National Victory for Foden’s
Congratulations to Foden’s Band on winning the 2021 National Brass Band Championships. It was a very special event, set in the iconic Royal Albert Hall with 19 of the UK’s top bands competing against one another to be crowned the National Champion Band of Great Britain 2021. The competing bands had been waiting 18 long months since qualifying for their chance to win the famous National Challenge Trophy, which has been presented to the winning band every year since 1945 - except in 2020 due to the COVID-19 global pandemic. Tribute must be paid to Kapitol Promotions who did an incredible job ensuring COVID-19 safety measures were in place making everyone attending feeling safe and comfortable. World of Brass also contributed to making sure that as many people as possible can enjoy the performances, in spite of the pandemic, by releasing all of the performances on wobplay.
For those listening live in the audience, the excitement was palpable right from the very start of the day. Llwydcoed drew the dreaded number 1 spot and began proceedings with the anthem and the first performance of Bruce Broughton’s ‘Heroes’. Following the performances Black Dyke once again took to the stage to entertain whilst adjudicators Dr Robert Childs, Dr Stephen Cobb and Rob Wiffin OBE finalised their decision. A military fanfare from The Bands of HM Royal Marines Fanfare Team performing 'Royal Flourish' by F. V. Dunn heralded the announcement of the 2021 Champion Band. The result was conclusive and unanimous with Foden’s declared the winners with the added bonus of euphonium star Gary Curtin winning the Best Instrumentalist prize. The band’s performance was superb, under the skilful direction of Russell Gray, with the slow music in particular drawing praise from the judging panel. Welsh representatives Cory and Tredegar came in second and third place, with the adjudicators admitting that their performances ran the winners very close. Completing the pre-qualification slots for next year’s contest was Black Dyke, who managed a very creditable fourth place from an early number 3 draw. There was more joy for the Gray household when Ratby and MD Mareika Gray were announced in fifth place. The band, which only gained entry to the competition a few weeks ago when Desford withdrew, was absolutely delighted and made history by being the first band led by a female conductor to finish in the top six at the Championship section National Finals. Brighouse and Rastrick Band completed the frame with sixth place.
Full results can be viewed below and a detailed report and review will feature in the next issue of Brass Band World.
1. Foden's (Russell Gray)*
2. Cory (Philip Harper)*
3. Tredegar, (Ian Porthouse)*
4. Black Dyke (Professor Nicholas J. Childs)*
5. Ratby Co-operative (Mareika Gray)
6. Brighouse & Rastrick (Arsene Duc)
7. Camborne (Kevin Mackenzie)
8. WFEL Fairey (Adam Cooke)
9. Flowers (Paul Holland)
10. NASUWT Riverside (Dr David Thornton)
11. GUS Band (Chris Jeans)
12. Friary (Chris King)
13. Zone One Brass (Richard Ward)
14. Whitburn (Garry Cutt)
15. Bon Accord (David Roberts)
16. Carlton Main Frickley Colliery (Allan Withington)**
17. Hepworth (Ryan Watkins)
18. Llwydcoed, (Chris Turner)
19. City of Hull (Stig Maersk)
Carlton Main Frickley Colliery disqualified pending appeal**
Best Instrumentalist: Gary Curtin (euphonium) Foden's
withdrawn: the cooperation Band (Phillip McCann); Desford (Michael Fowles)
*Top 4 pre-qualify for 2022 National Final
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