Nationals 2001: Reactions from the adjudicators,
players and Nicholas Childs
Views from the winning conductor, players and judges, plus some
of the details from the winning adjudications
Reflecting on the first Black Dyke win at the National Finals since
1995, Nicholas Childs took time to talk exclusively to 4BarsRest
before he had to prepare for the evenings Gala concert with the
International Staff Band of the Salvation Army and the Symphonic
Brass of the London Symphony Orchestra.
The Welshman was obviously delighted that he had won, but he told
us that his first thoughts were very much directed towards his mother
who at the moment is suffering with illness at home and was unable
to see him and the band take the National title.
My mother is unwell at the moment and this is the first
time in literally years that she has been unable to attend the National
Finals to see both Robert and myself conduct. I managed to phone
her on my mobile as soon as I heard we had won and neither of us
could say much after I just said we had won both of us were
a bit full up!
Nicholas Childs had retired to the changing rooms prior to the
announcement of the results and was only summoned to the stage after
he was found by a supporter who told him the great news.
The expectations at Black Dyke are so high and even though
we have done so well in recent years this victory means so much
to the band organisation, its supporters and particularly
the players. Three consecutive second places at the Open have been
heartbreaking, but this was a performance that really merited the
victory. The band has waited such a long time for today and its
really down to their hard work and commitment that we have finally
returned the National trophy back to the bandroom in Queensbury.
Asked what he felt was the secret of finally winning the National
he replied that it was a combination of many things. It was
a truly great test piece and one that I found a challenge musically
to break down and develop. The players really liked it and that
created an atmosphere that meant we enjoyed the huge amount of hard
work we had to put in.
Because of the logistics of the piece we had to move out
of our bandroom for the fortnight before the contest to rehearse
in a local church, but the extra time and expense has been well
worth it and I can only thank the players who have gone out of their
way to put in 100% commitment to the cause.
He has also been delighted to see many old Dyke faces return to
offer support to the band in the past weeks and offer advice and
encouragement. People such as John Slinger, Geoff Whitham
and many others have come to the rehearsals and this has given a
huge boost of confidence to the players knowing that former great
players are wishing them to success.
And of Albion the test piece he was full of praise.
Ive always enjoyed Jan Van der Roosts music and
Albion is a superb piece of brass writing. Its a very precise
work, even in the section that develops the chaos at
the beginning. It rewards detailed rehearsal and the overall music
has such excitement and energy. I know the band has enjoyed playing
it and I have enjoyed working on it. I hope the composer enjoyed
And a final word about his players? I couldnt have
asked for more from them. Everyone played they part to the full,
and I include all the backroom staff in that, but I would like to
single out Michelle Ibbotson on soprano cornet who played superbly
in addition to her commitment to the band just after she became
a mother. I dont know how she does it, but Im a very
We managed to catch up with the composer and adjudicator Jan Van
der Roost just after the announcement of the results, and this very
delightful and talented man took time to explain his feelings on
the test piece, judging and the winning performance.
I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of both writing the test
piece and the opportunity to judge at the Finals. There were about
six or seven performances of the very highest merit, with the winners
quite outstanding. It was a real pleasure to be able to listen my
music performed to such a high level by so many of the bands, and
with the winning performance being as close to anything I could
have wished for.
Were there any disagreements about choosing the winning performance?
Absolutely none. We were all in agreement that the winning
performance was quite superb and that it was the clear winner. We
were unanimous in our verdict on that and the other placings. The
standard of performances was very high with the top six or seven
bands in particular.
We (the judges) were very clear in our approach to what we
required from the music and many of the bands performed the technical
aspects very well but fell away in other areas. The bands that came
towards the bottom we felt did not overcome all the aspects of the
David Read also thoroughly enjoyed his seventh successive appearance
in the adjudicators box and felt that the overall standard
of playing on the day was very high.
The winning performance was one we felt that would be exceptionally
difficult to beat and although Fodens, YBS and Faireys gave
very fine accounts, the winners gave an overall musical interpretation
that was outstanding.
David Read also enjoyed the challenge of the test piece and the
first two and half minutes on chaos. It worked
out so much better than I first imagined and the size of the hall
certainly helped. It wasnt too difficult to identify the different
lines, especially in the performances that had been given a lot
of thought and it became a clear indicator to what we were to hear
as each performance developed.
4BR was unable to talk to Dr Roy Newsome at length but he did comment
to us that the reason for such high marks for the prize winning
bands was that it was an accurate reflection of the high standard
of their performances.
We hope to have the full written remarks of the winning band later
in the week, but we did manage to get a sneak preview of the main
salient points to Black Dykes winning performance.
Dr Newsome remarked that No comment necessary so close
His ending comment was this is just poetry. What an apotheosis!
Thank you so much.
Jan Van der Roost commented:
Very big congratulations (the word congratulations
was encircled about five times)
However he did pick up some indiscretions ppp start well
. Apart from minor mistakes
Some minor imperfections, all the rest is fabulous
David Read commented:
This is so thrilling and artistic and Difficult
to beat and also stated the playing is superb.
The Reactions of the Black Dyke players:
David Thornton (Solo Euphonium): Cant really believe
it. I knew we had played well from the reaction of the audience,
but we had a great reaction to our performance at the Open and we
came second. This is a real highlight of my playing career.
John Doyle (Flugelhorn): Fantastic! Weve worked so
hard for this and Nick Childs has been superb. We knew we could
do it, but it wasnt until our we came onto the stage and got
to hold the cup that I finally believed it.
Brett Baker (Solo Trombone): A brilliant feeling! We played
so well, but we couldnt take anything for granted, as we knew
there were so many great bands on the day capable of putting in
a performance that could pip us. Thankfully it wasnt going
to be anyone elses day today.