Timings and Junior Section Draw for 2018 Solos & Ensembles

The BBL’s ever popular Solo & Ensemble competition will take place next Saturday, 17th February in Malone Presbyterian Church Halls, Belfast.

Start time for both Junior & Senior sections on the day will be 9.30am.

With 175 entries across Junior and Senior sections, the event promises to showcase the talents of brass musicians from across Northern Ireland.

We are now able to publish timings for the day along with the draw for the Junior Sections. Due to closed adjudication, the senior section draw cannot be published online and will be emailed directly to secretaries of competing bands.

Please note that timings are approximate. Competitors should allow for withdrawals and be prepared to be called early.

Timings are available here

Junior Section draw is available here.
**Any known withdrawals are marked “W”.

Stellar Line Up for


Fermanagh/Tyrone Brass Band Summer School is looking forward to its seventh event in Northern Ireland. gives participants the opportunity to perform, learn and socialise with some of the best brass players and educators in the business.

We’re pleased to announce the Guest Artist for 2018 is Kathleen Gaspoz. Kathleen is without doubt a ground breaking musician, recently becoming the principal cornet of the famous Brighouse and Rastrick Band. The first female principal cornet in the band’s 136 year history!!

Alongside Kathleen on cornet we have the charismatic Mr Brian Taylor who brings a fantastic wealth of experience to the line up. With Artistic Advisor Owen Farr taking lead on the Horns we welcome new to the team local man Mick Marshall from the RTÉ Concert Orchestra on Trombone. James McLeod will put the Euphs & Baris through their paces while Musical Director and Co-founder of Mr Les Neish brings the band together for the end of course concert.

We strive to bring you a fantastic experience at a small cost of £20 for the three days music making. It will include rehearsals, sectionals, Q&A sessions, masterclasses and recital. This all takes place in a relaxed atmosphere with a particular highlight being the Fantastic Phairgrylls BBQ on the Friday evening also to include the NEW LIVE QUIZ.

If you’re travelling to the Summer School from further afield why not make your trip into a mini-break. We have links with many local B&B’s & hotels and will happily assist you in this.

This fun, relaxed course is open to all ages and all abilities. Just turn up, pick a seat and away you go!

Course dates: Thursday 19th July – Saturday 22nd July 2018.

For more information please go to / on Facebook or contact Stephen Crooks on 07857708664

James McCabe CD Release


Former Co-Principal cornet of the Black Dyke Band and Northern Ireland native, James McCabe’s  first solo CD entitled ‘Blessings’ is now available.  Sales of the CD are in aid of the Tanzanian Christian Farm Development Fund- a children’s home for babies and young children. (  The home is run by John and Pauline Tuff from Cullybackey, County Antrim who moved to Tanzania in April 2013 and are now looking after 25 children (and counting!).  Funds are required to finish a new building and support the development and education of the children there.

The music on the CD features Belfast Salvationist composer David Catherwood on 2 tracks with arrangements of popular gospel tunes such as ‘Come Thou fount of every blessing’ and ‘When He Cometh’.  Variations on Rule Britannia and James’s own arrangement of Bonnie Mary of Argyle are also included amongst classical music of Faure.

The front cover features Irish artist Ricky Darling, who, like James has been out to mission projects supported by Northern Ireland folk in Tanzania.

A promotional video is available for viewing at

The CD is available to purchase from James’s website address:

Festival of Brass 2017 – Report and Full Results

1st Old Boys’ Silver Band

The Brass Band League (NI) returned to Queen’s University Belfast on Saturday 25th November to stage their ever popular Festival of Brass contest in the University’s Whitla Hall.

Strong Start

Warrenpoint Silver, despite being the only band in the 4th section, got the day off to a strong start with a varied programme which saw music from Germany, Ireland, Mexico, France and Russia.

Closely Fought

Wellington Memorial Silver Band

The closely fought 3rd section saw defending champions Wellington Memorial reclaim 1st place with their young flugel player Lauren Stewart taking the Best Soloist prize for her classy performance of Magh Seola. Dungannon Silver claimed the Best March prize for Robert Allmend’s Europe Mars.

Clean Sweep for Lourdes

Irish contenders Lourdes Brass Band achieved a clean sweep in the 2nd section, top placed for music and entertainment, Best March for Voice of the Guns and Best Soloist for their principal cornet Mark Newman’s simply lovely rendition of Langford’s classic arrangement off My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose

Long-time Champions

1st Old Boys’ Youth Band

Next up were the youth bands. Despite a strong performance, challengers Downshire Brass Youth were unable to snatch the title from long-time champions 1st Old Boys’ Youth Band who once again claimed 1st prize with their principal horn Daniel Sharpe taking the soloist prize for Untold Story and their performance of Rimmer’s Slaidburn claiming the prize for Best March.

Rousing Close

After a short break the Championship bands brought the day to a rousing close. 1st Old Boys senior band followed in the footsteps of their not-so-senior counterparts to claim 1st prize along with awards for Most Entertaining Band and Best Soloist for Alan Haworth’s performance of his own arrangement of Delilah. Third Carrickfergus took home the prize for Best March for Rimmer’s Cross of Honour.

The Brass Band League would like to take this opportunity to thank Michael Alcorn and the team at Queen’s University Belfast for the huge amount of effort they put in to hosting the event. Also, our music adjudicator Leigh Baker and our 2 entertainment adjudicators Paula McHugh and Meaghan Lyons who were both engaged at very short notice due to unforeseen circumstances.

The Brass Band League would also like to offer their congratulations to all prize winners and thanks to all participating bands for a fine day of music making.

Results in Full


Championship Section

Adjudicators: Leigh Baker (Music) & Meaghan Lyons (Entertainment)

1. 1st Old Boys Silver Band (Stephen Cairns) 10/10=20
2. Laganvale (Metal Technology) Band (Stephen Crooks) 9/9=18
3. Third Carrickfergus Band (Brian Connolly) 8/7=15
4. Downshire Brass (Michael Alcorn) 7/8=15

Most Entertaining Band: 1st Old Boys Silver Band
Best March: Third Carrickfergus Band (Cross of Honour)
Best Soloist: Alan Haworth (1st Old Boys’ Silver Band)

Second Section

Adjudicators: Leigh Baker (Music) & Paula McHugh (Entertainment)

1. Lourdes Brass Band (Michael Alcorn) 10/10=20
2. CWA Brass (Ernie Ruddock) 9/9=18
3. Comber Silver Band (Wesley Thompson) 8/8=16

Most Entertaining Band: Lourdes Brass Band
Best March: Lourdes Brass Band (Voice of the Guns)
Best Soloist: Mark Newman (Lourdes Brass Band)

Third Section

Adjudicators: Leigh Baker (Music) & Paula McHugh (Entertainment)

1. Wellington Memorial Silver Band (Gary Proctor) 10/10=20
2. Dungannon Silver Band (Boris Pinto) 9/9=18
3. Dynamic Brass (Harold Whan) 8/8=16

Most Entertaining Band: Wellington Memorial Silver Band
Best March: Dungannon Silver Band (Europa Mars)
Best Soloist: Lauren Stewart (Wellington Memorial Silver Band)

Fourth Section

Adjudicator: Leigh Baker (Music & Entertainment)

1. Warrenpoint Silver Band (Mark Newman) 10/10=20

Most Entertaining Band: Warrenpoint Silver Band
Best March: Warrenpoint Silver Band (Aces High)
Best Soloist: Maurice McCabe (Warrenpoint Silver Band)

Youth Bands

Adjudicators: Leigh Baker (Music) & Paula McHugh (Entertainment)

1. 1st Old Boys’ Youth Band (Jacklin Bingham) 10/10=20
2. Downshire Brass Youth Band (Michael Alcorn) 9/9=18

Most Entertaining Band: 1st Old Boys’ Youth Band
Best March: 1st Old Boys’ Youth Band (Slaidburn)
Best Soloist: Daniel Sharpe (1st Old Boys’ Youth Band)



Solo & Ensemble Competition 2018 Entry Packs Available

Our ever popular Solo & Ensemble competition will return to Malone Presbyterian Church Halls, Belfast on Saturday 17th February 2018.

Our adjudicators on the day will be:

Senior Classes

Andrew Williams (Cory Band)

Junior Classes

Bob Quick (morning session)

John Houston (afternoon session)

Entry packs are now available on our downloads page

The BBL are now encouraging entries in electronic format in order to reduce the amount of processing involved and the possibility of errors being introduced. We request that participants use the Excel sheet to record their entries. If Excel is not available bands may request a google sheet which can be completed on any computer or smartphone.

As a last resort, traditional paper-based forms may be used, however these should be the exception.

Festival of Brass 2017 Ready to Roll

The Brass Band League are delighted to announce the return of our ever popular Festival of Brass.

14 brass bands will descend on the fabulous Whitla Hall at Queen’s University on Saturday 25th November for what promises to be a fantastic day of music making.

Each band will perform a mini-concert programme ranging from 10-25 minutes, depending on grade, with a panel of adjudicators judging each performance on its musical and entertainment qualities.

The first band will take to the stage at 11am with last band due to finish around 7:30pm

Admission is £5 at the door (children go free) and audience members can come and go as they please on presentation of their ticket.

John Patton

It was with great sadness that the Brass Band League learned of the death of our esteemed Vice President John Patton on Friday.

John was a stalwart of the local banding community and was well known by many. He will be dearly missed.

John’s funeral will take place this coming Wednesday, 27th September, 3.30pm at Roselawn Crematorium.

Our Brand New Website

It’s amazing how quickly things age!

Our old website was only 7 years old but it had ran its course and was really starting to look a bit tired.

We are now delighted to announce our brand new site. It’s built on wordpress technology which means it should be easier to keep up to date with NI brass banding related news.

It will take little while to upload and prepare the content from our old site so please be patient.