Next sunday, November 28th, the 27th Belgian National Brassband Championships will take place in the concerthall of the Royal Music Conservatory of Brussels. The contest is organised by VLAMO, the Flemish Amateur Musicians Organisation. The 12 participating bands (10 Flemish and 2 Wallonian) are divided in 4 sections (C,1,2,3) and each band will play a set piece and an own choice piece. The order of play will be drawn on the day, with a separate draw for the set piece (morning) and for the own choice piece (afternoon). There will be three adjudicators in separate closed boxes. In the end, the points of the three adjudicators will be added up to decide the final winners. The adjudicators this year will be Fred Harles, John Berryman and Malcolm Brownbill. The following bands will participate: Championship Section (set piece: Contest Music, Heaton) Brassband "Union" Buizingen Brassband Willebroek Festival Brassband Kortrijk Brassband Metropole Brassband 1st Section (set piece: The Essence of Time, Graham) Brassband Leieland Noord-Limburgse Brassband 2nd Section (set piece: Symphonic Suite, Lucas) Brassband Zele Mons St.-Georges Brassband Young Brassband Willebroek 3rd Section (set piece: A Royal Mile Suite, Fernie) Brassband "De Grensbewoners" Smeermaas Brassband de Thudinie --- personal comments: "British style" brass bands only exist in Belgium since 30 years or so. It is still mainly a fanfare and wind band country, with an estimated 700 bands in Flanders alone. However, there are now about 40-50 brassbands in existence as well. Of those 40 bands, about 25 comply to the "standard" instrumentation and number of players. Only half of these bands annually compete in the national championships, so the participation rate is not very high. Hopefully, more bands can be motivitated to participate next year, especially in the lower sections. Championship section: Brassband Willebroek are again the favourites to win the championships. The biggest opposition should come from Brassband Buizingen, especially since their very decent performance last year. Willebroek's biggest competitior of the past, Brassband Midden-Brabant (conducted by Benny Wiame) unfortunately folded in the spring of this year and although some attempts were made, they were unable to put together a band for this year's championships. Behind Willebroek and Buizingen, everything is possible. my guess: 1. Willebroek 2. Buizingen 3. Kortrijk 4. Metropole 5. Festival 1st section: Unfortunately there are only 2 participants this year. At least one other band withdrew, and rumours have it that it was because they found the set test piece too hard (although officially, they stated other reasons...) my guess: 1. Brassband Leieland 2. Noord-Limburgse Brassband Unfortunately, I cannot attend the championships myself because I have another engagement with my own (fanfare) band... But nevertheless, I will try to get the results as soon as possible on tMP!