BERLIN BOUND - Isobel Daws secures place at Karajan Academy

Issue 6125

SCOTTISH FUNDING - SBBA receives Creative Scotland award

CONTEST CANCELLED - West of England Regionals off

CURTAIN RISING - RNCM Festival set for take-off

PUSHED BACK - Australian Nationals postponed

2021 Scottish Challenge: live

Sunday 28 November, 2021

Scottish Challenge 2021 - Live Comments

Test-piece: Own Choice

Adjudicators: Steven Mead, Paul Holland

Helen Douthwaite-Teasdale reporting



1. Kingdom

2. Bathgate

3. Coalburn Silver

4. Johnstone

Best 1st section: Kingdom
Best 2nd section: Lochgelly
Best 3rd section: Dysart
Best 4th section: Kilmarnock

The Anthony Hope Memorial Trophy – Best Horn Section: Kingdom Brass
Best Soloist: Euphonium - Kingdom Brass



With a fantastic variety of test-pieces on show and many solid performances throughout the day, for fun we are going to go with the following prediction:





Dark Horses: Coalburn, Dysart


13. Johnstone Band (Mark Good)

Trittico, James Curnow

A confident opening with excellent full band sound and effective fanfares.  The theme is heard across the band with good blending within the sections.

The scherzo has energy with strong stabs in Trombones, but there is some minor intonation issues in Solo Cornets.

The tranquil is captured with good solo and section contributions. The band produce a warm sound and the Soprano soars.  The cornet duet segment doesn’t quite sync up but the band has rhythm into the third variation.

The cornet section drives the momentum and the bass theme has full sound but ensemble isn’t always together.  The finale has energy with excellent Bass Trombone and enthusiasm across the band.

The band understood the different styles and showcased an excellent band sound, but the performance was not without ensemble and intonation problems.


12. Perthshire Brass (George D Annan)

The Mermaid of Zennor – Philip Harper

The band sets the scene with capturing the swell of the tide in The Sea and Seafaring. Woodblock and basses don’t quite sync but the pulse settles and muted cornet work is effective.

The band transitions well into At the Church and the Solo Euph sound is warm and rich.  There are some slightly tentative entries and ensemble is not always tight.  The final chord is a gentle dynamic but intonation detracts

Percussion, Basses and Bass Trombone lead the Return to the Waves and the band captures the drama well.  Again ensemble isn’t always as tight as it could be but the band show good full sounds to close.

The differing moods of the movements were captured well, with great solo contributions but issues with intonation and ensemble detracted from the overall performance.

Star player – Solo Euphonium


With the unfortunate withdrawal of both Clackmannan and Annan we move now to Band No.12, Perthshire Brass.


9.  Kingdom Brass (Paul Drury)

Metropolis 1927 – Peter Graham

Rhythmic percussion open the work with good technical proficiency shown by Euph and Baris.  Excellent Euphonium solo from front of stage with big sounds from trombones and basses.

Muted cornets signal a change of mood with Flugel and Baritone delivering lyrical lines.  There is some minor intonation issues in basses following a great Eb solo line.

The Cornet and Euph duet is tender and sensitively accompanied by the band.  Tuned percussion and cornets don’t quite sync but the offstage band captures the style.

The music returns to the machine room and the band drives to the finale with an impressive closing chord.

An assured performance with brilliantly delivered solos and energy.  The National Finals 1st section winners are now the band to beat.


8. Kilmarnock Concert Brass (Scott Walker)

Dark Side of the Moon – Paul Lovatt-Cooper

An atmospheric opening portraying the desolate landscape of the moon.  There are some intonation issues between open and muted cornets however the music picks up energy with rhythmic percussion.

The theme is given full sound by the bass end, moving to the more sparse central music in the work.

The cornet solo is delivered with confidence and warmth but there a couple of slips in subsequent melody lines across the band.  Timpani drives but intonation is held notes detracts from the picture.

Cornets deliver precise motives and the band moves into joyful final section, with good teamwork in basses.

A performance with some nice musical moments but tuning and intonation detracted from the bands intentions today.

Star Players - Percussion


7. Coalburn Silver (Gareth Bowman)

The Saga of Haakon the Good – Philip Sparke

Music flows well with warm band sounds with a great trombone section teamwork.

Bells chime and the mood changes, Solo Euphonium produces long lyrical lines.  There is good dynamic contrast and the cornet solo is delivered with confidence.

The section closes with a great cornet and euphonium duet displaying excellent ensembles skills.

The Battle of Rastarkalv has rhythmic drive and drama, with good full band sounds on show.

Viking vocals signal a triumphant finale and a smiling conductor.

This was a great performance from Coalburn which had dynamic contrast and drive.

Star Players – Solo Cornet and Euphonium.


6. Lochgelly (Paul McKelvie)

Journey Into Freedom – Eric Ball

A confident opening with excellent full band sound but ensemble could be tighter.  The band depict the mood well but there is some inaccuracy in solo entries.  The music has intensity and drama.

The cornet solo is rich and lyrical and the section has an excellent contribution from tuba, but the music could flow more.

This movement closes strongly but the Scherzando has inaccuracies and ensemble rocks.  The pulse is established and the band get back on track.

The tuba section theme blends well and the performance closes with a strong final chord.

This was a bit of a mixed bag today from Lochgelly with great band sounds and solo contributions but ensemble and a few blips along the way detracted.


5. Bathgate (Craig Anderson)

Pageantry – Herbert Howells

The opening is dynamic and has brilliance with a great Trombone section sound.  The Bass team lay down the pulse with cornets showcasing their technical dexterity.  The ensemble is precise and the band negotiate the tempos well throughout

Cortege is a little tentative to start but the band is soon back on track with a confident, beautiful melody on Solo Horn.  The main theme is lush, but there is some minor intonation issues.  Solo Cornet and Soprano shine as the movement closes but again intonation creeps in.

The fanfare opening is confident in Solo Cornet and melodic lines in Euphonium project well.  This movement really allows to band sound to shine as the Joust comes to a rousing conclusion.

A very strong performance of this classic test piece that is sure to be in the running, with excellent contributions from Solo Cornet and Soprano.


4. Dysart Colliery Silver (Kenneth Letham)

Music for a Festival – Philip Sparke

An energetic and dynamic opening with the main theme coming across strongly.  There are some minor intonation issues in the fanfares.  Percussion is driving but the ensemble is not always tight.

Horns and Flugel deliver lyrical lines with confident contributions from Euphonium and Solo Cornet.  Principal Cornet leads the quartet section well and there is some great cornet teamwork on display.

Intonation between Euphonium and Trombone detracts from the musical lines, disrupting the tranquillity of the mood.

Percussion is explosive and the closing finale fanfares have drama with great Soprano effort.

A performance with excitement and energy but not without its intonation issues.  A really good showing from Dysart today.


3. Granite City Brass (Bruce Wallace)

The Land of the Long White Cloud – Philip Sparke

The piece opens with excellent band sounds, soaring Soprano and well blended Euph/Baris.  Chiming bells are accompanied by sonorous band sounds.  The musicians are really in control.

The Molto Vivace has energy with excellent contributions from Euphonium and Soprano and precise syncopations.  The Larghetto has warm, lyrical Soprano and Solo Cornet lines with a rich Flugel solo.

The accelerando could have been tighter in ensemble but the band create an exciting fugue and again excellent full band sounds are on display.  A really solid performance!

Star player - Soprano


2. Regent Brass (Alan Duguid)

Refrains and Cadenzas – Thomas Wilson

A kilted conductor leads the North London band in an atmospheric opening with excellent ensemble on show. Good full band sound are on display with excellent solo horn.

There are confident solo contributions across the band accompanied by precise entries.  The band really understand how lets the silence in the music speak, understanding the style.

Muted cornets add colour and sound the alarm leading to an understated close.

An interesting account of this work written for Cheltenham Festival back in 1973, which will certainly give the adjudicators food for thought

Star player – Solo Euphonium


1.      Broxburn & Livingston (Alistair Gibson)

Sword, Jewel and Mirror –Philip Harper

The band invite us on a journey to discover the three sacred treasures of Japan, which collectively make up the Imperial Regalia.

The band open in a blaze of light for Hinoiri (Sunset) with muted cornets cutting well through the texture.  As the sun sets we dream of ancient, mythical Japan with lyrical lines from Repiano and Solo Cornet.

Kusanagi (Sword) had rhythmic percussion on display and excellent rich sounds from Bass Trombone.  The horn team blended well and there was effective use percussion and vocals to portray the eight-headed serpent

Uzume’s Dance has rhythmic precision but percussion parts could be more defined.  As the band accelerates some moments of intonation creep in.  The band captures a more reflective atmosphere well but unison entries could have been tighter

Hinode (Sunrise) has good pulse and cymbal rolls lead the band to a full blooded final chord.

A great start to today’s proceedings capturing the spirit of Japanese legends.



Good morning and welcome to this the second day of the Scottish Festival of Brass in Perth.