Openers for Concerts/Entertainment Contests


Which is the best way in your opinion to start a concert or a entertainment contest? Some people think it has to be a March, Overture and then Soloist, but having played with brass bands for over 10 years I prefer some kind of a fanfare to start!

What piece does your band start a concert with at this present time?


For entertainment contests a good bright opener is in my opinion the best bet. I've used Strike up the band, Opening Number, Cortege from Mlada, and there's a Don Blakeson arrangement of La Rejaisance ??? from Fireworks that is a really good opener and something different.

For concerts then take into account the audience. If its tradition that they like then go with it, but if its open air in summer maybe something else would be better. :wink:


Active Member
I like a fanfare type, there's loads, Various olympic theme's, There's one or two written specially for the job on Dragon Music (plug). Cortege is good, Royal fireworks music is brill too!

Nigel Hall

Supporting Member
Here's a shameless plug - I use my arrangement of Deus In Adjutorium from Monteverdi's Vespers - arranged for three "choirs" of cornets with band accompaniment. Simple but effective if I say so myself.

Alternatively, we also have an excellent opener from the pen of Jeff Evans called "Just Brass!" (although it has percussion as well), it had an excellent review in the British Bandsman last year (which you can read on our website!).

OK - Plug over!!

James McFadyen

New Member
I must admit, I like to break tradition. A March can be a great concert opener, but it's nothing new.

Fanfare can be fantastic pieces, like Philip Sparkes Concert Prelude (not sure if he made a BB version though!)

If it were me adjudicating, I'd be wanting to see a well structured and thought-out programme, something with spice, something that's different.

I guess you should play music which the band feel comfortable with, but in my humble opinion, there's far too much of the same music being played. Vitae Lux been done to death, it's a good piece, but does everybody have to play it.

Why does a band not invent a new for of the entertainment contest programme?

There's a hell of a lot of cracking music out there by unknowns (soon to be knowns, remember) that never gets played, or at least hardly ever which is damn shame.

One thing I would love to see is less-square hymns. A lot of hymn have a steady pace and meter to them, which although nice, don't lend the most emotional performance, IMHO. Stuff like one of my compositions, 'In Search of the Little Rainbow People' may be technicaly easy-peasy but demands emotion like u've never imagine not to mention a cracking conductor!!

I like Marches, I am gonna write quite a few of them, but to me don't represent modern Brass Band writing and I think bands have to move with the times. We're seeing a lot of broadway stuff and film stuff now, some of it a bit bland and clinical for my liking, but to most can be really enjoyable.

What about a specially-commissioned piece!!? Something new and inspiring, of course u'll need money to do that and commissions don't come cheep! :wink: Especially from me :wink: :wink:

There are so many variations of what would be deemed as accpetable, but in my humble, humble opinion, the whole Brass Band industry needs a damn good shake!

I'm not a non-conformist or anything like that, but I got in the music biz to be creative and innovative - sadly the real world just ain't like that. :cry:

The Cornet King

Active Member
Yeh i have to agree fanfares are great openers. With my last band we always opened Fanfare- Then straight into an overture, then soloist. A march then opened the 2nd half.

At the moment i believe at Cottingham we are gonna open with Shostakovich's Festive Overture, Brilliant cornet fanfare to open proceedings and a great opening number.



At the moment we are doin Blenheim Flourishes By Curnow which is a fantastic piece!!!

Fanafare And Flourishes is another good one by curnow but is fairly easy.

With the county band we did pastime with good company which is a reli gud piece and we did a whole coming onto stage in sections thing.

and another gud one is stage cntre

I have to say Blenheim Flourishes is my fave its reli bright piece and an excellent opener


Naruco said:
Olympic Fanfare and Theme...


Yeah, I agree Naomi - it's probably a bit played to death, but there's a good reason for that! We just got out a new (for us) fanfare yesterday, based around a hymn tune, but I can't remember what it's called, my pack's in the boot of the car and I'm not prepared to go out in the rain to get it - I'll come back to you on what it's called, cos it's really nice (even on a first run through and we (well, ok, me :oops: ) aren't very good at them sometimes.


Supporting Member
We are opening with Roger Thornes Arrangement of The Bombasto, at our next concert (7th March Mydlle Parish Church).
Its exciting circus march, that really goes down well.


Staff member
A few years ago we started a load our entertainments and concert programmes with Gaudette.

It might be starting to be played to death but it certainly makes the audience sit up and listen!!


super_sop said:
We are opening with Roger Thornes Arrangement of The Bombasto, at our next concert (7th March Mydlle Parish Church).
Its exciting circus march, that really goes down well.

With a Bombasto of a Trombone part if remember rightly (tMP CiN)!!


Just been mooching through some of our old programmes.

We've started with Past Time With Good Company and Four Hits for Five By George! for after the interval

Or Prelude to Carmen and I Wish I Knew how it Would Feel to be Free or Film (enter year) to everybody else for the second half!!


New Member
"Summon the Heroes" is a good choice.

I've done "Strike Up the Band" on more occassions than I care to remember and hate it now!!!!

A good wake up call is what's needed for audience and adjudicator alike!!!

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