Test Piece: HEROES – Bruce Broughton
FLOWERS BAND (UK)
Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2018, the Flowers Band, based in Gloucester, was formed following the disbandment of the Royal Gloucester Hussars (Territorial Army) band. After negotiation with the Ministry of Defence, the instruments were purchased and most of the former members of R.G.H., along with other local musicians, formed the Gloucester City Brass. Since then, the group has had a variety of sponsors including Whitbread in the community and Flowers Brewery. In 1998, the band kept the name under which they were so respected, and have done so ever since and established themselves as one of the UK’s best brass bands. The group has had a lot of success in the field of the contest and in 2018 they won both Butlin’s Mineworkers Championship and Entertainment Trophies, a title they have won six times. They reached new heights in 2015 with a third-place finish at the British Open Championships in 2014, a 4th place finish at the British National Championships in 2015, and a second victory at Roland-Garros in 2016, which led them to firmly position themselves in the top 10 of the World Brass Band rankings.
Flowers recently recorded a new CD ‘Celebrate’, on the occasion of their 50th anniversary, other CDs are already on sale – Highlights of Brassed Off (2014) recorded after their internship in the touring show when it came to Cheltenham, Stratos – The Music of Jonathan Bates (2015) and Definity – with Philip Cobb and David Childs (2017).
With a growing reputation for entertainment and innovation on the concert stage, they are participating in Roland-Garros 2019 and giving the Gala Concert to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the competition
AEOLUS BAND (F)
Aeolus Band – Conductor: Benoit Fourreau
Above all, it is a wonderful human story, Professional musicians who decide to share their passion in an amateur group with a breathtaking repertoire. Our orchestra is managed by a non-profit association, which allows small towns, festivals, schools, conservatories to enjoy exceptional concerts! It’s been 20 years since the first independent brass band composed exclusively of professional musicians was born in Paris.
The primary motivation: to practice, share and energize the brass instruments thanks to this unique orchestral formation: the Brass Band. An impressive career: more than 200 concerts in France and abroad, winner of national and international competitions, three recordings, sound and visual participation in television and cinema, thousands of children sensitized to this training during numerous school presentations, etc.
While the first brass band in France appeared nearly 30 years ago, the development of this formation remained confidential. The artistic quality of Æolus, which was quickly recognized at the competition level, but also the choice of a more “symphonic” mode of playing, contrary to the Anglo-Saxon model, attracted the support of a wider audience, but also of many professionals, who had previously been reluctant to traditional aesthetics.
Without denying the richness of 150 years of tradition across the Channel, Æolus brass band claims its right to be different: difference through its playing, its program, through the transversality of its encounters. Because it is by moving towards a different repertoire, open to all influences, (contemporary music, variety, classical), decompartmentalized, that we will be able to get out of an agreed circle, thus touching and convincing a wider audience, an audience conquered by the brass band in a different way!
Test Piece: ESSAY – Edward Gregson
Tet piece: PLANTAGENET – Edward Gregson
AToursdebrass is the fourth Brass Band of the Indre et Loire!
Stéphane Balzeau, Tuba teacher at the Regional Conservatory of Tours, proposed to create and direct this ensemble on a voluntary basis to allow non-professional musicians, or students at the conservatory, at the music faculty of Tours, or from some music school to be able to practice the Brass Band.
This type of ensemble, which was not offered in the department, was created in November 2016.
The Covid 19 pandemic and the associated lockdown forced us to suspend all collective musical activity, and then to stop completely. This orchestral experience had left a void.
In October 2022, the second attempt to form a Brass Band, with a nice surprise, the staff was full.
Faced with this motivation, we decided to participate in the open de France de Brass Band d’Amboise 2023 in the 3rd division where we obtained a first prize. It was a beautiful and enriching experience.
That’s why we wanted to try the adventure again in 2024!
AToursdebrass “version 2” wants to contribute to the discovery or rediscovery of the Brass Band, to share this varied repertoire, to promote brass and percussion with their good humor!
Test piece:A CELTIC SUITE – Philip Sparke
Fourth / Youth section
Test piece: ANGLIAN DANCES – Alan Fernie
THURLSTONE BAND (UK)
Thurlstone Band – Conductor: Peter Graham
Thurlstone Brass Band is a community band based in a small village near Barnsley in the U.K.
Like most, the band has experienced highs and lows over its 170 years existence – it is recorded as competing in the “British Open” and “Crystal Palace” championships many years ago, however for the past 40 years or so the band has entered fewer competitions and focussed on the community, and player development of all ages.
In 2003, with diminishing player numbers, the band turned to Graham Bates as M.D., whose banding experience and contacts paid dividends, filling those empty chairs.
The formation of a Training Band in 2011 was a major turning point. Graham’s son (Jonathan) needs no introduction to the brass band world, but these were his first steps into conducting, and within a few years the two bands merged to leave a 30-strong group of friends.
The band honours its commitments every year in the Barnsley area, such as Remembrance Day and Christmas, and now undertakes a European tour every two years, a recent highlight being playing at the last post ceremony at the Menin Gate (Ypres) in 2018.
The year 2024 not only marks the band’s 170th anniversary, but the 21st anniversary of Graham’s stewardship. “I have been to the French Open nearly every year since 2005, mainly with Lockwood Brass, and with Hammonds in 2023, and it’s always been my dream to bring my community band and friends to enjoy this weekend. What better way to celebrate our 170th birthday than at this wonderful event!!”