On the last weekend of November, Brass Band Willebroek, true to tradition, headed for the Lemmensinstituut in Leuven for the Belgian Brass Band Championships.
After an intense preparation and ideal drawing of lots (two times 7th of 8 bands), the band self-confidently took the stage shortly after noon to bring an extremely musical performance of the set work "Cloudcatcher Fells" (John McCabe). Conductor Frans Violet inspired his musicians, the soloists played with exceptional class and the orchestra simply transcended itself. Only seconds after this performance, the crowd went wild; the tone was set.
Afterwards, the band drew back to put the finishing touches to their own choice work "On the Shoulders of Giants" by Peter Graham. BBW gave an extraordinary rendition of the work in an overcrowded concert hall. The auditors thanked the orchestra with a deafening applause, so the band could leave the stage feeling satisfied.
During the proclamation, the long-expected verdict followed: Brass Band Willebroek became Belgian Champion 2013 and won a ticket to the European Championship 2014 in Scotland. The comments of the jury further confirmed our belief in musicality and a warm band sound:
“I am now putting down my pen to listen to this fabulous band… I feel like you have wrapped me in a big warm blanket of loveliness. I wanted to stop writing (I actually did) and just listen to your superb playing. Thank you for making an old man (well I am only 34) very happy. You are bringing this work to life; I am on cloud nine. Thank you for a magnificant performance. Superb reading, epic soloists and a great ending."
The band has had their share of downs in the last years. Some of the musicians from their period as European Champions had left the band, and a lot of new musicians had joined. This has proved to be a benefit for the band. They worked hard to turn the band into a whole (both on a musical and personal level) that would be able to measure up to the European top. Notable fact is the young age of a lot of the musicians in the band - the average age of the solo cornets at this championship was 22.25 years!
On Sunday evening, an emotional Frans Violet thanked the musicians who have stayed with him for all those years, and the band honoured its conductor for his indefatigable effort and ingenious musicality.
Brass Band Willebroek would like to thank all of its fans; we will see you at one of our concerts or as a part of our team of supporters at the European Championship in Perth!
Translated by: Kim D.H.
Brass Band Willebroek (Frans Violet): 279/285 = 94.00%
Brass Band Buizingen (Luc Vertommen): 258/282 = 90.00%
Brassband Leieland (Wouter Loose): 267/270 = 89.50%
Festival Brass Band (Dirk De Caluwe): 270/261 = 88.50%
Brass Band Heist (Bert Van Thienen): 255/276 = 88.50%
Brassband Zele (Bart Van Der Strieckt): 261/258 = 86.50%
Noordlimburgse Brass Band (Ivan Meylemans): 249/267 = 86.00%
Kortrijk Brass Band (Ward De Ketelaere): 246/255 = 83.50%