SYMPHONY HALL, BIRMINGHAM Saturday 9thSeptember 2017

Tickets available direct from Symphony Hall Box Office on 0121-780 3333
From May 19th



SYMPHONY HALL, BIRMINGHAM Sunday 10th September 2017

Tickets Direct from Symphony Hall Box Office on 0121-780 3333
From May 19th

2017 Test Piece


by Thierry Deleruyelle

Inspired by the tragic circumstances of a 1906 mining disaster in Douai (a short distance from Lille) that claimed 1,099 miner's lives.

Toxic gasses were detected in the mine in the days before the explosion. The company was warned by a union delegate, but refused to stop production:

Shortly after 06:30 on the morning of Saturday 10 March 1906 there was an underground explosion in the mine-shafts belonging to the Courrières Mining Company. In just a few minutes, a ball of fire destroyed everything in its path along 110 km of underground galleries. This was the greatest mining disaster Europe has ever known.

About six hundred miners were able to reach the surface during the hours immediately after the explosion. Many were severely burned and/or suffering from the effects of mine gases.

A group of thirteen survivors, known later as the rescapés, was found by rescuers on 30 March, twenty days after the explosion. They had survived at first by eating the food which the victims had taken underground for their lunch, later by slaughtering one of the mine horses. The two eldest (39 and 40 years old) were awarded the Légion d'honneur, the other eleven (including three younger than 18 years of age) received the Médaille d'or du courage. A final survivor was found on 4 April.


The musical narrative sets the scene, tells the tale and recalls the aftermath.

It comprises seven linked sections that open mysteriously with cold timbres evoking an early morning trek to the pit head before building in anxiety and industry as the miners first descend the shaft before starting their shift of work — from the light above to the dark below to extract the coal.

The catastrophe is ignited by a fractured, frenzied forcefulness, the prelude to which is the ghostly on-rush of air through instruments; life or death a matter of luck as the explosion devastates the underground passages that lead from the coal face to the pit head.


The solemn task of bringing out the dead leads to a bleak paean of reflection before the piece ends in uplifting fashion in the form of a 'Fraternity Prayer' that pays tribute to those lost.

Composer Thierry Deleruyelle hoped bands would be able to identify with something within the piece. It was a heartfelt request that found resonance given the historic association many bands have to heavy industry and coal mining in particular all over Europe.

General enquiries:

Contest Promoter; Martin Mortimer,

14 Courthope Villas, Wimbledon, SW19 4EH

Telephone (+44)02088 790105

Mobile 07930491911

All other enquiries

Contest Controller; Frank Hodges

39 Broxton Avenue, Orrell, Wigan, WN5 8NP

Email Frank Hodges

Telephone (+44)01942 212418

Mobile 07930562768

Registration enquiries

Colin Johnson

email Colin Johnson

Telephone 01226 715893


Thierry Deleruyelle is a french composer, conductor and percussionist graduated from the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris (CNSM). He obtained the prices of Percussion, Harmony, Counterpoint, Fugue and diplomas for Analysis and Orchestration, first class honour, unanimous distinction.
His compositions are required to work with renowned artists and to be recorded on CD by various orchestras. He writes for concertband, brass band, chamber music and soloist. He won the 1st Prize in international competitions of composition of Saint-Amand-les-eaux (France -2005) and Haize Berriak (Spain - 2009). Among his many commissions, he wrote the test-piece of the European Brass Band Contest, championship section in 2016.

Also a conductor, he conducts various orchestras invitation as well as the "Orchestre Voltige" which he is a founding member and the artistic director. He 's professor of percussion and orchestration at the Douai's conservatory from which he comes from.

Involved in the defence of composer rights and wind ensembles, he was a member of the Committee of symphonic music of the SACEM from 2012 to 2015, member of the steering committee of Varieties National Union of Artists and Composers (SNAC) and member of the Board of AFEEV.







1. In the following rules, the words ‘Contest Management’ shall relate to the Organising Com­mittee of the British Open Brass Band Championship Limited. Any reference to the masculine shall include the feminine, and the interpretation of the following Rules shall be decided by the Contest Management, such decisions to be final.

2. These Rules will apply to all Contests run under the auspices of the British Open Brass Band Championships.

3. Entries to the British Open, Grand Shield Senior Cup and Senior Trophy Contests shall be limited to Brass Bands from the British Isles and Countries from the Commonwealth ie. Austral­ia, New Zealand, and other countries as determined from time to time by the Contest Manage­ment.

4. Contests are open to Bands composed of standard Brass Band instruments, with a maximum of 25 brass players plus percussionists as required and a conductor. No player shall play more than one brass instrument during the performance of the test piece. The conductor may not play an instrument with the Band they are conducting.

5. All Trophies won at any contest are to be returned at the end of twelve months, with the ex­ception of certain Trophies marked clearly in the Contest programme ‘to be retained’.

6. The Contest Management reserves the right to change these Rules, the date or venue (with suitable notice given ) and to limit the number of entries when necessary. Interested Bands will be notified of any changes.

7. The Contest Management cannot be held responsible for damage to, or loss of, any band / personal property nor for any personal injuries whilst attending any event. All venues used will carry insurance, to comply with statutory requirements.

8. The Contest Management shall issue invitations to any contest at least three months before the date of the relevant Contest, and acceptance forms must be returned to the Contest Management within three weeks, together with the required fee.
Invitations will be issued on the following basis;

The British Open list shall include all the Bands which competed at the previous year’s com­petition less two ‘demoted Bands’. These will be replaced by two ‘promoted Bands’ from the previous Grand Shield Qualifying Contest (Bands placed 1st 2nd).
Demotion from The British Open is defined by adding together the aggregate placing for the last two years. The two Bands with highest aggregate will be demoted. If after the aggregate has been collated more than one band shares the 2nd demotion place the band which is placed lowest in the current years contest will be deemed the one to be demoted.

 b) THE GRAND SHIELD QUALIFYING CONTEST list shall include the two demoted Bands from the previous British Open Championship, plus the Bands which competed at the previous year’s com­petition less four demoted Bands. These will be replaced by four promoted Bands from the previous year’s Senior Cup Qualifying Contest (Bands placed 1st 2nd 3rd & 4th ).
Demotion from The Grand Shield is defined as the last four lowest placed bands in current years con­test.

c) THE SENIOR CUP QUALIFYING CONTEST list shall include the four demoted Bands from the previous years Grand Shield Qualifying Contest plus the Bands which competed at the previous year’s competition, less four demoted Bands. These will be replaced by four promoted Bands from the previ­ous year’s Senior Trophy Qualifying Contest (Bands placed 1st 2nd 3rd & 4th ).
Demotion from The Senior Cup is defined as the last four lowest placed bands in current years contest.

d) THE SENIOR TROPHY QUALIFYING CONTEST list shall include the four demoted Bands from the previous Senior Cup Qualifying Contest plus the Bands which competed at the previous year’s competition, less six demoted Bands. These will be replaced by six invited bands. Demotion from The Senior Trophy is defined as the last six lowest placed bands. The six relegated Bands will be excluded from invitation for a period of 12 months, unless they requalify by entering one of the qualifying competions.   

e) The Contest Management reserves the right to increase or decrease the numbers in each section as and when required. The Contest Management’s decision is final

9. Registration.
Your band is automatically registered when an invitation to the British Open series is accepted. We will provide your private online registry access details upon your acceptance of the invitation.

9a. All competing players must be registered with your band in the British Open Online Registry.  Full name, date of birth and a recent photograph must be included in the register.

9b. Players having competed in the British Open with band (a) and subsequently competed with band (b) at the following Spring Festival will be prohibited from competing with band (a) at the following British Open

10. Each Band must name their Musical Director on the Entry Form for inclusion in the programme and if a substitution is required the Contest Management must be informed as soon as possible.

11. The ‘Order of Play’ for the Contest shall be by ballot to be held at least one hour before the published starting time. Each Band shall be invited to send a representative to attend the Draw who will act on its behalf in all matters arising during the Draw. If a Band is not represented at the Draw an official shall be empowered to Draw for them.

11a. Split Draw (Spring Festival only)

Newly promoted and demoted bands adopt a place within the split draw previously occupied by the band that they replace in the relevant contest. The first and second half bands rotate annually.

Bands drawn 1 to 10 in that years draw will be allocated a draw in the second half of the following years Spring
Festival for the contest for which the draw takes place.

Bands drawn 11 up to 20 will be allocated a draw in the first half of the following years Spring Festival for the contest for which the draw takes place.

Promoted and relegated bands will take the allocated draw for the bands that they replace in order of merit in the relevant contest.

For example, where 17, 18, 19 relagated and 1,2,3 promoted
Promoted 1 placed band placed band replaces relegated 17 placed band
Promoted 2 placed band replaces relegated 18 placed band
Promoted 3 placed band replaces relegated 19 placed band

Newly invited bands into the Senior Trophy will take the place of the 6 demoted bands placed 15,16,17,.18,19,20 in he alphabetical order of the invited bands A = 15 etc.

12. In the event of a Bandsman being unable to compete owing to family bereavement or illness or any other unforeseeable reason, a medical certificate or documentation as requested by the Contest Management must be produced covering these eventualities as soon as possible prior to the com­mencement of the contest. Providing that in the opinion of the Contest Management there is a
bona – fide reason for the re­quest, an application may be made for a deputy Bandsman (same instrument) from the band Drawn to play immediately before the Band whose player is unable to appear.
The Band playing before shall agree to provide this player, the instrument and music. If the Band making application is drawn No. 1 then the relevant player from the Band Drawn to play last shall provide this substitute. A bandsman acting as deputy must not make any request for payment for their service and no such payment may be made by any official concerned.

13. The Band Drawn number one shall assemble for registration no less than 15 minutes before the scheduled time for the commencement of the Contest. The Band will be informed of any ‘ Regis­tration Irregularities’ and will be advised of any consequence i.e. possible objections or possibilty of disqualification. The same registration procedure will apply to subsequent Bands.

14. Bands may request to escort the Adjudicators to the “Box” to check that the arrangements for their complete seclusion are adequate.

15. The Band Drawn number one will commence the day’s proceedings by playing the first verse of the National Anthem. Each subsequent band will be required to commence it’s performance as soon as possible after the Adjudicators have indicated that they are ready.

16. The Adjudicators decision will be announced as soon as the Contest Officials have collated them.

 The Adjudicator’s decision is final.

 17. Prize - money shall be despatched 14 days after the Contest. Any protest regarding the infringement of these Rules must be made in writing to the Contest Management within 7 days from the Contest date. A deposit of £10.00 must accompany the letter. This will be refunded if the objection is upheld.The Contest Management reserves the right to adjudicate on any protest. Prize Money involved will be withheld until protest adjudication is conclud­ed.

18. The Contest Management shall be authorised to withhold any awards where any mem­ber, official or conductor of a contesting Band has been involved in conduct considered prejudicial to the reputation of the Contest or to be in breach of these rules. Any person concerned will be subject to disqualification and / or suspension from entry into Contests held under these Rules for a period of time to be decided by the Contest

19. Any matters arising at a contest which are not covered by the above rules shall be dealt with by the Contest Management whose decision will be final.

These Rules & Conditions supersede any previously issued by the Contest Management and are effective from 1st November 2015.

The organisers of the British Open welcome any constructive suggestions which will always be considered.

Frank Hodges, 39 Broxton Avenue, Orrell, Wigan, WN5 8NP
Telephone 01942 212418 Mobile 07930 562 768

2016 Cory (Philip Harper)
2015 Grimethorpe Colliery (Dr Robert Childs)
2014 Black Dyke - Dr. Nicholas Childs - Vita Aeterna Variations - Alexander Comitas
2013 Tredegar - Ian Porthouse - Arabian Nights - Stephen Roberts
2012 Foden's - Allan Withington - Electra - Martin Ellerby
2011 Cory - Dr Robert Childs - Red Priest - Professor Philip Wilby
2010 Tredegar - Ian Porthouse - On the Shoulders of Giants - Professor Peter Graham
2009 Cory Band - Dr. Robert Childs - Titan's Progress - Hermann Pallhuber
2008 Fodens Richardson - Garry Cutt - Rococo Variations - Professor Edward Gregson
2007 Cory Band - Dr. Robert Childs - Visions of Gerontius - Kenneth Downie
2006 Black Dyke - Dr. Nicholas Childs - Vienna Nights -Philip Wilby
2005 Black Dyke - Dr. Nicholas Childs - The Night to Sing - Bramwell Tovey
2004 Fodens Richardson - Contest Music Garry E. Cutt Contest Music (Wilfred Heaton), Montage (Peter Graham), St. Magnus (Kenneth Downie)
2003 Yorkshire Building - Society Prof. David King - The Planets Suite [Venus & Jupiter], Holst arr. Stephen Roberts
2002 Buy As You View Cory - Robert Childs - The Maunsell Forts - John McCabe
2001 Yorkshire Building Society - David King - Les Preludes, Liszt, transcribed Bram Gray
2000 Buy As You View Cory - Robert Childs - Ceremony - Michael Ball
1999 Yorkshire Building Society - David King - Dove Descending - Philip Wilby
1998 Williams Fairey - J. Gourlay - Diversions on a Bass Theme - George Lloyd
1997 Yorkshire Building Society - David King - Whitsun Wakes - Michael Ball
1996 Marple - Garry Cutt - The Severn Suite - Sir Edward Elgar, arr. Bram Gray
1995 Black Dyke - J. Watson - Revelation - Philip Wilby
1994 BNFL Leyland - R. Evans - Salamander - John McCabe
1993 Williams Fairey - P. Parkes - Masquerade - Philip Wilby
1992 Black Dyke - J. Watson - Cloudcatcher Fells - John McCabe
1991 Grimethorpe Colliery - F. Renton - Paganini Variations - Philip Wilby
1990 Sun Life - R. Newsome - Le Roi d'Ys - Edouard Lalo, arr. Frank Wright





The 'Open' Objective

The Open aims to maintain the traditions and musical excellence of what we believe to be the oldest musical contest in the world.

The first and foremost contest for British bands, the competition has increasingly attracted enthusiasts from all over the world.

We aim to preserve the established custom of encouraging new compositions to expand and question the boundaries of brass music, and to provide enjoyable challenge to participants, and absorbing entertainment for the audience.


Karyn & Martin Mortimer


Frank Hodges

Principal Sponsor