On the edge of history

Issue 5946

Cory Band looks to make further history at the RAH on 8 October. All about the National Final and much more in the latest packed edition of BB!

2016 NATIONAL: Who will be this year’s Lone Wolf?

Thursday 29 September, 2016

Saturday 8 October will see the culmination of the contesting year for the 500 or so bands that compete annually in the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain, as the Royal Albert Hall in London hosts the 20 qualifiers for the 2016 Championship Section Final.

In keeping with recent years, and possibly as a consequence of immensely challenging test-pieces being chosen for the Regional Qualifying rounds, the line-up is of very high quality. Grimethorpe Colliery, Leyland and Desford Colliery are perhaps the three most notable absentees, but the bands that kept them out of the qualifying spots aren’t exactly all of the ‘hopeful newcomer’ variety. 

It promises to be a cracker!

The 20 competing bands will perform Simon Dobson’s Journey of the Lone Wolf, a work, like this year’s British Open test-piece, written for Black Dyke Band. Despite a fine performance, the perennial favourite from Queensbury was just off the pace a few weeks ago in Birmingham and finished in third place, once again putting paid to the myth that bespoke test-pieces provide a significant advantage when pitted against other bands on the same work (Peter Graham’s On the Shoulders of Giants and Philip Wilby’s Red Priest provided similar results for their respective commissioners at the Open). However, no one in the BB office can even recall a band winning at the Royal Albert Hall on a piece commissioned specifically for it, so could there be a National first on the horizon?

Defending champion Cory already holds four iconic banding trophies (European, National, British Open and Brass in Concert), but Philip Harper and his outstanding team will be as keen as ever to put the lid on this particular piece of history by securing a rare treble of major test-piece contest titles in calendar year. Few would be surprised if the Challenge Trophy goes back over the Severn Bridge next Sunday, but there will be plenty of keen contenders set on keeping it for themselves.

The event, which begins at 10.00am, is presented by Kapitol Promotions and sponsored by Geneva Instruments, Yamaha Percussion, Denis Wick Products and Brass Band World. It features eight former champions in Black Dyke, Foden’s, Brighouse and Rastrick, Fairey, Cory, Virtuosi GUS, Wingates and Co-operative Funeralcare, with a total of 73 wins in London between them. 

Three vastly experienced musicians will sit in judgement at the Royal Albert Hall next Saturday - box debutants Allan Withington (seven-time winning conductor) and Phillip McCann (seven-time winning player), and Luc Vertommen, who last judged the event in 2011.

BB readers can keep in touch with the latest news and views from London via Twitter (@bb1887), Facebook and
www.britishbandsman.com, while our full report from the Royal Albert Hall will appear in our November edition, so make sure you order your copy today!