The Yamaha Australasian Open Championship differs in some significant ways from traditional brass band contests as we know them in that players can register as individual members of FABB and declare themselves as "available" or affiliated exclusively with one and only one band in the competition and play with that band for the test piece and in the entertainment program the following day.
By virtue of that freedom, for example, a band desiring a world beating Euphonium section, given adequate resources to do so, could register the Childs brothers and bring them out from England to do their best on the weekend.
An entirely homegrown Brisbane Brass were absolutely delighted to discover that they had been placed 4th in the points after Brisbane Excelsior, Gunnedah Shire Band and Kew Band with their interpretation and performance of the extremely challenging Ludovic Neurohr test piece "PSYCHE" in the Saturday contest at FABB.
There is more to the story than the competition performances however as the preparation for this contest was in every way a group effort. The many young players in the band who took the stage on the Saturday have commitments in various other ensembles and University exam demands and naturally the senior band members have obligations away from Brisbane Brass.
So overall, the lead up to this brass band get together has been a team campaign, combining all the resources of Brisbane Brass Music Association with contributions from members of the B Grade and D Grade bands as well as A Grade players not directly involved in the competition and Iaan Wilson must be given his due for preparing a band to perform to the highest standard at this extremely busy time of year.
The Entertainment Championship of FABB weekend always brings the unexpected. Virtuoso performances, surprising singing, fascinating percussion, dramatic dancing and even outright lunacy can all be experienced on the Sunday but in the Brisbane Brass performance this year beauty was the key to the show.
With the Arabian outfits, the seated dancing by Athena, Emily and Imogen, through Kerry's fluidic solo to the lovely duet from Sascha and Kristian the Arabian Nights presentation was a feast for the eyes and ears. Even Iaan Wilson looked good in his headdress and the music was brought out evocatively and sensitively.
These contests are damned hard work with an enormous amount of preparation behind the scenes and those involved sometimes wonder if it is really all worth the effort.
Well that may remain an open question but last weekend's reception and result will make the people who put in all the work feel that little bit better about their involvement.