51st Festival of Brass 2019


The 51st Festival of Brass held on the Sunshine Coast in September exposed an exciting example of the development of brass band playing in the South East corner of Queensland. The solo competition held on the Saturday had double the number of entries from last year (89 participants) and revealed that the standard of brass playing is continuing to grow, together with the repertoire chosen and the standard of the younger competitors demonstrating their exciting potential. Participants travelled from as far away as Bundaberg the Gold Coast and central New South Wales to join those from Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast.

The adjudicator, Dr. Cade Bonar spent 10 hours listening to a full day of competitors but, along with the many who also lasted the distance, was mesmerised by the standard of playing that was produced by nearly all who took part. The legacy of the Festival of Brass on the Sunshine Coast continues to live.  

Euphonium seems to be the instrument most featured on the day and the younger participants performing amazing technical feats for their age levels. Liam Reed (pictured) competed with euphonium in the open section and ensemble section and bass trombone in the junior section and was one of many who competed on different instruments in ensembles.  Liam, a Sunshine Coast Grammar school student and a member of the Bright as Brass(S/Coast Youth Band)was, like many others, thrilled that their serious study of their instrument for solo performances also extended to performing in the band.  Riley Mansfield, 18 years of age, was another who demonstrated great confidence where the notes that flew from his fingers on the euphonium allowed confident musical expression and musical maturity beyond his years.

In the open section the adjudicator gave the highest score he has ever recorded with 98 points to Dale Hosking (Brisbane Excelsior) (pictured)and 97.5 to Fendall Hill (South Brisbane Federal) and was overwhelmed by the level of musicianship on display in this section. Ensembles proved ambitious in instrument choice and courageous in repertoire.  A large gong in a brass quintet – who would have thought!!!!  The venue for the competition – Nambour Salvation Army’s new complex was acoustically comfortable and warmup facilities proved suitable. Big thanks to the Salvos.


 12 years and under:  Charlotte Turner  

14 years and under: Ryan Collier

16 years and under: William Lynch

18 years and under: Tate Cassells

Junior Duet:  Cassells / Lynch

Junior ensemble: Jessica, Jaxen, Jay (Chancellor State College)

Open Ballad:  Dale Hosking

Open Duet: Nelson Oakley, Danny Dielkens

Open Ensemble: Sunshine Coast Ensemble

Open Solo:  Dale Hosking

Veteran – 60 years and over: Paul Radford

The winners came from - Surfers Paradise Brass, Matthew Flinders Anglican College, S/Coast Youth Orchestra, Chancellor State College, Windsor Brass, Brisbane Excelsior. 

The following day all the bands gathered together at the revamped Caloundra RSL where each band were required to play a 30 minute entertainment program.  Costumes, props and uniforms were well represented. Bands are to be congratulated for entering into the spirit of the occasion, especially Windsor Brasswhere every member wasdressed in a superhero or similar outfit and the music they played reflected their dress.  Very impressive.  Bright as Brasswere ‘out of this world’, with a quick change of outfit for every second piece performed and featuring music from movies the classics. Music from the movie Harry Potter included a big shiny thing swinging across a darkened stage. 

 Bundaberg Bandwere more traditional while the Brisbane Brass No. 3chose to be very adventurous in costume and music.  Sunshine Brass used as its theme ’Something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue’. Their program included music by Henry the 8th, to the Blues to music in the Rock style. This was enough to get them over the line as winners followed by Bright as Brassand Windsor Brass.

The adjudicator Jason Redman was treated to a variety of music and imaginative themed programs. Far removed from the concert stage of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra in his role as principal trombone.  It was good to see Bundaberg Brassback in the competition circle after recovering from the dreadful floods some time ago which ruined their library and band room.

There is a change of date for the 52ndFestival of Brass next year and we are reminded that it will be earlier in the year – Saturday 16th  and Sunday 17thMay 2020.  Note in your diary. Can’t wait.

Kevin Brown

Dale Hosking11


Liam Reed11


Sunshine Brass11

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