Directions to Birmingham

John Berryman directs the Virtuosi GUS Band back to Birmingham and the top flight of the British Open Championship.

11 May 2009

This weekend saw the Virtuosi GUS Band competing in the Grand Shield of the Spring Contest at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool.

Despite a dreaded early draw, the band saved one of their best performances of Wilfred Heaton's Contest Music for the contest stage.

Coming second only to the reigning Yorkshire Champions, the Rothwell Temperance Band, they earned themselves an invitation to the prestigious British Open Championships at Birmingham Symphony Hall in September.

Band manager Shawn Pagington commented:

"At probably the most difficult contest of the brass band calender, the band performed to the highest level with an excellent reading of the piece directed by musical director John Berryman.

"22 years ago the Band won the British Open on the very same piece prepared by the very same conductor John Berryman, so it's very apt that their return to the British Open should be under the direction of John with the very same piece of music as 22 years ago.

"A special thanks should go to the band's principal cornet James Fountain, who at just 15 years of age led the cornet section with terrific authority".