CD recording weekend - Saturday 15th & Sunday 16th November 2008
For the first time in their history Brighton & Hove City Brass have recorded a CD ! We don't think Simon Cowell and his X-Factor hopefuls need to worry too much though. Over a long weekend in November the band laid down over a dozen tracks covering some old brass band favourites and regular items from the band's summer repertoire. KMJ Recordings were the professionals who had the task of turning the band into the next "big thing."
Music recorded over the weekend included Armenian Fire Dance, It's Not Unusual, Fat Bottomed Girls, Born free, Breezing Down Broadway, and the band's anthem Sussex by the Sea. There were occasional breaks for the odd smoker, cup of tea, and those who had to cross their legs during the red light times of silence. Some faces were a picture!
Nerves played a part in some of the solos and odd slips did creep in during silent pieces. But KMJ and the band personnel felt that everyone was very friendly and prepared to "give it a go" if it meant the recording would be improved. A lot of hard work was put into the weekend and good feedback was received from Keith and Rob of KMJ who have both mastered CDs for many brass bands in the UK.
Overall KMJ felt that the sessions on both days ran smoothly due to the preparation that the band had undertaken prior to the recording weekend. The band proved to be consistent not only in their performance, but also in their self-discipline whilst the red light was on. With patience and good humour KMJ felt that they were able to capture the sound and spirit of the band's performance.
Rob Collinson of the KMJ Production team commented that for a band relatively new to recording the sessions went quite quickly, which was largely due to the chemistry between KMJ and the band. "It never felt like 'them and us'”. It was obvious that they (the band) had a great deal of respect for their MD who knew what he wanted. It was great to find that we were all "singing from the same hymn sheet".
The CD is available to purchase at our performances and if you are really keen, why not fill in the contact form and we will send you one out.
The cost of the CD is £7.00 or two for £10.00 don't miss out there are only a limited number available.
SCABA Entertainment Contest - Sunday 18th May 2008
The band once again travelled up the A23 to compete in SCABA's annual Entertainment contest at The Hawth Theatre in Crawley. The band has a reputation for putting on a good show and this year our MD Matthew Hackett chose a varied selection of pieces themed around the Whit Friday marches to highlight the band's musical ability.
The day started with the usual rehearsal at the Handcross Social Club at 12 noon. The band headed off to the Hawth in double quick time for the draw, and were very happy to be drawn 1st to play ! The band plays in the 'A' section at this contest, which combines championship and 1st section bands. We took the stage a lot earlier than normal at 3pm, and gave a really good performance. The overall results for our section are as follows.
Position - Band - Points - (Section, Music + Content + Deportment)
1st - Friary Guildford - 95 - (Champ, 58 + 28 + 9)
2nd - Welwyn Garden City - 90 - (Champ, 56 + 26 + 8)
3rd - Brighton & Hove City Brass - 89 - (1st Section, 56 + 25 + 8)
4th - Chichester City - 86 - (1st Section, 55 + 24 + 7)
5th - Regent Brass- 85 - (Champ, 54 + 23 + 8)
6th - Ocean Brass - 84 - (1st Section, 54 + 23 + 7)
7th - Horsham Borough - 82 - (1st Section, 53 + 21 + 8)
8th - Northfleet - 80 - (1st Section, 51 + 22 + 7)
Highest Unplaced 1st Section Band – Chichester City
Best Soloist – Martin Buss, Brighton & Hove City Brass
Best Performed March – Friary Guildford
Remarks as follows:
Castell Coch - Well presented opening march with some precise playing in the march-on. The bass solo shows a well balanced ensemble with good ‘p’ in the trio, and neat cornet solo. Good tempo throughout. A good opener.
El Cumbanchero - Good samba style and cornet soloist plays with flair and excellent tonguing technique. A masterful performance by soloist and band; great percussion also.
Hine e Hine - A little anxiety in the opening but Flugel soloist displays a great relaxed and flowing style. A great contrast here with tasteful accompts. E – effective style and balanced sounds. Bravo Sop. Only occasional blemish towards the close.
12th Street Rag - Stylish treatment at a nice easy tempo. D – F a little insecurity at times. Well balanced trio throughout.
Armenian Fire Dance - Exciting sounds with attention to detail, and the intensity builds towards the close although I feel the last two pages weren’t really ‘ff’
Sussex by the Sea - A little insecurity in the opening section but the programme closes on a bright note and I like your ‘theme’ for the programme; a most enjoyable experience; thank you.
The band were very pleased to come in the top 3, and were especially chuffed for Martin when he collected his soloist prize. Many thanks goes to our helpers for the contest, being Dougie Blackford on soprano, Richard Slyman on flugal horn, Sue Hollick on 2nd horn, and Jon Ireland as compere.
Well done to everyone, especially Martin!
SCABA Spring Contest - Sunday 6th April 2008
For the first time since 2002 the band entered their local contest, being the SCABA Spring contest held in the Hove Town Hall. After the thrilling success at the London & Southern Counties Regional Qualifying Contest, the band were hoping to reproduce some of that form locally. As the contests were so close date wise there was only 3 full weeks for rehearsals.
The band met up for an extra Sunday lunchtime rehearsal at their normal rehearsal church, mainly to fine tune some parts of the test piece. It was then an easy walk / drive / bus trip down the road to Hove Town Hall. Unfortunately the draw meant the band had to hang around for 3 hours, but that allowed some to pop home for a bit of daytime TV!
With such a short rehearsal time since the National Qualifiers Mathew stressed that "we weren’t going to set the place on fire but we can be proud of the performance we put together and delivered on the day". This was indeed true as the band came 6th in the test piece and 4th in the march. There is still a lot to look forward to though. As well as the National Finals in September the band contest next at Crawley with renewed excitement and enthusiasm.
Here are the adjudicator's remarks from the day.
March - NFB
Good start, well balanced and rhythmic. Ensemble doesn’t always move together and it would be beneficial to expand your dynamic contrast/range. Be careful with balance make sure all parts are heard in the final section.
Test Piece - Symphony of Marches
Good start but I hear slips. Appropriate style evident. C – Melody could sing out more. In the loud sections cornets tend to overcook. F – Not balanced. G – Could be lighter in style. L – Not all parts heard and some untuneful playing evident
Grave: Good ‘pp’ but not balanced. Troms/Euph/bass not together 4 before C. C – This is effective. Well done sop. Tuning not good troms before E. F – This is persuasive. H – Pleasing sounds heard, balanced and together with nice contrast at end.
Brioso: Too loud but very good style, rhythmic and dainty. C – controlled and rhythmic. F – don’t rush the quaver/2 semi-quaver rhythm and make more of the expression. J – Could be more ‘pesante’. L – Too loud. Well done euph. N – Tuning suffers here. O – doesn’t knit together well. Q – Lacks rhythm/pulse. R – Some very good sounds here. U – Lacks clarity rhythmically and at times overblown but leads to a fairly convincing conclusion
The final placings:
BAND, ORDER OF PLAY, MARCH Points & Position, TEST PIECE Points & Position
BAE Systems, 3, 184, 8, 190, 2
Betteshanger Welfare, 1, 185, 7, 184, 8
Brackley & District, 8, 190, 2, 187, 5
Brighton & Hove City, 4, 188, 4, 186, 6
Chichester City, W, W, W, W, W
Crystal Palace, 7, 191, 1, 185, 7
Fairlop Brass, 5, 187, 5, 191, 1
Friary Guildford, W, W, W, W, W
Thundersley Brass, 2, 186, 6, 189, 3
Uckfield Concert Brass, 6, 189, 3, 188, 4
Best Bass Section: Thundersley
Best Horn Section: BAE Systems
Best Tenor Trombone: Thundersley
Best Bass Trombone: BAE Systems
Conductor’s Prize: Kevin Jordan (Fairlop)
Mathew was pleased with the performance, thanking everybody with a drink at the bar. He especially thanked Dougie Blackford for covering soprano cornet, and gave a special well done to our 15-year-old percussionist Sam on surviving his first contest.
National Qualifying Contest - Sunday 16th March 2008
Another year, another trip to Stevenage for the London & Southern Counties Regional Qualifying Contest. But this year was to be slightly different! Although the night before no one was expecting to be so thrilled by the days proceedings! This is the contest where this year the top 3 bands are invited to play at the National Brass Band Finals in Harrogate during September.
Most of the band had an early morning Saturday, although some stayed at the nearby Holiday Inn Express to make sure they were bushy eyed for the 8.30am rehearsal. The band were drawn 12th out of 17 to play, and took to the stage at about 3pm. Fifteen minutes later we came off the stage feeling quite satisfied with our performance. Matthew thought it had been our best ever performance of the piece.
After a quick drink in the bar the band congregated in the hall for the results. We were in jubilant mood after it was announced that we had come 3rd. HARROGATE HERE WE COME ! After so much rehearsal and effort, that every player had put in over the last few months, it was a great pleasure to celebrate a marvellous achievement. A few more drinks (including a champagne laden trophy) was then consumed, with some members of the band staying for a second night in Stevenage (planned & unplanned !). The adjudicator's remarks were as follows.
The Dark Side of the Moon - Paul Lovatt-Cooper
Good start but intonation issues in melodic line. (A) Tempo is always steady & heading into (B). (B) at times the accomp lose the light rhythmic feel, troms generally do well apart from the occasional slip with intonation. (E) Good sounds evident, the music has rhythm. (H) Well done sop. (I) Not always rhythmically secure.
(J) Some untuneful playing. (K) This is not secure. The music needs to be peaceful in style / very legato. (N) Sololist plays welland band accompany well with a sense of balance. (O) Bass does not always play in time or together. Generally the cornet pattern is well handled. (P) Sololists do well but not without slips , lovely cres into (R). (R) Great sounds heard, so well balanced and well shaped . (S) Good contrast in dynamic. Effective percussion into 'fff'.
(T) Tentative at times. Excellent cornet dynamic. Not secure tempo rise into (V). (W) Cornets are forcing the sound but the music moves along well. (Z) Could be more broad, cornets / trom / bass. (BB) Not always rhythmically secure. (CC) Some harsh sounds evident. Good final sound.
A good performance with many fine points but spoiled by points noted above. Letter (R) was really good. Some over blowing heard today. Sololists do well as do percussion.
1. Littleport Brass, N. Bramley, 14, 183 (Q)
2. Hangleton, M. Pollard, 4, 182 (Q)
3. Brighton & Hove City Brass, M. Hackett, 12, 181 (Q)
4. Stantonbury Brass, A. Jenkin, 7, 180
5. St. Sebastian Wokingham, A. Porter, 13, 179
6. Uckfield Concert Brass, S. McIntyre, 5, 178
7. Waterbeach Brass, J. Utting, 1, 177
8. Woodbridge Excelsior, A. Duguid, 2, 176
9. Hitchin Town, M. Hurrell, 11, 175
10. Fulham, S. Jones, 16, 174
11. Croydon Brass, P. Martin, 3, 173
12. Hungerford Town, T. Crouter, 8, 172
13. Chalgrove, M. Pegram, 10, 171
14. BAE Systems, K. Woodger, 6, 170
15. L.G.B. Brass, I. Stewart, 9, 169
16. Great Yarmouth Brass, S. Philpot, 15, 168
17. E.P.B., I. Mitchell, 17, 167
This result means that we will be playing at the National Finals in Harrogate at the end of September. Our congratulations also extend to Hangleton band who have also qualified in 2nd place. This means that (as far as I can remember !) for the first time there will be 2 bands from Brighton at the national finals!
We are now lying 1st in the provisional grading tables for next year's contest, with Hangleton and Uckfield joint 2nd. Therefore with a good result (or a first at the finals) we could be back up in the 2nd section again. We must thank Jon Ireland for helping us out on percussion (especially happy as he and Dave got a mention in the adjudicator's comments !), Graeme Cornish on Soprano Cornet, and to Helen Cleall for signing up with us & playing 3rd Cornet on the day.