PUSHING BOUNDARIES - How Les Neish is making a successful career of tuba playing

Issue 6011

ON THE BEAT - Gavin Pritchard emphasises the importance of preparation

FRANKLY SPEAKING - Frank Renton discusses the role of conductors


Scottish Challenge Trophy - Live Comments

Friday 16 November, 2018

Full results from Perth:

1 Kingdom Brass (Paul Drury) 1 195

2 Newmilns and Galston (Alan Cameron) 1 193

3 Granite City Brass (Bruce Wallace) 1 188

4 Kilmarnock Concert Brass (Scott Walker) 4 183

5 Clackmannan District Brass (Ross Brotherston) 2 180

6 Dunaskin Doon (Chris Bradley) 1 176

7 Dysart Colliery Silver (Kenny Letham) 3 175

8 Johnstone (Martyn Ramsay) 1 174

9 Newmains and District (Michael Marzella) 3 173

10 St. Ronan's Silver (Kenny Letham) 2 172

11 UNISON Kinneil (Raymond Tennant) 1 171

12 Langholm Town (Chris Shanks) 3 170

13 Penicuik Silver (Iain Fleming) 4 169

14 Arbroath Instrumental (Michael robertson) 1 168

15 Perthshire Brass (George D Annan) 3 165

16 Coalburn Silver (Gareth Bowman) 1 162

17 St. David's Brass (John A Dickson) 2 160

18 Buckhaven and Methil (Andy Shaw) 3 156

19 Barrhead Burgh (Alistair Gibson) 4 155

Best Instrumentalist: David Prentice, cornet, Kingdom Brass

Best 1st Section: Kingdom Brass

Best 2nd Section: Clackmannan District

Best 3rd Section: Dysart Colliery

Best 4th Section: Kilmarnock Concert Brass


A fine end to a fine day of contesting. Several highlights and much for the adjudication team of Jim Davies and Kevin Wadsworth to ponder. A pity that the audience numbers were so low throughout the day, but that's a discussion for another day.

For what it is worth, we would give a tenatative vote to a very impressive Kingdom Brass ahead of Newmilns and Galston, Kinneil, Clackmannan and Granite City. The men in the know will make the decisions soon. We hope you have enjoyed the coverage.


19 Newmilns and Galston (Alan Cameron) Diversions on a Bass Theme (George Lloyd)

Newmilns and Galston round off an excellent day with an excellent display! There are few test pieces of this standard which provide as many opportunities to fall apart - only very briefly did we hear slight hints of incohesion. Excellent trombones and basses. MD does so well here, as does the one-man percussion section - bravo! There is lots to admire here - definitely in the hunt. Star players - bass section.


18 St. Ronan's Silver (Kenny Letham) Kaleidoscope (Philip Sparke)

A beautiful opening from St. Ronan's - a genuine, warm texture to the music, enhanced by an excellent principal cornet. It goes from the sublime to the ridiculous at times though - a quite superb cornet solo preceeiding some painful tuning issues in the middle of the band. Such a pity, as the tuning issues detract throughout an otherwise well-directed performance. Star player - excellent principal cornet.

17 Penicuik (Ian Fleming) Dimensions (Peter Graham)


A safe tempo to start for Penicuik but it doesn't prevent regular intonation problems throughout the early part of the music. The soloists do well, particulatly principal cornet, and there is some admirable, sympathetic accompaniment to the solo lines. Perhaps too many tuning issues and we certainly feel the tempo could be upped a bit throughout. Star player - principal cornet.

16 Langholm Town (Chris Shanks) The Mermaid of Zennor (Philip Harper)


Really enjoyable account this from Langholm Town. MD has put the work in here and the band responds well. Despite some early signs of nerves the band grows in confidence. The 'At the Church' middle movement is really well played, some real quality on show. The final movement is a touch scrappy but a commendable account. Star player - flugel horn.

15 Dysart Colliery (Kenny Letham) Music for a Festival (Philip Sparke)

A second rendition of Music for a Festival and, not unlike the first one, the first movement comes across as a bit loose and frantic. The band settles though - all soloists do well and there's a pleasant lilt to the slower section. There are some definite tuning issues and not all entries are as precise as MD would have liked. Trombones impress as does the well-balanced bass section. Lots of fine playing here. Star players - trombone section.

14 Newmains and District (Michael Marzella) James Cook Circumnavigator (Gilbert Vinter)

A bold choice from Newmains this - so full of traps and pitfalls. Unfortunately, the band falls into a couple of them with disjointed ensemble and split entries. Some fine playing too though, brilliant cornet work and the blend within euphs and barirones is great. MD looks after the band throughout but some overblowing detracts from the whole picture. A tough one for the judges this, errors may be costly. Star player - principal cornet


13 UNISON Kinneil (Raymond Tennat) Blitz (Derek Bourgeois)

A strong challenger from Kinneil, no holding back here as caution is thrown very much to the wind. It has the energy and drive that the music needs. Great attention to detail and the dynamic contrasts of Blitz are there. It is not always as together as it might be but very little wrong with this. Some excellent solo work too, outstanding sop and solo horn. Middle band sounds are particularly strong with Kinneil - adds so much to the texture. Star player - solo horn outstanding.

12 Johnstone (Martyn Ramsay) At the Edge of Time (Ray Steadman-Allen)

Johnstone takes to the stage a couple of cornet players down but the depleted team make a good fist of hiding the fact. Another well directed offering this, MD in full control and the band is in full flow here. Excellent solo efforts from cornet and flugel amongst others. Perhaps another performance which suffers from over-heavy percussion at times but it is a definite contender. Star player - flugel horn

11 Buckhaven and Methil (Andrew Shaw) Dimensions (Peter Graham)

It can often be the case that bands struggle with quiet slow movements while happily skipping through the loud fast stuff in outer movements, such as we find in Dimensions. Not so here, the 30-odd of us who bothered to listen to Buckhaven here were treated to a quite beautiful middle movement which included a superb solo from principal cornet. It was all in context and expertly directed. Unfortunately, the flaws were found at the beginning and end, a tendency to overblow leading to untuneful moments. A pity, lots to admire otherwise. Star player - principal cornet.


Comfort break here in Perth and, after 10 enjoyable peformances, we have Kingdm Brass ahead of Clackmannan and Granite City with some excellent performances close behind. The men whose opinion really matters have now returned to the box so we can announce the second half draw as follows:

11 Buckhaven and Methil

12 Johnstone

13 UNISON Kinneill

14 Newmains and District

15 Dysart Colliery Silver

16 Langholm Town

17 Penicuik Silver

18 St. Ronan's Silver

19 Newmilns and Galston


10 Barrhead Burgh (Alistair Gibson) Music for a Festival (Philip Sparke)


Barrhead gets off to a brisk start here - perhaps too brisk as we lose some of the finer detail. However, the music flows well and the players seem to enjoy it. Euphonium and cornet do well in slow solos and troms cope well with some tricky lines (better than I did back in 1985!). There were some ensemble issues in the middle section, in particular, but the band saves its best for last - a fine closing movement. Star player - flugel horn.

9 Kingdom Brass (Paul Drury) Fraternity (Thierry Deleruyelle)


Kingdom put down a mightily impressive show here - so atmospheric and controlled. This is such a difficult test but the story is told so well under confident direction from MD. The solo lines are (almost all) super but the contributions from principal cornet are simply stunning - bravo! Great contributions from tuned percussion and trombones don't put a foot wrong here. The performance is notable for its lack of slips and clips - so enjoyable, a clear leader for us. Star player - principal cornet.

8 Granite City Brass (Bruce Wallace) Purcell Variations (Kenneth Downie)

The first of only three pieces to be played twice today. A big bold opening, Granite City make a great start - we love the direction here although there are odd slips during the first couple of transitions. The lack of a bass is noticeable in the blend at times but there is some fine ensemble playing. The band shows its strength with a fine, controlled finale. Trombone section comes across as sonorous and balanced and soloists do well, in general. Star player - solo horn.

7 Coalburn Silver (Gareth Bowman) Ouroboros (Todd Smith)

The European premiere of this piece so, a new one on us! The impressive quality of Coalburn lies in the control the MD seems to have over the music and the band. We're not convinced everything is always as it should be but difficult to justify without a score! Some excellent contributions from flugel and cornet in 'laid back' jazz section of the music although beginning of final movement sounds insecure. A brave choice from Coalburn, will be interesting to see what judges think of this. Star player - flugel horn.

6 Kilmarnock Concert Brass (Scott Walker) Divertimento (Brian Kelly)

A good choice from Kilmarnock, Scott Walker goes with a sensible tempo and, after a slightky shaky start, the band settles well. The outer movements are where the band is at its most comfortable in the ensemble playing. However, there are some quite excellent contributions in the inner movements, especially from tenor horn, flugel and soprano - bravo all! Things get a bit disjointed and untuneful at times but this was a great effort, full of committment. Star player - solo horn!!

5 Clackmannan District Brass (Ross Brotherston) Trittico (James Curnow)

A solid defence of the Challenge title from Clackmannan - can it be the first to take the trophy home two years running? The depth of sound is there from the off, bordering on too powerful at times? The band copes well with the intricacies of Curnow's work, plenty of detail coming through. Just occasionally the percussion overpower proceedings but there is some fine music-making here, including a sublime cornet duet. An early leader for us. Star man - solo horn.

4 Perthshire Brass (George D Annan) Hinemoa (Gareth Wood)

Resplendant in highland dress, George Annan leads Perthshire into battle - strong opening, solid cornet team dominate a bit but there is loads of drive here. As music progresses there are some noticeable slips while intonation issues seem to appear in the louder dynamics. Basses add a lot of quality to proceedings and soloists do well. Pity about some overblown lines towards end but enjoyable nonetheless. Star players - bass section.

3 Arbroath Instrumental (Michael Robertson) Purcell Variations (Kenneth Downie)

Another strong, balanced start to proceedsings. Well-played tenor horn lines and only minor slips are heard in ensemble. Not quite so secure during slower, quieter passages and the odd tuning issue appears. Overall though, lots to enjoy with some effective percussion adding to the picture. Cornet section lead the band to a fantastic close. Star players - percussion team.

2 Dunaskin Doon (Chris Bradley) - Tallis Variations (Philip Sparke)

Very first entry not quite together but soon settles with sensible tempo. Strong and well-balanced bass section help cement the colours throughout opening movement. Excellent contributions from soloists, particularly flugel horn - we also detect some fine, tuneful efforts from back row cornets, especially during difficult quiet passages - excellent dynamic effects here. Slight inaccuracies towards finale but notoriously difficult end to the piece is so well played and directed. Star player - flugel horn.

1 St. David's Brass (John A. Dickson) - Fire in the Blood (Paul Lovatt-Cooper)

A fine opening to PLC's ever-popular work. Some tuning issues in middle of the band but this is a well-directed account with some real quality from soloists, especially principal cornet. St. David's dynamic contrasts are excellent throughout while percussion blend well with brass, not always the case in the Perth auditorium. Band tires slightly towards end but this is a fine starter, star player principal cornet.


The draw for the first half of today's contest is as follows:

1 St. David's Brass

2 Dunaskin Doon

3 Arbroath Instrumental

4 Perthshire Brass

5 Clackmannan District

6 Kilmarnock Concert Brass

7 Coalburn Silver

8 Granite City Brass

9 Kingdom Brass

10 Barrhead Burgh


A warm welcome from Perth Concert Hall as the tension builds ahead of today's Band Supplies Scottish Challenge contest.

A total of 19 bands from 1st to 4th Sections are involved today, with 16 different test-pieces for adjudicators Jim Davies and Kevin Wadsworth to enjoy!

The draw for the first ten bands has been made - we will upload as soon as the judges are safely ensconsed in the box.