BRASS IN CONCERT – THE COMPETITION
Sage Gateshead is the venue for the 43rd Brass in Concert Festival on 16 and 17 November 2019.
The weekend comprises of a main senior brass band competition, an evening gala concert and a youth brass band competition.
David Bennett, of Brass in Concert, looks back at the history of the long-established senior competition.
“In 1977 the event took place in the Beehive Ballroom, Darlington, (in reality a works canteen) with 12 top class bands competing for the prizes. Such was the success of the occasion with bands and audience asking for more, it was decided that the Brass in Concert Championship be continued and so it has, in North East England, to the present day attracting not only interest from the United Kingdom but from Europe and the United States.”
Last year the Championship was filmed. It followed preparation of music programmes and rehearsals to the performance on the day of three leading bands, Cory (the number one band in the world and currently the European Champions), Brighouse and Rastrick (British Open Champions and Brass in Concert Champions), and Fountain City Band from the United States (the reigning North American Champions). A one-hour programme was shown on Sky Arts earlier this month, receiving excellent reviews in the media.
David added: “This year competition will be as keen as ever with significant interest in the appearance of two local rivals Reg Vardy from Stanley and NASUWT Riverside from Chester-le-Street, with the overseas challenge being headed by Brass Band Schoonhoven from The Netherlands.”
Each band plays a 23-minute programme of their own choice with a team of six adjudicators assessing the quality of music, programme content and entertainment and presentation.
The panel comprises Ian Bousfield (formerly principal trombone, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and Vienna State Opera), David Childs (currently Professor of Euphonium at the University of West Texas and Principal Conductor of the recently formed Dallas Brass Band), Jeremy Wise (who has enjoyed a long career conducting bands at the highest level in the United Kingdom and abroad), Les Neish, (a brilliant and entertaining tuba player), Mike Lovatt, (Professor of Trumpet at the Royal Academy), and Chris Jeans (a brilliant trombone player and Conductor of Youth Brass 2000, one of the principal bands in the country).
David commented: “We are delighted to be able to reveal such a high quality panel of judges for this year’s event. All are, of course, vastly experienced musicians, with our Quality of Perfomance adjudicators Ian Bousfield and David Childs complementing the musical quality of the festival with two renowned musicians and soloists. Jeremy Wise makes a welcome return this time undertaking Programme Content responsibilities. For Entertainment and Presentation Chris Jeans, who has previously conducted and performed at Brass in Concert, will be accompanied by Mike Lovatt who has vast experience in the broadcast and media industries and of course wowed the audience at last year’s World of Brass Gala Concert. Les Neish needs no introduction as one of the finest tuba soloists from the UK brass band scene.”
The event is compered by Frank Renton, the best-known voice in the world of brass and until last year the presenter of BBC Radio 2 ‘Listen to the Band’. Audience participation has become an integral part of the contest with a special prize voted for by audience members via their smartphones.
Last year over 40 new compositions/arrangements received their first performance in Sage One and the results ceremony commences with the sounds of the Northumbrian Pipes.
David said: “From humble beginnings Brass in Concert is indeed a North East success story run and organised by a team of hard working volunteers and attracting visitors from all corners of the world. The contest is supported by World of Brass.”
Tickets for the 43rd Brass in Concert Championship on Sunday, 17th November at 9am are available from Sage Gateshead Box Office online at www.sagegateshead.com or on 0191 443 4661.
Prices:£33, £25 and £15. A Booking Fee will apply.
For further information please contact:
David Bennett, Secretary, The Brass in Concert Championship on 01295 780373