso

Besses Boys' Band - Celebrating 75 years

Grimethorpe Youth Band feature

LIVE - Scottish Championships - Championship Section

Sunday 12 March, 2017

Adjudicators: Mike Kilroy and Chris Wormald

Test-piece: Pageantry (Herbert Howells)

Gerry Duggan reporting 


1. Whitburn

2. Co-operative Funeralcare

3. Bo'ness and Carriden

4. Dalmellington 

5. Kirkintilloch

6. Bon-Accord Silver

7. Tullis Russell Mills

8. Kirkintilloch Kelvin Brass

9. Kingdom Brass

10. Unison Kinneil 

Best cornet: Whitburn 

Best trombone: Co-operative Funeralcare

Best horn/flugel: Whitburn

Best bass section: Whitburn

Best baritone/euphonium: Baritone, Co-operative Funeralcare

Best bass: Whitburn

Best percussion section: Whitburn


A thoroughly enjoyable afternoon, what a great piece of music. To a large degree, most bands negotiated the outer movements with relative ease, but Cortege proved to be a stumbling block for too many. The Co-op, Whitburn and Kirkintilloch should fight this out (we slightly favour the Co-op) while we really enjoyed Bon-Accord ahead of a few others. Results soon.

In the BB Frame*

1. Co-operative Funeralcare

2. Whitburn

3. Kirkintilloch

4. Bon Accord Silver

5. Dalmellington

6. Kingdom Brass

*NOT the official result!  



1. Kirkintilloch (Phillip McCann)

2. Kingdom Brass (Paul Drury)

3. Unison Kinneil (Colin McKenzie)

4. Kirkintilloch Kelvin (Charles Keenan)

5. Dalmellington (Richard Evans)

6. Whitburn (Professor Nicholas Childs)

7. Tullis Russell (Raymond Tennant)

8. Bon Accord Silver (Stephen Malcolm)

9. Co-operative Funeralcare (Allan Ramsay)

10. Bo'ness and Carriden (David Thornton)


10. Bo'ness and Carriden (David Thornton)

This music is right up Carriden's street and it has an experienced MD who is keeping the lid on any signs of over-exuberance. There's the odd 'moment' here and there but the general flow is really enjoyable - this sounds like a well-rehearsed Carriden band. 

Bo'ness continues in fine style in the Cortege, we hear some unfortunate untuneful chords but, again, the music flows superbly and it is all very, very tidy. We are well impressed with this, great direction from MD.

Having got through the tougher of the movements better than several today there is some disappointing untidiness about the Jousts, it just doesn't quite hold our attention as well as I and II did. However, its another fine end to a great effort from Bo'ness which can be well-pleased with its performance.

9. Co-operative Funeralcare (Allan Ramsay)

This is a Co-operative Funeralcare Band simply determined to retain its title. The opening lines are spectacular and it is hard to find fault anywhere here - a band on a mission. The band sound is humongous but all in context, the cornet ensemble is bang-on and well-balanced troms add to a smashing open mvt.

Great start to Cortege, this movement could really make a difference today, and we think its is. The dynamic range of Co-op is huge and we get our first (and only) real spine-tingling moment from the basses at figure 6 - great stuff. Great soloists here too, the best Cortege of the day.

There's a general excitement about this now, the Co-op is the first to get to this stage in a pretty flawless state. Jimmy Hayes rattles through the fanfare in jig time and then the band just opens out with such well-balanced chords and full, rich colours. It may not find favour with those who matter but it certainly did with us. 

8. Bon Accord Silver (Stephen Malcolm)

We love this approach from Bon Accord, it is really painting a picture and its has power and poise. As good an opening movement as we have heard all day and so well controlled. Troms are bang on the money.

The middle movement is sorting this contest out today and there is just the odd nervous blemish from Bon Accord. The error count is low though, there are beautiful lines here, we love the horns here. 

Bon Accord keep it up in mvt 3 - cornet so close to great fanfare. Loads to enjoy about this, MD's interpretation is spot on for us and Bon Accord could find itself in the hunt.


7. Tullis Russell (Raymond Tennant)

A welcome return to the Championship Section for Tullis Russell and it opens up with a determined gusto. Its not always together though, some entries need more care in lower band but MD is encouraging a fine application of dynamics.

At this level, and with this piece, mistakes are going to be punished and there is a brief domino effect of sclaffed entries which are unfortunate but obvious. Some of the playing is great though - this is such a difficult movement to control and band does well.

Good start to Jousts, but there are too many clips and blips to get into the places. Great to see the application here, a great experience for Tullis.

6. Whitburn (Professor Nicholas Childs)

Such a powerful opening from Whitburn, some of the playing here is simply sublime. Its not without a clip here and there though, you get the feeling there will be a frustration in the band that some magical playing is being tarnished by the odd unforced error.

The same applies in the Cortege, just minor things but they are obvious when everything else is of such a high standard - the contributions from horns and basses are exquisite. We are hearing middle band sounds which have not been apparent earlier, some of this is top-notch.

Bumper-up Lloyd Griffin nails the cornet fanfare and Whitburn is now in full flow - there is a heraldic majesty to the playing in mvt 3, simply excellent, we hear everything. Its going at some lick though - will the judges find favour? The close is excellent but will the earlier flaws cost?

5. Dalmellington (Richard Evans)

A classy start from Dalmellington, so much attention to detail, especially the flawless articulation - a lot of work has gne into this. We feel it was a tiny bit rushed, certainly quicker than everyone else so far but its all there.

The Cortege features some sublime contibutions from tenor horn and principal cornet, this is really well executed, perhaps the best today. MD shows a complete mastery of the music and it closes beautifully, Rebecca Wilson outstanding on cornet.

Fanfare not quite 100% but close, we are hearing plenty of detail, there is a precision here which is most impressive. This could be right up there, most enjoyable. 

4. Kirkintilloch Kelvin Brass (Charles Keenan)

A great opening to KKB's account, we love the MD's control and style here, he gives the band everything. There are slight tuning issues in lower band but there is a lot of commited playing here and the style required is just spot on. 

Unfortunate slips in some solo lines could be costly today and there are a few here which is a pity. Elements of shady tuning reappear at timed but the ensemble is classy as the direction.

We love the MD's transition from mvt 2 to 3, again showing class, and it nearly comes off. The band enjoys the last movment, as do we. A high error count today though.

3. Unison Kinneil (Colin McKenzie)

Not everything sits well at the start of King's Herald but Kinneil soon gain a well-controlled handle on things, the movement growing in stature to a fantastic close, despite the odd inaccuracy.

What a wonderful opening to Cortege from the baritones - bravo! The slightest of untuneful moments take the shine off an otherwise excellent effort, Owen Downs having yet another fine day on soprano. There is a bit of an unforunate slip towards the end but this was well negotiated.

Doesn't quite come off at the start of Jousts but a fine effort. The band is on full power now though and has saved the best until last. This is high quality stuff as the MD drives the band to an excellent close, the ensemble is so tight. Again sop is on top form, MVP here!

2. Kingdom Brass (Paul Drudy)

There is a hint of untunefulness in opening bars of the 1st mvt but band recovers immediately to deliver a fine account, featuring some excellent trombone work and tight-knit ensemble.

There is a nervousness at the start of Cortege which might just detract and Kingdom takes a few bars to settle into a lovely flow. Everything is in its place here and the MD shows great control and poise. There is hesitation right at the end of the movement but a really good account.

There is no nervouseness at the opening of Jousts, Dave Prentice nails the cornet fanfare with a fair degree of panache which sets up a great closing movement. Again trombones are to the fore with some great section work and the band is in full flow. A great finish and so well directed. Just a pity about the insecurities in the Cortege.

1. Kirkintilloch (Phillip McCann)

A great opener from Kirkintilloch - King's Herald is full or drive and purpose. A no holds barred approach and the band responds with gusto. MD in total control here and there is so much to enjoy. The slightest of clips as movement closes but this is overly picky as the playing is top-notch.

A slightly tentative opening to the Cortege but, again, a minor point as the band settles into an excellent interpretation of this beautiful section of music, Rachel Neil making a sumptious contribution on solo horn. This is top class from Kirky, a real return to form.

The opening to Jousts is almost perfect and the band continue in a positive vein with some super-tight ensemble playing and particularly impressive attention to the articulation required to stand out from the crowd. An excellent performance, bravo!



Welcome to our live coverage of the Championship Section at the Scottish Brass Band Championships in Perth. Phillip McCann prepares to guide Kirkintilloch Band through the first of ten Pageantrys.