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ARTICLES

 

End of Term Reports 2001:
The yearlong contest season has now come to end (Thank God! - we can hear you say) and players, conductors and supporters can take the opportunity to regal their fellow brass band lovers with tales of how well they have done through the year.


So – to stop anyone coming into the pub with a set of tall tales and false statistics we have provided the top 30 bands (as in keeping with Government directives on class sizes) in our 4BR World Rankings with an “End of Term Report”, a little bit like those reports you go from school all those years ago. We’ve included details of how each band did on the “exams” – Regionals, Masters, London etc and our own thoughts of whether they’ve been good hard working pupils or have been sat at the back of the class having a sneaky fag and look at Penthouse magazine. We’ve also given them a marking from A+ to D- to take home to their parents. Some will be happy and will get presents for Christmas while some may get their arses slapped and be sent to bed early.

As in school we go through the register in alphabetical order. Now pay attention...


Aveley and Newham
4BR Ranking: 18

Exam Results:
Regionals: 1st
Masters: 19th
Grand Shield: 5th
Nationals: 12th
Pontins: 4th
Yeovil: 1st

A bit of a mixed year at the exam table for the pupil from London. Two good wins when they were in the sandpit against weaker opposition, but out in the national playground they came across some of the bigger boys and found themselves being left behind a little.

Played well in the Nationals and Regionals as well as Yeovil, were they were fine winners, but were disappointing at Pontins and the Grand Shield where on paper they should have been close to top of the class. Perhaps the nerves got the better of them or perhaps they are not as good as many think they are. Should continue to improve and may make the national grade in 2002.

Overall Mark: C+


Black Dyke
4BR Ranking: 2

Exam Results:
Regionals: 1st
British Open: 2nd
Nationals: 1st

The return to the top of the class for the brass band world’s favourite pupil. A few years of hard luck and under achievement have been replaced by a new hard work and less play attitude that’s staring to reap rewards.

Three superb exam performances during the year that culminated in topping the National Curriculum test in London are testimony to the homework done being handed in on time, and a real talent for performing well when the pressure is on. Black Dyke did the business this year and are now the standard setters for the rest to emulate. An excellent year’s work.

Overall Mark: A


Bodmin
4BR Ranking: 28

Exam Results:
Regionals: 6th
Masters: 12th
Grand Shield: 3rd
Yeovil: 3rd

A year of entrenchment rather than noticeable achievement at the exam table for the pupil from Cornwall. The good news is that they are now playing at a standard as high as at any time in their history, but the bad news is that so are many of their rivals and that has meant they are no longer the pace setters in the South West.

The Regionals were a major let down but they recovered very well to put in two fine shows at the Grand Shield and Masters that stuck two fingers up at their detractors (us included at the time we must say). Locally they remain in good shape (they won the Bugle contest as well) but they will have to keep up the hard graft to remain in contention nationally next year.

Overall Mark: C


Brighouse and Rastrick
4BR Ranking: 6

Exam Results:
Regionals: 3rd
Masters: 1st
British Open: 8th
Nationals: 11th

The rough and tough boys from West Riding have had something of an up and down year in 2001. When the mood took them they played superbly, but too often they just didn’t seem to be really interested and felt satisfied with coming home in the middle of the class.

The Area wasn’t a bad exam result and this was followed by the Masters win that was at time electric. Then they seemed satisfied at what they had done and slunk off into obscurity with two real under achievers of performances at the Open and Nationals where they sounded tired and frankly bored with what they had to do. Could and should have been a much better year.

Overall Mark: C-


British Telecom
4BR Ranking: 29

Exam Results:
Regionals: 5th
Grand Shield: 12th
Pontins: 3rd

A year of solid if unspectacular achievement for our telecommunications pupil that started promisingly only for them being unable to maintain the standard throughout the year.

The Regionals was a fine start that promised so much but by the year’s end they had fallen back into the middle of the field with a couple of anonymous performances. Pontins saw them recover with a good third place, but it wasn’t in the highest class of competitors and we’ve got the feeling that 2002 will need a further improvement if they are going to be truly competitive against higher-class fields. Not bad though.

Overall Mark: C -


Buy As You View Cory
4BR Ranking: 4

Exam Results:
Regionals: 4th
European: 2nd
British Open: 3rd
Nationals: 5th

The star pupil of 2000 found things a little harder during 2001, but nonetheless showed great character and bravery in trying to show fellow students that the wins last year weren’t a one off.

The Regionals saw them beaten fairly and squarely and many critics were ready with the obituaries, but the European saw them back on stunning form and they so nearly won it, whilst both the Open and Nationals saw them play their hearts out. It wasn’t to be, and they had to be content with a couple of minor placings, but they are now one of the strongest and toughest pupils in the playground. A fine years work – even if it wasn’t as rewarding as last year.

Overall Mark: B+


Carlton Main Frickley
4BR Ranking: 14

Exam Results:
Regionals: 10th
Masters: 3rd
British Open: 17th
Spennymoor: 6th

A pupil that has the talent, but we wonder whether they are prepared to do the spadework to make it count every time.

Two fine results sandwiched by some really disappointing showings are testimony to a band that on its day is more than capable of competing against the very best, but one that doesn’t always have it’s mind set correctly for the job in hand. The Regonials and Open saw them under perform, whilst the Masters was like listening to a totally different outfit entirely. It must be so frustrating knowing they are capable of doing so well yet not knowing if they’ve done enough swatting before the exams to succeed. Capable of better things.

Overall Mark: C


CWS (Glasgow)
4BR Ranking: 11

Exam Results:
Regionals: 1st
European: 4th
British Open: 15th
Nationals: 10th

One of the pair of Scottish heavyweight pupils that have frustrated yet delighted us for so long. All the talent in the world doesn’t escape the fact that they are not a band that exactly works it’s socks off if the mood doesn’t suit them – and 2001 was one of those years.

They did enough to win the Scottish Area, although many thought them a bit lucky and they put up a fine showing at the Euorpeans, but both other majors seem to see a band that was happy to just turn up, play well within itself and go back home. It was such a disappointment to hear a band so capable of being right at the very top, just about going through the motions. A pupil in need of a bit of encouragement and more hard work.

Overall Mark: C-


Desford Colliery
4BR Ranking: 22

Exam Results:
Regionals: 3rd
British Open: 19th

A once star pupil who flew the highest only to get their wings burnt and fall back to earth with one hell of a bump. 2001 could be the year that saw the last of Desford as a major competitor at the top class contests, as they lost their coveted position at the British Open after coming home 19th.

As they came 3rd at the Regionals in an Area that wasn’t perhaps the strongest their decline is a sad reminder that the good times don’t last forever. All we can recommend are extra lessons after school and a change in their work ethic, as you can’t survive in the brass band school playground on reputation alone. In need of some special needs one to one work.

Overall Mark: D


DUT Rothwell Yorkshire Imperial
4BR Ranking: 23

Exam Results:
Regionals: 7th
Masters: 6th
British Open: 14th
Spennymoor: 9th

A year that started off not too well and with some disagreements at home ended on something of a more positive note come November.

Always a good hard working pupil, Imps needed a bit of inspiration rather than perspiration and the introduction of a new baton has seen a worthy improvement in their results. A fine exam paper at the Masters was followed by a solid show on the Open test and another workmanlike outing at Spennymoor. 2002 could and should see further development and a possible return to prizes come the end of term. A good solid years work.

Overall Mark: C+


Eikanger Bjorsvik Musikklag
4BR Ranking: 30

Exam Results:
Nationals: 1st
SIDDIS: 1st

Our star overseas pupil has continued to put his European counterparts to shame with another years work that was a result of an intelligent brain and a work ethic only the Japanese seem able to beat. 2002 will see them up against the best pupils in Europe once more when they represent their country in the Euro Exam in Brussels.

The National win featured a superb examination of “Concerto Grosso” that was as good as the previous years effort, whilst the SIDDIS win saw them have the continued confidence to experiment with their style and talent to the full. If only many of the English pupils could take note and do the same – things would be looking up all round for the movement as a whole. A fine years achievement from a very fine band.

Overall Mark: A


Ever Ready
4BR Ranking: 17

Exam Results:
Regionals: 3rd
Masters: 7th
Grand Shield: 2nd
British Open: 12th
Mineworkers: 2nd
Spennymoor: 10th

The star pupil from the North East finally came good in 2001 and left the middle of the road boys and gained entry to the Open and a chance to play with the big boys of the banding world. That they were capable of doing it came as no surprise – that it took them so long, did.

A pupil not afraid of hard work (6 exams papers this year alone) they sometimes spread themselves too thin and the undoubted quality of their work suffers. A poor result at the Regionals seemed to spur them to success at the Grand Shield and they followed this with excellent showings at the Masters and Open. All the work may have tired them out come the end of the year, but they still performed well at the Miners to come 2nd. A pupil to be congratulated.

Overall Mark: B -


Flowers
4BR Ranking: 15

Exam Results:
Regionals: 2nd
Masters: 5th
British Open: 21st
Nationals: 9th
Yeovil: 2nd

Could the real Flowers stand up please? What to say about the West Country pupil that showed more faces to their character than can be found in a Jeffrey Archer novel.

The good Flowers were excellent at the Regionals and the Masters, the decent Flowers turned up at the Nationals and Yeovil, whilst the bad Flowers appeared at the Open and recently in a local contest that saw them beaten by a second section band. On their day they have been very good indeed, but at the moment they seem to be suffering from a bit of musical schizophrenia. 2002 could be year of just about anything. A band in need of a bit of consistency to show their true colours.

Overall Mark: C


Fodens
4BR Ranking: 3

Exam Results:
Regionals: 2nd
Masters: 4th
British Open: 7th
Nationals: 2nd
Spennymoor: 2nd

The most talented pupil in the school had a year that reached the highs and the lows in almost equal measures – but we can’t really find fault with anything they tried to achieve, although they could have benefited possibly with more stability on the conducting front at the start of the year.

Three superb performances (one of which didn’t find favour with the examiners) were the high spots, but they also did under perform at the Regionals and Masters. The introduction of an orchestral teacher to their curriculum was a master stroke and it so nearly paid off in spades and we can only hope they are to continue with the association during 2002. Not a prizewinner but one of the best performers of the year for us.

Overall Mark: A -


Fishburn
4BR Ranking: 26

Exam Results:
Regionals: 1st
Grand Shield: 10th
Nationals: 18th
Pontins: 19th
Mineworkers: 8th

What could have been a year of outstanding achievement fell a bit flat for Fishburn – a case possibly of the reality biting back. The win of the Regionals may now seem like a very long time ago, but it was well deserved none the less.

The band were less successful away from the home school in the North East though and found the going tough against bigger and stronger competitors at the Nationals and Grand Shield and very tough indeed against lesser fields at Pontins (where to be fair – they competed just a week after the Nationals) and the Mineworkers, where they may have been fatigued. Thus, it was overall a bit of a disappointment when March promised so much. Perhaps a less rigorous exam timetable may help in 2002 if they are to improve further.

Overall Mark: C -


Grimethorpe Colliery UK Coal
4BR Ranking: 7

Exam Results:
Regionals: 4th
British Open: 4th
Spennymoor: 1st
Mineworkers: 1st

The year when Grimethorpe stopped playing funny buggers (except at Spennymoor where they were funny and brilliant) and put their minds to winning serious contests again.

Superbly directed they were unlucky not to pass the Nationals qualifying exam, but come the Open they rolled up their sleeves and did the business like no others can do. 4th place confirmed their class and they repeated it twice more at the years end (although one has to wonder how badly they would have to play not to win the Mineworkers). A pupil that has finally got over their thespian tendencies to knuckle down to the serious business once more.

Overall Mark: A -


Kirkintilloch
4BR Ranking: 16

Exam Results:
Regionals: 5th
Grand Shield: 1st
British Open: 16th
Spennymoor: 5th

A quiet and undemonstrative pupil who overcame the disappointment of failing at he National qualifying exam to make spectacular progress through the ranks to really shine at the years end.

The Regionals were a disappointment but instead of moping around they worked their socks off and won the Grand Shield in fine style, followed this with a solid performance at the Open, a win or two in Scotland and finally a superb entertainment review at Spennymoor. In addition they released a CD in their spare time away from the exams that also found considerable favour. Somebodies parents are going to be proud looking at their report.

Overall Mark: B+


Leyland
4BR Ranking: 9

Exam Results:

Regionals: 3rd
Masters: 13th
British Open: 9th
Nationals: 6th
Spennymoor: 4th

Another former star pupil who was in danger of having to be sent away because of ill health has recovered splendidly to reclaim a place at the top tables with all the swats.

The Regionals was a welcome surprise and even though the Masters found them struggle a little bit, the early signs of recovery proved correct and they put in two fine exam performances at the Open and Nationals to give notice that they were back to form and in good health. Spennymoor even saw them regain their old cockiness and wit and we therefore think they can take their slip home to their parents with pride intact. A gold star on the hand.

Overall Mark: B+


Marple
4BR Ranking: 20

Exam Results:
Regionals: DNC
British Open: 18th

The one pupil in the class that is giving us real concern over their health and fitness. They even produced a sick note to excuse themselves from the Qualifying exam for the Nationals – a real shock from a band that has worked so hard over the years to maintain themselves in the top half of the class.

The Open saw them literally beg, steal and borrow to compete and they put up a sterling effort to get through the exam paper and not come bottom of the class and be relegated, but we feel there will be a need for some serious thinking and help if they are to survive next year. We can only hope others will rally around to help with the homework so that they can stay in school. A band that will need to be placed on the “At Risk” register.

Overall Mark: D –


Point of Ayr
4BR Ranking: 21

Exam Results:
Regionals: 2nd
Grand Shield: 6th
Nationals: 15th
Pontins: 2nd

Yet another band that has come close to being lost to the school register for non attendance at a Nationals Exam following their non show through ill health in 2000, but who has made a remarkable recovery since.

Such has been their resurrection that they performed wonderfully well in coming runners up at their Regional exam, before putting up a creditable showing at the Grand Shield and Nationals. Pontins saw them very nearly take the title home with them to show their parents and it would have been so well deserved for the way in which they played on the day. No more excuses we hope from them now – a good years work.

Overall Mark: C+


Ransome
4BR Ranking: 12

Exam Results:
Regionals: 4th
Masters: 8th
European: 8th
Nationals: 13th
Spennymoor: 7th

Ended 2000 with high hopes that were perhaps a little too unrealistic, but 2001 has seen the Midlander pupil dig a very secure upper middle niche for themselves in a high quality class of competitors.

This has mainly been down to their excellent attitude towards hard work, and if they are sometimes a little uninspired it’s not through the lack of effort. The Regionals were a disappointment, but they showed character in coming 8th at both the Masters and European and came home 13th at the Nationals and 7th at Spennymoor – which was about right each time and neither flattered or disgraced them. A solid pupil with the ability to do better in stages rather than in huge leaps, 2002 should see further improvement. First task – a return to the Open.

Overall Mark: C+


Rothwell Temperance
4BR Ranking: 27

Exam Results:
Regionals: 8th
Masters: 11th
Grand Shield: 8th

Last year’s Pontins Exam winners have been much more quiet and circumspect during 2001 and have set about maintaining their position with solid work rather than trying to over extend themselves unnecessarily like many other bands have done in the past with tragic consequences.

The Area saw them come home 8th, but this was against a strong field and was a worthy showing, whilst the Masters was very much the same. The only real disappointment was the Grand Shield where they under performed and missed out on a real chance to move up the achievement league table. A solid enough years work.

Overall Mark: C


Sellers International
4BR Ranking: 25

Exam Results:
Regionals: 12th
Masters: 15th
Grand Shield: 4th
Spennymoor: 3rd

A pupil in serious trouble both at home and at school at the beginning of the year and underachieving big style as a result at the exams. Sellers were a band going rapidly in the wrong direction.

This we understand has been sorted and the immediate fruits have been shown at the Spennymoor examination when they finally saw sense and reverted back to a bit of strict Scottish Methodist teaching that had seen them prosper the first time around. Why some pupils think they know better than their teachers is beyond us – and the return of the Pride of Mr P. McCann has been long overdue. The recovery of a once very bright student can now begin earnest – it’s never to late to admit to mistakes.

Overall Mark: C


Todmorden Old
4BR Ranking: 19

Exam Results:

Regionals: 6th
Masters: 16th
British Open: 11th
Spennymoor: 8th

The shooting star pupil of a few years ago has been replaced by a more thoughtful and mature young student in 2001 – and that’s been a real good turn for the best.

The Regionals saw a quality examination reading and whilst they struggled a bit at the Masters they returned to form by putting in a fine show at the Open that was a credit to themselves and showed that they took the task of performing at the highest level very seriously. Spennymoor also saw them put up a decent showing and it rounded off a year when the band had the good sense and intelligence to realise that they had limitations that they had to stick to rather than ignore if they were to continue to do well. This they did and have continued to prosper as a result. Well done.

Overall Mark: C+


Travelsphere Holidays
4BR Ranking: 13

Exam Results:

Regionals: 1st
Masters: 18th
British Open: 10th
Nationals: 16th

What a disappointing year for a pupil that promised so much at the beginning of the academic semester in March. The Regional exam was completed with flying colours and a new contender for the honour of star pupil was a real possibility but since then it’s been a tale of hard luck, bad luck and no luck.

Early sittings at the exam table can account for one or two of the results – possibly, but it is also fair to say that they did always perform to the standard set by the man in the middle. The readings and intentions were spot on but the playing never really suggested that it was going to be a top of the table result. Thus the three main exams saw considerable disappointment and the possible realisation that more hard work is needed if they are truly going to be contenders next year. A disappointing year – but not all self inflicted.

Overall Mark: C -


Tredegar
4BR Ranking: 8

Exam Results:

Regionals: 1st
British Open: 13th
Nationals: 7th

The third Welsh pupil at the school sprung a shock against their valley rivals in winning the Euro qualifying bash at Swansea in fine style in March, but the exertions of trying to survive repeated raids on their playing talents and maintaining their position as a top 10 pupil at the school saw them sound exhausted come the Open.

13th was their worst result for 6 years, so they huddled together and worked their guts out to come 7th in London and really impress again. They continue to win their share of lesser exam awards without too much of a problem but they ended the year in defeat on their home soil and they will have to continue working like a collier for 2002 and the European which will be a test on the families finances as well as playing strength. A good solid year again though.

Overall Mark: C


Treize Etoiles
4BR Ranking: 24

Exam Results:
Nationals: 1st
European: 3rd
Swiss Entertainment Champs: 2nd

Our Swiss pupil has once again shown class and commitment and has ended the year in fine style by coming tops in the National Championship examinations.

This repeat of last years triumph will mean that they will again have the chance to represent their country at the Euro bash in Brussels and will hope to do as well as this year when their two exam papers were as good as any on the day and only a bit of fatigue and hand cramp forced them into third place. It was a fine effort and relied on the band taking note of the direction of the old Jedi Knight himself – Obi Peter Parkes who has brought a real sense of belief to their playing this year. Real contenders for the Euro crown in 2002 if they keep up the good work.

Overall Mark: B


Whitburn
4BR Ranking: 10

Exam Results:
Regionals: 2nd
British Open: 5th
Nationals: 8th

A fine years work for the other heavyweight of the Scottish contingent – even though they were embroiled in a bit of (as Bill Maclaren would say) “Argy Bargy” with their school masters in the middle of the year.

Some fine exam showings there after was testament to a solid band who are not afraid to work their sporrans off to get to the top. The exam performances at the Open and National were top class and emphasised that there is real talent around the stand, whilst the Regional performance possibly merited a win and an invite to the European. 2001 saw them overtake their rivals from Glasgow as the number one band north of the border and we think they could continue to maintain that position during 2002. Permission is given for them to celebrate with a wee dram.

Overall Mark: B +


Williams Fairey
4BR Ranking: 5

Exam Results:
Regionals: 1st
Masters: 9th
British Open: 6th
Nationals: 4th

One of the brass bands schools star pupils over the years had a very good rather than really excellent 2001, even though the signs were there that they could have possibly done even better than they eventually did come results time.

The Regional test saw them come top of the class with an exam paper that bordered on a masterclass thesis, but they didn’t quite maintain that standard afterwards (it would have been near impossible) and coupled with a few early draws and a few too many slips they came home outside the prize certificates in the Masters and outside the cash vouchers in the Open and Nationals. Still 6th and 4th ain’t nothing to be sneezed at and they can look back at the year with a fair degree of satisfaction. 2002 promises even better things.

Overall Mark: B +


Yorkshire Building Society
4BR Ranking: 1

Exam Results:
Regionals: 2nd
Masters: 2nd
European: 1st
British Open: 1st
Nationals: 3rd

Last year saw the top pupil of 1999 somewhat surpassed by the Celtic wonderkid from Cory, but at the end of 2001, Yorkshire’s pride and joy has forced themselves back to the top of the pile with a series of top class exam performances that with the exception of Black Dyke no one else could match.

The wins at the Open and European were really top-drawer stuff whilst the Masters title was somewhat cruelly snatched from their grasp by one of the examiners. The Nationals continue to be the only test that they feel uncomfortable with although coming third was still a fine result. There seems to be no limit to what they can achieve when they put their mind to it and they have no real weaknesses – can the desire for further success be maintained in 2002 – we think so.

Overall Mark: A+


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