2003 Midlands Regional Championships
Burton Upon Trent,
Saturday 1st March 2003
At the end of the contest it was round the corner to the pub, a
drink and a chat with the jubilant Kibworth crew. No digital camera
but a couple of photo shots of John Berryman and players in celebratory
mood in the old box brownie for posterity that will get developed
in the course of time!
Some decent performances and some serious music on the way as well.
Seventeen bands entered the competition and sixteen played so for
Kibworth after a year of appeals and hearings in 2002 they, together
with Riddings and Gresley Old Hall, became the first from the Midlands
to find out that they were to head off to Dundee in September.
Thorntons Brass , under the baton of Martin Battersby, took
the stage first and set things in motion. Not quite as alert or
warm in texture as some, this was mainly due to the blips and blops
that were in evidence in the earlier part of the piece, in fairness
it would be wrong not to acknowledge that it built well to the final
statements which went really well with good articulation and balance.
Player of the day – Baritone.
The hall was quite full as Foss Dyke’s conductor Walter Ritchie
 brought down his baton for their rendition. Again early on this
performance, as for many a band given the swine of a soprano part,
it had uncertain moments in the solo lines but as the piece unfolded
the band certainly grew stronger. The band took 6th place from the
adjudicator, we had it figured just a touch lower but not by much.
Player of the day – Solo Cornet.
Kibworth  played exceptionally well and from their stylish opening
the music was guided really nicely by the MD. The music had direction
and a real sense of purpose and all through it was nicely flowing
and effectively played. A band in control with confidence and not
many in the hall that didn’t have them figured, if not 1st
then certainly for a place in Dundee for the Finals. Player of the
day – Flugel.
The time Keith Leonard had with Derwent Brass  after the Brass
at the Guild contest was put to good use and they gave a very persuasive
account of the piece. He used the time to direct the band in far
more Brahmsian manner and Stephen Sykes rewarded them with 4th place.
We felt that they had done enough to secure that third Dundee spot.
Keith and the band weren’t too disappointed as they congregated
outside the hall after the contest given that this result may well
have secured them promotion for 2003. Player of the day –
Perhaps some of the performances were bigger-boned and longer breathed
but the differences between so many bands in this section were marginal
and this was certainly the case with Shirland MW . There were
swings and roundabouts with so many performances finding good moments
that then became undone in others but as with so many bands on the
day their better music was produced once those early hurdles were
overcome. Player of the day – Flugel.
Tintwistle  never quite found the spacious sounds that would
have scored as they were bringing the music in crescendo and a few
too many untidy moments undid some good cornet work all though.
Player of the day – Solo cornet.
With so many performances of similar strengths and weaknesses it
was not surprising that what would appeal to one would be a downfall
for another and this was the case with the next two bands the Enderby
Band  (Player of the day – Solo cornet) and Ibstock Brick
Brass  (Player of the day – Soprano Cornet). We thought
that they managed to produce some tension and electricity in the
music but again not without loose moments so we were perhaps more
forgiving of this as we rated their playing much higher than their
Riddings Band  were different. Simon Jones their MD went for
a weighty and concentrated performance which was not smoothed over
at all and whilst not conveying a natural feeling of Brahms it was
undeniably exiting. It obviously appealed to the adjudicator (and
us) but another perhaps more ‘orchestral’ ear might
have been less forgiving. (Player of the day – Euphonium)
Nottingham City Transport  (Player of the day – Solo
cornet), Towcester Studio  (Players of the day – Trombones)
and Bedworth Brass  (Player of the day – Euphonium) sat
in that group of interpretations, which whilst carrying some conviction
and towards the end could not help to create excitement, was in
a middle group of bands that we have to say were much of a muchness.
Hathern  was a performance that got away. Placed in final position
by the adjudicator we were in the complete opposite camp. Well in
the top half on the day for us. Some may say “ah you would
say that with Richard Evans at the front of the band. You listened
with your eyes and heart not your ears.” Not true –
I think we are too objective to fall for that one. The hallmark
of this performance was in the interpretation. Despite odd blemishes
for us the music had warmth, dignity and nobility and offered expressive
power with a striking sense of spontaneity.
Brackley and District  once again held the middle ground (Players
of the day – Trombones) before Gresley Old Hall under David
Hutchinson  took the third qualifying spot to Dundee. This was
a big blow with huge fortes and monstrous double fortes. We wrote
on our notes ‘will dynamics effect the result?’ - obviously
not but it wasn’t our cup of tea. There was a lot of bite
in the playing but we felt their playing worked much better when
the volume button was turned down. Player of the day – Flugel.
Wigston Band  were last up and they worked really hard but
you got the feeling that this piece just didn’t work for the
band. Obviously talented players they couldn’t get across
an unforced naturalness and as such seemed to lose the balance that
the music need. Player of the day – Flugel.
Our top six:
Kibworth, J. Berryman,
Riddings, S. Jones,
Derwent Brass, K. Leonard,
Ibstock Brick, P. Northey,
Hathern, R. Evans,
Enderby, S. Cooper,
Our spin doctor would like to point out that our predictions were
1st 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th and 14th so completely brilliant but no
one said about them being in the right order !
Stephen Sykes in his summation called it a good contest but singled
out for praise the top three and notably the winning band. He felt
that there were 10 very equal performances that followed that were
very close in merit and he had to dot many an I and cross many a
t before he finally ranked them.
On a different tack there had been a deal of discussion before
these Regionals about the use of signing on sheets and the printed
registry forms. The Midlands Region chose to ask bands to submit
both and John Slater, Chairman of the Regional Committee, before
the results of this section were declared announced that 83 discrepancies
had been noted between the registry and signing on sheets.
In talking to Brian Eggleshaw, General Secretary of the Region
the following day he felt that the exercise of comparing both sheets
had been shown to be a valid approach. He thought that in moving
from a written to a ‘paperless’ system the ‘teething’
problems that were often thrown up when this type of move is made
could be noted, discussed and appropriate action implemented. He
explained that Colin Johnson had been contacted at the Registry
over the weekend about some immediate problems and they would continue
after the contest to maintain a close liaison and work with the
registry in this regard.