In little over a week, it's once again time for the most prestigious wind, brass and marching band event in the Benelux: the World Music Contest Kerkrade. Organised once every four years and with participating bands from all over the world, many peopel consider this contest to be the "Olympic Games" of the banding world. Certainly in the Netherlands and Belgium it is the single most important event that a lot of the top bands look forward to every four years. The WMC lasts for weeks. In the weekends, there are contests for marching and show bands, wind and fanfare bands (the "concert contests"), percussion ensembles, a conductors competition and of course the first "World Brass Band Championship", organised in cooperation with the EBBA. During the week several high profile concerts are organised by famous bands and ensembles from all over the globe. More information about the contests and concerts can be found on http://www.wmc.nl The WMC takes place in Kerkrade, a city in the South-East of Holland, in the province of Limburg, not so far from Maastricht and the borders with Germany and Belgium. The Dutch province of Limburg is considered to be the "Mecca" of wind and fanfare bands in Holland. Every little village has it's own outstanding wind or fanfare band and for almost all people, music is an improtant part of life (it could e considered to be the Yorkshire of Holland ) Since this is a brass band forum, I will focus a little on the brass abnd part of the WMC. Although brass bands have always taken part in the WMC, right from the first edition somewhere in the 1950's, they have always been considere to be a little bit like the "little brother" in the contest. The main focus has traditionally been on the wind band and fanfare band contests. In the last couple of editions, the organisers have been trying to increase the level of the brass band contest. This time this resulted in the organisation of the first "official" World Brass Band Championship in cooperation with the EBBA. In the Championship Section of the Brass Band Contest (formerly called "concert division", like in the other contests), 7 bands representing 3 continents finaaly committed to taking part in the contest: Brass Band Willebroek (B) Provinciale Brass Band Groningen (NL) National Brass Band of New-Zealand (NZ) Brass Band Chicago (USA) Reg Vardy Band (UK) Brass Band 13 Etoiles (CH) Brass Band Buizingen (B) The National Band of Australia was also foreseen to take part, but they had to pull out due to organisational problems. Other invited bands from Scotland, Wales, Norway and Denmark did not accept their invitations. On Saturday 9th July, the particpants will perform a set piece, a new work by Philip Wilby called "Music for the Moving Image". On Sunday 10th July, the second part of the contest will consist of each band performing an own choice program of about 30-40 minutes (including a solo item) There will be a draw on both days of the contest. For the test piece, the three adjudicators (David Read, James Curnow and Maurice Haemers) will be in a closed box, for the own choice program, the adjudicators (Torgny Hanson, Armin Bachmann and Jan Van der Roost) will be open. Also the own choice programs of all participants are published in advance. Oh, and the winner will get a 3500 euro cash price... Besides the Championship section, there are also contests for 1st, 2nd and 3rd section bands (Or 1st, 2nd and 3rd "division" as they are called in Holland). Particpants in these divisions play a set piece and an own choice piece (consecutively). This are the particpants as listed on the WMC website (own choice piece between brackets): 1st division (9 july) Set piece: Trittico (James Curnow) Askoy Brass band (N) (Forest of Dean - Derek Bourgeois) Brass Band Province de Liege (B) (James Cook Circumnavigator - Gilbert Vinter) Regionale Spijkerpakkenband Opsterland (NL) (Spectrum - Gilbert Vinter) Delta Brass Zeeland (NL) (Forest of Dean - Derek Bourgeois) The Ratby Cooperative Band (UK) (Of Men and Mountains - Edward Gregson) Brass Band Merum (NL) (A London Ouverture - Philip Sparke) 2nd division (9 july) set piece: Music for Thanksgiving (Kenneth Downie) Shirland W.T. BAND (UK) (Verona Lights - Bruce Fraser) Greenalls Brass Band (UK) (Variations for Brass Band - Ralph Vaughan Williams) Brassband Schoonhoven B (NL) (Firestorm - Stephen bulla) St. George Brass Band Mons (B) (The Plantagenets - Edward Gregson) Mercator Brass (B) (Excalibur - Jan Van der Roost) Vaerloese Garden (DK) (Dimensions - Peter Graham) Chr. Brassband Pro Rege A (NL) (Renaissance - Peter Graham) Folkwang Brass Band (D) (Shine as the Light - Peter Graham) Brass Band Bacchus (B) (Credo - Lorne Barry) 3rd division (10 july) set piece: Hinemoa (Gareth Wood) Brass Band Euterpe (B) (A Cambrian Suite - Michael Ball) Cologne Concert Brass (D) (Laude - James Curnow) Smithills School Senior Brass Band (UK) (A Cambrian Suite - Michael Ball) Torsby Brass (SW) (Variations on Laudate Dominum - Edward Gregson) (the lower sections will be judged by the same three adjudicators as for the Championship section on their respective days of participation) Good luck to all participants!