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The Festival of Brass 2015

It’s a brand new year and with it comes an invigorated band having just made their first appearance of the year at the annual Festival of Brass event. The festival was held in the newly renovated concert hall at the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) in Manchester and ran over the last weekend in Janurary. A full review of the band’s performance from 4barsrest can be found here.


Many thanks to Steve Probert for the above photo (the full gallery can be found here).

This years guest soloist was the internationally renowed performer and euphonium tutor Steven Mead. He had chosen to play the fiendishly difficult ‘Diamond Concerto’ (video here) written for him by Philip Sparke. Live recordings are available below:


Percy Fletcher – The Spirit of Pageantry
Edric Cundell – Blackfriars
Philip Sparke – Diamond Concerto for Euphonium and Band (Steven Mead)
Ernest Farrar (arr Richmond) – Heroic Elegy
Herbert Howells – Pageantry
Maurice Johnstone – Beaufighters


Brass in Concert 2014

venue_sageThe 38th Brass in Concert Championships were held this weekend with a strong return to form from the band after last year’s placing. As well as coming fourth overall the band’s bass trombone player Josh Cirtina was presented with the Don Lusher Trombone Award for his fantastic rendition of ‘In the Hall of the Mountain King’. This solo will feature on the band’s upcoming CD being released in early 2015. Another two pieces from the band’s program, ‘Nefarious’ and ‘The Land of Make Believe’ (with thanks to Jim Fieldhouse for his composing and arranging skills) will also be featured.

Full Results

1. Grimethorpe Colliery (Dr Robert Childs): 1(60pts)/3(54)/1(40)/2(19)/4(17) = 190
2. Cory (Philip Harper): 3(54)/1(60)/6(30)/4(17)/3(18) = 179
3. Tredegar (Ian Porthouse): 7(42)/2(57)/4(34)/5(16)/1(20) = 169
4. Fairey (Garry Cutt): 2(57)/4(51)/8(26)/6(15)/5(16) = 165
5. Flowers (Paul Holland): 4(51)/6(45)/3(36)/11(10)/7(14) = 156
6. Foden’s (Allan Withington): 6(45)/5(48)/7(28)/1(20)/8(13) = 154
7. Brass Band Schoonhoven (Erik Janssen): 8(39)/8(39)/5(32)/3(18)/2(19) = 146
8. Leyland (Richard Evans): 5(48)/7(42)/11(20)/7(14)/6(15) = 139
9. Carlton Main Frickley Colliery (Leigh Baker): 10(33)/10(33)/2(38)/10(11)/9(12) = 127
10. Brass Band of Central Florida (Chad Shoopman): 9(36)/9(36)/10(22)/12(9)/11(10) = 112
11. Woodfalls (Ray Farr): 11(30)/11(30)/9(24)/8(13)/10(11) = 108
12. Virtuosi GUS (Adam Cooke): 12(27)/12(27)/12(18)/9(12)/12(9) = 93

BBC Radio 2’s ‘Listen to the Band’ recently featured two of the band’s performances from the day, which can be listened to below. First is ‘The Witch of the Westmerlands’ featuring Solo Baritone player Rob Richardson and Principal Cornet Paul Hughes. Second is Benjamin Tubb’s ‘Danse Macabre Variations’ used to round off our ‘Fairey Tales’ program theme with pyrotechnic style!

World of Brass CD Recording

Last weekend the band grouped together with World of Sound to produce a new CD recording set for release in the near future! The session was split in two with Tom Davoren taking the first day and Garry Cutt the second. Below are some photos of the band taken during the two days!


Phoenix – Peter Graham
I’ll Walk With God – Nicholas Brodszky, arr. Goff Richards
Nefarious – Jim Fieldhouse
Dimitri – Rodney Newton
     Cornet Soloist: Paul Hughes
Knight Templar – George Allan
For the Love of a Princess – James Horner, arr. Andrew Duncan
The Hall of the Mountain King – Edvard Grieg, arr. Bill Geldard
     Bass Trombone Soloist: Josh Cirtina
The Irish Blessing – Joyce Eilers Bacak, Stephen Bradnum
Baroque Concerto for Horn – Johann Quantz, arr. Mark Allen
Tenor Horn Soloist: Paul Bennett 
Dance Macabre – Camile Saint-Saens, arr. Ben Tubb
Solemn Entry of the Knights of St. John – Richard Strauss, arr. Mark Preece
Land of Make Believe – Chuck Mangione, arr. Jim Fieldhouse

National Finals

It’s that time of year again when the band steps up to the stage in the Royal Albert Hall. The band delivered a very strong performance of ‘The Legend of King Arthur’ (Peter Meechan) with excellent execution by all soloists and received a very enthusiastic reception to finish a respectable 5th out of 20 bands. The full results are given below:

Full Results:

  1. Black Dyke
  2. Cory
  3. Brighouse & Rastrick
  4. Tredegar
  5. Fairey
  6. Flowers
  7. Fodens
  8. Reg Vardy
  9. Grimethorpe
  10. Wantage Silver
  11. Woodfalls
  12. Cooperative Funeralcare
  13. Virtuosi GUS
  14. Bury Port Town
  15. Whitburn
  16. Friary Guildford
  17. Tongwynlais Temperance
  18. Carlton Main Frickley Colliery
  19. Desford Colliery
  20. East Yorkshire Motor Services

Congratulations to Black Dyke on their victory!

The Other Boys in Blue

On Sunday Manchester City were crowned Premier League champions for the second time in three years by beating West Ham United on the final day of a dramatic season. Following their win the band were invited to play at the player’s private party on Sunday evening in Manchester Town Hall in the form our alter ego ACID BRASS. The team and VIPs were mightily impressed with the band’s unique acid house style, fuelling a party lasting until the early hours with Bollinger flowing by the bucket-load. Many thanks to the MCFC for an excellent night of entertainment!

The following day saw one or two casualties from a well lubricated evening, but there was no time to wallow in this since the band were due on stage for the public parade the next afternoon. After a quick sight read of the Yaya Toure song the band filled the stage and played to hundreds of supporters in Albert Square, and the thousands of people watching at home. The band were very excited to meet the City players (particularly 2nd trombone player Paul Coupe), but unfortunately the scheduled rehearsal that evening meant a swift departure from the square for all*.

Click here for a video of the band playing during the parade in Albert Square.

*rehearsal for a concert this weekend in St. Mary’s Church Rawtenstall conducted by Prof Garry Cutt. Program to include Spitfire Prelude (Walton), Cornet Solo Dimitri (Paul Hughes), The Irish Blessing (Eilers Bacak), Knight Templar (George Allen), Shine as the Light (Peter Graham), I’ll Walk with God (Brodsky), Labour & Love (Fletcher), Ave Verum (Mozart, Euph/Bari feature), Nimrod (Elgar), Crown Imperial (Walton).

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