Delivering on Dynasty
The British Open is arguably one of the most competitive competitions in the banding calendar. What in particular makes this event so fierce is the qualification process. Bands have to compete in a qualifying event to gain an invite to the Senior Trophy. This then leads to promotion to the Senior Cup, then onto the Grand Shield. This whole process can take years of contest performances.
The prize at the end of all of this?
The British Open.
Ever since 1853, this has been the Holy Grail to the vast majority of Brass Bands.
This years marks the 167th anniversary of this prestigious contest. The organisers, Martin & Karyn Mortimer, commissioned composer Peter Graham to envisage and create a brand new piece based on the life of legendary Cornet player, Harry Mortimer. The new test piece was named Dynasty to represent the status that Mortimer held within the banding community. As a cornet player, Mortimer was considered to be the best in the World for the vast majority of his life.
Here in 2019, Flowers have become a regular name at the British Open and with MD Paul Holland (who was adjudicating last years’ contest) back at the helm, we are taking significant steps to push for the very highest accolades in banding. Competing this year was going to have it’s own challenges. No less than fourteen British Open debutantes would take to the stage with Flowers Band.
This would mirror nicely with the day’s events. An uncharacteristically late draw (for Flowers, at least) of exactly that number, fourteen, meant that we could throw off the stigma that an early draw can provide. With the main event beginning at 10:30am, we held a rehearsal at 1pm and made our way over to Symphony Hall from our hotel.
We took to the stage at around 4pm with the added pressure that this year’s British Open was being live-streamed around the World. The soloists within the band performed fantastically, from Jamie Smith on Principal Cornet delivering one of the cleanest openings of the day to Matt Rowe on Solo Euphonium showing class and ability far beyond his years. Every player in the band gave a fantastic rendition.
Afterwards, Flowers Band made the obligatory journey to the local bars and awaited the trickle of news from Social Media and from bands-folk in Symphony Hall watching the results.
FIFTH PLACE! A cheer at the bar and a cheer inside the hall demonstrated the relief at a great result! Flowers Band had beaten some of the biggest names in banding!
1. Cory (Philip Harper)
2. Black Dyke (Prof Nicholas J. Childs)
3. Foden's (Russell Gray)
4. Desford Colliery (LMTF) (Michael Fowles)
5. Flowers (Paul Holland)
6. Brighouse & Rastrick (Prof David King)
7. Grimethorpe Colliery (Dr David Thornton)
8. Fairey (Garry Cutt)
9. Aldbourne (Ivan Meylemans)
10. the cooperation band (Phillip McCann)
11. Tredegar (Ian Porthouse)
12. Valaisia Brass Band (Arsene Duc)
13. Hammonds (Morgan Griffiths)
14. Carlton Main Frickley Colliery (Luc Vertommen)
15. Leyland (Thomas Wyss)
16. Wingates (Paul Andrews)*
17. NASUWT Riverside (David Roberts)
18. Whitburn (Florent Didier) *
This puts the band at ease going into next year’s British Open, as our result last year had put us in danger of relegation to the Grand Shield.
Up next is the Nation Finals, held at the Royal Albert Hall in London!