FABB 2011

Kevin McMorran reports from FABB

The Yamaha FABB Australasian Open Festival, also known as "FABBFest", is an annual Brass Band Competition for the best bands and bandsmen and women fromAustralia,New Zealand and throughout the Asia Pacific region. This contest is as much for high profile players in non competing bands as it is for those in bands that have been invited. 

It is the intention of Leopard Coachlines Canterbury Brass to attend this event in 2012.

This contest is designed not to compete with either of the existing National Competitions in Australia and New Zealand. The aim of FABB is that this contest will go a long way to assist in the strengthening of both National and regional/state contests in both countries.

This year the adjudicators were Russell Gray, Bill Broughton and David Gallaher.

The test music this year was a major work entitled Psyche.

Composed in 2008 by Swiss composer Ludovic Neurohr as a commission from National Australia Brass Ltd, Psyche received its premiere at the Melbourne International Festival of Brass.

Ludo Neurohr studied composition with Professor Peter Graham at theUniversityofSalfordand completed his Masters degree in 2008. His ‘Spells of theDeepForest’ commissioned by the Federation of Australasian Brass Bands was first performed at FABB in 2010.

One key difference of the FABB contest is that all individual performers (including conductors) must register. You can play for any Band you like but only once.

The contest is held at Twin Towns services club, Coolangatta on theTweedCoastwhich is the coastal boarder betweenQueenslandandNew South Wales.

Twin Towns has all the facilities of both performance venue and accommodation for all the invited bands. The venue has many eateries, bars, local entertainment and over looks the TweedRiverand is less than 80 metres from the famous KirraBeach.

Twin Towns Services Club is also located within 3 kilometres of Cooloongatta airport which services all majorAustralianCities as well asNew Zealand.

I had the pleasure of playing for Glenorchy Concert Brass this year conducted by the master himself, Howard Taylor.

The weekend before the contest I flew toHobartfor a practice weekend. Foe those who have been thereHobartis a beautiful city of approximately 120,000 people. It also has some superb restaurants.  After some hard work in the practice room I watched the final of the rugby. All I can say is that we scored more points than they did which makes us the winners.

I flew back toChristchurchviaSydneyon Labour Day. Regrettably when the flight reachedNew Zealandthe plane was buffeted by ferocious northwest winds which made for an interesting last 20 minutes of flying.

The contest was held the next weekend. Debby and I flew out viaAucklandwhere we were on the new All Blacks plane. Unfortunately it was an older plane to take us to Coolongatta. 

The great thing about FABB is that the events are all under one roof.  There are several options for accommodation within walking distance. The other key thing is that all percussion is supplied.

The contest itself has become very popular. I ran into Brett Baker who was playing for Kew Band as well as some high profile figures from theUK. It was generally agreed this contest is gaining world wide interest.

The contest itself  is divided up into two parts, each with a five thousand dollar first prize. There is the test piece competition and also an entertainment competition. The event is live streamed meaning anyone around the world can see what is happening.

The results this year were:

Yamaha Australasian Open Championship         

1. BrisbaneExcelsior, Paul Andrews
2. Gunnedah Shire Band, Jason Katsikaris
3. Kew Band Melbourne, Mark Ford
4. Brisbane Brass, Iaan Wilson
5. Glenorchy Concert Brass, Howard Taylor
6. St Marys Band Club, Ben Crocker
7. North Shore Brass, NZ, Colin Clark
8. Warringah Concert Brass, John Saunders
9. Footscray-Yarraville, Phillipa Edwards
10. South Brisbane Federal, Dylan Troyahn
11. Boroondara Brass, Danny van Bergen


Yamaha Australasian Entertainment Championship

1. Gunnedah Shire Band, Jason Katsikaris
2. Kew Band Melbourne, Mark Ford
3. Brisbane Excelsior, Paul Andrews
4. Footscray Yarraville, Phillipa Edwards
5. Boroondara Brass, Danny van Bergen

Best Soloist: Kristy Rowe, Gunnedah Shire Band

Best AV Presentation: Glenorchy Brass