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The Brass bulletin #3

Friday 21st January 2022

From festivals to radio appearances, here are this week's top stories from the banding world.

So grab a brew (or a tipple, it is Friday after all!) and dive into this week's edition of The Brass Bulletin!




RNCM Brass Band Festival Returns

After 2 long years, the RNCM Brass Band Festival is back!

Audiences will be able to enjoy 2 full days of fantastic brass band music performed by some of the country's best bands, alongside youth ensembles and RNCM student musicians.

Although the event has been given the go-ahead, Covid-19 has caused a little disruption along the way, resulting in a revised lineup and the event beginning on Saturday 29th January, rather than Friday 28th.

Cory Band and Foden's Band have both, sadly, withdrawn from the event, along with American Trumpet Star, Rex Richardson, but without a doubt, it will be worth the wait to see them in the 2023 event.

However, Sunday's event will be bolstered by a performance from the WFEL Fairey Band, who have stepped in at the last minute to fill Cory's slot.

It looks to be a fantastic weekend of music and if you're wondering what musical delights you can expect to enjoy, here is the programme for the RNCM Brass Band Festival

Saturday 29th January 2022

RNCM Brass Band | 11:00am | RNCM Concert Hall

Featured Soloist: Justine Gormley - Piano

Conductor: David Thornton


  • 'Four Minute Mile' - Judith Bingham

  • Piano Concerto - Bill Connor

  • 'Chrome' - Errollyn Wallen

  • 'Four Scottish Dances - Malcolm Arnold

Young Musicians Showcase | 1:30 pm | RNCM Theatre

This session, presented by Dr Jennie Henley (RNCM's Director of Programmes) and Philip Goodwin (RNCM Engage Senior Tutor), will showcase the work of the RNCM Engage Project.

The project brings RNCM student ensembles and local youth brass bands together to inspire the next generation of brass band players.

Saturday's programme will feature young musicians from:

  • Astley Youth Band

  • Stockport Schools Band

  • Wirral Youth Band

Tredegar Town Band | 3:00 pm | RNCM Concert Hall

Featured Soloist: Peter Moore - Trombone

Conductor: Ian Porthouse


  • 'Flourish for Brass' - Ralph Vaughan Williams

  • 'English Folk Song' - Ralph Vaughan Williams

- 1. March: Seventeen Come Sunday

- 2. Intermezzo: My Bonny Boy

- 3. March : Folk Songs from Somerset

  • 'Shift' (Trombone Concerto No.1) - Simon Dobson

  • 'Rhosymedre (from Three Preludes founded on Welsh Hymn Tunes) - Ralph Vaughan Williams (arr. Paul Hindmarsh)

  • 'These Are Our Footsteps' - Judith Bingham

  • 'Variations for Brass Band' - Ralph Vaughan Williams

Junior RNCM Brass Band | 4:45pm | RNCM Theatre

Conductors: Les Neish, Juan Ortuno


  • 'With a Little Help From My Friends' - Lennon & McCartney (arr. Leigh Baker)

  • 'Concert Overture' - Harry White

  • 'Tree Song' - Gavin Higgins

  • 'Rebellion' - Simon Dobson

  • 'Blackbird Special' - Gregory Davis (arr. Reid Gilje)

Black Dyke Band | 7:30pm | RNCM Concert Hall

Featured Soloist: Brett Baker - Trombone

Conductor: Nicholas Childs

  • 'A Fantasy of Joy' - Fredrick Schjelderup

  • 'Four Cornish Dances' - Malcolm Arnold

  • 'Beethoven' - Philip Wilby

  • 'The Royal Border Bridge' - Arthur Butterworth

  • 'The Light Fantastic (commissioned by Brett Baker)

  • 'Heroes' - Bruce Broughton

Sunday 30th January

Grimethorpe Colliery Band | 11:00am | RNCM Concert Hall

Conductor: David Thornton


  • Overture: 'Henry the Fifth'

  • 'Innovation' - Liz Lane

  • 'Sinfonietta: At the Edge of Time' - Ray Steadman-Allen

  • 'Elegy (In Memoriam Gerard Schurmann) - Jack Stamp

  • 'Caledonian Suite' - Buxton Orr

2022 John Golland Award Final | 1:30pm | RNCM Theatre

Students from the RNCM will perform works for brass ensemble written by the finalists of the 6th John Golland Award for Young Composers.

Shortlisted works:

  • 'Scherzo Piccolo (for Brass Sextet)' - Joel Kirk

  • 'Pavan (for Brass Quintet)' - Joe Bloom

  • 'Willow (for Brass Quintet)' - Alice Brookes

WFEL Fairey Band | 3:00pm | RNCM Concert Hall

Conductor: Adam Cooke

  • 'Little Suite No. 1' - Malcolm Arnold

  • 'Pilgrim Variations' - Wilfred Heaton

  • 'Penlee' - Simon Dobson

  • 'A Moorside Suite' - Gustav Holst

  • 'Padstow Lifeboat' - Malcolm Arnold

Brass Bands England Presentation | 4:45pm | Carole Nash Recital Room

Join Sarah Baumann (Education and Development Manager at Brass Bands England), who will outline BBE's youth strategy and update on the progress of their national project with youth brass bands and school children.

Brighouse and Rastrick Band | 6:30pm | RNCM Concert Hall

Conductor: Professor David King


  • March: 'Pelorus Jack' - Alexander Owen

  • Suite: 'The Unfortunate Traveller' - Imogen Holst

  • 'Prelude on Randolph' - Ray Steadman-Allen

  • 'Meditation on Aberystwyth' - Wilfred Heaton

  • 'Paganini Variations' - Philip Wilby

For more information about the 2022 RNCM Brass Band Festival, check out the dedicated web page here:


Trio of Learning Workshops from SBBA

The Scottish Brass Band Association have announced 3 online learning workshops that are designed to help bands prosper in the new 'post-Covid' musical landscape.

The workshops will take place online on Sunday 30th January and are FREE.

What Makes Banding Work? - Reasons for Optimism

11:30 am - 12:30 pm

Renowned trumpet soloist and Queens Medal For Music recipient, John Wallace, will share his passion for all things brass.

Register here.

I've Been a Volunteer All This Time, How Come Nobody Told Me?

12:30 - 1:30 pm

Allen Stevenson, CEO of Volunteer Scotland will talk about the power of volunteering, especially when combined with music, to shape individual, local communities.

Register here.

Picking Up the Baton - A Workshop for New and Aspiring Conductors

1:30 - 2:30 pm

Learn how to conduct from scratch - a workshop for all ages led by musical directors Gareth Bowman and Stuart Black.

Register here.


Gregson is Composer of the Week

Legendary composer, Edward Gregson will be featured as 'Composer of the Week' on BBC Radio 3 in February.

From Monday 14th February, five daily programmes will be broadcast from noon which will feature Gregson's music alongside the music of Alan Bush, who taught Edward from 1964-1967.

The programmes will take the listener on a journey through Edward's musical life and will include pre-recorded interviews with the composer himself.

Alongside two of his major brass band works - Symphony in Two Movements' (performed by Black Dyke Band) and Connotations (performed by Grimethorpe Band), a number of his symphonic, solo and ensemble works will also be featured.


WMC Kerkrade Draw Announced

The draw for the open-adjudication own-choice section of the brass band contest event at the 2022 World Music Contest in Kerkrade has been announced.

At this stage, there are two blank positions for potential representatives from the UK and Norway, which will be announced at a later date.

The Draw for the Own-Choice Concert Division contest, which will be held on Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th July 2022 is as follows:

Concert Division

Roda Hall

1:00pm - Brassband Schoonhoven (The Netherlands)

1:55pm - Brassband Willebroek (Belgium)

2:50pm - Blank - TBC (UK)

3:45pm - James Madison University Brass Band (USA)

4:40pm - Hauts-de-France Brass Band (France)

5:35pm - Blank - TBC (Norway)

6:30pm - Immortal Brass Eternally (Japan)

7:25pm - Valaisia Brass Band (Switzerland)

The draw for the set work element of the contest will be held on Friday 8th July 2022.

The draws for the set-work element of the other sections within the brass band contest have also been made:

First Division - Sunday 10th July

Roda Hall

Test Piece: Tallis Variations by Philip Sparke

11:00am: Mercator Brass Band (Belgium)

11:55am: Brassband Pro Rege Heerenveen (The Netherlands)

12:50pm: United Harriet Colliery Band (Germany)

1:45pm: L'Ensemble de Cuivres Ambitus (Switzerland)

2:45pm: Flixton Band (England)

3:40pm: Brass Band Merum (Belgium)

4:35pm: Brassband Bacchus (Belgium)

5:30pm: Regent Brass (England)

Second Division - Sunday 10th July

Kerkrade Theatre

Test piece: Entertainments (Gilbert Vinter)

10:00am: Brassband Panta Rhei (Belgium)

10:50am: Brass Band Schoonhoven B (The Netherlands)

11:40am: Gereformeerde Brassband Groningen (The Netherlands)

12:30pm: Brassband Kempenzonen (Belgium)

1:20pm: Brassband Gloria Dei (The Netherlands)

2:10pm: Martini Brass Band (The Netherlands)

3:00pm: Euphonia Wolvega (The Netherlands)

3:50pm: Brassband Excelsior Ferwert (The Netherlands)

4:40pm: Lewis Merthyr Band (Wales)

Third Division - Saturday 9th July

Kerkrade Theatre

Test piece: Albinos Variations (Etienne Crausaz)

10:00am: United Brass (Belgium)

10:45am: Brassband Hombeek (Belgium)

11:30am: Brass Band Aukstyn (Lithuania)

This is an incredible event that combines contests across different musical ensembles, including brass, marching and fanfare bands.

Live coverage of the contest will be streamed by IBB Media.

Check out an overview of the contest here.


National Youth Brass Band Championships of Great Britain Line-Up Announced

More contest news, this time we're looking at the return of the 'Youth Champs', which will be held at Corby Business Academy on Saturday 26th and Sunday 27th March.

31 bands are due to take part, which is 3 more than the last event in 2019.

Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased here.

The event will kick off with the Elementary Section at 10.55 on Saturday 26th March and conclude with the Championship Section results at 6:45pm on Sunday 27th March.

The Draw is as follows:

Saturday 26th March 2022


10:55am: Firth Park Academy Brass Band

11:20am: Lions Junior Brass

11:45am: Dobcross Youth Intermediate Band

12:20pm: Results Ceremony

Besson Prodige Debut

1:10pm: Birkwood Brass

1:30pm: Wantage Youth Brass

1:50pm: Macclesfield Training & Junior Bands

2:10pm: Hounslow Junior Brass Band

2:30pm: Summerwood and Fair Field Primary Schools

2:50pm: Lions Development Band

3:10pm: Amersham Brass Roots

3:50pm: Tewit Youth Junior Band

4:10pm: Cherry Tree Primary School

4:30pm: St Ignatius College Brass Band

4:50pm: Amersham Youth Band

5:10pm: Milton Keynes Young Brass Hoppers

5:30pm: Enderby Youth Band

5:50pm: Boughton Band

6:20pm: Results Ceremony

Sunday 27th March


10:20am: Elland Silver Training Band

10:50am: Tewit Youth Intermediate Band

11:30am: Results Ceremony


12:30pm: Dobcross Youth Band

1:00pm: Tewit Youth Senior Band

1:30pm: Lancashire Youth Brass Band

2:00pm: Oldham Music Centre Youth Brass Band

2:30pm: Astley Youth Band

3:00pm: Cardiff County and Vales of Glamorgan Youth Brass Band

3:45pm: Macclesfield Youth Brass Band

4:15pm: Lions Youth Brass

4:45pm: St Helens Youth Brass Band

5:15pm: Northamtonshire County Youth Brass Band

5:45pm: Barnet Youth Brass Band

6:15pm: Youth Brass 2000

6:45pm: Results Ceremony

Day Ticket Prices:

Adults: £12.50

Ages 12-16: £7.50

Under 12s: £4.50

Weekend Ticket Prices:

Adults: £15.00

Ages 12-16: £9.00

Under 12s: £5.00

Tickets can be purchased from the BBE Events page here.

Tickets purchased will be collected from the desk at the entrance on the day of the contest.


BrassPass to Stream Unibrass Championship

The Unibrass Championship is back on Saturday 5th February at the University of Sheffield.

More than 20 bands are due to take part across two sections, Unibrass Trophy and Unibrass Shield.

Each band will be performing a 20-minute programme, which viewers will be able to enjoy, either live or on-demand, for £5.

For information about accessing the broadcast click here.


BBE to Host ONE-OFF Special Webinar

Brass Bands England have partnered with Arts Fundraising and Philanthropy for a special, one-off webinar.

The hour-long session held on Tuesday 1st February will focus on building effective supporter schemes and has been tailored to the needs of brass bands during this time of recovery.

Within the hour, participants will find out everything they need to know about supporter schemes with key content including:

  • Key trends emerging in fundraising, marketing, and audience development, based on real-life findings and research

  • How the above impacts the behaviour of individual donors to join a supporters scheme

  • The main types of supporter scheme and the benefits and challenges of each approach

  • Some examples of brass band schemes, which are successful, next steps and key takeaways

  • A unique opportunity to ask questions to an organisation specialising in fundraising for arts organisations of all shapes and sizes.

At the end of the session, there will be FREE fundraising resources made available exclusively to attendees.

The event is free if you are a BBE member or £10 for non-members.

Find out more about the event and register for your place here.


Sheona Wade Appointed New Chairperson of AoBBA

Following their recent AGM, the Association of Brass Band Adjudicators has released the details of their newly elected Executive Committee, most notably the appointment of Sheona Wade as their new Chairman.

Speaking to 4barsrest about her new appointment, Sheona said: 'I'm delighted to take on the role and I'm really looking forward to it.'

Sheona went on to thank Mark Wilkinson for his 'outstanding leadership' as he steps down after three years as Chairperson, as well as thanking both David Hirst and Simone Rebello for their 'hard work and invaluable input', as they step down from their roles as members of the executive committee.

Mark will remain a member of the Executive Committee.

Following the AGM, members took part in a professional development session, which covered aspects of adjudication in context and sharing ideas on comparing contest performances.

The AoBBA's adjudicator training scheme is also going from strength-to-strength, with 6 trainee adjudicators successfully completing the programme over the last 2 years and 9 who are currently on the programme.


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