First Section Reviews 2015

First Section Awards 2015

First Section Awards 2015

The First Section this year featured perennial favorites, one upjumper from the Second Section, two bands new to NABBA, and the return of one fierce competitor. Each of the bands performed Gareth Wood’s Brass Triumphant, and three more performed Sparke’s Year of the Dragon. Weston Silver Band, under conductor Larry Shields, took the banner handily, followed by the returning Georgia Brass Band under Joe Johnson and Pikes Peak Brass Band conducted by Debbie Baker.

My deepest thanks go to photographer Daniel Hausman. All photos in this gallery are his; please don’t repost without permission.

1. Weston Silver Band 287.2

Conductor: Larry Shields

Choice: Philip Sparke, The Saga of Haakon the Good

2. Georgia Brass Band 276.8

Conductor: Joe Johnson

Choice: Philip Sparke, Year of the Dragon

3. Pikes Peak Brass Band 272.5

Conductor: Debbie Baker

Choice: Dean Goffin, Rhapsody in Brass

4. Illinois Brass Band 266.8

Conductor: Stephen Squires

Choice: Philip Wilby, Paganini Variations

5. Central Ohio Brass Band 259.1

Conductor: Jessica Sneeringer

Choice: Philip Wilby, Lowry Sketchbook

6. Motor City Brass Band 254.0

Conductor: Craig Strain

Choice: Edward Gregson, Of Men and Mountains

7. Natural State Brass Band 251.4

Conductor: Russell Morris

Choice: Philip Sparke, Year of the Dragon

8. Fillmore Symphonic Brass 247.5

Conductor: Stephen Lytle

Choice: Philip Sparke, Year of the Dragon


2014 Championships: Live Stream Review

by John Caputo

It’s just another Friday night. I’m sitting on the couch watching TV, I have my trusty companion Fleck by my side purring contentedly, and it’s 85 degrees outside and sunny as I look out my windows on the beautiful San Antonio late afternoon. I’m waiting on a pizza to arrive, and my Shiner Ruby Redbird is sweating nicely, sitting on the end table next to me.

Why is this notable? Well, because unlike a USUAL Friday night, I’m not watching Breaking Bad or Law and Order: SVU on Netflix. I’m watching the ten-piece brass ensemble competition at the North American Brass Band Association competition.

Betsy asked that I not only write reviews of the Championship section set-piece, but as I’m stuck in San Antonio playing Fiesta gigs this weekend, she asked that I give this new LiveStream thing a shot and write a quick review. The exchange went something like this:

“Hey, you think you could do a review of the Livestream?”

“I could probably do that. One thing, though– do I have to wear pants?”

“Um, it’s not like we’ll be able to see you. Wear what you want.”

“I’m IN!”

So here’s what I did. Because anything worth doing is worth OVERdoing, I went out and bought myself a Chromecast, so that I could broadcast any Chrome tab through my TV, then I ordered the livestream. So I have NABBA going through my nice speakers attached to my home theater setup, rather than my crappy laptop speakers. Not only that, but I can write this article while I’m watching the ten-piece competition. AND I get to subject my cats to even more Brass Band music than they normally get.


Spoiler alert: They’re totally freaked out. I think Lily’s going to be under the bed for the next week.

But– and this is key to me, since I griped at Betsy about the $12.95 cost– It’s totally worth it. The stream is solid, and even though I’m on a wireless connection AND I’m using the chromecast, I’ve only seen a few hiccups in the stream. Not only that, but I’m actually getting video and audio relatively well synced, and the audio quality is surprisingly good. All in all, I’d say that, though my expectations were pretty low, I’m pretty excited about the stream. I may even order it tomorrow.

So my pizza just got here, and the Gregson talk is set to begin in the next ten minutes or so, so I’ll leave this here while I munch a little, open my next beer, and inevitably move Fleck off my mousepad. Soon it will be time to listen to the Symphony in Two Movements, what… nine times? Wow, splendid days.

John Caputo conducts the Austin Brass Band in Austin, TX.  He is principal euphonium with the United States Air Force Band of the West and former solo euphonium of the Georgia Brass Band.

The 2014 NABBA Championships will  continue to be streamed live all day Saturday, April 12th, at