Just over a month after the phenomenal 2017 contest in Harrogate, the UniBrass team are regrouping and heading out to the National Youth Brass Band Championships, held by Brass Bands England. New and old members of the organising committee will be volunteering backstage throughout the contest day on April 2nd, continuing UniBrass’ proud tradition of supporting the wider banding community.
This year’s Youth Championships are taking place at the University of Salford, held over four sections: Beginners (aged 11 and under), Junior (16 and under), Intermediate and Championship. Bands competing in the Intermediate and Championship sections will perform a set test piece, “Smoke Sketches” by Daniel Hall (Intermediate) or “Penlee” by Simon Dobson (Championship). Monetary prizes of up to £350 will be presented to the top three bands in all sections except Beginners, with further awards up for grabs for the best instrumentalists. The Beginners section will name the Band of the Day, and the band with the most potential.
UniBrass attended many brass band contests in the run-up to UniBrass 2017, among which the Youth Championships was undoubtedly a highlight. All who attended were impressed by the smooth running of the event, and came away with a great deal of inspiration for running the UniBrass Championships. The relationship between BBE and UniBrass has remained strong over the past year, particularly in their mutual support for youth banding.
As preparations for the 2018 contest begin, several new student volunteers from the University of York have joined the UniBrass organising committee. One such newcomer is Beatrice Rix, who is looking forward to helping out at a banding contest for the first time: “I am relatively new to brass banding, with UniBrass 2017 being the first competition I attended. I’m looking forward to helping at the Youth Championships to learn more about the brass banding world and what it takes to help run a brilliant event.”
Chris Baldwin, incoming Chair of the UniBrass committee, is also excited to be involved in the Youth Championships once more: “I have no doubt this will be an invaluable experience for new members of the 2018 committee as an insight into the running of a brass band contest, as well as an opportunity to raise awareness of UniBrass within the banding community.”
Tickets are available for the National Youth Brass Band Championships here: https://bbe.yapsody.com/event/index/62123/national-youth-brass-band-championships. Search for “UniBrass” on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep up to date with the world’s only inter-university brass band contest!
UniBrass 2017 is less than a week away! With the contest taking place on Saturday, final preparations are well underway across the country. The 19 competing bands are getting ready to impress the adjudicators with their creative and innovative performances, and we can’t wait to see what they’ve got to offer. The University of Oxford Brass Band will kick off proceedings in the UniBrass Shield at 11:45, with the UniBrass Trophy commencing at 12:15 with reigning champions the University of Manchester.
The seventh annual contest is bringing a major brass banding event back to Harrogate International Centre, the former national finals venue, and the local brass banding community has been out in force. Tewit Brass Band and Harrogate Brass Band have been working with the contest organising team over the past weeks, ensuring the local community are well aware that brass banding is back! Tewit’s senior youth band will also be giving a performance as part of the results ceremony.
Earlier in the year we announced Katrina Marzella as one of the adjudicators for the Shield section. Katrina has recently given birth to a baby girl, and from everyone at UniBrass we would like to extend our warmest congratulations to her and her husband. While mother and baby are both doing well, on medical advice Katrina will sadly no longer be able to attend UniBrass. She told us: “As a keen supporter of the contest who is enjoying seeing the event go from strength to strength, I am naturally disappointed to pull out. However I do hope the organisers, bands and participants understand the circumstances. I wish them all a successful day in my hometown of Harrogate and look forward to an association with the UniBrass at another future event." Katrina’s intention to judge at UniBrass so soon after her pregnancy is a testament to her commitment to the event and the banding community as a whole, and we certainly hope that we will be seeing her at a future contest!
Leigh Baker, MD of Yorkshire’s own Hepworth Band, has kindly agreed to step in for Katrina, joining Mark Wilkinson in adjudicating in the UniBrass Shield. Leigh is a former baritone player with the Brighouse and Rastrick Band, a prolific composer and arranger and an established conductor, and took up his position with Hepworth at the start of this year. The committee are very grateful to him for joining us at short notice, and look forward to welcoming him to Harrogate next weekend.
Tickets are still available for the contest and the Cory Gala Concert. Prices are from just £9 for the contest and £10 for the gala concert from the Cory Band, with discounts available for a full day ticket. Get yours now from http://unib.co.uk/tickets! Tickets will also be available on the door. And if you can’t make it, the whole event will be streamed online at http://unib.co.uk/live - don’t miss out!
With just a few short weeks to go until the 2017 contest, the UniBrass organising committee can today announce the team of adjudicators who will be overseeing the Trophy and Shield sections.
Cory Band musical director Philip Harper will precede his appearance in the Gala Concert by adjudicating bands in the UniBrass Trophy. He will be teaming up with former Whitburn Band musical director and music teacher Anne Crookston. Following the unfortunate withdrawal of Queens’ University Belfast and Zone One Student Brass for logistical reasons, Philip and Anne will be casting their eyes over the nine bands of the Trophy section and ultimately crowning one the 2017 university brass band champions. 2015 and 2016 champions Manchester return to defend their title once again, but will surely face stiff competition from all comers including former champions Huddersfield, last year’s runners-up Birmingham Conservatoire and new entrants Royal Northern College of Music.
The UniBrass Shield section has been established to give more bands the chance to win awards at the contest. Like the established Trophy, the Shield has been custom-made for UniBrass, with a unique design that will be revealed very soon. Adjudicating this section will be principal cornet of the Fodens Band, Mark Wilkinson, and Black Dyke Solo Baritone Katrina Marzella. Sadly Cardiff University Brass Band are no longer able to attend this year’s contest, leaving ten bands in fierce competition to become the first name on the new Shield. We hope to see Cardiff, Queens’ and Zone One Student return to UniBrass in the future!
We are looking forward to welcoming Anne, Mark, Philip and Katrina to the Harrogate International Centre in February to judge the bands and work alongside our new youth adjudicators. Tickets are still available for the contest from unib.co.uk/tickets, priced from just £9. Special discount tickets are also available if you want to enjoy the full event of contest and gala concert from the Cory Band!
The UniBrass Foundation gratefully accepts donations all year round to support the development of brass banding amongst young people. Click “Support Us” above to find out how you can help.
EDIT: Katrina Marzella has unfortunately had to withdraw from the contest following the birth of her daughter. Leigh Baker will now be adjudicating the Shield section with Mark Wilkinson.
UniBrass is thrilled to announce a whole host of opportunities for young people at this year’s event.
As in previous years, UniBrass 2017 will be running free workshops for those young and old learning to play brass instruments. Thanks to kind support from Besson Instruments, members of the Cory Academy will be leading a series of sessions preparing for a performance in the Main Auditorium of Harrogate International Centre during a break in the UniBrass Trophy section. This offers a chance to learn from some of the finest players of the world’s number one ranked brass band, who will of course be in action at the Gala Concert later in the day.
Players of all ages with an approximate ability of Grade 3 upwards are welcome to come and take part. To register for your place for these completely free workshops visit unib.co.uk/workshops. Places are limited so sign up fast!
In a first for UniBrass, we are also on the hunt for our first ever youth adjudication panel for UniBrass 2017. In conjunction with the Association of Brass Band Adjudicators we are looking for four volunteers between the ages of 14 and 18 to judge the competitors in the UniBrass Shield section. Our youth panel will not only get to enjoy the full day’s play, but will also gain invaluable experience in brass band judging with guidance from the Association of Brass Band Adjudicators throughout. While the youth panel’s placings will not affect the Shield results, their verdicts will be published on our website following the contest. They will also have the opportunity to write up their experiences of the day. As some of the UniBrass committee discovered at Hardraw Scar last summer, the chance to adjudicate is not one to be passed up on! So if you’re interested in being part of the youth panel, just email firstname.lastname@example.org to register your interest and we will be in touch.
Workshops and youth adjudication form part of UniBrass’ ongoing commitment to fostering the development of the brass band community in younger generations. Alongside this, we are also thrilled to be welcoming the Tewit Youth Band Seniors to UniBrass to take part in our results ceremony. Tewit Youth Band was formed in Harrogate in 1978 with 15 young players, and over the years have developed to over 90 members in three band groups. The Senior band regularly compete at the National Youth Championships and the Whit Friday march contests, and are the reigning Ripon Entertainment Contest champions. They also tour extensively, and in 2016 represented Harrogate in Luchon, France to celebrate 60 years since the twinning of the towns. Band president Colin Gibbs said: “Tewit Youth Band are delighted UniBrass will be hosted in Harrogate and we are really looking forward to being a part of the day!”
Finally, one element of Brass Bands England’s newly-established youth forum will meet during the day. The forum will comprise of three different elements: under 18s, students and representatives from organisations. BBE is committed to supporting youth banding and developing player recruitment and retention, and UniBrass are delighted to support this through feedback from the student forum. With these opportunities to get involved, learn new skills and have your say, it’s an exciting time to be a young bander!
All that along with the chance to hear the two UniBrass sections and the Cory Band in a Gala Concert, so make sure you’re part of this day by visiting unib.co.uk/tickets now!
The draw for the 2017 UniBrass Trophy & Shield took place on the 2nd December in the studios of our new broadcast partners YSTV. You can catch up on the order of play be re-watching the draw below.