Fodens take British Open Crown

Posted by Mark Wilkinson on 15 September 2008

The Fodens Band has been crowned the 156th British Open Brass Band Champions.


With a rendition of Edward Gregson's 'Rococo Variations' described by one of the three adjudicators as a 'superb performance' of a 'tremendous piece', Fodens took the title for the second time since 2004 under the baton of conductor Garry Cutt.

Four time winner

He himself became one of the most successful conductors in the history of the contest after bagging his fourth Harry Mortimer Maestro Trophy following wins in 1989, 1996 and 2004 – although he is not naming his quartet after individual members of the famous Mortimer family just yet. 

'The first one is special and will always be Harry, but I don't know about the rest quite yet. I would like to think there are a few more to come''
~ Garry Cutt


As Garry told 4BR: 'The first one is special and will always be Harry, but I don’t know about the rest quite yet. I would like to think there are a few more to come.'

It was a poignant and deeply emotional victory for the popular MD too, as it was revealed that he had to take to the stage following a very close family bereavement in the last 24 hours.

11th title

Fodens won their 11th British Open title off the number 11 draw, to beat off the challenge of Grimethorpe Colliery in second place, reigning champion Cory in third, Leyland fourth, Kirkintilloch fifth and Black Dyke sixth.

To add to the Fodens celebrations, euphonium soloist Glyn Williams won the Best Soloist Award and the £100 cheque for his contribution to the winning performance. He told 4BR, 'I'm delighted of course, but even more happy for the band.'

Popular win

It was a very popular win too for the Sandbach band, with the majority of people in Symphony Hall who spoke to 4BR, tipping them to take the title before the announcement of the results.

Not enough

For Grimethorpe the long wait continues however, although they posted their best result at the contest since Frank Renton led them to their famous 'Paganini' win in 1991. It wasn’t to be though and they were still denied victory after posting the early marker for the judges David Read, Peter Parkes and Michael Ball off the number 6 draw.

Best soprano

They also had to head home with their third runners-up place of the 2008 season under Allan Withington, although they did have the consolation of soprano player Kevin Crockford picking up the Best Soprano trophy for his contribution on the day.

The final podium place was taken by defending champion, Cory, who followed Fodens onto the stage to deliver a trademark powerhouse performance that on this occasion was not quite enough to retain the famous Gold Trophy.


Grand Shield winners Leyland confirmed that they are now a band on the brink of challenging for major honours as they impressed many under Jason Katsikaris to come 4th, whilst a delighted Kirkintilloch pulled out all the stops under Selmer Simonsen to come 5th, and make sure they banished any thoughts of a return to the qualifying rounds in Blackpool next year.

Kellys Eye

Black Dyke however was left to ruminate over what might have been, after they picked out Kelly’s Eye from the velvet bag at the draw for the first time since 1996.

Despite a performance that clearly delighted the band and its MD, as well as thrilling the packed hall at 11.00am, it was never going to be enough for the Pondashers to secure a number 1 win at the contest for the first time in over 60 years.

Test piece:
Rococo Variations, Edward Gregson

David Read, Michael Ball, Peter Parkes

Commenced: 11.00am


1. Fodens, Garry Cutt, 10
2. Grimethorpe Colliery, Allan Withington, 6
3. Cory Band, Dr. Robert Childs, 11
4. Leyland, Jason Katsikaris, 4
5. Kirkintilloch, Selmer Simonsen, 15
6. Black Dyke, Dr Nicholas Childs, 1
7. Carlton Main Frickley Colliery, Russell Gray, 12
8. Brighouse & Rastrick, Alan Morrison, 16
9. Hepworth (Cookson Homes), Ian Porthouse, 17
10. Whitburn, Steven Mead, 9
11. Scottish Co-op, Andrew Duncan, 13
12. Flowers, David Hirst, 14
13. BTM, Nigel Boddice, 7
14. Desford Colliery, Nigel Seaman, 3
15. Fairey, Philip Chalk, 8
16. YBS Band, Morgan Griffiths, 5
17. Rothwell Temperance, David Roberts, 2

Best soloist:
Glyn WIlliams, Fodens

Best Soprano:
Kevin Crockford, Grimethorpe Colliery

Article provided with kind permission from 4bars rest

Foden's band maintains a world class reputation for providing entertainment in the field of brass music with a tradition and unique style Mark Wilkinson