Brunel Brass on the radio
Listen to Brunel Brass on the Sounds Of Brass show on BBC Radio Bristol, Cornwall, Devon, Gloucestershire, Guernsey, Jersey, Someset Sound, Swindon and Wilsthire on Sunday 31st January starting at 7:05pm.
You can find more details here.
Brunel Brass meets Wallace & Gromit
Brunel Brass were invited to play at Aardman Studio's for Wallace & Gromit's 20th birthday celebrations. The band was filmed performing the Wallace & Gromit Theme on Monday 16th November, 2009 to be shown on the BBC Culture Show on Thursday 19th November and repeated on Saturday. Brunel Brass are the first brass band to appear on the Culture Show and first to perform in Aardman Studio's.
The people with the band are senior people with Aardman Studios and Nick Park creator of Wallace and Gromit. See the Gallery for more pictures from the evening.
National Third Section Champions 2009!!
Read the 4barsrest article here
In less than three years since their formation Brunel Brass have won the highest accolade that a brass band can achieve in winning the National Championships for their section. Judges Dr Robert Childs and Ray Farr deemed Brunel Brassís performance of the test piece ìOceansî the most musical of the day in Harrogate. The composer of ìOceansî, Goff Richards had made the journey to Harrogate to listen to the band. Brunelís soprano cornet player Paul Richards also received the Prize for the best soloist.
Paul Richards outside the Harrogate International Conference Centre with his best soloist cup.
Dave Tong receiving the trophies and banner from John Rogers (York Musical Instruments, the sponsors and Alan Hope)
John Winterflood ñ Musical Director
The band is now promoted to the 2nd Section Nationally. This is the second successive promotion in as many years a meteoric rise in the banding movement. Brunel Brass from Swindon is one of the most successful bands currently in the West of England.
West of England 3rd Section Champions, 2009!
The amazing rise of Brunel Brass continues at this year's West of England Regional Championships in Torquay. On only their third appearance at these championships they are placed top of the field of 16 bands in the 3rd Section for their performance of Andrew Baker's composition 'The Once and Future King'. As if 2008 was not a successful year, winning the West Of England 4th Section Championships and subsequent invitation to the National 4th Section Championship Finals in Harrogate and fourth placing for their performance of the testpiece 'The Shipbuilders'. 2009 has begun with Brunel Brass promoted to the 3rd Section and all the challenges that being in a higher section brings. At least this years competition was the first opportunity for a more favourable order of draw, with the band playing 11th out of 16. The band played to the occasion and performed a very musical performance of the testpiece and all including John Winterflood, Musical Director were delighted that they had given of their best. This young band still had to leave Swindon at 6.30 that morning for the 140 miles journey to Torquay and it wasn't until 3 p.m. that they took to the stage. At 5.30 pm all the bands had performed and the two adjudicators Simone Rebello and Paul Norley had deliberated on the winning order. The contest organiser Brian Elliot announced the order, starting from 6th place through to 2nd place and finally 1st place; Brunel Brass. The band errupted with shouts of joy and amazement on achieving a second year as the West of England Regional Champions and once again invited to the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain in Harrogate later this year. Only back in 2000 did another band in this region win consecutive regional championships in a higher section. This is truly a magical and memorable journey for this young band.
The Christmas Festival Concert.
Christmas is always a busy times for all brass bands, with the usual carolling and carol concerts. This year Brunel Brass joined forces with Great Western Youth Band for the Youth Band's annual Christmas Concert at Christchurch in Swindon. The evening was a great success and a fitting way to end a very successful year for the West of England 4th Section Regional Champions.
Concert for St Andrew's Methodist Church and the Willows Trust
Still on a high from the 4th placing at the National Championships in Harrogate, Brunel Brass performed at St Andrew's Church in Moredon. It was Matthew Walton's debut concert as principal cornet for the band in front of a capacity audience. Many were surprised at the versatility of the band and high standard of playing. Of special note was Paul Richards performance on Soprano Cornet of Andrew Lloyd Webbers hit song 'Memory' from the musical Cats.
4th PLACE AT HARROGATE FINALS! The National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain 2008 Harrogate International Conference Centre
After only 20 months since the founding of Brunel Brass we competed in the 4th Section Finals. This has proved to be an amazing journey in such a short space of time as the current West of England 4th Section Area Champions, expectations were high both from the band members and also fellow bandsmen and women from the West Country. Earlier this year Brunel Brass had convincingly won their section in Torquay with a very convincing performance of Four Cities Symphony. This victory was down to the musicianship and efforts of the band led by Musical Director John Winterflood. Even more incredible is the fact that Brunel Brass is made up of 18 teenagers and 9 adults who only practice once a week.
Saturday 27th September, 2008 was a big day for the band, with the draw at 8.30 am and section starting at 9.30 am, the band made the long and tiring journey to Yorkshire on the Friday evening. Musical Director John Winterflood attended the draw at which the band were lucky to be drawn to play 14th out of 20 bands, giving them an early afternoon performance. Preparation had been very comprehensive and the band were confident they could give a good performance of Peter Yorke's Test Piece, The Shipbuilders Suite for Brass. Although the band had lost it's principal bass player and percussionist only weeks before to go off to university and the principal cornet player was unwell and Matthew Walton played his principal cornet debut for the band on the stage at Harrogate everyone was full of confidence. The band's performance was outstanding! With many of the audience tipping it for a top placing. The musical director John Winterflood had been approached by a leading adjudicator only to say that he thought Brunel Brass's performance to be one of the most musical of the day. With a capacity audience in the hall for the results everyone waited in suspense for the top six placings. A fourth place was our reward with Amington Band from the Midlands third, Uppermill Band, second and Lostock Hall Memorial Band champions! A fantastic achievement from such a young and inexperienced band. Certainly Brunel Brass had made their name and reputation at the 2008 Brass Band Finals.
Brunel Brass set for Harrogate after a win at the
South West 'Area' Contest
South West 'Area' Contest
After a long period of preparation and a lot of hard work the band competed at 2008 West of England Regional Championships held at the Riviera International Conference Centre, Torquay.
The band had an early start leaving Swindon at 6am to make a final rehearsal at 9am in Torquay, hoping that the band would have a more favourible draw than last years number 1, the band waited in trepidation for the results of the draw; finally the phonecall came in with the band drawn a comfortable 7th already the day was starting to have a good feel about it!
The band made their way to the Riviera centre after what had been a good rehearsal unusually the section was running early so it was with a quick change and in a flash that the band were registered and queued up listening to what sounded like a good performance from Wincanton through the doors into the contest arena. Wincanton finished their performance and the band got into position, calmed their nerves and the whisle blew. No start just yet though as the band waited for what seemed an age whilst the percussion assistants tuned the timps. Eventually the timps were tuned, one last deep breath, the baton dropped and the band gave their performance of Four Cities Symphony. Pleased with their performance the band waited for the remaining 13 bands to perform before the results were announced.
After the section, the band gathered and waited for the adjudicators to make their final deliberations and collate the paperwork. With results announced from 6th to 1st position the process is always a nerve racking experience and this time we knew we had played well, the results were announced Weymouth 6th, Shanklin 5th, Bream 4th, Totnes 3rd, Wincanton 2nd. We had heard Wincanton earlier they had been good still no mention of Brunel could we have beaten them? The tension amongst the band was incredible, could we be 1st, what if we were 7th? And then it came, "... and in first place, with a cheque for 200, the winners trophy and an invitation to compete at the National Championships in Harrogate with 185 points Brunel Brass!" With that came a sigh of relief and a unanimous cheer from the band. We had done it and the hard work had paid off. What a result we had won!!
This year we had a reputation to live up to ... Here's what the Brass Band press had to say about us before we played.
Quoting 4 Bars Rest "What a tremendous debut last year for Brunel – and all off the number 1 draw if we remember right." "There was plenty to admire about their playing and given the size of the field they could count themselves a touch unlucky they didn’t get to Harrogate. Still, a year later they return and after winning at Wessex last year they should fancy their chances – draw permitting." "Who will win though? A couple of bands do stand out for us with Brunel Brass our tip if they have built on their impressive debut last year."
Quoting 4 Bars Rest Retrospective analysis "Playing number 7, Brunel Brass turned out to be head and shoulders above the rest on Saturday, winning by a two point margin to take the Fourth Section title for 2008." "In many contests people have varying opinions on who the real winners deserved to be, but in this particular contest nobody could have really argued with the result – the band really did play very, very well."
Brunel Brass Win Their First Contest
Brunel Brass competed in the Combined section of the Wessex Brass Band Association contest held in November 2007 at the Pavillion Theatre in Weymouth. The band played Darrol Barry's Divertimento and were pleased to achieve their first win less than 12 months after the formation of the band. Competing in the 4th section nationally, the band were competing against bands graded in the section above them and were especially pleased to have beaten 3rd section Verwood to the top prize. With a positive result under their belt the band are looking forward to Christmas engagements and will begin their work on the area test piece Four Cities Symphony.
Brunel Brass - Placed 4th at Weston Super-Mare Contest
Brunel Brass have just competed in the long awaited Weston Super Mare contest achieving a very respectable 4th place, the band played Philip Sparke's 'A Malvern Suite' and put in a very solid performance. After an extremely early start, the band produced a quality of sound that the was amazing with the band having progressed in leaps and bounds since it's last performance at the 'Areas'. Unfortunately a combination of nerves and the early start lead to a couple of mistakes on the day that the band had not suffered from previously during rehearsals, this meant that the band just missed out on the prize fund but were still over the moon with the result especially having beaten the current Welsh 4th section champions at the competition! The band are now working hard to prepare their programme for their forthcoming concert at Bath Road Methodist church on 30th June Find out all of the results at 4 Bars Rest.
Brunel Brass - Placed 5th at the South West 'Area' Contest
Brunel Brass made their contesting debut at the regional qualifiers held in Torquay just 10 weeks after forming. The band were both excited and nervous at the prospect of their first contest so soon after the bands inception. The band competed in the Fourth Section of at the West of England qualification competition for the National finals of Great Britain and were playing against 22 other bands some of whom are very well established organisations. On the day of the contest the number 1 seemed to rear its head on a number of occasions: There were a number of the players for whom this was their first contest, this was the first contest for the band and the band was drawn to play in the dreaded number one slot of the competition from where it is notoriously difficult to end up in the prizes so you can imagine the bands delight to be placed in 5th position on the day!