PITCHING HIGH - Trumpet superstar Mike Lovatt talks exclusively to British Bandsman

Issue 5978


GRIP, GRIN... GROAN! - Brass band presentation ceremonies - are they still relevant?

THE GREAT TRIUMVIRATE - In the last of the series, Tim Mutum looks at the life and times of Alex Owen 

Houghton at the double in Durham

Thursday 10 August, 2017

The Durham County Brass Band Association (DCBBA) was blessed by a warm but windy day for its Picnic in the Park Entertainment Contest, held in the grounds of Durham’s Houghall College before a large and enthusiastic audience on Sunday 2 July. Bands performed their programmes in three sections, with the adjudicator Anne Crookston commenting that the overall standard had been very high. She also praised the youth bands in particular for the enthusiasm and sense of fun with which they had entered their performances, but also offered advice to bands in the adult sections on programme choice, the lack of balance in which had been an issue for some of the bands.

The Youth Section was won in considerable style by Houghton Area Youth Band, conducted by Glenis Smith in a programme that comprised Eastern Isles (from Tales of the High Seas), Concierto de Aranjuez (flugel solo), African Funk, 12th Street Rag (arr. Jack Peberdy) and And All That Jazz (arr. Frank Bernaerts). Glenys Smith also led the other contender in this section, Hetton Lyons Primary School, which showed great commitment in a performance that was marked by the performance of ten year-old solo horn player Eve Wardle, whose playing (with considerable aplomb from memory) in Banks of the Ohio won her the award for best soloist. 

Section B (3rd and 4th sections) was won by Ferryhill Town Band (Andrew Hall) with its programme - Prismatic Light (Alan Fernie), A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square (arr. Snell), The Contestor (T.J. Powell), Dear Lord and Father of Mankind and the Finale from Faust. Ferryhill’s trombone soloist Peter King won the prize for best soloist for his stylish performance of A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square, while the band also secured the best march prize. There was also praise for the performance of a resurgent Lanchester Band under its recently-appointed conductor Gareth Sykes. 

In addition to the youth award, the Houghton Brass organisation scooped the top prize on the day in Section A (1st and 2nd sections). The march Simoraine (Clive Barraclough) got the winning programme underway, followed by Goff Richards’ Pastorale, the euphonium solo Springtime, for which soloist James Wright was awarded the prize for the best of the day, The Lincolnshire Poacher (arr. Derek Broadbent) and concluding with Brass Blues (Goff Richards). NASUWT Concert Band won the prize for best march with its performance of On the Quarter Deck.

Speaking on behalf of the DCBBA, High Stephenson commented: “It was yet another fantastic day of contesting here in Durham, with a very large audience being well entertained by players of all ages in a lovely setting.”

The DCBBA’s committed team, led by Mavis Lloyd and also including long-serving compere George Bramfitt (Life President), made sure the event ran like clockwork and that all present were suitably refreshed during what were often challenging conditions as the wind affected a number of the performances. It was, though, an immensely enjoyable event that clearly holds considerable attraction for the banding community in the north east of England. 



Full results

Section A (1st and 2nd sections)

  1. Houghton Brass (Neil Gibson)
  2. NASUWT Concert (Andy Hunter)
  3. Durham Miners Association (Stuart Gray)
  4. Bearpark and Esh Colliery (Phillip Tait)

Best 2nd Section Band: Houghton Brass

Best Soloist: James Wright, euphonium, Houghton Brass

Best March: NASUWT Concert


Section B (3rd and 4th sections)

  1. Ferryhill Town (Andrew Hall)
  2. Lanchester (Gareth Sykes)
  3. Craghead Colliery (Jack Dodds)

Best March: Ferryhill Town

Best Soloist: Peter King, trombone, Ferryhill Town

Best 4th Section Band: Lanchester


Youth Section

  1. Houghton Area Youth (Glenis Smith)
  2. Hetton Primary School (Glenis Smith)

Best Soloist: Eve Wardle, horn, Hetton Lyons Primary School

Best March: Houghton Area Youth

Adjudicator: Anne Crookston


Winning soloist Peter King of Ferryhill receives his award



The sun shines in Durham!


James Wright of Houghton during his solo

Anne Crookston presents a delighted Eve Wardle of Hetton Lyons with her award