Sparke Test at 2025 Youth Champs

Following a post-pandemic break from the customary test piece, the National Youth Brass Band Championships of Great Britain, Youth Champs, has reinstated its Championship section test piece for the 2025 event. Youth Champs is organised by Brass Bands England (BBE) and is held annually at different locations across England as a unique and inspiring performance opportunity for young brass players of all levels.

The new and specially commissioned work is by celebrated brass band composer Phillip Sparke and is titled ‘Fanfares, Songs and Dances’.  Jointly commissioned by BBE along with the Lithuanian Brass Band Association and the Dutch National Brass Band Championships (NBK), the piece will receive its UK contesting première at the 2025 Youth Champs set to take place on Saturday 29 March at Hymers College in Hull.

Speaking about his piece Phillip commented, “I’m so thrilled that my ‘Fanfares, Songs and Dances’ has been selected as the test piece for the 2025 National Youth Brass Band Championships, Championship Section. Brass Bands England was one of the sponsors of the original commission and I found it an immensely satisfying piece to write, it’s a real challenge to incorporate the passion and excitement usually associated with ‘top section’ pieces at a lower grade level! I hope the young players in our wonderful youth bands will enjoy the robustness of Fanfares, the delicacy and solo opportunities of Songs and vivaciousness of Dances, as they prepare this piece for the championships.”

Performance of a set test-piece was discontinued post-Covid to allow youth bands to grow and develop their player numbers after a period of uncertainty. The organising team at BBE have agreed that this is now the right time to re-establish this element of the contest and fulfil the Championship Section’s aim of being a gateway into adult competition. Bands competing in the Championship Section wishing to perform their own choice of music will still be able to do so, with an additional 10-minutes of own-choice time remaining alongside the 11-minute test piece. Bands performing in the Performance or Showcase sections are not required to perform the work and will play up to 15 or 10 minutes of own-choice music respectively.

Brass Bands England member organisations can purchase the test piece directly from BBE, which will be sent to you once entries close in December. Member bands can purchase the full parts and score for the price of £52.80 by emailing on the point of entry. This discount is made possible by the support of Hal Leonard, Philip Sparke and Anglo Music Press. Non-member bands can purchase the test piece from Band Music Shop for the price of £91.99.


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