Taking ‘doux’ around the world

Issue 5961

BB meets cornet virtuoso Harmen Vanhoorne

2017 - the year banding was turned on its head

John Henry Iles - the man who created a dynasty

Butlin's Mineworkers Festival LIVE - Championship Section

Friday 12 January, 2018

Championship Section

Venue: Centre Stage

Section Controller: Mick Veasey

Saturday 13 January

Draw: 11.30am (commences after the 4th Section)

Test-pieces: Contest Music (Wilfred Heaton), The Year of the Dragon (Philip Sparke) or Concerto for Brass Band No.1 (Marcus Venables)

Adjudicators: Paul Holland and Ian Porthouse

Sunday 14 January (Entertainment)

Draw: during the Lower Section

Results Ceremony on Saturday Evening (commences 10.30am)

Adjudicators: Paul Holland and Ian Porthouse (music), Kevin Wadsworth and Paul Andrews (entertainment).

Compere: Frank Renton


Paul Bennett reporting

Saturday Predictions

1. Desford

2. Flowers

3. Virtuosi GUS

4. Redbridge


Summary (Set Test Piece):

Its been a super days performance, listening to the Championship section in Centre Stage, with 5 bands playing Year of the Dragon, 2 performing Contest Music and 1 on Concerto for Brass Band.

All pieces today provided their own individual tests for our competing bands and, at the end of the day, we felt two performances stood heads and shoulders above the rest.

Flowers proved they are well and truly back to their best under the directorship of David Childs, with only Desford pipping them to first place at the half-way stage with an outstanding performance of Heaton’s Contest Music, musically crafted by the excellent Mike Fowles.

Reigning Champions Virtuosi GUS and Jeremy Wise’s Redbridge both had much to admire but for us, left the door slightly ajar.

Tomorrow however, is another day and none of these bands will take anything for granted as we enter the Entertainment stage of the competition on Sunday… 


1. Desford Colliery (LCITWF) (Michael Fowles)
2. Flowers (David Childs)
3. Woodfalls (Robert Childs)
4. Virtuosi GUS (Adam Cooke)
5. Redbridge Brass (Jeremy Wise)
6. Friary Guildford (Chris King)
7. Haverhill Silver (Paul Filby)
8. Jaguar Land Rover (Dave Lea)


Jaguar Land Rover (Dave Lea)

Year of the Dragon (Philip Sparke)

Confident opening marred by slight intonation in cornets. Great tempo and dynamics are used to full effect. Nice dance-like feel to the music and all internal lines flow nicely. Solid end to 1st movement.

2nd movement bursts into life and settles as we enjoy the smooth silky skills of Kevin Lea on Trombone – supremely confident and well supported by band. One of the best trombone solos today on this piece, really enjoyable playing.

Nice touches from Flugel and Cornet, with just the slightest of blips at the start of the pp section, which is well managed. Band displays a rich, enveloping sound with MD in full control of the musical ebbs and flows – really involving stuff here..

Trombone once again excellent on the reprise – great control and super sound, also from Flugel.

Final movement is largely neat, tidy but not without the odd blemish and the occasional dip in Tempo. Excellent technique from muted solo cornet.  

Tour de Force section gives great sounds from back row and a solid finish.

Strong moments and solid direction from MD – bravo Solo Trombone!


Haverhill Silver (Paul Filby)

Year of the Dragon (Philip Sparke)

Opening could be clearer, and the odd errant contribution results in a slightly uneasy opening. The movement settles somewhat to deliver a find and more settled band sound. Again, a few errors appear toward the close of the movement.

Excellent Flugel and band accomp opens the second movement. Trombone delivers a confident rendition of this iconic solo and allows the music to flow, with a more than able accompaniment (nice solo line, Sop).

Again, nice lyrical solo from Flugel – cornet matches this – good to hear the band confident and settled, you really do make a great sound.

The pp is well controlled, balanced and supported – basses make a cracking noise here – bravo!

Well done MD – your shaping of this movement is really nice and you allow the music to flow.

Flug/ Sop duet nearly nailed, just the odd moment but nice work from trombone.

Finale has good band sound – some moments lack control, but style is all there and dynamics are well controlled.

Again, once things settle, this movement has some good confident touches. The run home has a great feel to it and bravo to your man on bass drum!!

Overall a well-directed performance by MD and some great moments - much to commend.


Friary Guildford (Chris King)

Year of the Dragon (Philip Sparke)

Clean, confident opening with foreboding sounds from basses – great use of dynamics but not with the odd moment of insecurity. Nice light dance-like feel to the music. Really solid first movement, well done.

Izzie Daws stars for Friary on Solo Trombone in a movement that is distinctly slower in tempo that others we have heard today, which gives it a melancholy feel to this iconic movement – quiet playing is really quite excellent; balanced, controlled and so very sonorous as the dynamics ebb and flow – such emotion in this showing – absolute masterstroke by the MD!

Some slight intonation issues creep in between Sop and Flugel, solo trom does well once again and leads us safely into a final movement that is again ‘bang on the money’, tempo-wise.

Metronomic solo lines all click together in a neat and tidy fashion, with all detail heard – the relaxed tempo is allowing so much to come out, although it allows for the odd moments to rush. Don’t let it…

The final section is a tour De Force with a great bass sound – overall not without its moments but still much to commend.


5. Redbridge Brass (Jeremy Wise)

Contest Music (Wilfred Heaton)

The second showing of a Heaton classic and it’s a solid confident opening, ensemble tight and just the odd moment of intonation from this fiendish of pieces for the front row cornets.

Good dynamics and bass trombone is displaying some monster sounds! Great rhythmic effects from the band and a semi-clean close to the first movement.

Troms opening the 2nd movement with balance ad precision, accompanying a very competence cornet line – nicely shaped by MD with the occasional blip, but what a Flugel solo, Hrn and Sop too – bravo all! Full sonorous sounds envelop the hall, although as wrong note in muted cornets detracts somewhat.

Cornet is lyrical, great sound and absolutely nails it, even vib on the top note!! Not all tutti lines are clean and some intonation issues arise toward final movements of section, but well shaped nonetheless.

Finale feature fine soloists and an intuitive accompaniment – perhaps could ‘dance’ more, but everything is where it needs to be and band is again enhanced by bass trombone bombs – what a sound!

Fine basses and wonderful clarity from all – this is your best section for me by some way – tight and so rhythmical. Really enjoying the music. Solid close to an enjoyable performance that wasn’t without its moments. Bravo MD and band


4. Virtuosi GUS (Adam Cooke)

Year of the Dragon (Philip Sparke)

Strong, heavy opening but not without notable insecurities across the band. Good band sound in ff passages, but tends to lack clarity in key moments.

Second movement opens with trombone in confident form – nicely phrased and secure. Flugel and cornet lyrically lead us to ppp section that displays the most controlled playing from the reigning champions – nicely worked into ff section, which is sonorous and what a sound indeed, things are clicking into place! The odd moment of insecurity slightly takes the gloss off this movement, but all is forgotten with a barnstorming final movement.

Band is crisp, hungry and really working those semiquavers – rarely do basses get a mention, but some great sounds from these guys today – you’ve earned your beers tonight!

FFF sounds are huge and a highly impressive performance overall – early slips might cost them today…


3. Woodfalls Band (Robert Childs)

Concerto for Brass Band No.1 (Marcus Venables)

Bright, rhythmic opening, not without the odd moment of untidiness, but some great effects and impressive technique from band and individuals alike – great work Sop. Nice solo from Euphonium – indeed this new piece continues with regular solo features for all principle players.

Gradually accel into third movement delivers some excellent ensemble moments, although the odd untidiness tends to creep in from time to time – still lots to admire. We are back to band soloists delivering highly virtuosic moments – there is so much going on in this piece!

This final movement shows off the band at its best – confident, lyrical and the most relaxed throughout the performance.

All in all, a very fine close to a solid performance marred only by its odd moments – well done MD and band.


2. Flowers Band (David Childs)

Year of the Dragon (Philip Sparke)

Clean, well executed opening – razer tight ensemble of a band with great intent on regaining its Butlins title. Excellent rhythmical interplay and all is very clean and shipshape, with delicate touches from Sop and quite excellent dynamic contrasts that contribute to a fine first movement.

Second movement opens well and Solo Trombone introduces in seductive fashion – not without the odd blip, but sound, style and phrasing is great – sensitive accompaniment from Sop and Euph. Elegant sounds from flugel and cornet – band pp is so well controlled – the occasional moment of intonation detracts slightly but build in dynamics releases warm sonorous sounds from band – well phrased by MD and round, no harsh moments. The odd clip detracts but again, Solo Trombone excels – bravo!

Last movement sets off at a great tempo, nothing rushed – all detail is heard from this well-disciplined unit. All solo lines work well. Bells are just right with sensible accompaniment. Sop and solo cornet again, really excellent stuff – this continues to a strong, relentless build and a fine close indeed.

An absolute blockbuster of a performance – bravo MD and band!


 1. Desford Colliery (LCITWF) (Michael Fowles

Contest Music (Wilfred Heaton)

Confident, clean opening, tight ensemble and all lines are heard – there is already a relaxed, assured feel to the music – conductor is giving the music time and space, although the odd clip and moment of intonation from cornets slightly detract. Strong rhythmical pulses and a dark foreboding sound emanates, with a clean & tidy end to the first movement.

Balanced troms and clear, clean cornet lines open the second movement – soloists all excel, particularly solo horn – bravo! So much good work here, with great shaping from the MD. Excellent Sop/ Flug duet lead to a mighty fine solo cornet indeed! Great transparency from the band, all lines are heard and again, so confident and assured to close.

Good soloists start and shock notes from band are crisp and tight. Soloists excel, supported by a find and highly rhythmic accompaniment. Everything is heard and dynamics are so well managed.

Great interplay between cornets, basses et al with tempos again managed so well by MD – nothing rushed.

Great ending to as very well executed performance indeed – bravo MD and band – a strong marker off number 1!