After a great year, with a new Belgian title, great results at the European Brass Band Championships (first place for the set test piece, 4th place overall) and a handful of amazing concerts, it was November again. Time for the next Belgian Brass Band Championships.
Set test piece and own choice piece
In June, we once again received a challenging and recent set test piece: 'Electra' by Martin Ellerby. The rhythmic first part, full of bar changes, took quite some effort. However, the second, lyrical part sounded like it was written only for us. This is the type of piece that Frans Violet specializes in, and his musicians are very glad to take part in this. It took us quite some time to decide on an own choice piece. With someone like Philip Sparke in the jury, it would have been a great idea to choose one of his works, however, we decided to go with Simon Dobson's most recent test piece. It had everything we were looking for. This spectacular sound work (with tons of solos) was able to please us all so we finally started rehearsing it in September.
On the 30th of November, we left for Heist-op-den-Berg. For the first time ever, the Belgian Brass Band Championships took place in the 'CC Zwaneberg'. For those who like routine and have developed certain rituals and traditions over the years, the change of scenery took some getting used to. However, this lovely, well-heated accommodation, with its pleasant practice area and amazing concert hall, seemed to impress us all.
Brass Band Willebroek was able to spend the remainder of their time at a school, located near the 'CC Zwaneberg', thanks to Principal Eb Bass Stefan Moeskops.
After an ideal draw by Jaak (4th for the set piece and 7th for the work of choice), we were able to start off the competition with a lot of confidence. Playing 7th had proven to work in our favour last year, so we felt pretty good about it this year as well. As the fourth band, Brass Band Willebroek took the stage to bring their version of Electra. Everything went exactly as we rehearsed it. Frans Violet led the band to, what we believe to be, a perfect rendition of the set test piece. This was confirmed by the exuberant applause of the audience. In the foyer, people immediately came over to congratulate us: "by far the best we've heard today". This boosted our confidence. We were able to go back to our rehearsal space with a very good feeling. There, we filled our stomachs and energized ourselves for the next part of the competition. After the break, we gave our all to our own choice piece, 'Journey of a Lone Wolf'. All soloists brought a unique atmosphere to the stage and lifted the band to the highest level. During the finale, we noticed that the concert hall of 'CC Zwaneberg' was more than able to carry the sound of a top brass band. The crowd went wild, for which we are very grateful!
Announcing the results
Finally, it was time for the announcement of the results: Brass Band Willebroek renews its Belgian title! Our own choice piece was rewarded with a score of 98% and our total cam to 95%, 1.5% less than the second band. With this national title, Brass Band Willebroek secures its place at the European Brass Band Championships of 2015 in Freibug, Germany. Frans Violet, who has been putting his stamp on the brass band movement in Belgium since day one, was more than honoured with his umpteenth win in 35 years. Brass Band Willebroek has won 19 national championships and 3 European titles over the years.
Frans thanked his musicians, of whom he expects so much, and called this win the best birthday present he could wish for. "But have you ever seen a conductor win without the help of outstanding musicians?", he added to the praise he was receiving.
CD-Recordings Bernaerts Music
This week, we will once again dive into the recording studio for the Bernaerts Music CD recordings. We hope to see you soon at one of our concerts or even in the crowd at the European Championships in Freiburg.
Make sure to leave open the 7th of March 2015 for the double concert of Brass Band Willebroek and Young Brass Band Willebroek.
Set Work: Electra (Martin Ellerby) out of 300 + Own Choice out of 300 = % Total
Adjudicators: John Doyle, Philip Sparke, Tom Brevik
1. Brassband Willebroek (Frans Violet): 276/294 = 95.00%
2. Brassband Buizingen (Luc Vertommen): 279/282 = 93.50%
3. Noord-Limburgse Brassband (Ivan Meylemans): 273/285 = 93.00%
4. Festival Brass Band (Benny Wiame): 264/276 = 90.00%
5. Brass Band Heist (Bert Van Thienen): 267/270 = 89.50%
6. Brassband Zele (Bart Van Der Strieckt): 261/273 = 89.00%
7. Brass Band Leieland (Wouter Loose): 258/267 = 89.00%
8. Kortrijk Brass Band (Ward De Ketelaere): 255/264 = 87.50%
Translated by: Kim D.H.