2011 News

Frans Violet New Conducting Team For Kingdom

Following the news last month that Andrew Duncan was to step down as Musical Director of Kingdom Brass, the band has moved quickly to appoint their new conducting team.

Joining Kingdom as their new Resident Conductor is Bede Williams.

Originally from New Zealand, Bede moved to Scotland in 2003 as an undergraduate trumpet study at the RSAMD (now the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland). He gained a Masters in Orchestral Conducting in July 2010 and has been in demand as a conductor ever since.

Bede said of his appointment, "The whole Kingdom organisation has at its core a strength and ambition which allows conductors to get straight to the heart of music making. I am thrilled to have input to their growing success."

Kingdom has also announced that Frans Violet will lead the band at the 2012 Scottish Championships.

Band Secretary John Todd said of the appointment, "Frans is one of the most experienced conductors in Europe, with three European Championship titles just the tip of his achievements. We are honoured he has accepted our invitation to travel over to Scotland and work with the band on 'Devil and the Deep Blue Sea'. We're all really looking forward to working closely with him."

Frans Violet said, "I'm looking forward to leading Kingdom to the Scottish Championships. The band has established themselves as one of the top in Scotland, and my motivation is to take that one final step and qualify for the Albert Hall. I'm also looking forward to teaming up with my former Willebroek principal, Raf Van Looveren."

added 9th December 2011

Perth Concert Hall Top Six For Kingdom At Scottish Open

Kingdom Brass captured a top six finish at the Scottish Open, despite the unlucky number one draw, to continue the band's great form right to the end of 2011.

The placing could have been even higher, with many predicting a podium finish for Kingdom after their scintilating performance, but the one low placing from adjudicator John Wallace stunned many, especially with the other two judges (Philip Sparke and Bob Childs) placing the band so high.

Despite that disappointment, the consistent level of performance and high placing didn't take the shine off what has been a fantastic 2011.

Before the announcement of the results, members of the Kingdom Percussion Academy were given the chance to perform in the Concert Hall, under the leadership of Head Percussion Tutor Lynsey Paterson.

On the Sunday, Kingdom entered two Youth Bands to the Scottish Youth Championships, at 12 & Under and 14 & Under level. This was the first time the junior players had split into two as the organisation continues to expand. Both bands were conducted by Head Tutor Ken Blackwood, and received Silver awards.

added 27th November 2011

Simon Johnson New CD Released

Kingdom Brass released its latest CD to coincide with the Scottish Open Championships.

Entitled 'A Bit on the Slide', the CD features trombonist Simon Johnson, principal trombone of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, in a series of stunning solos.

The CD was recorded in the Henry Wood Hall, in Glasgow, and the band was conducted by Andy Duncan and Anne Crookston.

CD's are available from the band, priced at £12

For more information, please email

Track Listing: Autumn Leaves, Blue Bells of Scotland, Bolivar, Cappriccio, I Loves You Porgie, Rhapsody for Trombone and Brass Band, Romance, Stardust, The Lark in the Clear Air, Thoughts of Love, Trombola.

added 26th November 2011

Perth Concert Hall Kingdom Prepares For Scottish Festival

The Kingdom Brass organisation will be represented by four different groups at the Scottish Brass Band Festival this weekend.

On Saturday afternoon Kingdom Brass will perform the set testpiece, Philip Sparke's 'Music For Battle Creek' to commence the Scottish Open Contest (with the contest having been predrawn a few weeks ago). Andrew Duncan will lead the band once more, rounding off what has been a fantastic year for Kingdom.

Once all 16 bands have played in the Scottish Open competition, members of the Kingdom Percussion Academy will perform a short concert under the leadership of Head Percussion Tutor, Lynsey Paterson. The Percussion Academy is still a unique concept in the UK, and it truly is a great honour to have their talents showcased.

On the Sunday it's the turn of Kingdom's two Junior Bands to perform, with the '12 and under' band playing in the morning, and the '14 and under' band in the afternoon. Under the leadership of Head Tutor, Kenneth Blackwood, both bands will be looking to play to the best of their abilities and enjoy the experience of this fantastic festival.

added 25th November 2011

Kingdom Logo Kingdom 'B' Launched.

Kingdom Brass launched today with a fantastic first rehearsal of the new band.

With an initial group of 28 players attending the first rehearsal, the new band kicked off in style.

Gavin Spowart conducted the rehearsal, with the band playing through a variety of music, including the Scottish 4th Section testpiece, "English Folk Song Suite".

With 10 players being promoted from the Kingdom Youth Band, the 'B' band is set to fulfil it's role of provinding a stepping stone for the young Kingdom players progressing into their first senior band.

added 12th October 2011

The Boiler Kingdom Retain FCBA Title

Kingdom Brass, conducted by Andrew Duncan, retained the Fife Charities Open Contest title, the band's third contest win of the year.

Playing the testpiece 'Partita', by Philip Sparke, the band won the Open Contest ahead of Bon Accord, with Johnstone in third place and Unison Kinneil fourth.

Principal Cornet with Kingdom Brass, Harmen Vanhoorne, also won the prize for 'best cornet'.

added 9th October 2011

Kingdom Logo Kingdom Appoint New Roles

Kingdom Brass are happy to announce two new roles within the Youth Initiative.

The first appointment is for a brand new role, 'Head of New Start Development'. Taking up that role will be Sarah Findlay, who currently plays flugel horn with the band.

The second appointment is Ken Blackwood who is our new Head Tutor.

Sarah will be responsible for working alongside our existing tutors to guide brand new players through their initial development, working with them until they reach a standard to step up into our existing '12 and under' band.

Ken will work with all our tutors to oversee the development of all the players in our current '12 and under' and '14 and under' bands, as well as conducting both bands at various events throughout the year.

added 26th September 2011

Scottish Testpieces Scottish Championship Testpieces Announced

The testpieces for the 2012 Scottish Championships have been announced:

Championship Section - Devil and the Deep Blue Sea (Derek Bourgeois)

Section 1 - Mountain Views (Bertrand Moren)

Section 2 - Cross Patonce (Goff Richards)

Section 3 - Olympus (Philip Harper)

Section 4 - English Folk Song Suite (Ralph Vaughan Williams)

added 20th September 2011

Kingdom Logo Kingdom Seeks New Head Tutor

Kingdom Brass are seeking a new Head Tutor to lead the band's youth development programme.


The KBYI was set up in January 2007 with the aim of delivering a high quality youth development programme covering the core area for Kingdom Brass (Cowdenbeath and Kelty). Since then the scheme has gradually grown and currently comprises a full youth band, plus a large learners group.

All of the children in the learners group receive tuition from our pool of dedicated tutors, while the children in our youth bands either receive tuition from our tutors, or via local peripatetic tutors at school.

In September 2011 we will be restructuring our youth setup, dividing the group into two youth bands (at "14 and under" and "12 and under" age groups). Throughout 2012 and beyond we envisage a continuous cycle of new recruitment, with children then moving into various bands depending on their age and ability. By 2014 we plan to have our third youth band in place, covering the "16 and under" age group (all age groups based on SBBA's current age banding).

Complementing the brass tuition is our Percussion Academy, under its own Head Tutor, Lynsey Paterson.

The KBYI will be supporting our second senior band, Kingdom Brass 'B', which launches in October 2011.

Roles & Responsibilities

Overseeing the development of each child involved with the KBYI

Delivering one to one and group tuition alongside existing tutors

Conducting the Kingdom Brass Preparatory Band (12 and under) each Tuesday night

Conducting the Kingdom Brass Novice Band (14 and under) on an ad hoc basis

Conducting both bands at various competitions and concerts

Preparing solos and ensemble performances when required

Responsible for all music choices (band, solo and ensemble)

Assisting existing tutors preparing children for graded exams

Assisting with recruitment through local primary schools

Liaising with local peripatetic teachers on children's progress

Attend and assist at various tuition workshops organised throughout the year

Assist with the organising of and attend our annual residential course

Payment for this role will follow MU rates, which is a requirement from our main funding partner, Creative Scotland.

For more information, please email

added 5th September 2011

Troon Kingdom Win Land O'Burns

Kingdom Brass has won the 2011 Land O'Burns Contest.

From the 4barsrest site:

Kingdom Brass took another step towards fulflling their ambitous plans to become the leading competitive force in Scottish banding at the Land O'Burns Contest on the weekend.

Conducted by newly appointed Scottish Development Officer Andy Duncan, they secured their first Troon title and £2,500 of prize money with a 20-minute entertainment programme described by adjudicator Kevin Wadsworth as containing, "...awesome playing."

It gave the Fife band a clear two-point winning margin over current Scottish champion and six time winner Exchange Communications Whitburn, who had to be content with the £1,000 runner up prize for the second successive year.

Fishburn upheld English honour as they travelled from the North East under Huw Thomas to claim the £500 on offer for coming third, whilst there was delight for Tullis Russell Mills, as the Second Section outfit conducted by Martyn Ramsay beat Scottish Championship podium finishers Lochgelly as well as First Section Coalburn to claim fourth place and boost their coffers by £700.

There was to be no repeat victory for Johnstone however, as the First Section reigning champion slumped to last place in the 11 band field.

In contrast there was nothing but celebratory joy for Kingdom, just a week after they secured a £30,000 Youth Music Initiative grant to help in the next phase of their long term youth development project, which they hope will see them develop into Scotland's leading banding organisation.

Spokesperson, John Todd told 4BR that the victory was another solid indicator of Kingdom's growing strength. "We are continuing to build for the future," he said. "This win comes on the back of victory at the Carnegie Invitation contest and reaching the final of the West Lothian Challenge, so our contesting progression is mirroring our long term aims and objectives for the organisation as a whole."

Boosted by the signings of Scottish National Opera trombonist Davur Magnusson and British Open Solo Champion, Harmen Vanhoorne from Brass Band Buizingen, Kingdom opened with the high tempo 'Coconut Champagne', featuring the European duo as well as the talents of tuba player Andrew Whitaker and screaming trumpeter Gavin Spowart.

The Belgian cornet star then delivered a stunning performance of 'Fortune's Fool' to take the Philip McCann 'Best Principal Cornet' Award, before the band changed stylistic tack with Mark Freeh's arrangement of 'Tonight', described by the adjudicator as, '...a great exercise in laid back playing...'

Kingdom rounded off with the 'Dundonnell' finale from 'Hymn of the Highlands' to take home the Knoweview Nursing Home Trophy as well as individual awards for best trombone, principal cornet, basses and percussion.

After the results Kevin Wadsworth took time to congratulate the winners, adding that he would have liked to been able to have seen their performance unfold before his eyes such was the 'awesome playing' that was clearly appreciated by a thoroughly entertained audience at Troon Concert Hall.

The victory celebrations went on long into the night at the Kingdom bandroom as the band let their hair down after an intensive period of rehearsal, contests and concerts, as John Todd explained.

"It's been a very busy time for the band. This week Harmen has been teaching the children as part of our Youth Initiative, whilst Davur was our guest soloist at our recent annual concert. The win has rounded off a great few weeks in all senses."

added 21st August 2011

Davur Magnussen Annual Concert Huge Success

Kingdom's Annual Concert for 2011 has been hailed as a huge success, with a sell out audience at the Rothes Halls enjoying an evening of great entertainment from the Fife Champions.

The guest soloist for the evening, the brilliant Faroese trombonist Davur Mugnessen, wowed the audience with his solo spots during the evening.

Also appearing at the concert were the Kingdom Brass Youth Band, conducted by Anne Crookston.

The concert also featured the Fife Youth Jazz Orchestra, who performed several jazz numbers as well as some collaboration pieces with the Kingdom Youth Band.

The evening was rounded off with a 'massed bands' performance of 'Loch Lomond', featuring over 100 musicians on the stage.

added 13th August 2011

KBYI Kingdom Launch £250,000 Youth Project

The Kingdom Brass Youth Initiative has been awarded funding from Creative Scotland, via the Youth Music Initiative, towards the next phase of the band's youth development.

The full story from 4barsrest:

Kingdom Brass is celebrating a £30,000 funding award from Creative Scotland.

The Fife based organisation has been successful in their application for a Youth Music Initiative grant, to help them in their next phase of their ambitious £250,000 youth development project.

The project seeks to cover all aspects of Kingdom's youth work up to 2013, allowing the organisation to expand their youth programme into other local areas as well as complete the organised structure of their of Development, Youth, 'B' and 'A' Bands.

added 11th August 2011

Tredegar Kingdom Assist British Open Champions

Kingdom Brass have been assisting the current British Open Champions, Tredegar, with their youth development project.

The full story from 4barsrest:

The Scottish Brass Band Association is delighted at the first Welsh responses to its ideas and initiatives.

Just a few days before he flies off to start a new career in Australia, the Scottish Brass Band Association's Development Officer, Alan Edmond enjoyed a visit to the National Eisteddfod of Wales in Wrexham.

Joined by John Todd of Kingdom Brass, the Scots were guests of Tredegar Band, following the news that the British Open champion is to become the first band outside Scotland to adopt SBBA's innovative youth development initiative.

Alan and John took the opportunity not just to enjoy the unique musical atmosphere of the televised brass band competitions, but to also meet a number of leading conductors, players and administrators to find out how they wish to move Welsh banding forward over coming years.

Alan told 4BR: "We had a wonderful time thanks to the hospitality shown by Tredegar, but also managed to make important future contacts too. We have been impressed by the desire of numerous people who wish to provide Wales with a national structure that will guarantee a vibrant future at all levels of banding."

Alan and John also met up with Pedr Roberts, who has been instrumental in trying to gain a consensus for a progressive national organisation in Welsh banding.

He told 4BR: "All Welsh Associations are in favour of a National body and are looking for it to go ahead. Excellent progress has been made and we are seeking to make further progress at our next meeting in September."

Meanwhile, Tredegar also hope to make further progress in their desire to spearhead their far reaching youth development programme.

Band Secretary Mark Winstone told 4BR: "We have been able to readily identify with the programmes that have been put in place with organisations such as Kingdom Brass.

To see the outstanding results they have achieved over recent years is a real inspiration. It has shown that we can work together with other like minded bands and organisations to provide South Wales with a vibrant community based youth banding culture once more."

Kingdom's John Todd was delighted that the British Open champion would be following a Kingdom Brass blueprint.

"To have a band such as Tredegar be inspired by what we have achieved at Kingdom goes to show just how important the SBBA led initiatives tailored to meet individual bands needs has been.

This can only be good news for Wales and Welsh banding, especially as other notable bands we met seemed very supportive of the ideas we are putting forward."

added 4th August 2011

Kingdom Logo Kingdom Set to Launch 'B' Band.

From the official press release:

Kingdom Brass are set to expand in the coming months, with the launch of their new 'B' band.

As part of a 5-year development plan, the formation of this new senior band in the Kingdom of Fife will be the final piece in Kingdom's organisational jigsaw, as band Secretary John Todd explained:

"In 2008 we had just launched our youth development programme, and knew that success across all parts of our organisation depended on setting definite goals for the future. We created a 5-year plan, covering 2008 to 2012, with a series of achievable milestones.

By 2009, we had our first full youth band in place. In 2010, we set up our Percussion Academy, initially with 10 children but set to expand soon to 20 percussionists. Our target for 2011 was the formation of our second youth band, which we're just finalising now with a fresh intake of 25 players from our local schools.

We knew that the step between our youth and senior bands was huge, so the formation of a 'B' band to sit inbetween the two was our target for 2012. The second half of this year will be dedicated to recruiting and developing that band until it's ready to contest."

Kingdom has been one of the busiest bands in the country this year, with appearances at the Scottish and European Championships, as well as the Grand Shield already under their belt. Domestic success has also come through retaining the Carnegie Invitation Contest title in April and a win over rivals Whitburn in the West Lothian Festival of Brass recently. John continued:

"This year has been a bit hectic. By the end of it, we'll have competed at nine contests, performed a few high profile concerts, recorded a CD and launched a new youth and senior band. The Kingdom Organisation will be made up of about 125 players once we add in this new senior band, so the next project might well be new rehearsal facilities.

We're now looking for committed players who want to be part of a successful organisation. Opportunities will exist to work closely with our younger players as they take their first steps into a senior band. It's going to be an exciting new venture for everyone involved."

Kingdom are now looking to recruit players on all instruments for their new 'B' band.

Any enquiries can be sent to

added 27th June 2011

Howden Park Centre Kingdom Through To West Lothian Final.

Kingdom Brass has won the first semi final of the West Lothian Festival of Brass.

Conducted by Andy Duncan, Kingdom pipped current Scottish Champions, Whitburn, to a place in the final on June 26th.

Adjudicator Stan Lippeatt stated in his on stage comments that it had been remarkably close between Kingdom and Whitburn technically, but Kingdom had won through on pure entertainment value.

Kingdom's programme consisted of 'When Kingdom Comes', 'All By Myself' (featuring solo trombone Helen Douthwaite), 'West Lothian Celebration March' (the new commission by Paul Drury), 'Elegy from A Downland Suite', 'Money, Money', 'Coconut Champagne' (featuring soloists Gavin Spowart, Helen Douthwaite, Andrew Whitaker and Lynsey Paterson) and 'Defying Gravity'. The second semi-final sees Co-operative Funeralcare, Kirkintilloch and Newtongrange compete to meet Kingdom in the final on June 26th.

added 6th June 2011

Stravinsky Auditorium Kingdom Set For Euro Debut

Kingdom Brass will make their debut at the European Championships in Montreux this weekend.

A sell out crowd of over 3,000 will pack into the Stravinsky Auditorium to see ten of Europe's finest bands battle it out for the title of 'European Champions 2011'.

On the Friday each band will perform the set testpiece, Oliver Waespi's tricky "Audivi Media Nocte". The bands then return on the Saturday to perform their own choice testpieces.

With performances at the European Open contest in 2002 and 2003, and a tour of Germany in 2006, Kingdom are seasoned travellers, but this is the first time the band has competed at the European Championships. The trip has cost over £20,000 and the band has been working flat out for months to raise the amount and prepare for the contest.

added 26th April 2011

Carnegie Hall Kingdom Retain Carnegie Title

Kingdom Brass celebrated at the weekend by retaining their "Fife Brass Band Festival Contest" title at the Carnegie Hall, Dunfermline.

Making her debut with the band on the contest stage was Kingdom's newly appointed Associate Conductor, Anne Crookston, who led the band in a sparkling performance from start to finish.

Adjudicator Bruce Fraser praised the Fife Champions throughout their performance, and also awarded Kingdom the prize of 'best bass team'.

Twenty-one bands from Scotland and England had entered the annual event, with Kingdom the penultimate band to play on the day. The band's winning programme started with "The Olympic Spirit", written by John Williams for the Seoul Olympics of 1998. The featured soloist was trombonist Chris Mansfield in an arrangement of "Autumn Leaves". The band continued in 'big band' style with "Coconut Champagne", featuring Andy Duncan on solo tuba, Chris Mansfield on solo trombone and Gavin Spowart on lead trumpet. The finale to the winning programme was a stunning arrangement of Webb's "MacArthur Park" which brought the house down.

added 16th April 2011

Besson Kingdom Announce Annual Concert Details

Kingdom Brass will be holding their Annual Concert in the Rothes Halls, on August 13th.

Following the success of the band's previous annual concerts, Kingdom Brass will present 'Fusion: A Blend of Brass and Jazz' in the Rothes Halls, Glenrothes, on Saturday August 13th.

The concert is being sponsored by Besson, and will feature the Faroese trombonist Davur Juul Magnussen, principal trombone of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, as the guest soloist.

The concert will feature Kingdom Brass, plus Kingdom Brass Youth and the Kingdom Percussion Academy. Also appearing will be the Fife Youth Jazz Orchestra, who will be working closely with the Kingdom Youth players in workshops during 2011/12.

added 22nd March 2011

European Championships Kingdom Complete Montreux Fundraising

Kingdom Brass held their final fundraiser for Montreux at the weekend, a fantastic German Night.

With entertainment provided by 'Kolonel Schnapps' oompah band, a packed Co-op Hall enjoyed their time and well over £1,000 was raised on the night.

This now means the band has raised the £20,000 necessary to attend the European Brass Band Championships in April.

The band would like to thank CISWO and Fife Council for their grant support as well.

added 12th March 2011

Perth Concert Hall Kingdom Maintain Top 5 Placing

Kingdom Brass have finished in the top half of the Championship Section once more.

Conducted by Andy Duncan, the band performed the set testpiece for the event, Philip Wilby's 'Paganini Variations', finishing in 5th place.

This latest result maintains the band's position in the Championship Section, and is the tenth top 5 finish in the last decade, a fantastic achievement for the band.

added 27th February 2011

Night of Brass Kingdom Host 'Night of Brass' Performances

Kingdom Brass hosted their 'Night of Brass' in the Co-op Hall, with 4 bands performing their Scottish Championship testpieces the week before the main event.

Opening the evening was Dysart Colliery Band, conducted by Gavin Lyndsey, performing their testpiece, 'Prelude, Song & Dance'.

Unfortunately Dunfermline Town had to withdraw from the event so there was no 3rd section band, but next up was Tullis Russell, conducted by Martyn Ramsay, performing 'Resurgam'.

Bathgate Band, conducted by Kingdom's cornet player Eoin Tonner, performed the extremely hard 1st section testpiece, 'Carnival Romain' before Kingdom Brass and Andy Duncan rounded off the evening with their performance of 'Paganini Variations'.

added 19th February 2011

Gala Concert Kingdom Perform at Gala Concert

Kingdom Brass have performed alongside David Childs and Les Neish at the Besson Scottish Solo & Ensemble Championships Gala Concert.

Two of the finest soloists in the UK at the moment, David and Les thrilled the crowds with their performances.

Les Neish performed 'Song for the Skies' and 'Czardas', while David Childs performed 'Brillante' and 'Hot Canary'.

The two soloists then appeared together to perform a duet, 'The Prayer', which was dedicated to SBBA's Event Manager, Peter Fraser, wishing him a speedy recovery after his recent hospital stay.

Video of Kingdom Brass with the soloists can be found on our YouTube channel.

added 5th February 2011

Oliver Waespi European Set Testpiece Announced

The set testpiece for the European Brass Band Championships has been announced as Oliver Waespi's 'Audivi Media Nocte'. The piece is inspired by a Thomas Tallis choral motet. Sung primarily on All Saint's Day, it translates into the English as 'I heard, at midnight...'.

The composer spoke to the brass band news website 4barsrest, saying the work explored the modern ambiguities of life. "It's a musical tale that oscillates somehow between past and present, between contemplation and frivolity, between prayer and a rave."

At around 17 and a half minutes in length it places great technical as well as musical demands on performers with inventive combinations of instrumentation as well as choreographed soloists standing in front of the main band.

Kingdom Brass will be performing the testpiece at an open rehearsal on Wednesday, April 27th.

added 3rd February 2011

Lee & Ryan Bathgate Kingdom Success at FCBA Solos

Lee Bathgate retained his Fife Solo Champion title at the recent FCBA solo & ensemble competition, his 13th win at the event.

Another Bathgate name will be engraved on the silverware this year, with Lee's son Ryan winning the 12 and under section. Ryan plays solo horn with the Kingdom Junior Band.

Runner up in the 12 and under section was another Kingdom player, trombonist Michael McLaughlin. Kingdom's 12 and under ensemble were also runner up in their event.

In the 16 and under competition, euphonium player Ross Bahlaj and cornet player Karen Wilson were 3rd and 4th, with Kingdom's 16 and under ensemble in the runner up place.

added 22nd January 2011

Anne Crookston New Associate Conductor for Kingdom

Kingdom Brass are very happy to announce that Anne Crookston has accepted the role of Associate Conductor with the band.

Anne will work alongside the band's Musical Director, Andrew Duncan, to prepare the band for the stage, as well as conduct Kingdom Brass at various events during the year.

As well as her new role as Associate Conductor, Anne will also join Kingdom as the bands new Solo Baritone player.

Also joining Kingdom Brass is trombone player David Frame, who returns to the band on 2nd Trombone after a brief spell with Newtongrange Band.

Behind the scenes, the changes agreed at the bands AGM earlier in the year sees Colin McCabe take on the post of band Treasurer from January 1st, with the former Treasurer John Hamilton continuing his role as Commercial Manager, concentrating on generating commercial income to the band, a role he has had much success with over the past few years.

added 1st January 2011