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Calling all young composers!

Calling all young composers!

If you’re under 19 on 1st September 2016 and enjoy composing brass band music, then The Nock Deighton Challenge for young composers is or you.

… and the good news is that the final entry date for this year’s competition has been extended to 1st June – so there is still time to enter.

The Nock Deighton Challenge is part of Ironbridge Gorge Brass Band Festival – a fantastic free festival featuring 20 brass bands which is taking place on The Green at the award winning Ironbridge Gorge Museum on 9th and 10th July.

Ideally your composition will be between two and a half and four minutes long and if you win, you’ll receive a cash prize of £150 and get to keep The Eric Peagam Memorial Trophy. There are cash prizes for second and third place, too.

For full details of the competition, visit The Ironbridge Gorge Brass Band Festival website at

Graham Taylor, Managing Director of Nock Deighton Estate Agents gave further encouragement for aspiring composers, explaining: “The Ironbridge Gorge Brass Band Festival is one of the leading events of its kind in the UK, and we are delighted to be associated with it. The Nock Deighton Challenge for Young Composers has grown into quite a prestigious contest over the past three years and previous winners have gone on to great things – last year’s winner Daniel Hall has been selected for the composition team at The National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain.

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Gorge Festival attracts record numbers.

A major annual event that attracts visitors to the Ironbridge Gorge from all over the country was hailed a success for the twelfth year this weekend, despite the inclement weather.

Around 5,000 people flocked to the free 2-day long Ironbridge Gorge Brass Band Festival, with record numbers also attending the Saturday evening Gala Concert in aid of Severn Hospice which was hosted by Radio Shropshire presenter, Eric Smith.

21 brass bands provided a tightly packed programme of brass music in the grounds of the Museum of Iron in Coalbrookdale throughout the weekend, ranging from classical pieces to show scores, pop, jazz and oompah sets.

Music for the Gala Concert was provided by the Gorge based Jackfield Elcock Reisen Band and the Jaguar Land Rover Band, who joined forces for a magnificent finale that included an arrangement of Amazing Grace by William Hines and Edward Gregson’s Variations on Laudate Dominum.

This year’s event was, however, tinged with some sadness following the sudden death earlier in the year of valued committee member, Eric Peagam. Eric was instrumental in starting up a series of Youth Brass Workshops in the run-up to the Festival after gaining sponsorship from the Gorge Parish Council. Over the last few years the workshops have provided an opportunity for dozens of young people in the area to play a brass instrument for the first time.

As a tribute to Eric, the annual competition for young brass composers which he also initiated with support from local estate agents, Nock Deighton, has been renamed the Nock Deighton Eric Peagam Memorial Trophy. This winner of this year’s trophy was 18-year old Daniel Hall from St Austell, whose winning piece – a March entitled ‘Tredegar’ – was performed at the Gala Concert by the Jaguar Land Rover Band.

The staging of the Gorge Brass Band Festival relies entirely on sponsorship and donations but even in the current financial climate it has managed to grow year on year thanks to its rising reputation in the brass world. Now a major event in the brass band calendar, organisers started getting enquiries for next year before they had put away this year’s bunting.

Festival Chairman, Neil Fury, said:

“The popularity of the Ironbridge Gorge Brass Band Festival has increased among both the players and the public every year since its inception. More and more bands are asking to come and play in the relaxed atmosphere of the Museum of Iron, which has kindly hosted the event for us.

            “The core philosophy of the Festival is based around showcasing a traditional music genre in a non-competitive environment to entertain the public for free. Bands are not paid to be here but come to enjoy the opportunity to play on a big stage, with a large audience and without the pressures of formality and competition.

“But none of this would be possible if we didn’t have the support, enthusiasm and benefit of the hard work put in by the organisers and volunteers, and especially the businesses and organisations that support us financially. So my heartfelt thanks go to all who make this wonderful event possible, and of course to the public who keep increasing our attendance numbers. So please put the 9th and 10th July in your diaries now, for our 2016 Festival.”

Jenny Clarke from Rutland visited the Festival with her daughter, Heather, after seeing a flyer for it in the Ironbridge B&B where they were staying. She said:

“My father was from Jackfield. He and my grandfather worked at Maws. So for us visiting the Gorge was delving into our history, and coming across the Brass Band Festival was an unexpected bonus we won’t forget. We have had a wonderful day, real food for the soul. The atmosphere was fantastic and everyone has been so friendly. We were particularly impressed that bands had travelled from so far away.”

One out of district band, playing for the third time, was Crewe Brass. Musical Director, Jamie Meredith, said:

“In the three years we have been coming to the Gorge Brass Festival we have seen a massive growth in the event. It is obvious how much the free event has been enjoyed by everyone who came and this has provided a great atmosphere for us as performers. The Festival is a great credit to the town and we are looking forward to performing here again next year.”

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Youth Brass Workshops

We are pleased to announce arrangements for two new Youth Brass Workshops are now complete.  We are delighted to say that these events have been sponsored by The Gorge Parish Council and will see 70 local schoolchildren receiving professional tuition on the playing of Brass Musical Instruments with a view to performing a small piece of music before a small audience. It is hoped that some of the children will become brass musicians and possibly appear on the stage at future Brass Band Festivals.

Workshops take place on 12th June and 3rd July at Museum of Iron with both Coalbrookdale and Southall Schools taking part.

Musical Directors are Michael R Fowles and Heather Fury.

Unfortunately all places at the workshops have now been filled – but there’s always next year!


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Nock Deighton the Young Composers Challenge

Entrance for 2015 challenge is now closed. 

Application forms for 2015’s Nock Deighton the Young Composers Challenge are available below in Word or PDF formats.

ND-challenge-Rules-2015 – PDF

ND-challenge-Rules-2015 – Microsoft Word

Please fill our and return via email to or via post to the following address.

Ironbridge Brass Band Festival Comp
C/o Maninplace
19 Tan Bank
TF1 1HJ.

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Eric’s Legacy will continue

I’m sure many will now be aware but last month we saw a very sad loss to the Brass Band world.

Eric Peagam died suddenly on Monday 19th January.    Our thoughts are with his wife and family.

He was a key member of our Festival committee and was involved in several projects including the Youth Workshops and the Nock Deighton Challenge for Young Composers.
He showed another talent last year when he compered at the Festival.

His involvement in bands was very widespread and included playing in several and also conducting.   Although his main band was Salopian Brass Band, he also played regularly at Newport (Shrops) and more recently Wellington (Telford) Brass Band and Knighton Town Silver Band.

He will be greatly missed by all those who had the pleasure of working and playing alongside him. Rest in peace Eric.

Eric’s Legacy will continue

With the Support of Nock Deighton the Young Composers Challenge will continue this year.

As Eric was the at the heart of this challenge we have dedicated In his memory to introduce the Eric Peagam Memorial Trophy, a trophy will be issued each yearly winner.

We are running our competition and again we are inviting young composers (under 21) to submit original works.   Entries will be judged by a panel of local brass band specialists and should generally be no more than about three minutes long. They can be in any genre or style, but should be scored specifically for brass band. The panel will make judgements based on the score, but if, in addition a midi file is available this will also be considered.

Full details of the competition and forms to accompany entries can be obtained either by email or by clicking here.

The entries themselves can be submitted at any time but will need to be with me by 1st April 2015 at the latest. There is no entry fee, and all entries that meet the criteria set out will be recognised with a token reward with an substantial prize for the winner and runners-up.

Eric Peagam PhD. 13/09/1941 – 19/01/2015

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