2009 news


Brighton and Hove City Brass says farewell and thanks!

Brighton & Hove City Brass announce the departure of two of its longest serving members.

Husband and wife team Martin and Sian Buss, who met through the band, have decided to call time on their long association with the Sussex based group.

Both joined as youngsters more than 30 years ago and have been through some tough times as well as experiencing some happy and highly successful times.

Martin held the principal cornet position for most of his years of service, winning plenty of accolades and a number of solo prizes along the way and in his position as bandmaster conducted in the absence of the MD - including many concerts and a couple of contests.

Sian made the Secretary role her own, willingly taking on the 1001 jobs this entailed for more years than most of the band members can remember. Her flexibility as a player was second to none as she occupied practically every seat within the band at one time or another without a hint of protest.

The band would like to thank Martin and Sian for the service they have given over the years and sincerely wish them both all the very best for their future ventures.


Folkestone Contest -  11 October 2009

After a busy summer, it was time for the last contest of the year - the SCABA Autumn contest held at the Leas Cliff Hall in Folkestone. This contest is normally held over two days, but this year had an impressive 34 bands playing a hymn and test piece all on one day. Several members of the band were very pleased that this meant the usual early start was avoided !

After our success at Hove earlier in the year, our MD chose another piece from the pen of Philip Sparke - The Land of the Long White Cloud along with the hymn tune Colne. We met at lunchtime for a rehearsal and then waited to see when we would be playing, drawn 11th out of 13 bands we were in for a long wait ! We came off stage feeling disappointed that it hadn't gone as well as we had hoped, and that was borne out in the results - 12th out of 13 in the hymn and 13th out of 13th for the test piece.

Adjudicator Philip Harper made the following comments about our performance:
Hymn – slightly bumpy to start and tuning issues immediate(sic) obvious. The sound is warm however, dynamics are well attempted but add to the tuning issues. 178 points
Test piece – Has impact to begin, but out of tune on C chord and not always together in big middle group. Rhythm inaccurate two before A, and tuning very wayward at A. Much happier at B but could blend better. Flug and troms rhythm is also rather approximate at C. Top D’s tuning is so (underlined 3 times) sharp – ouch !
D has good life but is scrappy. G needs a little more discipline. Technical patches (e.g. before J) are not accurate enough.
L Sop is fine, but doesn’t really connect with ‘express’. Good cornet. Flugel on the other hand is a pure nugget of gold – terrific solo ! It starts to get rather edgy again at ff – any sense of quality goes.
P isn’t ‘ppp’ side drum !!
Effective fugato from R but back to untidy again afterwards. Big problems at Maestoso. Prestissimo is exciting, but out of tune to end. A good effort, but this piece got the better of you today ! 178 points

Shame about the result but congratulations to Rich (Flugel) for the excellent comments - and well deserved !


2009 and Brighton Bandstand is finally open!

At last the Brighton & Hove Seafront Bandstand has re-opened. The last band performed on the bandstand in 1974. After an extensive restoration that has used some 80% of the original fabric of the structure and seen some 40 layers of paint stripped from the intricate metal work.

Patcham, Hangleton and Brighton Bands all joined forces to perform at the official opening on Friday 24th July. The crowds enjoyed the performance by the three bands, even though it was rather breezy! Look out for concerts throughout the year and keep an eye on the diary page for our turn, on what is now considered one of the finest 'Victorian Birdcage' Bandstands in the country.


Crawley Entertainment Contest -  17 May 2009

This is probably the bands favourite contest where we have to perform a 24 minute concert and be marked on music, entertainment and deportment. It is definitely more nerve racking than the closed adjudication contests we normally attend during the year. Everything ran smoothly but we did wonder whether it was worth all the effort of our 'special effects' when the adjudicator hardly looked up from his notes. Dave Hush performed a wonderful rendition of Bare Necessities which involved other players trying to 'steal' his solo from him. Unfortunately we didn't come in the prizes this year but it was good fun.

Adjudicator David Read made the following comments about our performance:
Ravenswood - The notes could be measured a little better it all sounds rather hurried. accompaniment drowns the tune in the 3rd strain. A good choice of march but the playing must be equal to it.
The Bare Necessities - Eb Bass (Dave Hush soloist). Smooth playing to open and all goes well. Bass plays with confidence and loyally supported by band - good rhythmic pulse, helped by good Side Drum. Playing is not sacrificed for humour. Nice cornet touch continued by the section. A good choice for the contest.
A Nightingale sang in Berkeley Square - Good start, excellent cornet cadenza. Mood captured. The music is shaped well by conductor. Well done, an enjoyable number.
Fat bottomed girls - Not a good balance to open but secure. Be careful of tuning on held notes. All just a little to square and not enough contrast in the piece.
Doyen - Uncertain to open and there are intonation problems within the ensemble. I like your dynamic contrast as you proceed. Excellent solo cornet at K. It all gets a little dull in character. Good close.

Some interesting choices but the playing not always equal to it.

Musical performance 48/60
Entertainment value 25/30
Deportment 8/10


SCABA Spring Contest - 5 April 2009

Despite following only 3 weeks after the area contest, MD Matthew Hackett set the band a stern challenge when he decided on Castell Coch (T J Powell) and Endeavour (Philip Sparke) as the test pieces for Hove. The band were all for it as they are pieces that we really enjoy playing – and it must have showed !

After a long day, the band members brave enough to go into the hall for the results were delighted to hear that we had achieved quite a haul. We were awarded 1st prize for the test piece and our bass section obviously caught adjudicator Colin Hardy's ear as he named them as the best bass section and our Musical Director Matthew Hackett won the cup for the Best Interpretation by a Conductor.

After some speedy texting a cheer went up in the bar where the rest of the band were waiting anxiously for news.

Colin Hardy made the following comments on our performances:
Castell Coch - Solid start but why rush quavers each time. Nice Solo Cornet and good bass solo. Well Balanced. Again super solo cornet and good horn a/c (Ed: accompaniment!) and all flows along to close. 185 points. 5th place.
Endeavour - Good detailed start and flows.
A+ though has some intonation in intervals. Take care but a good build up from B with good dynamic contrasts. C Well controlled.
New Challenge – lots of detail here and so effective. F+6 well done solo horn and flugel. H is so well balanced and all is heard. Lento – super contrast and lovely flugel solo and Euph joins well. K+ - all well done.
L+ - super lead to Celebration and lots of good well executed playing here. N + P+ all detail noted and all soloists are playing there part and balance is so good you can hear all parts.
I feel that I am on a journey to a super close. A classy performance of a little used piece.
Many thanks, Colin Hardy

Whilst presenting our cups, adjudicator Colin Hardy mentioned that he had adjudicated this piece just once before and ‘it was dreadful’ so wasn’t sure what to expect when he saw Endeavour on the list of pieces to be played. But continued that ‘from the very start he knew he was listening to something special. The interpretation was absolutely spot on and our neat, tidy, tight and musical performance brought the piece to life. It was a delight to listen to and he thoroughly enjoyed it.’

MD Matthew Hackett commented to the band that the overall effect was a fantastic performance and he is proud of everyone. An excellent team effort.
Certain players were later spotted struggling down the road to the nearby Albion pub laden with cups for a celebratory drink or two!


L&SC Qualifying Contest - 21 March 2009

After our trip to the National Finals in 2008, we were promoted back to the 2nd section for the first time since 2006 and the test piece selected was a new piece composed by Dan Price called New World Sketches. Some player shuffling was required to cover the 4 percussion needed, with front row cornet player Heather Hush kindly agreeing to play the tricky tuned percussion part – and a great job she did too.

Unfortunately despite a lot of pre-contest rehearsal, the band didn’t play to the best of our ability and were placed 15th.

Adjudicator Philip Sparke made the following comments on our performance:
1st movement - Confident start. 7 – dim trombone?? Please grade your dynamics a little more carefully – mp/mf contrasts not always clear. 59 – Careful cornet 78 – a little straight-faced 79 – careful trombone. Not a good end
2nd movement - 106-115 tuning worries a little. 138 Cb? B Trom – sounds more like a C natural !! J+ limps a little - I don’t feel a regular pulse. 183+ is very nice and you end well.
3rd movement - Not quite together to start. Good tempo chosen but it needs to be tighter – It lacks rhythmic and musical conviction. O – has nice humour. 294 – cornets not balanced. 302+ sounding a little tired. 326 Cornet rhythm not exact.

As you near the end it starts to show you are not quite on top of this technically and ensemble is not your best. There is more for you to do on this piece.
Philip Sparke.

MD Matthew Hackett praised the band for their efforts leading up to Stevenage, with particular thanks going to Helen Woolley for helping out at short notice and also to Heather for doing such a sterling job on tuned percussion. He felt that unfortunately it just didn’t come off for us on the day and we simply had a bad day at the office saying these things happen and we shouldn’t be too down hearted about it but look forward to the next contest at Hove.

The CD is finally ready!

It was a long wait but worth it. Our CD finally arrived, all 1000 copies of it!!

A lot of good comments received from the listeners. They will be available at all our engagements and of course we can send then by post to anyone requesting one via our website. £7 each or two for £10.