Brass Band World News
- : Advert: Ray Farr Signature Raw Brass Flugel Horn - 4barsrest.com | eMagazine
Black Dyke's Zoe Hancock recently tested the new Ray Farr Signature Raw Brass flugel - and was suitably impressed.
Black Dyke's Zoe Hancock recently put the Ray Farr Signature Raw Brass flugel through its paces in a review for Brass Band World magazine.
This is what she thought:
"It’s always exciting when a new flugel horn comes on the market.
I first heard about the Ray Farr Signature Raw Brass Flugel when I was in America doing some guest soloist work in October last year.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t answer any questions about the instrument because, at the time, I hadn’t seen or played it.
I’ve had the instrument for three weeks now and have thoroughly enjoyed having a blow on this unique redesigned flugel."
"Flugel horns are probably the hardest instruments to get in tune, but I was very impressed by the intonation of this instrument, right from the bottom to the top of the register."
Ease of Blowing/Tone:
"In a brass band the flugel horn is part of the horn section and either doubles up with the solo horn, or is heard as the highest voice. Therefore, the tone of the flugel should be mellow and rich to match with the middle of the band.
The Ray Farr Signature Raw Brass Flugel does have a good tone, especially in the lower and middle registers. Also, you can hear all the clarity coming through when double and triple tonguing or playing technical passages, unlike other flugels where sometimes it can get lost.
It is remarkably free blowing in the middle and lower registers, although for me personally, it wasn’t quite as easy in the upper register, especially in the quieter dynamics.
Trying to play a quiet and controlled high A or over at pianissimo proved tricky. All players are different, but for me though the higher register wasn’t as free blowing as my own instrument." (Vincent Bach Stradivarius)
"The designer, Chris Waters of County Instruments has totally changed the design of the instrument.
The valve case is now the same side of the bell as a Bb cornet, which for most flugel players will probably take some time to get used to due to the different hand position.
The size of the bell is a lot larger than most flugel horns, which is great for amplifying the sound, and the valves are great too—really slick and fast.
The instrument is also Bell Stayless—a strong tapered ferrule enabling both ends of the main bow and bell to butt totally, proving the strongest of joints that enables forceful mute twisting insertion and withdrawal, as well as (say the manufacturer) providing ‘smooth sine wave air-flow throughout the conical bell, being free from nodal point wave distortions and damaging interruptions, giving the truest of sounds.’"
"A very good instrument and a design that I think flugel players will take time to get used to, if they do decide to by.
The intonation is the best I have ever played, which I feel the other leading flugels haven’t mastered yet."
Read the full review and buy Brass Band World Magazine
- : Advert: John Packer Ltd - 4barsrest.com | eMagazine
Garrath Beckwith is over the moon after playing the fantastic new JP233 Rath Bass Trombone.
Garrath Beckwith, the highly respected bass trombonist of the Grimethrope Colliery Band, recently tried out the new JP233 Rath Bass Trombone, the latest JP/Michael Rath collaboration.
Having tested out the instrument in a variety of both professional and informal settings, he had the following to say about the quality of the new JP233 Rath:
"Craftsmanship is something that we come to expect of the JP instrument range and the JP233RATH does not disappoint!
I have bought a variety of instruments from the highly successful collaborations between top British instrument manufacturers and John Packer, and my first job was to check all the joints that hold the bell section together as this is sometimes an area for improvement."
He added: "I was massively impressed, as they were all neatly finished with excellent high quality (80:20) lacquer work.
The quality of the slide is what we come to expect from a Michael Rath designed product—a smooth action with a quality response. The slide width is perfect for both amateur and professional players—with great ergonomics that give a comfortable feel when holding the instrument.
The weight of the trombone is well balanced - aided by a removable counterweight. The instrument is entirely made of dark yellow brass and the finish is immaculate.
Overall, you have to say that many student/mid-level bass trombones feel light and flimsy, but the JP233RATH goes against this stigma with a real feel of quality. I consider the build quality of the JP233RATH to be simply fantastic."
In summary of his experience with the JP233 Rath, Garrath added: "This bass trombone offers fantastic value for money and is an excellent addition to the market for a mid-level/single valve bass trombone.
The JP233RATH is a serious alternative for the higher level performer who requires a lighter sounding or a single valve instrument for chamber music. If I had received one of these instruments as my first ever serious bass trombone I would have been over the moon!
I heartily recommend JP233RATH and applaud John Packer and Michael Rath for providing trombonists with yet another excellent trombone in the JP/Rath range. Roll on the next one!"
To read Garrath’s whole review, visit the John Packer Blog at www.johnpacker.co.uk/blog
The JP233 Rath is available now from £954.
For further information contact Steve Herbert, Brass Manager at .
Why not keep up to date with John Packer news, events, competitions and more. You can like them on Facebook at facebook.com/johnpackerltd, follow them on Twitter at twitter.com/johnpackerltd or visit their blog at johnpacker.co.uk/blog
- : NABBC Yorkshire Masterclass details announced - 4barsrest.com | eMagazine
Details of the NABBC Masterclass with Richard Evans on Sunday 7th July have been revealed.
The National Association of Brass Band Conductors has confirmed details of its forthcoming masterclass event in West Yorkshire on Sunday 7th July.
To be held at Bertie's Banqueting Rooms in Elland, it will be led by Richard Evans, supported by highly respected trumpeter Murray Greig, Mike Kilroy and Mareika Gray, Musical Director of 2013 Grand Shield winners Milnrow.
NABBC Chairman Andrew White told 4BR: "Responses from players to perform with Milnrow at the event, and from existing and new conductors to direct the massed band has been excellent so far.
It’s expected that the confirmation of respected conductors will further popularise the event, extend networking and make the seminars even more enjoyable.
The conductors will also be supported by numerous experienced directors and adjudicators from the NABBC who will be on hand to offer advice and assistance."
Registration is at 9.30am and participants will need to note that the entire day will be based on practical interactions and experiences, including an opportunity to learn and perform a new item by composer Paul Lovatt-Copper.
The event will conclude at 4.00pm.
The full programme is now advertised on the NABBC website together with the bibliographies of each of the directors.
Go to: http://www.nabbc.org.uk/
Secure your place
To secure your place at this Arts Council sponsored event please at Bertie's Banqueting Rooms, Elland, West Yorkshire, HX5 9AW on Sunday 7th July, contact:
NABBC Secretary or National Chairman
Alternatively call 07973 727881
- : Lanner enjoys Cornish success - 4barsrest.com | eMagazine
The Lanner & District organisation certainly enjoyed their trip to Bugle on the weekend.
Lanner & District Silver Band enjoyed a thoroughly successful time of it in the heart of Cornwall on the weekend as both their Senior and Academy bands enjoyed contesting success.
Under the baton of Stuart Chappell, the seniors took home the First Section title thanks to outstanding performances of the set work, ‘Kingdom of Dragons’ and the march, ‘Flying Eagle’, with euphonium star Matthew Rowe claiming the ‘Best Player’ Award.
The birthday boy certainly enjoyed himself and later told 4BR: "I had a great day. I came off stage feeling really good and was pleased with how I played and felt very proud to be part of the performances we gave."
Off to Wales
It was Matthew’s penultimate performance with the band, as after his final appearance at the National Finals in Cheltenham, he will take up his place at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff.
MD Stuart Chappell added: "I set the band a challenge of preparing in just six rehearsals, and each and every player came up trumps. We’re especially proud of Matthew Rowe and for him to secure a place at the Royal Welsh College proves just how far he’s developed as a player with us."
Not to be outdone, the Lanner Academy Band under Phil Matthews took the Training Band Section honours, with percussionist Daniel Matthews also claiming the ‘Best Player’ Award.
Academy Director (and proud father), Phil Matthews told 4BR: "This was only the third contest the Academy has competed in. All our players have been trained from scratch by us and I’m so proud of them all.
At Lanner, we have a well structured programme which welcomes anyone into the organisation where they can play in the Academy Band and hopefully go on to play in the senior band."
A proud Band Chairman Lee Rouse rounded added: "What made the day even sweeter was that we were able to perform the road march version we recently commissioned of ‘The Lanner Falcon’ written for the band in 1995 by Goff Richards.
Since the news item about the piece was published on 4BR, so much interest was shown that we are now looking to publish the concert version and I’m sure more details of that will follow in due course."
- : Medway welcomes and says goodbye - 4barsrest.com | eMagazine
There have been some comings and goings at the Medway Band of late.
The Medway Band has welcomed new signings and returnees whilst saying goodbye to some long standing members.
Soprano player David Cooper joins Redbridge having played with them at the Butlins Mineworkers Contest earlier this year (as well as Wingates at the last moment).
Also moving is long serving member, Ken Bonser-Ward, who joins Aveley & Newham Band - joining his friend David Daws on the euphonium bench.
A spokesperson told 4BR: "David has been a member of the band for many years and is regarded as one of the best soprano cornet players in the south- east. Ken, who lives north of the River Thames, will now find the commute to band somewhat easier.
We wish them good luck in their new ventures and thank them for their contribution during the band's recent progress."
New signings and returnees come in the form of Phil Neeve and Tina Hall, both from Aveley & Newham, Phil Carruthers-Smith from Betteshanger, Mervyn Andrew and Jon Reed.
Jon, a postgraduate of Trinity Laban Conservatoire rejoins the band having returned to the UK following a year teaching brass and music theory at the Edward Said National Conservatoire of Music in Palestine.
US & Canada – Brass Band News
- : Fontana set for a trio of home returns - 4barsrest.com | eMagazine North America
The great trombone virtuoso Lito Fontana will be making at least three home appearances this year...
The great trombone virtuoso Lito Fontana has revealed that he has been busier than ever since making the decision to take a break from brass bands and become a full time soloist.
The Argentinean star ended his celebrated tenure as principal trombone at Brass Band Oberösterreich last September, and ever since he has been inundated with offers to perform all over the world.
And now, after just celebrating his 50th birthday, he told 4BR that he continues to enjoy the opportunity to showcase his skills.
"I have been very fortunate," he told 4BR. "I didn’t know so many people wanted to hear me play.
I’ve just performed at the Danube Brass Festival, where I was privileged to give a masterclass with the wonderful bass trombone player Stefan Schulz from the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra."
Lito laughed when he recalled that the weather was so bad that the original plan to play on a ship sailing down the Danube had to be cancelled.
"I think we would have ended out at sea as the currents were so strong! Instead we played at the beautiful Grein Theatre, the oldest theatre in Austria, built in 1791. It was a wonderful occasion."
This weekend he returns to his second home of Italy (where he recalls he first came to play in a television orchestra that was sacked by Silvio Burlesconi!) where he will perform the premiere of a new work entitled, ‘Colors’ by Bert Appermont in the harbor town of San Benedetto.
"It’s such a pleasure to come back to play in Italy—which is my second home. The new work celebrates the European ‘Blue Banner’ Award as the sea here is so clear and pure—it is the perfect colour!"
Lito then returns to his third home of Austria, where he will perform with his renowned quartet Trombonisti Italiani, before going on a short tour to Abtei Lambach and Mondsee.
He finally makes a long awaited brass band return with a guest appearance with Brass Band Fröschl Hall, where he will once again meet up with his great friend MD Hannes Buchegger in a concert in the courtyard of the Imperial Palace in Innsbruck.
"My beautiful wife Mona sees less of me now when I was in the band," he chuckles. "But I always try to come home with a nice present for her as I miss her so much. I do miss playing in a brass band too though!"
Further tours this year to Portugal and an appearance organised in Norway will be added to with his return to Argentina to play in ‘Trombonanza 2013’ in Santa Fe.
"I cannot wait to perform in Argentina. It will be so emotional and it is a real honour and privilege as it will be the first time I will perform in a concert in my first and only homeland."
- : World Rankings: May update - 4barsrest.com | eMagazine North America
Cory's victory in Oslo secures top spot in the latest rankings.
The latest update of the World of Brass - 4barsrest.com Rankings sees little change at the top following the recent round of contests, although there have been significant changes further down the table.
Cory’s victory at the European Championships in Oslo further enhances the Welsh band’s position at the top, while Eikanger’s runner-up spot takes the Norwegian Champion to seventh place.
Milnrow’s recent fine contesting form, including victory at the Grand Shield, sees the North West band enter the top 20 for the first time, while new North American Champion Princeton makes a major mark in entering the rankings at number 59.
The next update will follow the English National Championships at the end of June, which will include the results at this weekend’s All-England International Masters.
The other ranking contests taking place since the last update were:
Australian National Championships - won by Brisbane Excelsior
Irish Championships - won by Downshire Brass
Grenland Festival - won by Oslofjord
SCABA Spring Contest - won by Friary Guildford
Buxton Brass Band Festival - won by Silk Brass
Northern Ireland Brass Band League Spring Festival - won by Strabane Concert Brass
Luxembourg Music Federation - won by Brass Band Buizingen
Senior Cup - won by Woodfalls
Senior Trophy - won by Newtongrange Silver
German Open - won by Brass Band Oberschwaben-Allgäu
East Anglia BBA - won by Cawston
SEWBBA Ebbw Vale Contest - won by Burry Port
Weston-super-Mare - won by Sandhurst Silver
To view all the ranked bands, go to:
- : Report & Results: 2013 All England International Masters - 4barsrest.com | eMagazine North America
The Masters title returns to Wales as Gwyn Evans leads an ecstatic Seindorf Beaumaris to the title in Kettering.
There was at least one man even happier than a newly married bridegroom at a wedding party in North Wales on Sunday night, as Gwyn Evans took the opportunity to lead the celebrations as the conductor of the 2013 All England Masters International Champions - Seindorf Beaumaris.
News phoned through
Gwyn was sitting in the hotel car park waiting to meet up with the players from his own wedding party jazz group, when the news that his band had beaten 20 rivals to claim the Masters Trophy and £3,000 first prize was phoned through by his ecstatic sister.
She may have been sat miles away in the Lighthouse Theatre in Kettering, but as Gwyn revealed, he could have heard her voice without the help of her mobile phone!
"The only words I could make out to start were ‘Bloody fantastic!’" Gwyn told 4BR as he sat, still alone, waiting to meet up with his group to perform in the post nuptial celebrations.
"Then came ‘We’ve won!’ and the rest of the message that we had become Masters Champions. I couldn’t quite believe it for a moment before it finally sunk in."
He laughed: "Now I’m certain I’ll be the happiest man at this wedding party tonight!"
Off the number 8 draw, Beaumaris claimed the title ahead of Virtuosi GUS, with Zone One Brass in third.
A delighted Thoresby Colliery was fourth, with reigning champion Tredegar unable to make it a hat trick of Masters wins as they eventually came fifth, ahead of their much fancied South Wales counterparts Tongwynlais Temperance in sixth.
Beaumaris principal cornet Nick Hughes also claimed the 4BR ‘Best Instrumentalist’ prize for his exquisite playing from start to finish on Eric Ball’s ‘A Kensington Concerto’.
Gwyn also revealed that a life-long passion for Eric Ball’s music may have been the key to his band’s success.
"I was brought up on Eric Ball’s music and love it. It’s my cup of tea. I told the band its music that will win out on the day, and I think was proved by our performance.
I may have to celebrate with something a little stronger than a cuppa later tonight—and I know the band is already celebrating on their way home!"
Essence of Ball
Speaking to 4BR after the announcement of the results, David Read MBE revealed that the adjudication team (he was joined by Dennis Wilby and Stephen Roberts) felt the winners were the only band on the day to really evoke the musical essence of the composer’s musical intentions.
"They were a clear winner," he said. "They really captured the spirit of Eric Ball and his music—especially the lightness of touch and style in the Allegro following a lovely opening. It was a very fine performance."
He also added that the judges had greater difficulty in separating out the bands that filled the remaining top six places.
"They were very close indeed," he added. "None really quite managed to play without mistakes—and that just spoilt the style that was needed to be portrayed."
The winning MD was delighted to hear what the judges had said, and paid tribute to his band and in particular, his young cornet star, who was also presenteid with the Robert Howard Award as principal cornet of the winning band.
Gwyn added: "Nick has been working his socks off over the last two weeks and has been in the bandroom practicing every night. The band has also worked so hard too - especially the younger players who found the music a bit alien to them to start with. Now they love it."
He added: "This is a wonderful result and another significant step in our progress. We can now look forward to the British Open boosted by being crowned Masters Champion."
In a contest that varied greatly in quality, (the judges revealing that there was a real fall after the top eight places) a purposeful account from Virtusoi GUS under John Berryman as the last band of the day, couldn’t quite see the Butlins champion claim their first Masters success.
They had to be content with the £1,500 prize as runner-up for the second time in three years.
There was delight for the Londoners of Zone One Brass, as they claimed third place under Richard Ward, with their solo trombonist winning the Maxwell Thornton Award as the ‘Best Trombone’.
Meanwhile, Thoresby Colliery bounced back after their lowly placing at the Grand Shield to post their best ever result at the contest under the direction of Brian Grant.
In contrast, there was to be no hat-trick triumph for reigning champion Tredegar, as a noticeable minor error count put paid to their chances of taking the Masters Trophy back to South Wales for a third consecutive year under Ian Porthouse.
There was also disappointment for Welsh Area champion Tongwynlais Temperance conducted by Steve Sykes, who came sixth, despite catching the fancy of many neutral critics both in the hall and the press box.
Marsden Silver put behind them their recent Grand Shield disappointment to end seventh, with former European champion Brass Band Willebroek in eighth. The final top 10 places went to Wantage Silver and the Danish visitors of Concord Brass.
Before the announcement of the results Chris Jeans and Youth Brass 2000 provided a wonderful musical counterpoint with their high energy Glenn Miller programme, before Chris was presented with the All England Masters Dedicated Service Award.
A full retrospective of the contest will appear on 4BR in the next couple of day.
Sunday 26th May
Test Piece: 'A Kensington Concerto' - Eric Ball
Adjudicators: David Read MBE, Stephen Roberts, Dennis Wilby
1. Seindorf Beaumaris (Gwyn Evans)
2. Virtuosi GUS (John Berryman)
3. Zone One Brass (Richard Ward)
4. Thoresby Colliery (Brian Grant)
5. Tredegar (Ian Porthouse)
6. Tongwynlais Temperance (Steve Sykes)
7. Marsden Silver (Glyn Williams)
8. Brass Band Willebroek (Frans Violet)
9. Wantage Silver (Philip Bailey)
10. Concord Brass (Dennis Aaberg Anderson)
11. Kortijik (Ward de Ketelaere)
12. Friary Guildford (Chris King)
13. Aveley & Newham (Melvin White)
14. Hammonds Saltaire (Morgan Griffiths)
15. Hepworth (Stig Maersk)
16. NASUWT Riverside (Ray Farr)
17. Staines Brass (Melvin White)
18. Skelmanthorpe (John Roberts)
19. Unite the Union (City of Sheffield) (Derek Renshaw)
20. Bournemouth Concert (Captain Dave Barringer)
21. Regent Brass (Alan Duguid)
4barsrest.com Best Instrumentalist Award: Nicholas Hughes - Principal Cornet (Seindorf Beaumaris)
Best Trombone: Zone One Brass
- : 4BR All England Masters Quiz: Sponsored by John Packer - 4barsrest.com | eMagazine North America
There's a fantastic pocket trumpet bundle prize to be won with our All England Masters quiz sponsored this week by John Packer.
Once again there is a great prize package sponsored by our friends at John Packer - as long as you can guess the winners of this weekend’s All England Masters International Championship in Kettering.
Pocket Trumpet, CDs and DVD
We have the brilliant JP159 pocket trumpet to be won, plus a bundle of great CDs and a DVD, including the latest ‘Electra’ from Black Dyke, Mark Wilkinson’s wonderful new release, ‘Milestone’, the 2012 All England Masters International Championship highlights and the remarkable ‘Masterclass’ DVD from David Childs.
It's all worth well over £200.00.
The added bonus is that you can choose your own colour too—from Red/Blue/Green/Black/Silver plate or lacquer
Find out more
Find out more about the JP159 at:
All you have to do is pick who you may think will win in Kettering on ‘A Kensington Concerto’—and as long as it’s the same as the judges come the results then you will be in with chance of winning the prize!!
Its a bit of a roll over for this one as we had over 400 entries for the Grand Shield—and not one picked the winning duo of Milnrow and Kirkintilloch, so it may be a little harder than it first looks....
The competitors are:
1. Aveley & Newham
2. Bournemouth Concert
3. Brass Band Willebroek
4. Concorde Brass
5. Friary Guildford
6. Hammonds Saltaire
9. Marsden Silver Prize
10. NASUWT Riverside
11. Newstead Brass
12. Regent Brass
13. Seindorf Beaumaris
16. Thoresby Colliery
17. Tongwynlais Temperance
19. Unite the Union (City of Sheffield)
20. Virtuosi GUS
22. Zone One Brass
Just take your pick of who you think may win!
All answers for this one must be received by 4BR before the announcement of the results on Sunday 26th May.
Tickets for the Masters can be purchased by ringing the Lighthouse Theatre Box Office on 01536 414141,
Please put a contact telephone number on your entry so that if you win we can get in touch ASAP!
E-mail us the answer at:
- : Advert: County Instruments - 4barsrest.com | eMagazine North America
The Ray Farr 'Signature' flugel is already making a mark on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean...
Despite having only had a Ray Farr ‘Signature’ flugel horn for just over two weeks, Andrew Seymour of the Central Ohio Brass Band recently put it to the test during the North American Brass Band Association Championships in Cincinnati.
Play and sell!
Andrew saw the flugel at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester during a visit to the RNCM Festival of Brass earlier in the year and immediately not only wanted one, but asked to be involved with selling it in the USA!
He told County Instruments: "To start out let me say that I WILL be playing it at the North American Championships. There is probably no better testimony to a horn than casting aside one that I have played for 9 years in favour of the Ray Farr ‘Signature’ Raw Brass flugel."
And after the performance he was equally as impressed too!
"It’s pitch and tone colours were exquisite in all ranges. We competed early on Saturday and other than during our competition time, the flugel was on display with me at our stand, where it created a great deal of excitement and interest.
I was also very excited to have people play this horn. Many in our band had a go - including our MD and they were stunned by its response, tone colour and consistency of pitch."
Andrew added: "Some interesting expletives were muttered by our MD as she went higher and higher and produced such a wonderful sound and on pitch too...and she is a trombone player!
My MD was delighted with the sound of the flugel on the test piece and on our own choice piece. I had some very high and melodic passages that seemed much easier playing the Ray Farr flugel."
Chris Waters, the man behind the flugel’s design, said he thought this spoke volumes about the performance of the instrument.
"For someone to enter a competition as high profile as the NABBA Championships, with so little time to get the feel for an instrument, is testament to its intonation and quality of playing!"
For more information contact:-
Links to some of our favorite sites:
- 4 Bars Rest
- Brass Band of Central Florida
- Brass Band of Columbus
- Central Ohio Brass Band
- Chicago Brass Band
- Cincinnati Brass Band
- Dublin Silver Band
- Extensive List of Brass Bands in North America
- Fountain City Brass Band
- James Madison University Brass Band
- Illinois Brass Band
- Madison Brass Band
- Milwaukee Festival Brass Band
- Motor City Brass Band
- NABBA (North American Brass Band Association)
- Oakland Brass Band
- Prairie Brass Band
- Roman Festival Brass
- St. Louis Brass Band
- Salt River Brass
- Stavanger Brass Band
- Triangle Brass Band
- U.S. Open Championships
- Weston Silver Band
- Zenith Brass Ensemble