James Brice Interview: Conducting North West Wind Ensemble & Castle Hill RSL Youth Wind Orchestra and the Future of Concert Banding in Australia
Following the 2019 Australian National Band Championships, I was fortunate enough to speak with James Brice, musical director of Open A Grade National Champions North West Wind Ensemble and Junior A Grade National Runners Up Castle Hill RSL Youth Wind Orchestra. We discussed James' approach to conducting wind ensembles, the high grade Australian wind ensemble scene and the future of community banding.
*This article was written for the British Bandsman Magazine*
Sydney City Brass, under Jason Katsikaris, have claimed the Australian National A Grade title for 2019, conquering some of the biggest names in Australian banding in the process. Finishing 10 points clear of WA Brass under David Bremner in 2nd place, the newly formed Sydney group left a lasting impression on the banding community, not least of which being Steven Mead in the adjudicator’s box. Brisbane City Hall’s Main Auditorium’s rich reverb proved to be a popular acoustic for the event.
At last, the final instalment of my Preview and Prediction series for the Australian National Band Championships for 2019. With a week to go, it has been exciting to go through all the competing bands and recognise their achievements and motivations going into this year's very lively competition.
The A grade this year is set to be a sensational event, with 11 bands competing for the top spot (after the withdrawal of both Footscray Yarraville City and Holroyd Brass Band). There will be some regular contenders as well as some seemingly new bands to the A Grade competition.
The Open B Grade Brass will be the largest of all the band events at the Australian Nationals in 2019. There are an incredible 16 bands competing in Brisbane, three more than last year’s Melbourne Nationals. Cairns Brass’ promotion to the Open A Grade leaves the B Grade title open for a new winner in 2019.
In the last few years, we have rarely seen a whitewash of all four of the on stage categories, and the contests have always been close, so every piece will be significant. As a B Grade competitor myself with Northern Brass, I am looking forward to seeing how the B Grade pans out. There's even a premiere or two of my music in the Open B Grade this year, so keep your ears perked for some new music through the weekend!
This year's Australian Nationals see ten bands compete in the Open C Grade Brass. The C Grade competition is the only Open Brass contest where a reigning champion (Wonthaggi Citizens’ Band) can reclaim their National title, but there will be nine other bands looking to spoil the party!
For whoever is crowned champion, B Grade contesting will surely not be far away. The C Grade competition has proven in the last 7 years to be a strong predictor of formidable B Grade bands, with Marion City (2012/2013 Winners) and Northern Brass (2014/15 Winners) both winning back to back C Grade titles, prior to Latrobe Federal’s 2016/2017 success. Could this year's winner go on to be another strong B Grade contender in years to come? Only time will tell!
The 2019 Australian National Band Championships have quickly come upon us, so I am once again preparing some preview and prediction articles for each open brass event of the weekend. First up are the Open D Grade Brass, which will see three competitors contend for the National title. While tight on competitors, each band is quite capable of success and could make for an interesting competition.
2018 is now well and truly coming to a close. 2019 brings us new performing opportunities and a possibility of growth, but it should also provide us with a chance to evaluate what we did in 2018 and how we can improve our own banding movements. Unfortunately, community banding is not growing, and unless the current players and bands change their ways, there is every chance community banding may become less and less relevant.
That is why I am challenging you all in 2019 to take on at least one of my 5 achievable New Year's Resolutions for 2019. I know I will be tackling all of these with my involvement with my own band, as well as my compositional career. If everyone took these steps on board, we would find our banding movements to be more enticing and enjoyable for non-bandspeople.
Hi everyone! Gee, it has been a little while since I posted here (I have been fairly busy with my composing and studies)! 2018 has been a huge year, with my exchange to Salford University, plus my big year of performances back home in Melbourne. Below you can find my top 10 favourite performances of my music from 2018.
I am excited about everything lined up in 2019! The Australian National Championships at Easter will be a big weekend, with 'Vengeance' being my first set test work at a National Contest. Keep your eyes peeled for more of my works throughout the weekend too! I'm also excited about a number of other works coming through the pipeline set for premieres in 2019! No clues just yet, but follow me on Facebook for updates as they arise!
Mark Davey Interview: Playing 1st Trombone with Wellington Brass Band, Conducting Hutt City Brass Band & Improving the New Zealand Brass Band Scene
I was fortunate enough to speak to Wellington Brass Band's 1st Trombone player Mark Davey after the band achieved its second competition success for 2018, winning the 2018 New Zealand Brass Band Championships A Grade. We spoke about what it takes to succeed at a high grade, his role conducting Hutt City Band in the B Grade and his thoughts on improving the New Zealand banding scene!
Russell Gray Interview: Adjudicating the New Zealand National Band Championships 2018, His Progression as a Cornetist and Conductor, and The Role of Youth Bands in the Brass Banding Movement
I was fortunate enough to sit down with world renowned cornetist, conductor and adjudicator Russell Gray, just before he headed to the 2018 New Zealand National Band Championships. We discussed his progression as a musician within the banding movement, his thoughts on conducting, his approach to adjudicating and his upcoming performance with the Brisbane Philharmonic Orchestra with the world premiere of Bill Broughton's Symphony. Read it below.
Jared loves to share his passion for music and artists through music reviews and commentaries. These include a selection of reviews written for community radio stations 3MBS and Radio Monash.