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Runners and Prediction for The British Open - 7th September 2013

Published in Contest on 2013-09-02 by Empty Chairs

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Established in 1853 the oldest, and original brass band contest is taking place this Saturday, 7th September, at the Symphony Hall in Birmingham.

The finest brass bands in Britain vie for the coveted prize of the British Open Champion title and will provide the audience with an enthralling day of music.

The test piece is Arabian Nights. A fantasy on Rimsky Korsakov’s Scheherazade arranged by Stephen Roberts. Stephen was horn player with the Fine Arts Brass Ensemble, as well as performing with nearly all the UK’s orchestras from the BBC Big Band to the London Symphony Orchestra. He first became involved with brass bands during the 1980s as musical director of the Jones & Crossland Band and later the Desford Colliery Band among others. His arrangements, particularly for brass, are well known throughout the world and his transcription of Holst’s Planets Suite was used as the test piece for the 2003 British Open Brass Band Championship.

Stephen commentated: "I have tried to create something that is a real challenge to play, but is rewarding too. It is a small tribute to one of the great masterpieces of classical music, but is principally designed to highlight the colours and versatility of the brass band and be a salute to the players, conductors and organisers who spend so much time in dedication to their art. The goal is produce a performance that combines musical personality, exemplary technique and impressive virtuosity – easy to say, but hard to do!"


17 of the top bands in the UK will be competing.

  • Reg Vardy - Russell Gray
  • Beaumaris - Gwyn Evans
  • Black Dyke - Nicholas Childs
  • Brighouse and Rastrick - David King
  • Carlton Main Frickley Colliery - Phillip McCann
  • Co-operative Funeralcare
  • Cory - Philip Harper
  • Desford Colliery
  • Fairey - Garry Cutt
  • Foden's - Allan Withington
  • Grimethorpe Colliery
  • Hepworth
  • Kirkintilloch
  • Leyland - Michael Bach
  • Milnrow - Mareika Gray
  • Tredegar - Ian Porthouse
  • Virtuosi GUS - John Berryman


With such a collection of brass band talent on display making predictions is not going to be easy. We're not going to let that stop us however!

The bands we expect to see in the prizes on Saturday are...

Black Dyke - 2nd in this competition last year and despite a shaky end to 2012 and start to 2013 they seem to be back on form following the English Nationals in June. They have not won the Open since 2006.

Cory - as they tend to win this contest in 'odd' years this year is clearly their turn! Decent results from earlier in the year show they are on form, but let us hope they are not still jet lagged from their trip down under.

Foden's - reigning Open Champions and National Champions. They've had a quiet contesting year to date, so we're sure that Allan Withington is once again determined to prove that Foden's are a force to be reckoned with.

Leyland - They might be disappointed with their results in this contest over the last few years, but results in other contests show they have what it takes.

Virtuosi GUS - they've been on stunning form throughout 2013 so far, if they carry it across there's no reason why they can't do significant better than last year.

Milnrow - it's our "wild card" band for a top 6 finish. They've never competed in the Open before, but we think Mareika Gray might just have what it takes to cause a surprise.

Do you want to pin us down to predicting a winner? Well, okay then we're going to say.... Cory.

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