Solo Contest

Posted by Mark Wilkinson on 4 November 2015


Besson Fodens Award2

(pictured above Werner Duwe, Owen Farr, Gaelle Lefevre, John Wallace CBE)

There was a fantastic international flavour to the 5th annual Foden's Band Solo, Duet & Ensemble contest held on the 31st October at Sandbach School.

Over 150 entrants performed in various categories in what is now the largest event of its kind in the country with competitors travelling from Norway, France and Belgium to compete for the various prizes and awards on offer.

Players both young and old displayed their talents, with the prize for being the 'Youngest Player' going to 8 year old Kitty Hawker.

The trip to Cheshire was certainly a memorable one for the talented Gaelle Lefevre from France who claimed the Blue Riband Besson International Prize in superb style. Despite her luggage not turning up with her at Manchester airport on the same flight, Gaelle still produced a wonderful winning performance to gain a trip of a lifetime to the United States to tour as a guest soloist with James Gourlay and the Pittsburgh based River City Brass Band. It capped the great competitive atmosphere on show throughout and amid the music also came the unmistakable sound of players and supporters munching their way through tasty bacon rolls and homemade cakes!

With so much logistical organisation to tackle, it was 'busy, busy, busy' for Foden's star players and helpers who ensured each section ran like clockwork, whilst there was plenty of other attractions to enjoy with superb support coming from traders such as Band Supplies Leeds, Birchfield Music, Astute Music and Added Brass.

Major sponsorship support once again came from Besson Musical Instruments, with Werner Duwe, Director of Brass, on hand to enjoy the action and to help with the presentation of awards as well as Audi Macclesfield and Cheshire East.

One of those was the 'Besson Bursary' to award winner, Jack Lythaby, who has already said that he will use it to gain further brass lessons.

Besson's support also enabled the competitors to be judged by world class musicians such as Owen Farr, who was a great hit with his excellent remarks, which combined constructive observations with invaluable tips and plenty of humour.

Owen chose euphonium player Adam Bokaris as the 'Most Outstanding Performance of the Day' winner. He also took the 'Open Slow Melody' title playing Andy Scott's 'Fujiko' to take the 'Outstanding Euphonium of the Day' award, with Andy donating a set of solo music to Adam to help him further with what promises to be a burgeoning solo career. As always, there were plenty of different musical accents on show - from Florent Didier as a most welcome judge, to competitors from Norway and Belgium, including Jonas Violet and his father Frans, the conductor of Brass Band Willebroek.

Professor John Wallace CBE and his wonderful father were also on hand, as they recalled the happy memories of their own slow melody competitions days in Scotland. Prof Wallace spent much of the day listening to the younger players, and was full of admiration for their excellent efforts. He also delayed his return home so that he could attend the awards ceremony, and present the Blue Riband prize to Gaelle.

Former Foden's flugel star Helen Williams, now at Cory Band, also travelled up from Wales to adjudicate a number of the young classes, and as usual was full of enthusiasm and encouragement for the players she listened to.

Contest organiser Fiona Rolfe commented that once again the Foden's contest had shown that there was an increasing demand for an event with an undoubted worldwide appeal. "We continue to grow thanks to the wonderful support of our partners - especially Besson Musical Instruments, Cheshire East and Audi Macclesfield. This year's competition gained a great deal of publicity and with the invaluable support of our traders and sponsors we continue to welcome players from all over the banding globe. Foden's is dedicated to ensuring that we provide a contest that gives players of all ages and abilities the opportunity to shine and enjoy their performance experience. That is why we have a panel of judges of renowned musical experience who not only provide detailed adjudications, but give invaluable advice. We believe in providing the platform for future generations to go on and enjoy either playing in a brass band or to become life-long brass and percussion musicians.


11 & Under Slow Melody:
Helen Stewart Memorial Quaich
1. Hannah Taylor
2. Simon Binon
3. Joe Heartfield

12 & 13 Slow Melody:
Diamond Jubilee Trophy
1. Jamie Reid
2. Martijn Binon
3. Lewis Frost

14-16 Slow Melody:
B & G J Birch Memorial Cup
1. Lina van Lint
2. Margot Binon
3. Robbie Richardson

17-19 Slow Melody:
Bryan Tait Trophy
1. Benjamin Bourgeois
2. Siobhan Bates
3. Nick Elsen

Vintage Slow Melody:
Lyndon Baglin Trophy
1. Jackie Greensted
2. Patricia Woodings
3. Ilse Degeest

Open Slow Melody:
Mark Wilkinson Trophy
1. Adam Bokaris
2. Siobhan Bates
3. Gaelle Lefevre

Under 16 Air Varie:
Granville Jennings Trophy
1. Jamie Reid
2. Simon Binon
3. Joe Heartfield

16-21 Air Varie:
Louise Charles Memorial Trophy
1. Siobhan Bates
2. Daniel Thomas
3. Jack Lythaby

Open Air Varie:
Peter Fletcher President's Trophy
1. Gaelle Lefevre
2. Paul Bennett
3. Stephen Lomas

11 & Under Duet:
Roy Allcock Prize
1. Ruby & Kitty Hawker
2. Hannah Taylor & Bethany Harby

12-16 Duet:
George Rolfe Memorial Cup
1. Simon & Martijn Binon
2. Oliver & Toby Marshall
3. Rosie Darracott-Gray & Suzanna Hudson

Open Duet:
Sandbach Boys School Trophy
1. Duo Gaeleam (Gaelle Lefevre & William Thebaudeau-Muller)
2. Margot Binon & Ilse Degeest
3. James Atkins & Jess Wilson

Open Quartet:
Foden's Band Challenge Trophy
1. Euph4oniums (Birmingham Conservatoire)
2. The Mighty Imps (Yorkshire Imperial)
3. Haz Brass

Under 16 Tuned Percussion:
Annual Shield
1. Lewis Barton
2. Catherine Flanders
3. Alex Walton

Under 16 Untuned Percussion:
Annual Award
1. Dom Ritchie
2. Alex Walton
3. Lewis Barton

Besson International Award:
Gaelle Lefevre

Most Outstanding Performance of the Day:
Flowcrete Trophy
Adam Bokaris

Most Promising Local Player:
Lions Youth Brass Trophy plus lesson with a Foden's principal player
Lewis Barton

Most Promising Player Aged 12-15:
Audi of Macclesfield Bursary
Adam Warburton

Most Promising Player Aged 16-21:
Besson Bursary
Jack Lythaby

Most Outstanding Euphonium of the Day:
Glyn Williams Trophy
Adam Bokaris (Slow Melody)

Youngest Player:
Foden's Award
Kitty Hawker (aged 8)

Best Quartet Name:
The Mighty Imps

Next year's competition will be on Saturday 29th October 2016.


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