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The Brass Bulletin #4

Updated: Feb 4, 2022

Friday 28th January 2022

Competitions, premieres and the claiming of a prestigious position in the Berlin Philharmonic - here's 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!




International Success for ISobel Daws

Trombone superstar, Isobel Daws, has won the prestigious Karajan Academy position at the Berlin Philharmonic.

The Karajan Academy was founded to provide an exclusive platform for graduate musicians to receive the best preparation for starting a career as a professional musician and quite a few of the current musicians from the Berlin Philharmonic are former Academy students.

Isobel has already proven herself as an outstanding musician, with many soloist awards to her name and this new international opportunity is an incredible achievement, with Academy places being highly sought after.

Isobel will be moving to Berlin in four weeks and explained that she is 'excited (but very scared)' about the move, in her announcement on social media, where she also thanked her teachers and received many a deserved congratulatory message from the banding community.

I would like to take this opportunity to say congratulations to Isobel and best of luck in your new musical adventure (not that you need it!) - enjoy!


West of England regionals Cancelled

It was announced this week that, unfortunately, the West of England Area Championships, which were due to take place on the 12th & 13th March in Torquay, have been cancelled.

The WEBBA were forced to cancel the event due to the venue (the Riviera International Conference Centre) having to remain as an NHS vaccination centre.

It is understood that WEBBA were told that the venue would return to normal use at the end of February 2022, meaning that the event could go ahead, but the decision was reversed without much prior notice and the venue is to continue being used as a vaccination centre until mid-summer.

Although alternative venues have been explored as a replacement, due to the short time frame and any suitable venue either being booked or not financially viable, WEBBA had to reluctantly cancel the event.

If individuals do have suggestions for feasible alternatives, they should contact association representatives to explore the option further.


Welsh Open to Go Ahead

It isn't all doom and gloom on the contest front, as with Covid-19 restrictions being reversed to the lowest level in Wales, the 24th Welsh Open Contest will be going ahead.

The entertainment contest will take place at the Riverfront Theatre in Newport on Sunday 20th February 2022.

The day's proceedings will begin at 11 am, with Dr. Robert Childs adjudicating and a separate entertainment prize to be awarded by David Francis (writer of the Brass Notes column).

Competing Bands:
  • AW Parker (Drybrook)

  • BTM Band

  • Brunel Brass

  • City of Cardiff (M1)

  • Ebbw Valley Brass

  • Filton Concert Brass

  • Forest of Dean Brass

  • Lewis Merthyr

  • Markham & District

  • Parc & Dare

  • Pontardulais Town

  • SW Comms

  • Tonguinlais Temperance

  • Tylorstown

Tickets for the event can be purchased here.


Harper Transforming Futures with New Work

Image by Ian Clowes - Goldy Solutions

The Cory Band's Musical Director and well-known composer/arranger, Philip Harper is set to conduct a premiere of his new work for orchestra and choir.

The piece is called 'Transforming Futures' and will be performed by the students of the Centre for Music, University of the West of England (UWE) Bristol Orchestra and UWE Bristol Singers.

The premiere of Philip's new work will form the centerpiece of a special concert held at the UWE Bristol Centre for Music on Wednesday 16th March at 8pm.

The piece will feature a libretto by Ellie Potts, a Creative and Professional Writing Student at the university.

'Transforming Futures' is dedicated to the story of Isambard Kingdom Brunel, one of the most prolific engineers in history, who is closely linked to Bristol through his design of the iconic Clifton Suspension Bridge.

The piece will help to celebrate the launch of the university's ambitious strategy for 2030 (also called Transforming Futures), by telling Brunel's story, the impact he had on Bristol and how we can be inspired to work together to build a better future.

Find out more about this event and the piece here.


Weston Conductor's Competition

Six talented conductors will be competing in the NYBBGB Weston Conductor's Competition on Saturday 29th January at De Montfort School, Evesham.

The Finalists
  • Chris Binns

  • Anna Beresford

  • Leon Franzten

  • Derrick Morgan

  • Enyi Okpara

  • Lewis Wilkinson

The Challenge

20 minutes to work on one of three classic marches:

  • Mephistopheles

  • Knight Templar

  • The Cossack

  • Dr. Robert Childs

  • Capt. Sam Hairsine RM

  • Martyn Brabbins, Musical Director of English National Opera

The Prize

The winner will claim the opportunity to work as an Associate Conductor alongside Martyn Brabbins on the NYBBGB summer residential course, as well as conduct a work at the end of the course concert and receive a fee of £500.

Find out more and purchase tickets here.


Whitburn celebrating 150 years

Whitburn Band should have been celebrating their 150th anniversary in 2020, but due to the pandemic, they've had to put the plans for a special commemorative concert on hold.

However, the rescheduled concert will be going ahead on Saturday 5th February at Howden Park Centre in Livingston.

Trumpet star, Mike Lovatt, who is known for playing with the John Wilson Orchestra, as well as performing on the James Bond, Harry Potter and Avengers: Endgame soundtracks, will also be performing in the concert.

It's set to be a night to remember and definitely one worth waiting for.

Find out more about the concert and how to purchase tickets here.


Flora Brass Growing New Talent

Flora Brass, a student ensemble from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama have linked-up with Shipston Town Band and Brass Bands England to inspire young people to take up a brass instrument.

Working with BBE's Development Officer, Shelia Allen, the team have arranged visits to local primary schools in their area, as part of the BBE Brass Foundations Programme.

Concerts included music to inspire their young audience, including 'How to Train Your Dragon' and the Disney classic 'The Bear Necessities'.

Their efforts haven't gone unrewarded, as a number of parents have already contacted the band to find out how their children can get involved.


Free VAT Advice for Brass Bands

Brass Bands England have teamed up with experts from to bring a free information session to brass bands.

The webinar will take place on Monday 14th March at 7pm and will explore the various elements of cultural exemption, as well as other financial benefits that can be accessed by bands.

Here is the programme for the webinar, which is free to both BBE members and non-members:

  • Reclaiming VAT on expenditure

  • VAT + ticket sales

  • Implications for grants, sponsorships and donations

  • Cultural exemption - what constitutes a cultural service?

  • Exemption for education and training

  • What can go wrong? - how to avoid mistakes

  • Important considerations for submission to HMRC

The session will be led by VAT consultant and expert, Les Howard.

To find out more and book your place on the webinar click here.


That’s All Folks!

Well, that wraps up this week’s edition of The Brass Bulletin - you’re up to date!

Let’s see what next week brings!


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