Youth Champs 2020 Test Piece Announced

Brass Bands England (BBE) is pleased to announce that the test-piece for the Championship Section of the 2020 National Youth Brass Band Championships will be Saint-Saëns Variations by Philip Sparke. The event will be held on Saturday 28 March at Magna Science Adventure Centre in Sheffield, with the format remaining unchanged following its successful introduction at Warwick School in March this year.


Making the announcement, BBE Chief Executive Officer Kenny Crookston commented: “Originally composed for the 4th Section of the 2010 Regional Championships, Saint-Saëns Variations has remained a popular concert and contesting choice for youth and lower section bands over recent years and we are confident that it will provide an enjoyable and musically rewarding challenge for the bands attending the 2020 Youth Champs. We are grateful to our selection panel – Mark Bousie, Philip Harper, Lucy Pankhurst and Ian Porthouse – for their valuable input in selecting the test-piece and look forward to receiving further guidance from them in the years ahead.”


Kenny Crookston continued: “While the bands are sure to enjoy working on this terrific work by one of the leading composers for brass bands in recent years, we hope to be able to announce very soon a new work by a young composer for the 2021 Youth Champs, so the next few events promise to be very rewarding for participants in the Championship Section. We have been delighted with the reaction to the widespread changes made for the 2019 Youth Champs and, following extensive internal examination, can confirm that the same format will be used in 2020.”


Those age-determined sections are as follows:

Debut Section: 12 years and under. Bands will each perform for 10 minutes with no set works and can choose to play whatever they like. As this section is all about getting involved, trumpets, French horns, plastic instruments and a few adult helpers are all allowed. Bands shall perform for adjudicators’ feedback only (although each player shall receive a memento of the occasion!).

Elementary Section: 14 years and under. Bands will each perform a programme not exceeding 15 minutes, which must include one original piece of music for brass band and two verses of a hymn from 120 Hymn Tunes for Brass Bands. Bands may have assistance from up to two adult helpers in their performance and non-standard instruments from the brass or percussion family are allowed.

Intermediate Section: 16 years and under. Bands will each perform a 20-minute programme, which must include an original brass band work of at least seven minutes duration. Non-standard instruments from the brass or percussion family are allowed.

Championship Section: 18 years and under Bands will each perform a 20-minute programme which must include the test-piece Saint-Saëns Variations by Philip Sparke. Non-standard instruments from the brass or percussion family are allowed.

Full details of how to enter the 2020 Youth Champs will be available from September and further announcements will be made on the BBE website at